None other than abolitionist visionary Angela Y. Davis was in North Carolina last month to deliver the keynote address at Blueprint NC’s annual awards celebration. Emancipate NC staff and their families attended to receive the two awards for which Emancipate had been nominated and selected.

Dr. Davis told the crowd to keep hope and to keep the faith: “Our understandings of how we engage in struggle have transformed. Our relations with one another have become more aligned with the future that we want. Those changes in the ways we relate to one another help us to better imagine and to develop more compelling strategies for futures in which racism begins to recede, in which hetero-patriarchy begins to be dismantled, and in which we can begin to push back the juggernaut of capitalism.” 

Team Emancipate was honored to receive the Direct Action Award for efforts to advance progressive goals through collective direct action (peaceful protests, strikes, etc.), as well as the Creative Political Education Award for efforts to teach community members how grassroots power is developed and wielded in our political system, using visual art and other creative mediums.

This recognition comes at a time when our work to dismantle structural racism and mass incarceration in North Carolina faces its stiffest opposition in years. Conservatives dominate the legislative and judicial arenas we fight in and are unraveling past progress on everything from voting rights to the First Amendment. 

This doesn’t mean our work will stop. It does mean that we need to be clear-eyed about the road ahead. We are grateful to Blueprint NC for recognizing how hard our team hustles for our people, and also to Angela Davis, who models as well as anyone how to stay in the fight for justice for the long haul.