How does Black Futures Lab build political power for and in our communities?
Why Now? Why Us?
If we’ve learned anything from the 2016 elections, it’s that Black progressive political power is key to improving our communities and our lives. Despite the obstacles we face—state violence, mass incarceration, voter suppression, disproportionate poverty—increased political power is within our grasp. Most importantly, building political power must come from us and by us: we know what we want, we know what we need, and we have the raw resources in our neighborhoods to build Black political power.
We engage Black voters over the long term, we empower Black voters to shape the policy discussions that affect our lives, and we energize a new generation of elected officials and decision makers who care about issues facing Black communities. We experiment with policy solutions and community alternatives that can be put into place at the local and state level.
And we will know we have achieved success when Black people are making decisions on our own behalf, when we are represented by people who have our best interests at the forefront of the policy agenda, when our communities are actively and consistently engaging and engaged, and when the conditions in our communities allow Black people to thrive.
This is why we built the Black Futures Lab.
We help build our power, amplify our power, and direct our power.
Can you help us build political power for all Black people?
What Does Black Futures Lab Do?
Black Futures Lab transforms Black communities into active, interdependent, responsive public partners that change the way power operates—at the local, state, and national level.
Black Futures Lab uses two interlocking efforts to accomplish this: the Black Imagination Incubator and the Shirley Chisholm Black Politics Project.
The Black Imagination Incubator focuses on developing good public policy based on information gathered through the Black Census Project and by engaging with Black to the Future, a space for Black people to imagine, create, and educate elected officials about progressive legislation that improves the lives of Black people.
The Shirley Chisholm Black Politics Project develops Black political power by building a base of Black people who vote their values at the ballot box; by electing progressive legislators; and removing elected officials who have agendas harmful to our communities, and by working to build alternatives in cities and states.
Is This The Same Thing As #BlackLivesMatter?
Black Futures Lab founder, Alicia Garza, helped create Black Lives Matter in 2013. We are a proud supporter of the Black Lives Matter Global Network, a chapter-based, member-led organization whose mission is to build local power and to intervene in violence inflicted on Black communities by the state and a proud supporter of the powerful Movement for Black Lives, a coalition of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country that have come together to articulate a common vision and agenda. We believe in the power of Black people to change our own conditions and support BLM’s goals to “support the development of new Black leaders, as well as to create a network where Black people feel empowered to determine our destinies in our communities.”
The Black Futures Lab is focused on collaborating with Black people, Black elected officials, and Black community-based organizations to build progressive political and legislative power in order to get us closer to having the communities and political power we deserve.
How Do I Get Involved? How Does My Organization Get Involved?
The Black Census Project is the largest survey of Black people conducted in the United States since Reconstruction. Black people, from across the country, provided their experiences, views and opinions about politics, society and the opportunities and challenges facing Black communities and the nation. Read the full report here.