Working alongside six individuals she met on Twitter in June, neuroscience pre-med major and Posse D.C. Scholar, Savanna Touré ’21 co-founded Freedom Fighters DC, an activist organization that advocates for racial justice and Black liberation by organizing protests and other community events, as well as providing resources to underserved Black communities. In just one month, the Freedom Fighters DC network has grown to include over 100 community members and volunteers. Here, Toure talks about her vision for the organization.

 

WHY I’M TAKING ACTION
“With the effects of COVID-19 and the fact that the Black community continues to be disproportionately killed by police brutality and the racism in our health care system, I just had enough of not making my voice heard. I wanted to make my voice heard not just virtually, but out in the public, out in protests, and out in my community.”

Savanna Toure

Savanna Touré ’21

 

HOW I’M MAKING AN IMPACT
“Freedom Fighters DC is an organization dedicated to fighting racism, fascism, and capitalistic structures that oppress Black people and that oppress all people. We seek the liberation of Black people through fighting structures that oppress through racism and patriarchy. We provide resources (menstrual, baby, and hygiene products, food and water, and books) to underserved Black communities while raising awareness of the issues of racism, the housing crisis, and discrimination in Washington, D.C., and across the nation.

“Personally, I’ve been on the ground organizing protests and demonstrations. In June, we organized a sit-in, for which I had the idea of painting people’s hands red and having posters with the names of Black people who were killed due to police brutality—specifically Black people and Black women. I also organized a 48-hour campout, as well as a vigil to give representation to Black women, Black trans women, and non-binary people who have been killed due to police, sexual, and gun violence. The sit-in had 1,000 to 1,500 people attend; the Black women’s vigil, 50 to 100. We also had about 100 people attend the campout over the course of two days.

“I also started the mutual aid network for Freedom Fighters DC. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, we go to underserved Black communities, high schools, and community centers in Washington, D.C., to pass out water, canned food, menstrual products, and baby products. On a weekly basis, we try to prepare 200 or more bags of products. We’re also starting a book drive through the Children’s Defense Fund.”

 

CHANGES I WANT TO SEE
“Our current or short-term goal is to defund MPD [Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia] and bring resources back into the community; build more relationships in the community; stop the housing crisis in Washington, D.C., and around the U.S.; and bring an end to systemic oppression through police brutality, the incarceration system, and immigration, and the ways they are enforced in our local and federal government. Our goal is to promote and bring about change, reform, and an end to systems that do not support Black liberation.

“I’m hoping for there to be bigger budget cuts to police, specifically in Washington, D.C., and I’m hoping to see those funds being directed into mental health services, behavioral services, and services for youth, queer youth, and the homeless. I hope to see that there is no more death, no more violence, no more harm.”

 

MY MESSAGE TO THE WORLD
“These problems aren’t new. These are the problems that have come out of a system that wasn’t built for Black people or people of color. I don’t consider it a broken system. I consider it a working system that wasn’t working for everyone. We need to stop being silent to the atrocities and to the oppression that surrounds our daily lives and is ingrained in us. We need to speak out, we need to fight. We have the power to change, and the only way we can change is through community effort—whether that’s through mutual aid, supporting protesters, or retweeting information. All of these help us toward a common goal, which is liberation.”

 

Savanna Toure ’21 with members of Freedom Fighters DC

THE NEXT STEP
“Freedom Fighters DC had a demonstration on July 4 in Washington, D.C., called Juliberation: No justice. No Fourth. We’re also trying to build community gardens, visit schools, and build our organization to have more people across the nation. We hope to get our voices out there in the local and federal government and bring about change in whatever ways we have power to, whether it’s changing laws or making connections with other organizations in Washington, D.C. Our Instagram account, @freedomfightersdc, is the best way to stay connected with us. You can also find us on Twitter, @FFDC2020, and on Facebook at Freedom Fighters DC.”

 

Read more about Touré’s accomplishments as a Goldwater and Truman scholar.

The Changemakers

  • This is a part of The Changemakers, a series that showcases activism in support of Black Lives Matter.
Categorized in: Featured News, News and Features, Student Profiles, Students

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

You may use basic HTML tags and attributes.