We told y’all Black folks are magic.
On Sunday, August 12, Rise Up, Fight Back—a counter-protest lead by Black people and our comrades—took to the streets to protest white supremacy and promote the well-being, safety, and liberation of all people. Between Rise Up, Fight Back and our allies at Shut It Down DC, thousands of people showed up to defend DC.
Despite the U.S. National Park Service granting white supremacists permits to incite terror, despite Facebook censoring our resistance by shutting down our counterprotest event page, and despite dealing with a summer in which Black deaths at the hands of police came fast and hit hard, we showed up and we showed out. By working in community, Black people offered an alternative to what this world could look like. We shared our magic.
Thousands of counter-protestors took to the streets in an effort to uplift our humanity and elevate the call for freedom. Comparatively, less than 30 white supremacists showed up to the “Unite the Right 2” rally to fight for “white civil rights,” which we all know aren’t a thing. Jason Kessler, the person behind 2018’s “Unite the Right 2” and 2017’s “Unite the Right” rally, had a variety of excuses for the poor turnout. At the end of the day, the outcome of August 12 reinforced the potency of the power people possess to fight for justice and liberation.
In the face of fear —specifically not knowing how many white supremacists would show up to inflict harm similar to the kind seen during the first “Unite the Right” rally leaving DeAndre Harris brutalized and Heather Heyer dead—we still showed up to defend DC.
On August 12, the police made clear who they would rather defend and serve, and we were not included. We watched hundreds of cops show up as DC poured over $2.6 million into protecting white supremacists instead of redirecting those same funds into safe and secure housing, reliable jobs, and combating food insecurity. We watched as WMATA found the time and resources to ignore the public and their workers to protect the white supremacists by giving them their own private metro car into the city. Despite all of this, Black people and our allies modeled what the government should have done. We came together in community. We protected one another.
Rise Up, Fight Back fights for freedom and liberation for all people, and that is why we work to embody the world we want to live in. We fight for a world where there is no white supremacy, where all Black people are liberated. A world where we are free from cages. A world where people are not deported. A world where we are free to express our full selves, regardless of gender, sexuality, color, size, ability, and appearance. A world where we are not murdered for simply existing.
Rise Up, Fight Back was a success and the work to abolish white supremacy—and to instead fund Black futures—continues. There’s a way for everyone to be involved in this fight. Whether it’s fighting to abolish prisons; working to empower incarcerated folks; lobbying to stop ICE and end deportations; engaging with Black, brown, and queer youth to uplift joy and empowerment; fighting for quality universal healthcare; bringing healthy food and clean water to communities; creating art and music to promote love, justice, and healing; deepening ancestral spiritual practices; providing legal services; or donating what you can, there’s a myriad of ways to fight for liberation. We all have a duty to fight for freedom, and there’s a place for everyone.
We will not allow white supremacy to survive. As demonstrated last Sunday, we know we have the power and the vision to win our liberation. We believe that we will win!
— by Kinjo Kiema and Darya Nicol
Organizers with BYP100 DC
and Rise Up, Fight Back
Rise Up, Fight Back is a contingent of Black organizers and organizations committed to ending all forms of white supremacy. Organizations include Black Lives Matter, Black Leaders Organizing for Change (BLOC), HU Resist, and BYP100.