In 2015, as a response to the ongoing and increased visibility of violence against Black communities in the United States and abroad, the Movement for Black Lives (M4BL) was organized. M4BL defines itself as “a collective of more than 50 organizations representing thousands of Black people from across the country … with renewed energy and purpose to articulate a common vision and agenda.” Their collaborative agenda has been clearly articulated in the Vision for Black Lives platform, which addresses issues of hyper-criminalization, structural reparations (e.g., investments in education and social services), economic justice, community self-governance, divestment from exploitative forces (e.g., prisons, police, and other forms of state surveillance), and political power.
Since the formation of M4BL, various collectives (e.g., cultural workers, entertainers, legal professionals, and others) have organized in effort to support their aims and purposes. Similarly, the Scholars for Black Lives (S4BL) project is now being organized to guide the intellectual efforts of scholars, from a variety of disciplines and interdisciplinary fields, within and beyond colleges and universities, toward the production of scholarship of consequence. More specifically, S4BL intends support and convene collectives of scholars and researchers politically committed to the labor of producing scholarship focused on improving the material conditions of Black people.
The inaugural S4BL convening, to be held in late-2019 in Los Angeles, aims to collaboratively explore how scholars can use their work to better support the efforts of M4BL activists and organizers as well as the broader movement agenda. The convening also aims to help scholars better identify the research and educational needs of movement workers. Through co-generative dialogues that seek to define the role of scholars within the contemporary movement, it is a desire of the convening to provide deliberative space in which scholars – and the communities within which they live and do their work – can develop and strengthen relationships.