My name is LaTonya, many of you know me as one of the co founders of the Black Lives Matter Cleveland Chapter. Since I began this journey three years ago as a community organizer and leader of my local chapter; I have seen how this movement has directly targeted leaders, creating a physical and financial strain on local leaders, including myself.
Just this year alone I have dealt with multiple unforeseen circumstances that have created more trauma and grief for my family, and I. One day after leaving a direct action protest in front of the police station that we were attempting to hold accountable for police murder; organized by my local BLM Chapter, under my leadership I was rear ended by a white male who after hitting the back of my car pulled around the side of me long enough to see his face, and then sped off onto the freeway.
May 30 just one day after celebrating the Memorial Holiday my son in law Karl was murdered and dumped from a car just a mile away from my house. Him and my daughter Ariauna were expecting their first child together (my grandson).
After confronting this traumatic experience and working through the grief of his death my daughter gave birth to a beautiful, healthy baby boy. As we try to regroup from his tragic death we're faced with the realization that my daughter is now forced to be a single parent raising a black male in today's society.
To make matters worst, three months later my own son Keaun, was shot in the chest the bullet entered the left side of his chest and shoulder area then exited the back of his arm; causing him to loss feeling and movement in his left arm. He is alive, Thank God. Due to his shooting he has underwent several test, and may have to have surgery to repair the damage in his arm. Currently he is in occupational therapy to regain movement, and muscle strength in his hand and arm.
In the process of dealing with death, grief and trauma; I'm also facing an eviction from my residence of seven years, due to the fact that the folks who own the home I'm renting; lost the house through forfeiture to the bank. I have approximately thirty days to relocate my family, and finding safe housing is not easy doing the work that I do within my community.
In my journey through this movement myself and my children have been physically attacked. We endure endless cyberattacks, one of which being my PayPal shutting down for unknown reasons. Thankfully, I've been able to get it back up and running recently.
I started doing social justice work because I was sick and tired of seeing black people (my people) being mistreated, beaten, murdered, and left behind to suffer within our communities. I became concerned with the way that our legal system valued the lives of my brothers, and sisters; and how those lives were being taken without retribution.
I begun this work out of a tragedy that hit very close to home; like many, I took to the street to make my voice heard; and to bring awareness to the plight of many African American Men, Women and Children; that we as a race of people are, and have been treated unfairly due to poverty, discrimination, and straight forward racism.
Fighting for social justice, and the liberation of our people is not a financially compensating job; we don't get paid to do this, yet we make many sacrifices during this particular work. As leaders in our communities and within this movement, reality has a way of reminding us that we are only human, and that it's okay to ask for help.
So if you can find it in your hearts to donate to help me continue to do the work that I am so passionate about within my community. No amount is too small, every little bit helps. Thank you in advance for your donation your help is truly appreciated. Just for future reference for best ways to donate to my work, below are the links to my PayPal account and my Cash App Account. You can also donate to my local chapter via PayPal as well. Thanks again.
Try the Cash app using my code and we’ll each get $5! MWPDKLK
BLM Cleveland PayPal: https://www.paypal.me/blmcle
- Leslie Rivas
- Luke Gould
- Stefano LEGRANDE
- Anne Caruso