Women working in an Indonesian field


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State violence and militarism

As we enter a new age of capitalism, patriarchy and militarism, with undeclared wars across the world, it is important to take stock of the situation for African and Black women in various locations, as well as how we understand their struggles within the broader system of capitalism, patriarchy and white supremacy.

In this incisive conversation, Sokari Ekine and Thenjiwe McHarris draw lessons from various movements, including Black Lives Matter, on how to challenge these power systems.


Sokari is a feminist activist and photographer.

Her work and writing is engaged with queer, feminist, pan-Africanist, anti-imperialist, and environmental politics — in both Haiti and Nigeria.

She has written for publications including Pambazuka News, Feminist Africa and New Internationalist and she is the editor of Blood and Oil: Testimonies of Violence from Women of the Niger Delta, SMS Uprising: Mobile Phone Activism in Africa, and with Firoze Manji, African Awakening: The Emerging Revolutions.

Most recently, Sokari and Hakima Abbas edited the Queer Africa Reader, a path-breaking collection of essays, testimonies, statements, and stories by lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex contributors from across the continent.  Currently Sokari is working in Haiti on a photographic narrative “Spirit Desire: - Resistance, Imagination and Sacred Memories in Haitian Vodoun”. Sokari is founder and the blog Black Looks from 2004 to 2014.

She tweets at @blacklooks.

Thenjiwe began her political career calling for an end to policies and practices that contributed to acts of torture committed by law enforcement.

She went on to help organize efforts that addressed the human rights violations that occurred during and after Hurricanes Katrina & Rita. She worked on a number of campaigns including those that addressed the illicit and illegal trafficking of small arms, solitary confinement, capital punishment, maternal deaths, excessive use of force by law enforcement, and poverty.

Thenjiwe works with a team called Blackbird, which is focused on movement building in this current historical moment that centers anti-black racism, state violence and black resistance as part of the ongoing struggle to transform the country and the world.  She is also currently working with a number of social justice organizations and movements in the US and is helping to establish a global activist collective for organizers engaged in movement building work around the world.

AWID Forum