By Deborah Bailey,
Special at AFRO
Harriet Tubman’s dreams and visions are an epic part of her story. According to Harriet, the 2019 biographical film about the brave leader’s life, the abolitionist and Underground Railroad conductor is said to have gained spiritual insight for her multiple journeys leading from enslaved relatives and friends to freedom.
Harriet’s Wildest Dreams of Washington, DC, described by its founders as a “Black-led abolitionist advocacy center,” uses 21st century methods to support the Black community in the DC metro area. Harriet’s Wildest Dreams is the modern embodiment of the “dreams and visions” Tubman is said to have had that inspired her daring journeys from the plantations of Maryland north.
“We wanted to build a world where we could keep all black people safe and free at the same time,” said Nee Nee Taylor, co-founder of Harriet’s Wildest Dreams.
Taylor, who left a leadership role at Black Lives Matter DC to help lay the groundwork for Harriet’s Wildest Dreams, said she did so: “because I felt a greater call to my life to liberate my people…and not just from the police”.
Harriet’s Wildest Dreams focuses on political and community organizing, direct action, legal advocacy, and empowerment strategies that challenge repressive systems.
What makes others sit up and notice this new organization designed to empower black lives is its multi-strategy focus. The three pillars of the organization: Harriet’s answering machines, Ella’s Emancipators and Ida B. Free to provide a variety of ways for people to get involved in the work to call out, transform, and liberate people from oppressive policies, practices, and structures in the Washington metropolitan area.
“When Harriet was leading people to freedom along the way, she had many setbacks,” said Quiana Johnson, co-founder of Harriet’s Wildest Dream. Johnson, who is also the founder of Life after liberation said the organization’s multiple focus areas allow the community to respond to oppression from all angles – without limiting them to a single approach.
According to Johnson, each of the organization’s pillars focuses on a distinct part of the DMV’s work supporting justice issues involving the black population. Supporters of Harriet’s Wildest Dreams have already engaged in multiple advocacy actions in the short year since the organization’s existence, including building a base of support to support homeless encampments. district shelter on “O” Street NW, in the fall of 2021, and providing support to Howard University students during their protests in the fall of 2021 against university administrators over the deterioration the state of the university residences.
The Meyer Foundation, one of Harriet’s Wildest Dream supporting partners, described the innovative work that led the foundation to choose to make the trip to support a new entity in the area.
“Just nine months after its launch, the Black-led abolitionist community advocacy organization, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams (HWD), has had a major impact on the political, community, and legal landscape of local advocacy in Washington,” notes the site.
“HWD builds alternatives to oppressive systems through legal empowerment, political and civic education, mass protests, campaigning, and community care programs,” the Meyer Foundation added.
HWD is now ready to build on the foundation laid last year. The organization has already garnered the support of over 500 volunteers who show up and support activist events the group is involved in.
Co-founder Makia “Ke-Ke” Green said the organization is at a point where it invites like-minded activists and others who want to learn more about the craft and skills involved in the organization. professional to join their ranks.
“We are ready to welcome a running membership,” said Green, membership coordinator for Harriet’s Wildest Dreams and steering committee member of the Defund DC Police Coalition.
“We want hundreds of people to volunteer and at least 100 black abolitionist organizers in the area,” Green said. “We invite people to come as supporters or volunteers to help with a specific project, such as serving as a court monitor or supporting a direct action campaign,” Green added.
Harriet’s Wildest Dreams also sponsors a six-week paid organizing fellowship for individuals to learn the comprehensive skills needed for organizing, with peer-to-peer mentoring. The scholarship will prepare participants to step into professional community organizing roles.
Taylor sees Harriet’s Wildest Dreams as a grassroots presence that changes the paradigm for how black people live in community. While building on the legacy of civil rights organizations founded in the 20th century, Harriet’s Wildest Dreams was born to create a new vision of life for black people in the DMV
“You can’t know where you’re going if you don’t know where you’ve been,” Taylor said, paying tribute to organizations like the NAACP and the Urban League.
“But in today’s world, we want to live in a world without police,” she added.
“We are fighting to dismantle a system that was never meant for us,” Taylor said, referring to the nefarious role of law enforcement during slavery and America’s Jim Crow era.
“We are building a world where we will be without police,” Taylor stressed.
Help us continue to tell OUR story and join the AFRO family as a member – subscribers are now members! To rejoin here!