Nook Turner, co-founder of Austin’s Jump on It entertainment brand, spoke passionately and flat-footed about his reason for joining the Black Leaders Collective during its inaugural press conference held Wednesday afternoon, via a Zoom teleconference.
According to Shuronda Robinson, CEO of Adisa Communications, the collective is “an organized movement by Black Austin community leaders- activists, nonprofit, education, arts, business- who are coming together to create a sustainable movement led by Black people to improve our community and address systemic racism.”
Elle Smith, with Central Texas GSA Coalition and Queering Education, emphasized the importance of the intentional intersectionality of this movement. She discussed how important it was for the new paradigm to create conducive learning environments for all black students, including poor, LGBTQIA, and immigrants, many of whom often get left out of the broader “Black Lives Matter” conversation happening nationally.
White people don’t know how to lead us to where we are going.
Several speakers on the call mentioned the importance of this movement being led by those who can best articulate what the needs are of a community that too often have been led to believe that meaningful change was coming, only to be repeatedly disappointed.
Chas Moore of the Austin Justice Coalition stated that despite good intentions, “White people don’t know how to lead us to where we are going.” Explaining that this was particularly true in a city like Austin that wears its progressive tolerant label with pride, even while completely ignoring Black people in the city. “This is why we painted ‘Black Austin Matters’ on the street instead of ‘Black Lives Matter,” he explained.
Meme Styles of Measure stated that any work that does not partner new policies and programming with the destruction of the historic “gentlemen’s agreement” that systematically excludes non-white communities is incomplete where social justice is concerned. The press release for the conference stated that unlike prior efforts, “these leaders seek to build an intersectional, intergenerational, and transformative movement that will sustain itself for seven generations and beyond.”
Additional comments that underlined the purpose and necessity of the Black Leaders Collective were made by local entrepreneur, Terri Mitchell, Dr. Courtney Robinson with the Excellence and Advancement Foundation, Colette Pierce Burnette, President of Huston-Tillotson University, and Quincy Dunlap President and CEO of the Austin Area Urban League.
As for next steps, Robinson stated that the Collective is asking leaders from all industries who support the vision of a more equitable Austin, including education, law enforcement, transportation, housing, etc., to connect with the movement and lend their support in the form of time, resources and monetary support. For information on how to get involved, contact BLC via email.
BLACK LEADERS COLLECTIVE MEMBERS
- Audrey Amos-McGehee, Williamson County Black Democrats
- Kelene Blake-Fallon, Black Mamas ATX
- Jamarr Brown, Black Austin Democrats
- Steve Brown, Givens Board
- President Colette Pierce Burnette, EdD, Huston-Tillotson University
- Eric Byrd, Community Leader
- Chaka, Riders Against the Storm
- Ryan Coaxum, Community Banker
- Hon. Sheryl Cole
- Donell Creech, Soulciti and Griot Media
- Virginia Cumberbatch, Rosa Rebellion
- Donald Dallas, Community Leader
- Tarik Daniels, What’s in the Mirror and Center for Health Empowerment
- Quincy Dunlap, Austin Area Urban League
- Roxanne Evans, East Austin Coalition for Quality Education
- Kendra Garrett, Community Leader
- Tam Hawkins, Greater Austin Black Chamber of Commerce
- Reese Herd, Community Leader
- Nelson Linder, NAACP-Austin Chapter
- Hon. Natasha Harper Madison
- Bobbie Mack, Goals Chasers
- Fatima Mann, JD, Community Advocacy & Healing Project
- Sheri Marshall, National Council of Negro Women
- Hon. Rudolph “Rudy” K. Metayer
- Terry P. Mitchell, Entrepreneur
- Christina Muhammad, Nation of Islam and 10K Fearless Responders
- Chas Moore, Austin Justice Coalition
- Pamela Owens, Six Square – Austin’s Black Cultural District
- Courtney Robinson, PhD, Excellence and Advancement Foundation
- Shuronda Robinson, Adisa Communications
- Elle Smith, Central Texas GSA Coalition and Queering Education
- Rose Smith, Black Women in Business
- Yasmine Smith, Attorney
- Meme Styles, Measure
- Dianne Thompson, Williamson County Black Democrats
- Hon. Jeff Travillion
- Nook Turner, Jump On It and Black Austin Coalition
- K. Paul Wallace, Community Leader
- Hon. Larry Wallace Jr.
- Cluren Williams, Community Leader
- Jaquita Wilson, Community Leader