JaKeen Fox (center), community organizer, activist and program director

“We cannot say what new structures will replace the ones we live with yet, because once we have torn shit down, we will inevitably see more and see differently and feel a new sense of wanting and being and becoming.”

The Undercommons: Fugitive Planning & Black Study, by Fred Moten and Stefano Harney.


I have found that the importance of organizing can be captured with a few thoughts. The answer to a deep calling. Embracing the promise of collective visioning. Connecting. Connecting to the truth that organizing is an intentional, strategic response to the Now.

 The Now that is unbearable, unrelenting, and the epitome of too much. I’m talking about the Now that makes you call in Black to work because if you had to look at another face that reminded you of that police officer, you might scream. The Now that triggers your PTSD every time a Black body shows up in the news. The more urgent than ever Now that has called you out of sleep into rebellion.

 Rebellion: an act of violent or open resistance to an established government or ruler. I mean the Trayvon Martin kind of rebellion. The Sandra Bland and Raynard Brooks kind of rebellion. A rebellion that says, I believe, so much, I have the right to live, that I will fight to the death to prove it so.

 I long for the certainty of rebellion. The certainty organizing brings to collective action by proclaiming that right or wrong, we have decided to act. We have decided to act in the best interest of the Us. The collective Us that is experiencing the urgent Now responding in what is known to any historian as the only appropriate means of securing liberation. Liberation movements of the past have taught Us that rebellion is anything but radical. Rebellion is essential to the creation of thriving societies.

 Thriving: grow or develop well or vigorously. I assure you that America is unwell. Unwell at its core once you realize that a thing built around disease has no hope of survival. Can you feel it? That’s the importance, the power, of organizing. To peel back the layers of an issue, see its depth, then communicate that deep need to the masses. Intentionally tapping into the Spirit. Tapping into that Us-ness, denouncing the intolerable Now, and guiding Us to the clarity of rebellion.

 Academically, there are many forms of organizing. Having experienced most of those, I can tell you with certainty that there is only the Tapping in or the tapping out. Tapping in, grasping the ley line that surges through Us as a society. Rarely seen but deeply felt. You are seeing that Tapping in now. You are experiencing the reality of collective imagining and its ability to tilt the scales towards justice. You have been organized. You have been tapped. You have been called upon to rebel because the Now must be replaced with the New.

 New: not existing before; discovered recently or now for the first time.

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