The Movement For Black Lives convergence draws civil rights activists from around the country to Cleveland

"In Solidarity with Black Moms" mural in Washington DC. (Photo credit: Ted Eytan via Flickr / Creative Commons)

Hundreds of Black civil rights activists are converging in Cleveland this weekend for a national gathering known as The Movement For Black Lives.

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“I think this is more the midpoint of the convergence of several things that we’ve seen in Ferguson and Charleston and Baltimore and now here with a place where people can think together and figure out what is next,” says reporter Ayinde Jean-Baptiste, who is covering the event.

Participants in the gathering include veteran organizers like Black Panther Party co-founder Bobby Seale to nationally-recognized scholars like Rosa Clemente to relatives of victims of police shootings to young people who have become politically active in the last year.

Beyond linking local experiences with police violent to a national conversation, gathering organizers have created a track of workshops to examine how historical factors like labor struggles, urban planning and farming create local contexts.

“I think it’s really important to keep these local histories in perspective and find ways to be in solidarity and not just parachute into a place, thinking that you’re going to save somebody,” says Jean-Baptiste. “Because everywhere that we go back home to, our communities are dealing with this kind of violence.”

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