AGAINST RACISM COVER IMAGES: Mathieu Hocquelet

Black Youth Project Member (“Looking through a Black Queer Feminist Lens”, New Orleans, Louisiana

Image aligned to the right On April 14, Fast-food workers went on strike in 300 cities, and tens of thousands of underpaid workers lead hundreds of protests across the country to demand $15 and a union.

Among the supporting organizations met during these protests, Black Youth Project and Dream Defenders intend to promote transformative organizing by addressing black and brown youth to constitute spaces for discussion, reflection, healing and action promoting self-organization and training leaders through education and initiatives to combat sex, gender, race and class inequalities. The perspective of such a critical intersectional analysis, which indissociably encompasses feminist, anti-racist and anti-capitalist struggles, seems to mark a major support to low wage workers, which Fight for $15 has been able to take up in part, as illustrated by the actions carried out in partnership with BYP before the New Orleans criminal court on the international day of action in April to denounce police crimes targeting black youth and to draw a parallel with their daily living and working conditions.

As Melvin, a 19 years old member of BYP’s chapter in New Orleans stated during an interview:

“I looked around and…look for yourself [the interview is at his home]…my clothes have holes in them, my shoes have holes in them, there are holes in the walls of my house, a mini TV, an old computer…My mother, my brother and I can’t afford to fix or change anything. (…) We live on the Mississippi River but we can’t even drink tap water or even take a shower if we don’t filter it. People have to realize this and today we are the people who make them understand this. (…) What we see on our t-shirts, like “unapologetically black”, reminds me of something that’s quite common on social networks, the “light vs black skin” theme. Both are black, but light skinned blacks are supposed to be considered more beautiful because their complexion is lighter. Me, in the Summer I’m super black and now I like that because the darker I get, the more original I am (laughs). Seriously, I don’t run away from it anymore, I love it! With BYP, I enjoy feeling black and I’m proud of it. I also like to feel that people see and understand what I’m talking about on a certain level when I talk about what I’m going through. (…) “Through a Black feminist and queer lens”? This is stuff I didn’t see two years ago, I even tended to make fun of homosexuals. I’m glad you told me about it because looking through this lens is the best way to organize. It brings together all the people who get attacked the most: women, queers, blacks, all that combined. Through that perspective, you see all these problems.”.

 

Mathieu Hocquelet

Sociologue du Travail I Sociologist of Work and Employment

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