Tuesday, May 30, 2023
HomeInterviewsHope for the Revolution! Celebrating #AfricanLiberationMonth with Chief Sonny

Hope for the Revolution! Celebrating #AfricanLiberationMonth with Chief Sonny

[For #AfricanLiberationMonth, Black Hammer Times is dedicated to showcasing and celebrating African revolutionaries who are alive today! This week we sat down with Chief Sonny, of the Black Hammer Organization]

Can you introduce yourself and tell us your role in Black Hammer? 

Yes. Hi, my name is Sonny. My nation is Ayiti (Haiti), the Colonized Nation of the Dominican Republic. My pronouns are she/her, and my role is Chapter Chief of Massachusetts/Connecticut in Turtle Island. 

Photo of Chief Sonny, who is also a feature on Black Hammer’s #WomanCrushWednesday on Instagram

What does that role look like?  Your day-to-day, week-to-week schedule. 

In my role as Chapter Chief of Massachusetts and Connecticut, my day is made up of making sure things in the chapter run smoothly and make sure that we’re getting things done. We’re doing outreaches, we’re doing projects that we want to do, always getting things done. Building cadre is like building a family, and I bring that same sibling circle within the chapter to all of my comrades and all of my people. I just gotta make sure these things happen. That we are doing the work of the people.

Can you explain what ‘cadre’ means? 

Cadre? Cadre means, you know, to build that revolutionary circle, a circle of people working together. Working together in closeness with one dream, one desire, one goal and that is the liberation of all Colonized people.  

And what made you agree to become a Chapter Chief? 

A large reason I made the decision to become a Chapter Chief is because of spirituality. I felt like the Lord presented an opportunity to me, and I was like, that’s an honorable thing. I’d rather take the challenge and be the best Chapter Chief I can be instead of just trying to be my own little subjective or individualistic thing because I was planning to be a hope for all of my people. To bring out the leader in me and things that the colony never asked of me. 

It’s interesting that you bring that up. Revolutionaries so rarely get to talk about spirituality. Are you spiritual? 

A little; I’m agnostic. But I didn’t grow up that way. I’m Catholic, so I do feel like Christianity influenced me a lot, but I definitely became agnostic when I wasn’t so dogmatic about it, and became more and more open to seeing things as less of a binary and see them as God’s masterpiece. 

What were some of your fears in taking up this calling? And how did you overcome them? 

My fears were definitely not living up to the role, not being the leader that I needed to be for my comrades and people. I had those feelings of “I can’t do it”, that the chapter was gonna fall apart because of me. That I would break the chapter; I guess those are my fears. 

And those possibilities could be there, but I don’t pay mind to them because my goal is to build the chapter, to build for my organization and people. I’m here to hope for the revolution. 

Can you tell us about what Massachusetts/Connecticut is up to?  Like on the ground? 

On the ground, we’re still a baby chapter. So we’re focused on just making outreaches happen and being successful in meeting up together to make a material difference in our community to get our name out and build recruitment.

I’m also creating fundraising events and one of the most important things of organizing building each other’s revolutionary spirit. We want to grow the chapter and will grow the chapter through our work and showing what a revolutionary family really looks like. 

Is there any particular part of the community you’re here reaching out to? To grow or, to do outreach? Which communities are you reaching out to for those goals? 

Yeah, where I live, (as well as some other comrades), is a very colonized area. So we are trying to get the people in this area, in our hood, to know us, and to get to see us. Also to let them know that they can be part of this change in the future. They don’t have to wait around for colonial systems to bring change for them. We can build for ourselves and Black Hammer shows that every day.

You’re reaching out directly to those communities?

Yes, streets and communities where there would be colonized businesses.  Community Health Care places where colonized people are at.  We are meeting them where they are, the poor and working-class colonized communities.  Bus stations or convenience stores; those are the places we’re going to reach them.

I think that’s amazing. Being able to do that sort of direct work. What’s been the biggest change that revolution has brought to your life? 

I think the biggest change revolution has brought to my life is that I feel confident; I can do anything and my people can do anything. There really is nothing holding me back from living the life I want. Feeling like I am enough. And being the leaders we all are meant to be. I can do anything with leadership. 

I’m going to contribute great things. Whether it’s big or small, the things that we do are amazing here. We see it every day with the work we do for our people. 

And what material change do you want to bring to the revolution? 

 I guess like food. 

Close your eyes and paint the picture of revolutionary food.  

Revolutionary food. Yeah, I feel like I would love to feed the masses. Or like, healthcare. Food is healthcare.  

I would like to bring more healthy options, learn healthy recipes together. Colonized people work 14-hour shifts, we work two jobs, even we as revolutionaries put in hours to make this revolution happen, but we also have to make sure we’re eating at the end of the day, to afford where we’re currently living. I want to be able to have meals that are genuinely healthy and not depend on fast food. Those unhealthy food sources from the exploitation of workers and animals alike. We must have dictatorship over our bodies as Colonized people and that means having healthy food. 

What a beautiful vision. I love it. Who do you admire most? What were your big inspirations? 

I don’t want to be corny. Well, not that it’s corny because obviously, they’re not corny. But I do look up to Gazi a lot. I love how Gazi is a regular person,  they are just like us. They’re poor and working-class just like us. They bring so much intelligence and brilliance and I see it in the chapter here and I’m just like wow. We don’t need degrees to make ourselves sound bright all Colonized people are bright. And I look up to Gazi because I would love to make speeches like them and talk to the people the way they do. 

It’s so important to be uplifting revolutionaries who are alive today. It’s so important.  Like, don’t wait until they’re gone and an ancestor. I know I appreciate hearing that. 

Yeah, they’re out there. I do try to kind of take notes on how they think and move. I want to build that in myself because Chief Spark [of the Massachusetts Chapter] mentioned to me that I can be the Chapter’s Gazi. 

What does African liberation mean to you? 

African liberation means to me being unified with the African identity. And it’s also finally disuniting with the colonizer in my head. Black Hammer says that all Colonized people are equal, and it makes me feel like I am enough. People with mixed identities question that kind of stuff.  But like being here and we’re all equal. And I’m accepted as African. 

Yeah, that’s a wonderful note to end on. Is there anything you would tell someone to help them kill that colonizer in their head? 

Yeah, really question your reasoning for your disdain towards the African community and honestly really learn the history of where you come from, and how your ancestors came there. Because I know the colonizer is strong, and wants us to think that we’re just naturally inferior. We’re not able to appreciate my Blackness. I’m able now.

I know it’s hard for me to understand why there are a binary on the island I represent. And I’m totally for the unification of them again, I  want them to be unified again because I think that island is so strong. And it can just do so much better than having Colonialism tear it apart. 

Absolutely. Especially when you think of ancestors like Toussaint L’Ouverture who did unite millions of African people/warriors under that spiritual calling. They were all unified under people who didn’t speak the same language. Who might not even have that same religion, yet they could all be unified under that. Under that same banner of African liberation and, like you said, unity to kill the people who are killing them. That’s powerful. 


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