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Thursday, February 29, 2024

Makia Green: A Voice for Black Liberation

I met Makia Green at her home in Deanwood. She welcomed me to her home and gave me a quick tour, highlighting pieces of art and furniture,  “The thing I love about this room is that everything in it was donated or gifted from a black or queer person,” she told me with an infectious smile.

Makia Green was born and raised in Harlem, New York. However, after enduring the devastating loss of her mother due to brain and lung cancer, a rapidly gentrifying community that was becoming less and less familiar, and housing insecurity, she decided to relocate to Washington, DC. “I really wanted to be east of the river. I needed to move somewhere I could be around people that looked like me, and that I could feel that family and community aspect, where I could stretch out.” Although she was not educated about Deanwood’s rich history ,she said “I knew east of the river was a historically Black place and that history is what attracted me here.”

During our conversation she referred to the District as “Chocolate City”.  Although I’ve heard this phrase used to describe my home, this descriptor is now being debated. I asked her why she described Washington DC as “Chocolate City”

“It’s Chocolate City,” she said confidently. “If I didn’t have the privilege to support organizers across the country, maybe I would feel the gentrification that’s happening here. I would say those things like people say, ’It’s Milk Chocolate City, it’s not Chocolate City anymore.’ But I see the context that a lot of other black activists and organizers are immersed in.  DC still very much has a strong black presence.”

What prompted you to run a nonprofit or formally get involved in activism? I asked her.

“Well, there is something about when you live in the margins; you’re able to see society in a different way. When I was 21 years old, trying to figure out what was I gonna do next with my life, knowing that I didn’t really have a stable place to sleep, I didn’t really have a job or any of those things, and I desperately needed community around me, the people that jumped up to support me were the activist community.”

“In 2014, the birth of the Black Lives Matter movement and the Ferguson uprising. Young people were speaking out and you had the rise of social media; folks in Ferguson did a call out to young people to come to Missouri and support them in protest. As a result, myself and four other friends and students rode to Ferguson to support them in nonviolent protests. I was unjustly arrested and brutalized by police and that changed my outlook on everything. There was a side to be on, and I was gonna be on the side of the mothers and the young people and the community members who were just begging for accountability, who were holding hands singing Negro spirituals in front of a gas station with no weapons. I knew that I was going to dedicate my life to supporting and building the capacity of Black liberation.”

Explain Harriet’s Wildest Dreams?

Harriet’s Wildest Dreams is a Black community. It’s a Black Abolitionist Community Defense Hub. And we say, hub, because the three of us—co-founders Nee Nee Taylor, Qiana Johnson and myself—put all the lessons we had learned in Black Lives and also in all the other organizing spaces we dedicated ourselves. After 2020, It felt like the community was asking for a hub, a home for us to really struggle with hard questions. So we created this hub to try and create a space to create a political home for Black abolitionists. A place for folks to struggle with those questions. A traditional nonprofit may have one specific tactic that they do well. We believe in a diversity of tactics, under the belief that if there was one way to get free, we would be free already.”

I asked her if she planned to make Deanwood/DC her forever home.

“I want to, I really, really want to. I saw this house (pointing down the street) sold for $200,000. Then developers came and sold it for $600,000. So, of course, I wanna say yes, I definitely want to put down roots here but at the same time, I really hope that I’m able to.”

To learn more about Makia Green and her efforts toward Black liberation visit : http://www.abundantresistance.com/about

To learn more about Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, go to https://www.harrietsdreams.org/

Leniqua’dominique Jenkins works on the DC Council but the views expressed here are her own. She can be reached at jenkinseastoftheriver@gmail.com.

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