This story is part of a joint series by The Forge and Prism. Read the rest of the series, Organizing, Innovation, and Upheaval here.

The past few months have wrought untold economic, emotional, and physical devastation. Much of this pain has been concentrated in Black and brown communities, who are fighting the new pandemic of COVID-19 alongside the enduring pandemics of racism and racial violence.

And yet this moment has given us plenty of reasons to be hopeful.

New organizers — many of them young, Black, and uncompromising — have stepped forward to lead the call to defund the police. Millions of people have followed them into the streets, making this recent movement for Black lives the largest social movement in U.S. history. There have been protests in over 2,500 cities and towns and in every state in the country, from deep blue New York to deep red Alaska. Demonstrators have been in the streets every day for 91 days.

This is a moment to demand — and win — revolutionary change.

In this issue, we delve into the ways that organizers — many of whom have been fighting for racial justice for years and some of whom are brand new to the movement — have been innovating their strategies and tactics during the uprisings and the pandemic, finding creative ways to think about and organize around racial justice in various forms, from defunding the police to fighting for an accurate census and more.

  • Prism’s Anoa Changa explores the way organizers in rural areas adapt their work to the specific needs and strengths of their communities.

  • Charles Khan from the Strong Economy for All writes about the challenges and opportunities of organizing in this moment — and why we need to put it all on the line right now.

  • The Forge sat down with a coalition of Black women organizers in Sacramento who have been working to defund the police in communities and schools and to create safe Black spaces to deal with the trauma of racial violence.

  • Prism’s Carolyn Copeland talked with Alliance for Quality Education advocacy director Zakiyah Ansari about her experience as an organizer and her thoughts on sustaining the momentum surrounding the current Movement for Black Lives.

  • LeConté Dill, a professor of public health at NYU, reviews From Enforcers to Guardians: A Public Health Primer on Ending Police Violence.

  • Prism’s Anoa Changa writes a deep dive into organizing strategy rooted in block defense and how it’s playing out in Minneapolis.

We hope that this issue sparks your imagination about what is possible in this moment through new and innovative organizing strategies and practices.

Ashton is an accomplished writer and editor—and recovering lawyer—whose work focuses on the intersection of race, culture, and law. Her writing has been published by The Washington Post, Slate magazine,...