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National Activist Praises Black Out Fort Worth Movement

Rev. Kyev Tatum, Fort Worth SCLC, Attorney Leon Jr Reed, Chair #BlackOutFortWorth, Journalist Shaun King and Pastor Ken Jones, Jr.
Rev. Kyev Tatum, Fort Worth SCLC, Attorney Leon Jr Reed, Chair #BlackOutFortWorth, Journalist Shaun King and Pastor Ken Jones, Jr.

Fort Worth – In the game of chess, the objective is to checkmate the king, where the king is in check by a piece and it cannot block the check, move to another square, or capture the piece checking that king.

The Black Out Fort Worth Campaign is a match involving church and community organizers determined to fight for the future economic and justice fates of real lives and real people.

Movement Gains Support/Momentum

Civil Rights Activist Shaun King says the success of moving any movement forward depends on the resiliency of its protesters.

King is an American writer known for his use of social media to promote religious, charitable, and social causes, including the Black Lives Matter movement.

In Fort Worth, the mold is already set and people are united and ready to enter a protracted boycott against the city.

King shared his insights and thoughts before 400 people attending an impromptu power rally in Como community at Como Missionary Baptist Church and said that winning any battle requires patience and a willingness to sacrifice and do what it takes to see the process through.

“The powers that be are counting on you not caring,” King said. “Change happens when people have had enough and takes people from all walks of life.”

King made an appearance at Texas Christian University, but also called a meeting at the church to speak to the principles of peaceful protest and address the best way to make noise, get the attention of the community, business leaders and demand justice for Jacqueline Craig, her family and others wrongfully mistreated or who suffered injustice at the hands of Fort Worth Police and the “justice” system. Much of his protesting success was born out of trial and after a rash of fatal police shootings around the country.

Black Out Downtown Fort Worth is a movement born out of the unprofessional behavior and disrespect the Fort Worth Police Department demonstrated in the case involving Jacqueline Craig

The movement is a serious and organized protest whose roots spring from the actions of Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama.

Last December, Jacqueline Craig, called police for help for an incident involving her 7-year old son and a White neighbor. The result of the call was instead of justice and service, Craig and teen members of her family were disrespected and arrested by white police officer.

For his role in the incident, the White Fort Worth officer who was shown on video bullying the black mom and earned a 10-day suspension.

That sparked the community to organize Blacks and Browns and hit the streets of downtown Fort Worth with chants of “enough is enough”.

King said the recipe for successful protests that yield results is based on four basic principles. Those principles involves full investments in awareness, time, energy and strategy.

AWARENESS

King said awareness is only the first step in change, but does not mean it brings desired results out of the starting gate.

“Without it, there is no chance for change,” he said. “However, awareness alone does not equal change. All is does is awaken it and primes things for change. It does not do it.”

Understanding that reality is key start in the process of making that difference and knowing the issue.

According to King, whether that issues is brutality, sexism or racism, the problem will continue without all affected groups working together to solve it.

“All must have skin in the game,” he said. “Those groups causing the problem have to get under the hood and work with primary victims and fighters and try to solve it.”

For example, with police brutality, the call is for good police officers and leaders to have the courage to be honest and speak out on the issues and call for removal of “bad” cops from the force.

Denials, cover ups and ignorance on the part of the abusers only makes problems worse, he said.

TIME

King pointed out that any boycott success is dependent upon groups remaining focused, patient and united realizing that justice take longer to win than a news cycle.

“Change is not a sprint, it’s a marathon,” he said. “Commitment to an issue means more than fighting one meeting or one day. Change takes time and this could take one month, a year, five years or even 10 years. I encourage you to think and have vision beyond the moment.”

He shared how the family of Emmett Till is still fighting for justice decades after his death.

Emmett Louis Till was an African-American teenager who was lynched in Mississippi in 1955 at the age of 14 after reportedly and allegedly flirting with a White woman. The brutality of his murder and the fact that his killers were acquitted drew attention to the long history of violent persecution of African Americans in the United States. His death is still be debated as new evidence has come forth that the accuser may have lied and made up the who accusation that resulted in Till’s death.

“It’s an inter-generational fight for that family and they fight on,” King said. “Sometimes, it just takes a long time.”

ENERGY

According to King, Fort Worth is ripe for protest and change and must seize the moment to build on its community activism momentum.

He encouraged protesters and interested parties to pool energy, resources and support the boycott.

“We all have power and we must use what we have,” he said. “That power is financial power and energy…how you spend your money and where you spend your money…That’s power.”

King said “Black Out Fort Worth” campaign is significant in sending a strong message that exposes real lies that Fort Worth has no race or police problems.

“What Fort Worth leaders don’t want you to do is leverage your dollars to force them to get justice,” he said. “Using that energy is a great thing. It tells them that till you do right, I will not spend a dime in Fort Worth.”

STRATEGY

One of the most important element of a successful community organized activity is the development of a strategy.

“Time and energy without a strategy means no results,” King said. “When good people fight hard with no effective strategy, that creates a real problem.”

In Seattle Washington, protesters successful used planned strategy that resulted in the city council withdrawing $3 billion of its funds from Wells Fargo Bank due to its connections to supporting the Dakota pipeline project and its financing of private prisons where the vast majority of inmates are African-Americans.

He said the Montgomery Bus Boycott was successful because Rosa Park, Martin Luther King Jr. and others affected the city’s brand and image.

“It was shameful and ruined the city’s reputation for generations,” he said. “Money is power. Speak to their pocket book and they will listen. Look at the Fort Worth Brand and send that message (to city leaders), to “Change or Die”.”

Other strong strategies involve Whites and Blacks working together to meet with city leaders and business leaders and making constant contact with mayor and district attorney until changes result.

He said the power of strategy is having a plan, sticking with that plan and sustaining the outrage until justice occurs.

According to city statistics, close to 8.8 million people come downtown annually via tourism, conferences, conventions and community and city events.

The protests and marches against patronizing and doing business in downtown Fort Worth is setup for the long-haul with plans to have a deep and powerful impact on tourism, convention business and events downtown.

“It’s about holding people accountable,” King said. “They don’t believe you will, but you must make their jobs inconvenient and bring the full weight of organized movement against them in Fort Worth and anyplace where you are not being heard and justice is not being done.”

By: Darwin Campbell

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