New Group Supports Local Black Lives Matter movement in Unique Relationship
Story by Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter
Photos by Anthony DeVera and Ryan Fontenette-Mitchell, reporter
Black Lives Matter has a new ally, a resource of an organization called Allies for Black Lives.
“We are not part of the Black Lives Matter Austin general meetings,” Sacha Jacobson, coordinator for ABL, said. She said the separation was requested by BLM. “We respect that the members of BLM want their own space. We are not black,” Jacobson said in reference to the separate meeting rooms.
“ABL has a lot of work to do in order to catch up with current events about local issues regarding policing in the black community. ABL does not know what it is like to be black, and are lacking a strong grasp of understanding the history of racism in our country,” Jacobson said.
ABL supports BLM by providing financial support for public awareness projects, by informing Austinites BLM’s work to address racism and the importance of having conversations about racial injustice in our society.
“ABL provides education to ourselves and other non-black people in the Austin community and surrounding areas,” Jacobson said.
The relationship between BLM and ABL started in June. Jacobson contacted Margaret Haule, founder of the Austin chapter of BLM, to see if they would be interested in a crowd funded yard sign project. The project would produce signs reading “Black Lives Matter.”
BLM approved of the project and in 3 months, the project raised $3,625.
After the project, Jacobson kept in contact with Haule, who kept sending requests to Jacobson. The position to coordinate ABL, was given to Jacobson, after BLM expressed an interest in forming a separate support group.
BLM laid out guidelines for the new ally group to follow. Public criticism has caused BLM Austin to be media shy. Whenever the media is present, BLM checks with its members to see if they would be comfortable with the media in attendance.
Haule discussed suggestions on ways to get involved with BLM. She mentioned the best ways to get involved were to attend protest and rallies, but most importantly talk to the victims of police brutality.
Haule also kept reinforcing anyone interested to get more information from the BLM website. Not once did she mention attending a BLM meeting. As a keynote speaker at the National College Media convention in Austin in November, Haule answered questions but has declined face-to -face, phone and email interviews.
Jacobson wanted to make it clear that ABL is meant to “support as a resource and does not attempt to take lead.” She also went on to say that, “ABL allies are resources rather than members.” Which begs the question is BLM about unity?