From Black Lives Matter to EndSARS: Women’s Socio-Political Power and the Transnational Movement for Black Lives
By Adaugo Pamela Nwakanma, Harvard University
The relationship between Black Lives Matter (BLM) and anti-police brutality movements abroad reveals the variety of ways in which Black feminist theories of justice have taken root in public discourse. The EndSARS movement in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy and the world’s largest Black nation, illustrates the influence of BLM transnationally and some of the continuities and discontinuities between anti-police brutality movements across contexts. I examine these two movements in tandem and develop a theory of political behaviour that builds on transnational Black and African feminist insights. More specifically, I consider how Black feminist articulations of intersectionality, personal politics, and Black liberation have informed the language and organizational praxis of two of the largest anti-police brutality movements to have taken place in the midst of a global pandemic. Here, I argue that organizers, many of whom were women, leveraged social power, in the form of embeddedness in politically active communities, to effectively organize protests and demand for justice. Through this comparative analysis, I contribute substantively to our understanding of how social power engenders political empowerment for individuals and communities in spite of patriarchal systems of exclusion.