BLM co-founder Patrisse Cullors on docuseries ‘Resist’ and taking time for self-care: ‘It’s a lot, but I’m not doing it alone’
Much of the series focuses on the battle to stop LA County from spending $3.5 billion on a jail expansion plan
Patrisse Cullors is an artist, political strategist, and the co-founder & Executive Director of Black Lives Matter. She recently released Resist on her YouTube Channel and the 12-episode docuseries executive produced by Dream Hampton is a must-see.
In it, we follow Cullors and several other organizers into the world of the grassroots work of multicultural/intersectional organizations. The organizers put up a fight against Los Angeles County’s $3.5 billion jail expansion plan in 2018 while examining the issues of cash bail, unlawful arrest, over-policing of Black and brown neighborhoods, and mass incarceration.
The project takes an emotional look into the daily struggles and successes of the movement workers on the ground. It features incredibly inspiring stories from members of JusticeLA, including Jayda Rasberry of Dignity and Power Now, Helen Jones of Dignity and Power Now and Black Lives Matter Los Angeles, Bamby Salcedo of TransLatina Coalition, and Johnathan Perez of Immigrant Youth Coalition.
“This series is looking at police violence, mass incarceration, and the cash money-bail system and how it impacts our characters’ lives and the work they’re doing to combat it,” Patrisse Cullors tells theGrio in an exclusive interview.
“Folks don’t fully get what organizing is and I think this project gives more clarity on what an organizer does. Our work is to challenge and change systems and transform them. We are challenging the systems that oppress our communities, we are changing them to be better for us and we’re transforming those systems so that people who grew up the way we grew up, people you watch in this docuseries, the conditions we grew up in are transformed so that we can actually live healthy lives.”
Much of the series focuses on the battle to stop LA County from spending $3.5 billion to build two jails, and although our heroes seem to face defeat, Cullors tells theGrio that things have turned around.
“What’s interesting is that the docuseries closes that we lost but right after it was shot, we spent the next couple years going back to the battleground and we end up winning,” she explains. “So those two jails are NOT going to be built.”
Resist also features Monte Cullors, Patrisse’s brother who suffers from mental health issues and endured horrific abuses while incarcerated.
“This is a larger conversation around healthcare. It’s one that people have been having for a long time but got lifted up during this election cycle. We need universal healthcare and that includes mental healthcare,” she says. “There’s no reason why so many people in the U.S. should not have access to feel better and get better. This has everything to do with living in a country that prioritizes the rich and people who can afford healthcare and that is unfortunate.”
When it comes to protecting her mental health amid endless battles for justice, Patrisse Cullors makes self-care a priority on her own terms.
“It’s a lot, but I’m not doing it alone. I have a team and there is a lot of us working together to make sure we commit to caring for ourselves and each other,” she admits. “I’m a really big fan of therapy so I spend a lot of time working with my therapist and I have a great friend group and community so I spend a lot of time with them. I make sure I try to really decompress and take care of myself because there is a lot at stake.”
Now that the presidential election is over and Trump’s days in power are numbered, Cullors has wasted no time in requesting a meeting with President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris.
“It was important because we have already lived through multiple democratic administrations that didn’t focus on Black lives and that really impacted the lives of Black people,” she says. “I want this administration to know that while we voted out white supremacy, we really need them to feel they’re accountable to us.”
Resist is available now on Patrisse Cullors’ YouTube Channel.
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