The campaign to create a holiday in honor of Ella Baker exists to recognize Ella Baker as one of this nation's greatest activists. She was an organizer who worked tirelessly to better the living conditions and opportunities for Black communities and all those who are oppressed. A holiday in honor of Ella Baker also centers our conversations and activism on what steps we should be taking today and to remind us that liberation is a struggle of both pain and beauty.
Our hearts are with the families and friends of Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and all others who have lost loved ones to government sanctioned violence. This violation of humanity is also a painful reminder of the persistent violence against Black communities in the U.S. and around the world. This loss of life was not about perceived burglary, perceived forgery, or perceived sale of narcotics, but as Ida B. Wells wrote 111 years ago lynching is "color line murder" that is a "national crime and requires a national remedy."
Support Ella Baker Day stands with the protesters, in the U.S. and abroad, and all the multiple pre-existing, ongoing, and nascent strategies for not only ending police violence but ending all systems of oppression. As Ella Baker said in 1969: "In order for us as poor and oppressed people to become part of a society that is meaningful, the system under which we now exist has to be radically changed....It means facing a system that does not lend itself to your needs and devising means by which you change that system."
We have added a resource page to our website to provide a wide range of information that supports the movement for Black liberation. Please see here: Resources
Who is Ella Baker & What is Ella Baker Day?
Ella Baker was a Civil Rights Movement era activist who worked with notable organizations such as SNCC, NAACP, and SCLC. She believed the movement was an important force, not just for the freedom of black people, but for all people. Baker said “Even if segregation is gone, we will still need to be free; we will still have to see that everyone has a job. Even if we can all vote, but if people are still hungry, we will not be free…Singing alone is not enough; we need schools and learning…Remember, we are not fighting for the freedom of the Negro alone, but for the freedom of the human spirit, a larger freedom that encompasses all of mankind.”
The first Ella Baker Day Campaign was created in Virginia in response to then Governor Bob McDonnell's declaration of April as Confederate History Month, who stated the “people of Virginia joined the Confederate States of America in a four year war between the states for independence.” The Governor did not initially recognize plantation slavery in his declaration to recognize Confederate History Month. Confederate History Month is annually honored by six states, Confederate Memorial Day is celebrated in seven states and there are additional holidays in honor of Confederate Leaders, Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, and Stonewall Jackson.
These holidays honor the confederacy and those who defended plantation slavery while at the same time failing to honor the contributions of people of color and specifically women of color. Thus, a day in honor of Ella Baker would not only bring much needed attention to the contributions of women and women of color, but it would also recognize Baker as one of this nation's greatest activists who worked tirelessly to better the living conditions and opportunities for those less fortunate. So to honor that spirit and keep Baker’s legacy alive, we ask you to Support Ella Baker Day! Sign the Petition, Start a Campaign in Your State, Spread the Word!