As the most recent iteration of Black freedom struggles in the United States, what is the story of the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL)? This special issue is interested both in the political life of the M4BL and in the stories of those who made this movement possible. We are interested in the critical moment of encounter, when because someone's life was taken, a community's life, an activist's life, or our collective lives changed. From representations of maternal, familial, or communal grief to the sexual and gender politics which prescribe and proscribe how individual Black lives come to matter or not matter, this issue interrogates the politics of Black life and Black living. These interrogations are especially salient in a political moment where liberal humanist conceptions of "the human" fail to compel broad empathy and structural protection for the value of Black people. We collectively ponder: what does "life" mean in the context of M4BL and what is the fundamental meaning of "lives" when centering those on the margins? How has technology shaped the way we tell the stories of individual and collective Black lives? What tools does the Movement for Black Lives offer up to us, not only for reconceptualizing the social structures which shape Black living, but also for reconceptualizing our current understandings of Black life in the first place? How do we center healing, restoration, and transformative justice in our freedom and justice praxes? What forms of mourning and becoming emerge as a result of communal and activist encounters with police violence? What does a life lived in solidarity with other social movements around the globe, for instance in Brazil and Palestine, look like? In asking these questions, both the co-editors and the contributors seek to understand the life contexts and livelihoods of Black people living at the beginning of the 21st century. Although contemporary realities are deeply rooted in historical lived experiences, we have entered a unique era in anti-Black racial terror. These living stories must be told. This special issue is but one collective documentation of a wide range of stories from multiple frequencies of contemporary Black life, death, community, healing, freedom-dreaming, and working.


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pp. 731-740
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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