Hey fam! This week, I’m proud to introduce y’all to an inspiring freedom fighter: Cazembe Jackson. I’ve been lucky to call him my friend and comrade since I moved to the South, and his dedication to justice, intersectionality, and radical love have absolutely changed me as an activist and person. I interviewed him about his experiences, connections with family, and more. I hope you enjoy getting to know Caz and his work!
LL: How do you want me to introduce you on the blog?
Cazembe Murphy Jackson: Southern, Black, Baptist, Queer, Trans Mixed Gender person.
What does your activism look like today? It looks like organizing with multiple organizations. I am the National Organizer for Freedom Road Socialist Organization and a member/leader and spokesperson for Black Lives Matter Atlanta.
What about activism brings you joy? I find joy in talking to Black people about building Black power. I like to connect Black power to the struggle for Socialism and how a classless society makes Black freedom more possible.
How has activism changed you? Do you think you’d become the man you are today without the liberation movement? My activism is what introduced me to the concept of self determination. If I truly believe that I should have control over my own life I can show up fully in any space because I know I deserve to. I believe that this is how I was brave enough to admit that I was trans. Admitting that I was not the gender that doctors assigned me at birth was my first step in manifesting self determination in my life.
You have deep connections with your family, including your extended kinfolks, non-blood-related fam, and ancestors. Can you talk a little about how your family relationships and your liberation work are related? My family keeps me grounded. They help me calibrate if the messages I am using are actually relevant to my base. If my family, the people I am accountable to, understand and agree with the line and messaging then it is a valid line in my opinion.
How can educators, parents, childcare workers, and communities better support and embrace non-nuclear families? I think folks can just stop assuming things about people they don’t know. We should create a culture of asking folks about who they are and then valuing the answers whether we agree or not.
What’s your hope for the next generation? I hope for a classless, genderless, equal and just society.
The big theme of the blog is that we are always learning – liberation doesn’t happen just because we’re “woke.” What do you do to learn more? Who have been your educators in movement? I am constantly learning by reading books and having convos with all types of people.
One thing I say quite a bit is “follow Black leadership.” Many allies do not live in diverse regions and may not know how to follow Black leadership. What might you say to them? I would say when it feels uncomfortable to follow the leadership of Black people, do it anyway. Ask other Black folks that you trust when dealing with a new person. Editor’s Note: If you don’t have prominent social justice leaders in your community, look to the policies and actions put out by the Movement for Black Lives and your local Black Lives Matter chapter, keep up with the work of Shaun King for news analysis, and check out SURJ – Showing Up for Racial Justice – to learn more about the role of white allies in racial justice work.