By Nyesha Stone
A death that started a movement. It was August 13, 2016 when Sylville Smith was shot dead by former Milwaukee Police Officer Dominique Heaggan-Brown. This incident led to a three-day riot, and was also a time of despair and creation. The day of the shooting, a few women came together to create the organization, Uplifting Black Liberation and Community (UBLAC).
Markasa Tucker, UBLAC Lead organizer and co-founder, said the women noticed a lack of organization in the community, so they stepped up to the plate.
“The energy [of the people] needed to be pushed into a direction of positivity,” said Tucker.
UBLAC is a diverse group of women from trans to straight, white, black and more, all working together to “help individuals foster understanding about liberation through knowledge and application in order to generate independent living and thinking,” according to their mission statement.
The organization is filled with diversity and headed by black people because no one fully knows the black community more than the black community.
Tucker said she was not sure of the number of members the organization had, but she did know the last meeting had over 50 members in attendance.
This year in early March, UBLAC hosted their first event. UBLAC partnered with another organization from a different state to organize a Selma Solidarity March in Milwaukee to celebrate The Bloody Sunday, The Selma-to-Montgomery March and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, according to their Facebook event post.
UBLAC is currently working on building relationships with the community because most organizations miss that step, said Tucker. She wants UBLAC to know exactly who they’re helping, so they can help them even more in the future.
Tucker hopes UBLAC inspires the community to do more because “there is an opportunity for everyone to serve in this city.” She believes people in Milwaukee have the potential to fix the city, but they just need the right tools, resources and knowledge and that’s why UBLAC is around.
There is also a stigma from black people that other black people don’t speak out against black on black crime, and Tucker stated that is not true.
She said there are people who have lost loved ones and it was not just by police brutality.
UBLAC is meant to help all sorts of situations in the black community and black on black crime is one of them.
For true change to happen, Tucker wants the community to understand that there is no way Milwaukee can be fixed if the community members only think of “I’s” instead of “We’s.”
UBLAC’s next event will be a potluck/mass meeting on August 6th from 5-7 p.m. The location is still waiting to be confirmed.