By Erica Wright
The Birmingham Times
DeJuana Thompson, Woke Vote
Thompson, 37, was in Kentucky last month to organize a protest rally for Breonna Taylor. Thompson and hundreds of other demonstrators gathered outside the state capitol to protest the killing of Taylor, a 26-year-old African American woman who was fatally shot in her home on March 13 of this year by Louisville, Kentucky, police as they executed a no-knock search warrant.
“I helped to coordinate the three-hour protest rally, [during which we] asked the governor and the attorney general to move on Taylor’s case and bring justice,” Thompson said. “We were there with [Taylor’s] mother and the mother of Ahmaud Arbery, [an unarmed Black man who was chased down and shot to death in February of this year by two White men in Glynn County, Georgia]. … We were there with [hip-hop artist and activist] Common, [actress] Jada Pinkett Smith, and other voices. We were there with local leaders, the mayor, and individuals who stood with us as we called for justice. We’ve done a series of these, including one in Minneapolis, [Minnesota], and in Atlanta, [Georgia].”
In addition to organizing protests, Thompson has worked in the community along with Woke Vote volunteers to host voter registration drives, educate the public on candidates, and train volunteers.
“We’re always getting people registered to vote and … doing training. We have a six- to eight-week fellowship program [to teach] people how to organize, build power, manage campaigns, and apply political pressure; we have students from 12 different states in that training. We’re sitting down with community leaders and elected officials and demanding policy changes,” Thompson said.
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To read more stories about local activists and Part I of the Black Lives Matter series, click one of the links below.