Estimated reading time: 11 minute(s)
(Blogger’s Note: When the video of Coco Barnes in Baton Rouge went viral, I cannot tell you how many times I watched it. She represents a fearless new generation that is ready to lay dow their lives if necessary for freedom and justice. Her spirit continues the legacy of resilience and strength that has been displayed by Black women in the movement for decades. When I saw that an online campaign was launched to support her, I had to share it! Please support this young queen.)
“O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm in justice, witnesses for Allah, even if it be against yourselves or parents and relatives. Whether one is rich or poor, Allah is more worthy of both. So follow not [personal] inclination, lest you not be just. And if you distort [your testimony] or refuse [to give it], then indeed Allah is ever, with what you do, Acquainted“ (Qur’an 4:135)
Meet Coco Barnes
Coco Barnes is a 17-year-old community activist from Baton Rouge, LA. She is immensely passionate about her brothers and sisters in the community. When Alton Sterling was shot at point blank in the middle of her community, Coco began to mobilize. On July 10th, 2016 she was arrested in Baton Rouge and charged with “resisting arrest,” “inciting a riot” and “simple obstruction of a highway.” The ACLU and other groups have sued the Baton Rouge police department for violating protestors’ rights. A video of her passionate speech to militarized police and compelling image circulated widely on social media and the press.
My name is Blair Imani, I’m a 22 year old Black American Muslim activist, cofounder of Equality for HER (Health Education Rights). I was at the protest in Baton Rouge on July 10, 2016, where Coco, myself, and over 200 peaceful protestors were arrested. When I met Coco, her face was swollen, her veil was removed, and she only had one sandal as the other was lost when she was tackled and dragged by SWAT officers in Baton Rouge. Since her picture has been published online, she has faced numerous threats, including the release of her phone number, home address, and place of employment. As a result of the threatening calls, she was fired from her job.
Coco Needs Support
Coco’s charges prompted her employer to terminate her from her position. As it stands, Coco is unemployed, unable to support herself or replace her cell phone which was taken from her while she was in custody. This is the plight of so many of those in the movement. Youth from the communities most affected by over-policing have risked so much as they take to the street in peaceful protest. Many of them arrested, jailed, and faced with mounting legal fees. She is in need of legal representation and financial support.
How You Can Help
“And [recall] when We took the covenant from the Children of Israel, [enjoining upon them], “Do not worship except Allah ; and to parents do good and to relatives, orphans, and the needy…” (Qur’an 2:83)
People of all faiths have been inspired by her passion and courage in addressing systemic racial oppression. Although Coco is a part of the Israelite faith, her head covering has inspired Muslim girls and women who also wear the hijab/khimar. We hold many of the same values – modesty and charity being just a few. I wanted to help Coco in some way so I helped her set up with project. It is my hope that she receive an outpouring of support from Muslims and Israelites from around the world. The project will end on her birthday, September 4th.
Muslims across the nation have asked what they can do to support the Movement for Black Lives. The first step to getting involved is to show up. By supporting CoCo, we can demonstrate our commitment for Showing Up for those on the frontline. Our Noble Prophet ﷺ said, ”Help the oppressed and guide those who have lost their way” (Book 41, Number 4799: Sunan Abu-Dawud). Our presence as Muslims is critical at this time. Not only is it the right thing to do, but we cannot expect others to stand with us if we don’t stand with and for others.
Any extra funds will go towards paying for expenses, including securing reliable transportation.
Support @ https://www.launchgood.com/project/support_peaceful_protester_coco_barnes