Leroy Moore: Dear Black community

Leroy-Moore-at-computer, Leroy Moore: Dear Black community, Culture Currents
Leroy Moore, pictured here at work, founded Krip-Hop Nation in 2007 in Berkeley, Calif., as a worldwide association of artists with disabilities. Krip-Hop Nation also focuses on advocacy, activism and education and holds workshops on relevant social, artistic and political issues, campaigning for equality for people with disabilities worldwide with concerts, tours, workshops and much more. Watch a special on Krip-Hop Nation here! Leroy is currently at UCLA working on his Ph.D.

by Leroy F. Moore, Founder, Krip-Hop Nation

This letter is a continuation of my handwritten letter of 1980. Back then, I was joined by two friends who were also Blackand physically disabled and younger. Back then, we’d target certain so-called Black leaders and organizations. Now I’m in my 50s and I don’t know where the other two brothers are at in 2021. But as I approach my golden years, the question still remains and has expanded:

When are we going to have time to work on Black ableism and raise awareness and create more organizations for and with our Black disabled people? When are we going to not bring home our nine-to-five stress from largely White disabled non-profits so we can work on Black ableism inside our own community? 

We give so much to this White power structure because we have to pay our bills, rent, food, take care of our family etc. I understand, but when are we going to help lay down a welcome mat to home, aka, the Black community? 

When Can We Come Home? 

We must heal our wounds

The time is coming soon

You gave us so much Blues

It’s all up to you

When can we come home?

We tried to call but there’s no dial tone

Can’t flex cause no one answered our text

So you tell me what’s next

Always feel like we are alone

Like we’ve been kidnapped at birth

On a spaceship leaving earth

Just to get services

Black ableism waiting, so this is how it is

We must heal our wounds

The time is coming soon

You gave us so much Blues

It’s all up to you

When can we come home

We have to multiply 

This time there’s no bye bye

We are looking at you eye to eye

This is a conversation not a fight

We are healing our wounds

The time is now

You gave us so much Blues

But it’s not up to you

We are coming home

I know we have open wounds from our own communities and the trust is not there. And I know that we tried so many times with Black disabled movements big or small like in London or Toronto or the Bay Area. Black Disabled Resistance goes all the way back to the Blues.

I know it is painful to pull open that history and look at what we did and to look at systematic oppression that was put on our movements – so no wonder most of those movements have failed. Why hasn’t somebody written about Black disabled movements in the UK, Toronto, South Africa and the Bay Area of San Francisco? 

However, at the same time, we must question ourselves: Why we don’t in great numbers support our own Black disabled activists, coalitions, collectives and networks, but we continue to work in large, White-controlled disabled non-profits? Especially at this moment in time, where racial justice – whatever that means – is talked about and finally being funded, with large corporations implementing diversity programs. 

Have I created steps for the next generation to continue to build on?

And like many have said coming out of this COVID-19 pandemic, “We can’t go back to normal because normal was oppressive!” So, my Black community internationally: I’m in my mid-50s and this letter started when I was a pre-teenager in the day of pencil and paper. My question has expanded, but it is also the same. 

I also ask myself: Have I done what I’m asking you, the Black community, to do, and where did I fail and where are the places I have built? Have I created steps for the next generation to continue to build on?

I can tell you all a list of what I have done and continue to do today, but the question still remains: Is the Blackcommunity worldwide ready to work on Black ableism and healing our past wounds so we can leave that welcome mat into the Black community for the next generation of Black disabled activists, artists, cultural workers, parents, workers and students? What we are we working on now? I’ll put it in a poem.

Krip-Hop Institute

Time to leave a solid foundation

No hashtag, Krip-Hop evolution

Ph.D. coming back to the community 

Brick by brick build that building

First floor our visual art gallery 

Let’s go up to the music studio

You must learn welcome to the library 

Stay connected on the international floor

No doors

Open flow

Fully accessible,

Chairs adjustable tables

Living quarters for Krip-Hop founders 

Political education pulling us together 

Art, activism, sports, literature

Under one roof equal Krip-Hop Institute

Thanks to Steve Brown

Who passed down

A model that Krip-Hop can follow 

Disability Culture Institute I take a bow

Ph.D. dissertation, I got my subject 

It will not only be for graduate school to use for an object

Like Piri Thomas told me, “Bring it back to the community!”

Gentrification with COVID-19 time to build something new

Krip-Hop Institute

Black community, are you going to answer my letter, email or text? I’m an elder now. Or will another little Black disabled boy have to continue with this letter? 

Leroy F. Moore Jr., poet, researcher, journalist and activist, founder of Krip-Hop Nation and founding member of the National Black Disability Coalition, can be reached at Kriphopnation@gmail.com