One Year Later: Tamika Mallory’s Historic “State of Emergency” Speech

Today, we’re revisiting social justice leader Tamika Mallory’s historic “State of Emergency” speech, and the call to “show up” in a real way for justice

tamika mallory
Tamika Mallory by VICE

Today, we want to highlight one of the women we admire most: activist, author, mother and social justice leader Tamika Mallory. She’s a co-founder of the civil rights organization Until Freedom, a group that’s on the front lines demanding justice for Black lives and holding public officials and institutions accountable, and she’s been called the voice of a generation – for good reason.

It’s been a year since the murder of George Floyd, a few days after which Tamika Mallory and Until Freedom were asked to come to Minneapolis by the attorney representing George Floyd’s family. It was there that Tamika Mallory delivered her historic “State of Emergency” speech, and we’d like everyone to take a few moments to watch it today. Here’s Tamika Mallory talking about the lead-up to the speech in her own words:

George Perry Floyd Jr. was a father, a son, an uncle, a nephew, a partner, a mentor and a beloved friend. And in the days following his murder, people around the United States and the globe took to the streets, raised their voices online, and began to mobilize in their righteous anger, heartbreak and exhaustion at yet another Black life being taken at the hands of law enforcement.

For many people who were new to the awareness of the state of emergency (as Tamika Mallory rightly calls it) that Black people in America are living in, this was a time of looking to leaders within the movement for Black lives for direction, education and ways to get involved. And for those with any questions about how serious and urgent the situation is, Tamika Mallory made it very clear on that day in Minneapolis. Listen to her full “State of Emergency” speech here:

A phrase that Tamika Mallory often uses on her social media is sticking with us today as well. It’s short and easy to remember: Show up. It isn’t enough for us to have spent this past year ‘listening and learning’ if our behavior hasn’t changed, if the ways we move through the world haven’t changed, if the things we care about and fight for haven’t changed. Nothing changes if our behavior stays the same. We need to take action; we need to show up.

One year out, we believe this is a day to refocus our efforts and recommit to our purpose. This is a day for devoting time to listening to – and amplifying – the words of Black leadership, especially Black women, since they’ve been the heart and the guts of nearly every social movement for equity and justice. It’s a day to mourn, a day to reflect, and a day to renew our strength as we continue in the fight for true liberation and justice for all.

tamika mallory

Show up by contributing to organizations who are boots on the ground like Until Freedom and Black Lives Matter. You can also read more from Tamika Mallory by purchasing her new book State of Emergency: How We Win in the Country We Built.

Want to see more activists, authors and leaders who are on the front lines for equity and justice? We have 10 phenomenal women here that you need to know about! And we’ve also got your historical fix ready to go too; get inspired by these icons of the movement for Black lives and liberation.

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