MilMag Live: Angela Lang on Organizing, Protests and Lasting Change

“We really need to acknowledge the years and the generations of trauma that people are responding to,” says the founder of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities.

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Angela Lang, founder of Black Leaders Organizing for Communities (BLOC), joined Milwaukee Magazine Editor and Publisher Carole Nicksin for a livestream lunch Friday.

Created in 2017, BLOC is an organization that works to increase political power and economic equality for Milwaukee’s black communities.

“We try to really expand this idea of civic engagement outside of just voting,” Lang said. “We want to make sure that people understand the political process.”

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Lang said that voting, while essential, is just one facet of civic engagement — no tactic is completely efficient on its own. Other methods of engagement include protesting, petitioning, letter-writing and more.

Lang also discussed the recent protests against racial injustice and police violence.

“I understand the frustration that people are having, and we really need to acknowledge the years and the generations of trauma that people are responding to,” Lang said. “When this happens for 400-plus years, it’s like you’re shaking up a can of soda and opening it and expecting it not to explode.”

Addressing white communities, Lang emphasized the importance of uplifting the needs of black communities and taking time to have difficult conversations about race and privilege, particularly with friends and family members.

“If people aren’t having those tough conversations with their own friends and family on an interpersonal level, it’s really harder to make systemic change,” Lang said.

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Elizabeth Johnson is an editorial intern at Milwaukee Magazine and a journalism major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.