On Sunday, May 31st, 2020 the Racial Justice NOW! DMV chapter hosted a home going ceremony for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and the many others who have been slain by police violence. The event took place in Montgomery County, Maryland at Pilgrim Hills Local Park, which is right next to a stream. Over 200 people showed up to the park to be a part of the ceremony.
For over 4 years RJN! has led a campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools. The event and ceremony was a cultural response to trauma inflicted on the slain, their families, and the community as a whole.
Black parents and families have been in deep mourning over the tragic losses of life in both Georgia and Minnesota, in combination with the challenges of the Coranvirus pandemic. RJN!’s event was an opportunity to grieve in healthy way- in community with other like minded people.
Racial Justice NOW! Community Organizer, Carolyn Lowery, was the MC for the event,and she was backed up by drummers from Farafina Kan. Libations were poured at the beginning and end of the event. Libations are the process of pouring liquid or giving sacrifice to form a connection with this world and the spiritual realm. It is largely practiced on the continent of Africa and is an ancient tradition. It is a means for establishing and maintaining relationships with ancestors and the spirit world. Libations were poured in a plant as attendees said the names of the slain. Later, the plant was put in the running stream to continue its journey just as the spirits of the slain continue.
Speakers for the event included Robert Stubblefield from Progressive Maryland, Erika Strauss-Chavaria (Howard County, MD teacher and RJN! board member), Hashim Jabar OdoKhan-El (RJN! DMV Parent Member), Danielle Blocker with Young People for Progress, Monica Utsey from the Sankofa homeschooling community, Zakiya Sankara-Jabar (RJN! Co-Founder and Director of Activism, Bright Beam Network). The event also received support from the Silver Spring Justice Coalition, the MORE Network, SURJ, and others.
All of the attendees were inspired to be a part of active change in their local communities. Listen to the Speech by Zakiya Sankara-Jabar.
Racial Justice NOW! is committed to dismantling structural and institutional anti-Black racism in all areas of people activity. Our primary focus is on the institution of education and lifting up the voices of dis-empowered Black parents and children. We are dedicated to stopping the school to prison pipeline and focus specifically on holding institutions accountable to equitable distribution of resources and services to Black people.