Who Is Black Lives Matter DC?
Erika Totten is a wife, mother, educator, spiritual life coach, and community organizer who has worked tirelessly in the fight for Black liberation. Her organization, Unchained, works to support the collective healing and liberation of all Black people through identifying and unlocking the mental, emotional and spiritual chains that hinder us from being exactly who Divine Spirit created us to be. Through individual coaching sessions and Emotional Emancipation Circles, she focuses on breaking the chains of internalized white supremacy, self-hatred, anger, perfectionism, feelings of unworthiness and inadequacy, generational pathologies, self-limiting beliefs, fear, rejection, abandonment, denial, shame, guilt, and judgment. Guided by the principle of self-determination, Erika teaches the importance of taking the time to heal, learning and practicing essential emotional wellness skills, and intentionally detoxifying our minds and spirits by replacing the lies we’ve been fed with the truths of who we really are.
Aaron Goggans is an organizer, artist and facilitator originally from Falcon, Colorado. Aaron began organizing around housing and labor on the South-Side of Chicago as a college student and remained on the south-side for 6 years. Aaron moved to DC to be closer his sisters and quickly continued organizing around labor and housing in the District. After the non-indictment of Darrin Wilson, Aaron began spending all of his free time writing and organizing around #BlackLivesMatter. He is also the creator of the website and collaborative social action project the Well Examined Life. Currently he focuses on creating relationships between organizers, creating an infrastructure for movement work in DC and created spaces for self care and sustainability among organizers.
April Goggans is an organizer, disrupter, single mother of one, proud southeast DC resident and a Core Organizer with Black Lives Matter DC. Her organizing work focuses on community power building, affordable housing and tenants rights, direct action organizing, intra-community violence, policing and police brutality. She recently launched #KeepDC4Me, a leaderFULL coalition that disrupts, confronts and dismantles systems of state sanctioned violence and oppression that displace and criminalize Black people while triggering intra-community violence in southeast DC through political education, building community power, and direct action. April has been organizing for more than 20 years and almost 10 of those years have been in southeast Washington, DC.
She is driven by the reality that respectability won’t save us, and that our community already has all that it needs to address the critical issues we face.
April previously interned for the National Association of Blacks for Reparations in America and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. She also served on the board of directors of the National Association for Ethnic Studies. Additionally, April served as a charter school administrator and vocational specialist with vulnerable and dropout populations, and as a residential counselor for the care of pregnant and parenting, teens and their children.
As Tenants’ Association president at Marbury Plaza Apartments in southeast DC, April led a two-year rent strike resulting in a historic settlement with the owners, Attorney General of DC, and the Director of the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs securing $5 million in property repairs and a 50-75 percent rent abatements for tenants.
April is also a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., and a Union chapter Vice- President At-Large, Steward and Legislative Coordinator. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Black Studies, a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, and a master’s degree in Clinical Sociology from the University of Northern Colorado. She is a Stryker Scholar and the recipient of two Departmental Scholar awards. She works and plays in Washington D.C. with her 19-year-old daughter.
More at aprilgoggans.com.