Black Joy as Resistance and Survival

This timeline --from 2012 to present-- explores moments of systemic and systematic racism , which resulted in Black Lives Matter movement, which leads to the rise of the Black Joy movement.

The Black Joy movement is about resistance, survival, and finding joy in a world that doesn't always make space for you. Through Black Joy, we are able to rest, recharge, and find the strength to fight another day. Black Joy is our respite from the trial and tribulations. A comfort in a world that makes us uncomfortable for being Black.

2012-02-27 00:00:00

Unarmed Black Teen Killed

On February 26, 2012, Trayvon Martin, an African American teen walking home from a trip to a convenience store, is fatally shot by George Zimmerman

2012-03-13 00:00:00

Trayvon Martin Protests Erupt

The nation responds to the murder of Trayvon Martin

2012-03-13 23:46:16

Zimmerman finally charged

On March 12 the chief of the Sanford Police Department affirmed that no criminal charge could be filed against Zimmerman, mainly because of the absence of probable cause. A day later, however, a Sanford police investigator assigned to the case recommended that Zimmerman be charged with manslaughter, on the basis that the violent encounter between the two men could have been avoided. Zimmerman remained free, which was seen by many as an injustice, and demonstrations demanding his prosecution for murder were organized in cities across the United States.

2013-07-11 00:00:00

George Zimmerman acquitted of murder in Trayvon Martin shooting

George Zimmerman was acquitted on Saturday of all charges in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, an unarmed black teenager who was slain last year in a confrontation that touched off a national debate about race and guns.

2013-07-12 23:46:16

The Black Lives Matter Movement Begins

Oakland, California resident Alicia Garza posts a message on Facebook on July 13, 2013. Her post contains the phrase "Black lives matter," which soon becomes a rallying cry and a movement throughout the United States and around the world. Garza said she felt "a deep sense of grief" after Zimmerman was acquitted. She was further saddened to note that many people appeared to blame the victim, Trayvon Martin, and not the "disease" of racism. Patrice Cullors, a Los Angeles community organizer and friend of Garza, read her post and replied with the first instance of #BlackLivesMatter.

2013-07-14 23:38:20

Black Lives Matter: A Timeline

It all began with a hashtag and now it's a global network

2014-08-09 17:08:08

Michael Brown Killed in Ferguson

On Aug. 9, 2014, Michael Brown and a friend were walking in the middle of Canfield Drive, a two-lane street in the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri, when a police officer drove by and told them to use the sidewalk. After words were exchanged, the white officer confronted the 18-year-old Brown, who was black. The situation escalated, with the officer and Brown scuffling. The officer shot and killed Brown, who was unarmed.

2014-09-01 04:18:52

Protests Flare After Ferguson Police Officer Is Not Indicted

Anger explodes in the streets after grand jury finds "no probable cause" to indict Officer Darren Wilson in shooting death of Michael Brown.

2015-06-22 00:00:00

Black Joy in the Time of Ferguson

"Thinking about black joy beyond Ferguson, beyond the continual pain of being denied basic human rights, beyond, and perhaps outside of, structural racism, anti-blackness, white supremacy, and state-sanctioned terror have allowed black people to continue on, despite every reason to not. In addition, black joy, a real and imagined site of utopian possibility, must also be an important part of Alexander’s “bottom line blackness” and Moten’s radical “freedom drive that animates black performances.”19 More than a method to endure, however, black joy allows us the space to stretch our imaginations beyond what we previously thought possible and allows us to theorize a world in which white supremacy does not dictate our everyday lives. House parties, backyard cookouts, and other spaces where black bodies gather in celebration produce rich and profound moments in which black love and laughter “lifts everyone slightly above the present” and allows to feel, to know in our bones, what black utopia might be like.20 I firmly believe in that our bodies harbor knowledge, and in these moments every smile, head nod, hip shake, and high five is an exchange of embodied truths that black joy is phenomenally transformational. In this way, black joy provides another set of political tactics to “make do” and use the in/visibility and in/audibility of black joy as a site with which to operate outside of white supremacy." - Javon Johnson

2015-07-17 17:08:08

Kleaver Cruz's Black Joy Project

Cruz, a 27-year-old New York-based writer and organizer, started The Black Joy Project after he realized that personal matters and the taxing fight to affirm black lives and protest systemic racism had started to take a toll on him. He decided to combat the negativity by posting an image of his grinning mother on Facebook. “I thought posting a picture on Facebook of my mom beaming, her smile in front of a piece of art she loved, would help me work through the darkness I was fully present to,” Cruz said in a video for HuffPost Rise. “And perhaps offer other black folks in my digital and real world communities some reprieve as well.”

2018-12-01 00:00:00

The Phrase "Black Joy" Trends

"According to Google Trends, interest in the phrase peaked in December 2018, but the movement traces its origins to 2015, when writer Kleaver Cruz founded The Black Joy Project. Why Black joy, and not just "human joy"? In the age of #AllLivesMatter, it’s important to address the significance of a hashtag intended exclusively for Black people. Cruz wrote on his website, “I decided that my social media timelines needed some smiles amidst the sharing of important information, thoughts, art, photos and videos that can be upsetting and at its worst depressing and traumatizing.” Like many social movements, #BlackJoy spread rapidly because of the internet — Cruz also shares firsthand stories on an Instagram account dedicated to The Black Joy Project."

2019-11-15 10:13:04

Radical Self-Care in the Face of Mounting Racial Stress

Cultivating hope through acts of affirmation.

2020-05-23 20:58:41

What does “black joy” mean?

Black men share what black joy means to them during black joy week.

2020-06-30 00:00:00

Realizing Black Joy Amid Today’s Resistance

Happiness is already a part of our ongoing journey. We’re not necessarily lacking it. Rather, it can be difficult to realize it, especially now. But even outside some of the systemic changes we’re making on our own behalves, we need to be conscious of the type of energy we’re around and consuming. Matthews said that even activists can find ways to experience joy on a regular basis.

2020-07-01 02:59:54

Films and TV shows highlighting Black Joy

Cultivating joy and humor is a part of our self-care, our culture, and our resistance—a revolutionary act in a world that is inherently anti-Black. Joy interweaves in the midst of our pain, rage, fear, and hope. It stands on its own in moments where we come together to sing, dance, celebrate, relax, and disconnect from a constant fight for rights that should be inherent. Black joy is a slice of heaven in a world that gives us hell.

2020-07-20 14:30:02

Literature Celebrating Black Joy

Black joy is a form of resistance. There is so much joy in being Black and this joy should be celebrated. Human beings are complex, multifaceted creatures and this is true regardless of your race, gender, ethnicity etc. Have you ever found yourself crying from happiness? Or, and this one’s a little more taboo, laughing in an intensely sad situation? We behave this way because we humans are able to hold many emotions at one time.

2020-08-18 08:45:55

Black Joy: A Visual Poem

A visual poem celebrating Black healing, joy, and resilience, created by Carra Patterson and Ruffin Prentiss.

2020-10-26 14:43:22

Celebrating Black Joy With ‘Art Is Revolution’

"When there’s plenty to be sad, angry, stressed and fearful about, the concept of joy can be revolutionary. It’s part of a collection of restorative themes that Danielle Elise, founder of the All Black Creatives foundation and agency, selected for “Art Is Revolution,” a virtual 3D exhibit highlighting innovative Black artists. “Black joy is one of my favorite things to see and celebrate,” said Elise, curator of “Art Is Revolution.” “The theme for this week exists just for that purpose — to spark memories of happy times in childhood, to remind us to dance. … Black joy is revolutionary because laughter [and] joy literally keep us alive.”

Black Joy as Resistance and Survival

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