Who Is Black Lives Matter DC?
Black Lives Matter DC is a collective of organizers, activists, and artists in DC who work to combat anti-blackness and racialized oppression in all of its manifestations as experienced by Black and African diasporic people.
The mission of Black Lives Matter DC is to actualize liberation right now by confronting and dismantling structural oppression, creating radical healing spaces to process racial stress and internalized oppression, combating erasure of marginalized Black people everywhere it appears, building community power within Black neighborhoods, and forming critical connections with Black folks who share the same desire for collective liberation.
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.
Omolara Williams McCallister is a textile artist, arts educator, activist and community organizer. Originally from Atlanta, Omolara went to school in New York, and since moving to DC in 2011 has worked in DC based community organizations developing community engagement and educational programming initiatives that use art to ignite social consciousness and instigate social change. Omolara currently lives & works in the Lamont Street Collective, an intentional community of artists and activists. She is a proud alum of Dekalb School of the Arts in her hometown of Atlanta, Ga.Her active engagement in the Black Lives Matter movement involves organizing communities to participate in art based protest actions; working with local organizers and organizations to create infrastructure for the local movement; and spending time to intentionally practice self-care and self-love.
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 18-year-old daughter.