Professor Angela Davis on Black Lives Matter

By Te Ao with MOANA

Angela Davis is a former communist, Black Panther, and a writer and scholar. She grew up in Birmingham, Alabama where her father needed to arm himself when the family moved into a white middle-class neighbourhood, nicknamed "Dynamite Hill" because of the number of black homes targeted by the Ku Klux Klan. 

Famously, then-President Richard Nixon deemed her a "dangerous terrorist."

Last week, Te Ao with Moana talked to Professor Angela Davis about the global movement for Black Lives.

She hopes that around the world police forces and prisons can be re-imagined to better reflect communities.

"Racism is a global phenomenon. it emanates from colonialism, slavery and it has infected the entire planet.

"Only a global movement can eradicate racism but the change isn't hoping to happen automatically as a result of the demonstration. We have to do the oftentimes uncredited work to create new institutions." 

'All lives will matter'

"Sometimes there is a view that all we need to do is elect more black people to office. that is only helpful if there is a movement that is pressuring them to assume radical positions. I see that as a larger strategy by activists to bring about changes. 

Back in the 1960s Davis believed the world would change soon: "Not only would we eradicate racism but we would do work that would end capitalism. Now I recognise

we did not win the revolution but in the process we radically transformed so many things in the world."

She says she is happy to see a renewed urgency among young people around the world today including New Zealand.

"When black lives matter, all lives will matter."

"This is the first time in my life I feel we have started doing the work we should have done 150 years ago in the aftermath of slavery."

we have to do the often uncredited work of creating new institutions.