Statement on the murder of Ma’Khia Bryant

Last Tuesday, April 20th, barely an hour after the announcement of the Derek Chauvin guilty charges, Columbus Police murdered Ma’Khia Bryant, a 16 year-old girl, who called police for help. We condemn this act and we call it what it is. This is yet another instance of white supremacist murder by a white supremacist police force. Ma’Khia Bryant should still be alive today.  

The Chauvin verdict rang hollow in Columbus as we saw, again, that it is not one bad cop. It is not one police department or even a handful of police departments. This entire system is built upon white supremacy and empowers and encourages more Black death than is comprehensible. Columbus Police continue to murder us, with impunity, for any number of reasons. They name themselves the judge, jury, and executioner at the expense of our safety and our freedom. No amount of reform will change this. Their sole purpose is to harm, enslave, and kill us. 

With transparency, it has taken us days to release this statement because this has been an incredibly difficult loss. Constantly watching each other die is not healthy. It is traumatic and terrifying. We have seen two children murdered by police in as many weeks: Adam Toledo in Chicago and Ma’Khia Bryant in our own backyard. Immediately after they were murdered at the hands of police, both children were criminalized and vilified by the public uplifting cop narratives. It is unconscionable that so many in our community were eager to justify the trigger-eager murder of a child. We do not trust the police to deliver fair perspectives of their actions, especially one that ends in death. We do not do the work of cops for them. We do not uplift cop narratives. We are baffled at the response and we will not tolerate it on our platforms nor in our discourse.

Adam Toledo and Ma’Khia Bryant, at the end of the day, were 13 and 16 years old, respectively, and deserved to live. The melanin in their skin should not discredit them from humanity; they were worthy of love and protection from the vitriol and hatred of this country. Black and brown children are constantly being denied their childhood, their innocence, their fears and their anger. They are perceived as older, bigger, and more violent, even and especially when that is wholly untrue. There is an alternative where both of them would be alive today, no matter what was in their hands.

We know that this is not possible with the continued existence of a racist, sexist, transphobic, police force. In response, we have created demands centered on Ma’Khia’s death as we continue to fight towards justice for so many other families within our city. 

Our demands are as follows: 

  • We demand an immediate freeze of all financial support to the Columbus Police Department. 
  • We demand a freeze on hiring any new police officers. 
  • We demand the firing, without pay and pension, of all officers that were involved in the murder of Ma’Khia including those screaming Blue Lives Matter directly after killing her. 
  • The immediate release of all evidence to the family of Ma’Khia Bryant.
  • The coverage of all funeral expenses by the city of Columbus from the CPD budget.
  • We call for the immediate defunding and divesting from Columbus Police Department by 50%
  • We call for an immediate reinvestment into our local communities and communities of care by 50%.
  • We call for the resignation of Mayor Andrew Ginther for demonizing Ma’Khia and telling the public her death was justified before an investigation even began. 
  • We demand an investigation into the foster home and an immediate removal of any and all children in the current care of the foster parents at the time of Ma’Khia’s death. 
  • We demand that CCS do not renew their contract with CPD for SROs in schools indefinitely and redirect funding to counselors. CPD cannot be trusted with the lives of our children.

BQIC calls for the abolition of police and of the police state. We can begin taking concrete steps to get there. A few of those steps are listed above. We call for a culture of transformative justice and accountability, rather than punitive measures. We dream of a future where our children are given the care they need. We dream of a future where our children are held in love. We dream of a world where our children are alive and can thrive in community.

BQIC’s statement on the insurrection attempt at the Capitol on 01/06/2021

First, let us be very clear about what happened last Wednesday. On January 6, 2021, over three thousand Trump supporters attempted an insurrection on our nation’s Capitol building. They were able to gain access into the Capitol building in Washington DC. At the time, Congress was in session finalizing the certification of electoral votes to declare Joe Biden as the 45th President. 

We believe this was a coup attempt that was both planned and orchestrated. A coup is an illegal seizure of power from the government. Oftentimes, and by many definitions, it is with aid of the state or military. We believe that Washington DC police officers taking selfies with insurrectionists, helping right-wingers carefully down the stairs to go home, and removing barriers and waving people to come inside is absolutely aid and assistance. The mere intentional unpreparedness of protecting elected officials in a government building is blatant assistance and aid. These events made it abundantly clear that institutions of white power will always support each other.

We understand why people are hesitant to call this a coup attempt. This coup attempt isn’t like any other we’ve seen globally as it is white supremacists fighting for power from other white supremacists. This coup attempt isn’t like others in Guatemala, Haiti or Venezuela where actual oppressed people are fighting a government that continues to violate human rights and exploit its own citizens. On the contrary, the situation that unfolded at the Capitol involved Nazis craving more power over marginalized communities that they already agree should be oppressed. 

We believe that this coup attempt was orchestrated. We saw several posts from Donald Trump asking for everyone to come to DC on January 6th and that, if he were not elected, there would be hell to pay. We also saw his speech that clearly incited the coup attempt at the Capitol. This is by no means the first time Donald Trump has incited violence during speeches; on the contrary, this is a consistent pattern we have seen since the commencement of his 2016 presidential campaign. As recently as May 2020, Trump incited violence by proclaiming on social media, “When the looting starts, the shooting starts.” This quote was taken directly out of the very aggressive and authoritarian playbook of Walter Headley, the former police chief of Miami, Florida. Plenty of the insurrectionists planned to travel to the nation’s capital — for example, bigots in our very own state organized for seven buses to transport 300 people from northern Ohio to Washington DC. People brought guns and zip ties to hold people hostage and had full intentions of murdering innocent civilians. 

There are several reasons why this coup attempt occurred. The 2016 election of Donald Trump alone allowed for the further coalescing of a community of white supremacists and white nationalists, along with the continuous allowance of Donald Trump’s racist, misogynistic, anti-immigrant and anti-refugee, anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric in person and on social media platforms. His deliberately unchecked bigotry allowed for misinformation, or “fake news,” about the 2020 election results to spread easily. Republican elected officials used the saga of misinformation after the 2020 election as their catalyst to object to the certification of electoral votes. 

Please stop saying that this isn’t the America you know. Black people have been imploring you to take a closer look at what has been taking place for centuries. America is cruel, violent, and deadly. January 6th happened because of ongoing legacies imperialism, colonialism, and capitalism. America values power over others. America values individualism over collectivism. America — especially white America — will continue to move in this dangerous manner until a massive shift in power happens. We are abolitionists for this reason; we wish to dismantle and overthrow a society that is borne from enslavement and genocide. Our “democracy” has been stained with blood since its inception, this disgraceful insurrection attempt on the Capitol was just a continuation of this tide of hatred.

We will never forget the awful police violence that countless Black people across the country have experienced for centuries and most recently during the Summer 2020 uprisings. There are clear distinctions in the way Black Lives Matter protesters were treated. BLM protesters were met with state sanctioned violence in all of its forms, including rubber and wooden bullets, tear gas, bear spray and other chemical agents along with LRAD machines to cause neurological damage. BLM protesters were also met with tasers and flash bombs, both of which were causes of death for individuals during the coup attempt on January 6th.

Any fear and panic elected officials felt last week is a mere fraction of the current reality for many people across this country. Furthermore, it is these same elected officials who represent the empire that deals death to oppressed people worldwide. Don’t forget that we have been left to die in droves during a pandemic while Capitol Hill debated on whether to issue measly $600 checks. 

For those who have long endured the peril of this so-called “democracy,” we implore you to be your comrade’s keeper, especially during these very troubling and trying times. It’s our shared responsibility to build something anew. Black people are the greatest creators of the world; surely we can create a better world involving a delicate balance of freedom, love, safety, and care. Now is the time for us to get organized so that we can be a formidable threat to those who want us dead.

With love and solidarity, 

Black Queer & Intersectional Collective (BQIC)


A brief history of BQIC!


Our friend Meli Diaz asked us to share some info about BQIC for her US History Students, and we happily obliged! Our co-founder and Consciousness-Raising co-lead Dkéama Alexis spoke about BQIC’s origin story and our framework, so we wanted to share that with y’all today.  We also want to elevate that today is also Nakba Day, the anniversary of the establishment of the Israeli state in 1948 and the following displacement/ethnic cleansing of Palestinian people.

Black and Palestinian solidarity has a long, intertwined history considering how both our communities have been brutalized in the name of nationalism and profit. May all our continued resistance and resilience bring an end to empire!

AL NAKBA shirt designed by Amy Gutmann Fuentes

Transcript: Hey y’all! My name is Dkéama Alexis — all gender pronouns are fine — and I am a co-founder and core organizer with the group Black Queer & Intersectional Collective, which is BQIC for short. We were officially established in March 2017, and we’ve been going strong ever since.

Our mission is, we are working towards a world where Black LGBTQIA+ people from all backgrounds can be free and thrive, and we do that through direct action, community organizing, education, and creating spaces where our voices can be heard.


The other co-founder, Ariana Steele, and I wanted to create BQIC because we found that there weren’t very many spaces in the organizing community that were fully hospitable to our intersecting identities of Black and queer and trans. We would find a lot of homophobia and transphobia in spaces organizing around racial justice and Black liberation, and we would also find a lot of unchecked racism in spaces led by white people. Unsurprisingly. So we were meeting with other Black queer and trans folks after Trump’s’ election to figure out how we culd effect change in Central Ohio, and then BQIC was born in March of 2017!


As a group we really champion direct action, which is basically, like the name might imply, taking direct action action against the oppressive forces that make our world unliveable, or more unliveable for certain communities. As a collective, we are also abolitionist in our framework. For those who don’t know what abolition is, it’s essentially an approach and a vision that basically wants to create a world where there are no police or prisons, because policing and prisons are sites of violence and are used to destroy communities and punish communities, especially Black communities, Brown communities, poor communities, immigrants, refugees, so on and so forth. 


Abolition is this goal of eliminating imprisonment, policing, and surveillance, and also creating alternatives to those structures. It’s really important for us as an organization and collective by and for Black LGBTQ+ people because Black LGBTQ+ people are targeted the most under the prison industrial complex. And the prison industrial complex is the network of government and industry structures that work together to surveil, prison, and incarcerate or imprison people.


Back to direct action as a strategy — direct action is an incredibly useful strategy. It’s had an important place within the Black radical tradition, within queer and trans communities. For example, with the Stonewall Uprising in 1969 (i believe) as well as the Compton Cafeteria Riot in [1966] where queer and trans folks who were being targeted, harassed, and abused by police said “we’ve had enough” and directly met the police force with self-defense and uprising and taking back the space that had been brutally take from them time and time again.


BQIC works in coalition, or in a larger group, with other organizers here, and we are part of the Columbus Freedom Coalition @cbusfreedomcoalition, which came together after Juliyus Tate, a 16-year-old Black boy, was murdered during an undercover SWAT sting in December 2018. An example of direct action that we took was we had a march, and there was a part of the march where a few organizers blacked a major intersection in Columbus with a car and then chained themselves to the car as a way to stop traffic and interrupt the flow of things, and call attention to the legacy of anti-Black police violence in Columbus. This worked because direct action is meant to interrupt the status quo as well as place pressure on the system that are violent towards certain communities so that we can hopefully topple those structures one day. This [action interrupted] the status quo in a lot of ways because the status quo is, of course, the regular flow of movement, but the status quo in our country is also Black boys, Black girls, Black women, Black folks of all genders being shot without any accountability. The status quo in our country is people being ripped violently from their home and being deported. The status quo in our country is […] people being on the “frontlines” for other people’s profit.


Asa collective, we are advocating for the liberation of Black queer and trans people who are targeted most in our police state, and also focusing on the most marginalized as a way to form solidarity with other marginalized and oppressed groups. I’m getting close to time and I know that was kind of rambly, but I hope everyone is taking care. ❤