Non-profit

BlackOUT Collective

Website:

blackoutcollective.org/

Tax-Exempt Status:

501(c)(3)

Project of:

Ruckus Society

Type:

Direct Action and Protest Training

Formation:

2014

BlackOUT Collective is a direct-action organization founded in 2014 in the wake of anti-police riots that started in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of Michael Brown that offers training and support to anti-police and other radical-left protesters. It is associated with the broader Black Lives Matter movement and operates as a fiscally-sponsored project of the Ruckus Society, which also trains left-wing activists in direct action.

Programs and History

BlackOUT Collective conducts online and in-person activism training sessions at universities and community organizations, with a stated goal of training “20,000 Black direct action strategist [sic] and practitioners by 2021.” [1] It also provides $1,000 microgrants to purchase supplies and equipment and to provide stipends to activism trainers. [2]

BlackOUT Collective was founded in 2014 in the wake of anti-police riots that started in Ferguson, Missouri, after the police shooting of Michael Brown. After demonstrators clashed with National Guard members in Ferguson, there was a call for training in left-wing direct action strategy and tactics. BlackOUT Collective was formed to answer this call. [3] Celeste Faison, a labor organizer with the National Domestic Workers Alliance, was the founding director of the group. [4]

BlackOUT Collective has also published a set of “Safety Tips for Protests” on protesting during the COVID-19 pandemic, which include tips on leaving phones and electronic devices at home or turning off GPS capabilities, making “go kits” with water and milk products to wash off pepper spray, and how to access legal counsel if arrested. [5] BlackOUT Collective has claimed to have coordinated 35 “actions” across the country and trained more than 2,000 “direct action practitioners” as of late October 2020. [6]

Protest Activities

BlackOUT Collective was active in anti-police protests in the summer and fall of 2020 after the police-custody death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, Minnesota. In September 2020, BlackOUT Collective director Chinyere Tutashinda claimed that she had “definitely seen an increase” in vehicles “being used as a weapon to bulldoze human bodies” at anti-police protests in New York City. [7] In August 2020, the group Law Students of African Descent at the University of California-Berkeley called on the university’s chancellor to defund campus police and divert that funding to several left-wing activism groups including BlackOUT Collective. [8] In July 2020, BlackOUT Collective was active in protests in Portland, Oregon, and joined with other groups in demanding the withdrawal of federal agents who were protecting federal property and making arrests in the city. [9]

In October 2020, Tutashinda was quoted in a Boston Globe article about groups preparing to oppose a supposed coup by President Donald Trump following the November 2020 presidential election. “I’ve seen a lot of interest and a lot of fear,” Tutashinda said. “There are a lot of people who are joining us in this form of civil disobedience and active protest for the first time.” [10]

During the 2016 presidential election, BlackOUT Collective joined other liberal groups to protest the appearance of then-candidate Donald J. Trump at the California Republican Party state convention. Protestors formed a “wall” to protest Trump’s call for restrictionist immigration policies including his proposed southern border wall. [11]

References

  1. Women’s Media Center. “She Source.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.womensmediacenter.com/shesource/expert/celeste-faison. ^
  2. BlackOUT Collective. “Action Fund.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://blackoutcollective.org/action-fund/. ^
  3. BlackOUT Collective. “How We Began.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://blackoutcollective.org/about/how-we-began/. ^
  4. Women’s Media Center. “She Source.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.womensmediacenter.com/shesource/expert/celeste-faison. ^
  5. BlackOUT Collective. “Safety Tips for Protests.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://blackoutcollective.org/we-keep-us-safe-covid-19-action-tips-tactics/. ^
  6. BlackOUT Collective. “Our Goals.” Accessed October 26, 2020. https://blackoutcollective.org/about/our-goals/. ^
  7. Villasanta, Arthur. “Car Runs Through Black Lives Matter Protesters In New York’s Times Square.” International Business Times. September 4, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.ibtimes.com/car-runs-through-black-lives-matter-protesters-new-yorks-times-square-video-3040119. ^
  8. Passmore, Knychelle. “Yes, Chancellor Christ, we do mean defund UCPD.” The Daily Californian. August 4, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.dailycal.org/2020/08/04/yes-chancellor-christ-we-do-mean-defund-ucpd/. ^
  9. Defending Rights and Dissent. “Over 50 Civil Society Groups Join DRAD & NCAC in Condemning Unidentified Federal Officers in Portland.” July 22, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://rightsanddissent.org/news/drad-ncac-joint-statement-on-reports-of-unidentified-federal-officers-in-portland/. ^
  10. Greenberg, Zoe. “These ordinary citizens are preparing to fight a coup in November.” Boston Globe. October 26, 2020. Accessed October 26, 2020. https://www.bostonglobe.com/2020/10/25/nation/these-ordinary-citizens-are-preparing-fight-coup-november/. ^
  11. Mayton, Joseph. “Protesters plan ‘wall’ to thwart Trump visit.” Palo Alto Daily Post. April 22, 2016. Accessed on Westlaw (2016 WLNR 12341268) October 26, 2020. ^

Coalition Memberships

  1. Rising Majority

Supported Movements

  1. Black Lives Matter
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