Black Lives Movement San Marcos was founded by Texas State students in July 2016, and the organization has been dedicated to the fight against inequality ever since.
Lonvis Naulls, co-founder, said BLMSM formed in response to the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling.
“The co-founders came together and decided something needed to be done as far as showing support and standing in solidarity for the families of victims,” Naulls said.
The organization gained a lot of exposure when it held the BLM March in downtown San Marcos last summer. Ever since, BLMSM has grown in popularity and size.
“We had planned to just do the march and that was it, but we decided to keep it going because it’s good for the community and students,” Naulls said.
The organization has participated in many events on campus and in the community. For example, BLMSM coordinated a protest during the National Anthem for injustice at a Texas State football game. In addition, the organization was involved in the MLK Commemoration Celebration as well as the Angela Davis lecture on campus.
BLMSM has participated in volunteer events, outreach programs and different social gatherings because it is a community-based organization.
The organization’s mission statement reads: We fight in unity for equality, justice and to end all forms of racism and police violence, particularly systemic oppression, which negatively impacts so many. We stand together to build a foundation of love, prosperity and unity for San Marcos, Texas. We stand in solidarity with EVERY marginalized community fighting for their equality as well as ours. We hope to impact change within the system so that oppression ceases to exist not only in San Marcos, but in our country as well. We vow to never lose sight of our goal, which emphasizes equity and access for all, as well as our dedication and passion for this modern equality movement; so that those who experience oppression will no longer assume that it is an expected and unchangeable reality. We aim to interrupt that status quo through intentional social justice education and reform.
Naulls said BLMSM stays true to its mission statement because the organization shows support for LGBTQIA, Latino, Asian, women and other minority groups.
“Diversity is key with equality for everyone,” Naulls said. “We support each and every group. Everybody has a different background, but everyone is great at the end of the day no matter what the color of their skin is or what organizations they’re involved in.”
Russell Boyd II, co-founder, said it is imperative we have movements like BLMSM in this day and age.
“We live in a time where resistance is critical to our progression as a people,” Boyd said. “The movement for black lives, in my personal opinion, is a movement dedicated to dismantling these divisive ideologies and rebuilding a society that was never meant to accommodate people who are not white, cisgender affluent males.”
Being involved in BLMSM has taught Boyd about being a leader, learning about others and serving marginalized individuals.
“I’ve learned that activism is not a job, or shouldn’t be considered one,” Boyd said. “For me, it’s an automatic charge as a person with a conscious and heart for advocating for those whose voices have been silenced by oppression.”
Skyller Walkes, liaison for BLMSM, said she became involved in the organization but her activism began long before joining.
“I am a proponent of collective activism and coalition-building,” Walkes said. “I am duly and unapologetically committed to interrupting and disrupting institutions and structures that perpetuate oppression, inequality, inequity or marginalization in any way.”
Boyd said he hopes to accomplish a lot with BLMSM.
“My goal is that the organization continues to grow in numbers and leadership and we continue to build upon our legacy for the progression of marginalized peoples,” Boyd said.
Although BLMSM has helped many students on campus, Boyd said there is a lot of work to be done.
“It’s been a great experience, and I am so honored to have been able to work with incredible people who share a passion for unapologetic activism,” Boyd said. “It has taught me that (the) quest for freedom is always a constant and rocky struggle, but you never give up because the work must be done.”
Upcoming programs and events led by BLMSM are in the works.