Lenell McKenzie believes that Black Americans should be fighting for total independence from the US government, rather than asking for equal rights.
“Slave owners created the conditions of freedom. Blacks are legally slaves and have always been slaves in the United States of America and its states,” McKenzie says.
McKenzie attended a recent Minneapolis SayHerName: Solidarity Action in order to gauge the work of other black liberation organizations. She was not without her critiques. Specifically, McKenzie argues that Black Americans should not be “begging” for equal rights from the US government, which does not want to give equality to Black Americans.
McKenzie, who is the founder of SIMBA (Sovereignty and Independence for Multi-Ethnic Black Americans), refers to Black American as prisoners of war who were forcefully brought to the United States. She also says that citizenship was imposed upon Black Americans.
According to McKenzie, US systems are “perverse and torturous” to Black Americans. This includes the education system, but also political, social, legal, and economic violence.
“It is an emotional torture for a child to sit and learn how much of nothing you came from,” McKenzie says.
She also argues for the inclusion of allies in the work for black sovereignty. She says, “We could say that without abolitionists that were white there would not have been an abolishment of slavery. Just as much as whatever movement minority groups would like to pursue, they’re going to need the ally from somebody that is outside of their group.”
“We’ve been denied reparations through the United States government. We need to bring this to an international level with the UN, the United States government has not signed that charter on human rights indignity because then they would be charged with human rights abuse against Black Americans,” McKenzie says.
(Editors note: The United States has signed the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights )