Black Lives Matter Savannah

After moving to Savannah over the summer, I found myself joining groups that interested me and ways to get involved in the community. I subscribed to the updates of Black Lives Matter Savannah in its infancy stage, and went to the vigil held over the summer in Forsyth Park. In honor of Her Campus SCAD dedicating this week to Black Lives Matter and the movement surrounding the "controversial" hashtag, I took advantage of this opportunity to find out the interworkings of a local branch of BLM and interviewed founding member of BLM Savannah, Jomo Kenyatta. 

HC: Black Lives Matters started as hashtag, how and when did you decide to act on it?

JK: I decided to get involved with BLM in March 2016. My past five years work was in ministry. I became disillusioned with ministry. When I came to Savannah, I got hired at a church and it didn’t work out. So I began to look and see how I could use my gifts and talents. Then I began to get involved with BLM. Everything was going pretty slow because we were working on the by laws, but after the deaths of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, one member decided to have a vigil. We had a meeting in Forsyth Park combined with a march and there was a great turnout.

Photo courtesy of observer.com

HC: What were some of the difficulties you faced when organizing Savannah BLM?

JK: Some of the difficulties with starting a BLM Savannah is that there are many other groups that have their own way of doing things. So there are many people who are still reluctant to work with BLM groups.

HC: Who encompasses Savannah BLM, and how did you find people willing to join the cause?

JK: We actively have about 34 members and 1000 supporters. Our members vary in educational, gender, and passion, but we all seek to abide by the guiding principles of BLM. We’ve been trying to get people on board and hold meetings. We hold meetings to speak up for those who can’t speak, and to be advocates of Black Lives Matters, minority lives and LGBT community in Savannah.

Photo courtesy of BlackLivesSavannah

HC: How can students get involved and what can they do to help with the movement?

JK: Students can get involved by reaching out to us via email at [email protected] or by messaging us on Facebook. We would love to have more students involved. We would like to be able to partner with college student group organizations to be able to discuss different ways to reduce violence in Savannah

Photo courtsey of wsav.com

HC: Where do you see this organization in the next five years? Ten years?

JK: It's my hope that in the next 5 to ten years that we can continue to grow and establish more committees. It's my hope also that we can partner with religious organizations to help with social projects

HC: Have you seen a decline in police brutality and racism in Savannah since the movement started?

JK: There was another death there just a few weeks ago. We are concerned about the conditions at the Chatham County Jail.

 

Students and/or residents of Savannah can contact Black Lives Matter Savannah by calling 912-268-1890. BLM Savannah keeps supporters updated via Facebook with daily notifications and updates of events, vigils, and marches.