Founded by 18-year-old Maxine Wint and Natalie Braye and 19-year-old Sophia Byrd and Eva Lewis,Youth for Black Lives has transformed the Black liberation movement in the windy city and beyond. Their first protest, peacefully conducted in July of 2016, shut down Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. “It was after the death of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling, two black men who had been murdered by the police,” says Wint of the collective’s origins. “I realized I had to use my voice to stand in solidarity with every Black person who was going through such a rough time to cope with the idea that racism is still very prevalent in today’s society. My original plan was to create a sit in or protest for any youth who felt like they needed to get involved or just be around people who were experiencing the same feeling as me, tired and ready for a change.”
'Act of resistance'
According to Wint, her peers’ willingness to take action is what turned her idea into a nationally recognized act of resistance. “I had no intentions of it being such a big thing, but after I posted the flyer on social media that’s just what happened. Peers began to contact me and ask if I needed help and it felt empowering to know that I wasn’t alone,” she says. “After the post I created a group chat with Eva, Sophia and Natalie and we made a list of things that needed to be done in order to execute our plan well.”
Together, the young women mapped out a route for their march and ensured protestors had the resources and legal know-how they would need on-site. Then 1,500 people showed up. “It almost seems like a blur because we organized it just in three days,” Wint remembers. “After that first protest, we thought that a youth organization was something that Chicago needed, so we remained a group.”
Source/ rest: msmagazine.com
Tess Garcia is a student at the University of Michigan. She is a contributor at Teen Vogue, an intern at V Magazine and Style Editor of the Michigan Daily.