Author: Elizabeth Jordie Davies
Key Question: What processes allow for Black organizing to thrive within a multi-racial coalition? How do Black activists build coalitions across difference?
- Report: Building and Brokering: Processes of Supporting Black Led Organizing in Multi-Racial Coalitions (Forthcoming)
- Academic paper: “Blackness is Not Enough”: Embracing Diversity in Black Community Organizing (Forthcoming)
Race is often a difficult but necessary boundary to cross within networks of grassroots political organizing. As Hahrie wrote in "An Approach to Understanding & Measuring People-Power," "Questions of race [are] a clear dividing line in our political system...The lack of clear examples on how to negotiate these differences remains a key question for investigation."
In this project, Jordie considers the opportunities and challenges of building multi-racial and diverse Black coalitions at the grassroots based on a year of observation, participation, and in-depth interviewing with a progressive organization in the South. This works explicates how progressive organizations and networks can support ongoing Black political organizing and connect Black organizers to resources while also deeply interrogating the process of building Black solidarity. Though Black Americans are known as a solidly Democratic voting bloc and race continues to be a significant heuristic through which Black Americans make political decisions, the reality is that Black people approach politics in diverse ways and through a multiplicity of life experiences. This study provides an in-depth lens at the process of building Black power across lines of gender, sexuality, ideology, and privilege.
In 2023, P3 will release a report exploring how multi-racial coalitions and intermediaries can support Black leaders and grassroots organizations to accomplish their goals. This process includes 1) advocacy to funders; 2) balancing participatory decision-making with expertise; 3) embracing diversity in Blackness, and 4) processes of trust building and brokering. Additionally, Jordie's forthcoming paper will more broadly consider how Black activists build coalitions across difference, arguing that Black political coalitions must embrace diversity in Blackness and build a common politic before true Black solidarity can be achieved.