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We use direct actions to interrupt the status quo and bring awareness to key issues and different forms of state violence affecting the root causes of the plight of black and brown people around the world.,


We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.


YGB raising awareness and building community


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Statement from Young Gifted and Black In the wake of the SCOTUS decision on Gay Marriage
05 Jul 2015

Statement from Young Gifted and Black In the wake of the SCOTUS decision on Gay Marriage


The Young, Gifted and Black Coalition (YGB) is made up of Black Queer folks, women, and feminist men who are fighting for Black liberation. We are queer, gender non-conforming, transmen, gay, pansexual, bisexual - just to name a few of the ways we identify or express our genders and sexualities. Our communities and base of allies and supporters reflect these identities and also include those who are heterosexual, cisgender, married, divorced, and from families headed by grandparents or even neighbors. YGB reflects a wide and diverse continuum of people, relationships, and kinships.

In our organizing, the lives of Black transwomen are just as valuable as the lives of Black cismen as our work focuses always on the intersections of racial justice and queer justice. This is our vision of the fight for Black liberation. This means that we fight for the liberation of Black LGBTQ people, studs, transwomen, and femmes in addition to those whose genders and sexualities are more normatively recognized by the state and society. We fight for liberation of all Black people across the full spectrums of gender and sexuality.

We are creating and building a movement that not only ends racist police killings against Black folks, but one that also ends homophobic and transphobic killings of Black queer and trans folks. We have an organizing approach that supports this ideology. We center the voices of those most vulnerable and impacted and have a leadership that promotes this centering.

Within YGB, we all, queer and allied, collectively, are proud to walk in the footsteps and continue the work of many Black freedom fighters before us, many of whom themselves are queer—such as

Violent Police Arrest Peaceful Protestors

 Violent Police Arrest Peaceful Protestors

April 14, 2015 – Madison, WI

            Between 6:30 and 7:30 pm on Tuesday April 14th, Madison Police officers at the intersection of East Washington and 4th Street arrested more than ten peaceful protestors. Roughly 35 people, mostly youth remained in the intersection after a day-long protest, for which residents shut down East Washington for several hours to demand justice for Tony Robinson and as a part of a national action against police violence and mass incarceration. As the young people continued to sit in the intersection, 30-40 officers approached the group from the west, spanning both sides of East Washington. The officers approached the youth telling them they had 5 minutes to leave before they would be arrested. While the youth deliberated as to whether they would take arrests, the police ambushed the group. Officers arrested three people initially, Jivonte Lee Davis, Mary Jo Walters and another protestor. They subsequently approached Leslie Amsterdam (Peterson), a member of the media, who was recording the arrests. They told her to move, and when she revealed herself as a member of the media, they destroyed her camera and forcibly arrested her. The remaining youth then decided that since they could not be in the street without being arrested, they would march legally in the crosswalks across East Washington during the light changes.

            After roughly an hour, they were caught in the median during a light change. Two adults, Adeyemi Balogun and Brandi Grayson attempted to protect the youth from the police. “They grabbed Brandi and dragged her, so I grabbed her,” reported Balogun. “Then they jumped on me. They came up behind me and grabbed my neck. Then another cop grabbed me and they had me wrapped up. They just kept saying ‘stop resisting, stop resisting!’ But I wasn’t doing anything.”

Grayson was violently thrown to the ground and then drug along the ground before she was arrested. Balogun along with approximately six more people, including youth, were arrested at that time. Marnie Schroeder, another arrested person described the scene: “He [CJ Terrell] wasn’t talking, wasn’t doing anything and they slammed him to the ground. They had their knee on his neck and his face in the dirt. I tried to put my hand under his face to protect it, but then they arrested me.”

            Community members are outraged but unsurprised by this gross display of state power by MPD. “This is a clear example of the state violence we have been talking about for months,” said Grayson. “They brutalized me, and they arrested our babies who were mourning and protesting against the police violence that led to the murder of their friend, Tony Robinson.” For more information, visit or



1. No new jailBuild The People Not The Jail. Immediately abandon and denounce proposals under consideration with the Dane County Board of Supervisors for a new or renovated Dane County Jail. YGB instead proposes human rights solutions that make jails obsolete. Those solutions include ensuring the human right to housing, food, education, and health care for Black people.

2. Invest in the Black community – When the most marginalized win, everyone wins. Black people have historically been the most impacted by the various forms of state violence. Solutions to this violence must address root causes from the viewpoint of those most impacted. YGB therefore demands investment in Black community-led resources and alternatives aimed at addressing the root causes of racial disparities.

3. Release the 350 - Immediately release 350 Black people locked up in the Dane County Jail due to crimes of poverty. When legislation and policies create barriers that result in poverty, that poverty is a form of state violence. In Dane County 75% of Black children are living at or below the poverty line. The Madison Police Department arrests Black people at a rate of 11 to 1 compared to whites. While 6% of the County population is Black, the Dane County Jail population is nearly 50% Black. Each day, the Dane County Jail houses around 800 people. Without structural racism, the jail should be only 6% Black and not 400 black people incarcerated in Dane County Jail. In order to directly address racial disparities in the jail, YGB demands the release of 350 Black people incarcerated due to crimes of poverty. Let them out and keep them out.

*Poverty and Incarceration statistics taken from “Race to Equity Report”

4. End solitary confinement – Mental health officials confirm that solitary confinement (and any involuntary confinement) is a direct assault on the mental wellness of a person. It is unjust and inhumane. Most of the people in solitary confinement in Dane County Jail and in the US are Black. As such, Blacks are most impacted by the violence of solitary confinement and as a result many develop mental wellness challenges or a worsening of previous mental wellness challenges. So YGB demands an immediate end to solitary confinement. 



Young Gifted and Black Coalition

YGB was formed in 2014 in response to the police killing of unarmed black youth, Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Recognizing that Madison and Dane County have some of the worst racial disparities between Blacks and whites in the United States, the founders of YGB believed it necessary to build on the momentum of Ferguson by fighting for black liberation at home.

Non-Indictment of Matt Kenny

"An indictment may be a step on the road to justice." said Mathew Braugninn of YGB. "But, and indictment won't bring Tony back. An indictment is not a conviction and and indictment does not sing-handedly address the racial disparities that plague our community."

Free Jasmine Richards

On Monday, March 30th Jasmine Richards, Co-founder of #Blacklivesmatter was arrested by Pasadena, Ca police. The arresting charge was initially failure to appear, which basically means Ms. Richards missed her court date. Later on Jasmine Richards was charged with making “terrorist threats”, trespassing, petty theft, and evading police. We know these trumped up charges are an attempt by the police to dissuade the organizers and community in Pasadena, Ca to continue organizing for justice for Kendrec MceDede. Jasmine had just been involved with organizing a peaceful demonstration held on the anniversary of the death of Kendrec McDade.

Kendrec McDade was 19 years old, the same age as Tony Robinson when he was

The Family of Tony Terrell Robinson speaks out about the "independent investigation"

YGB family speaks investigation


According to the website of the District Attorney, after an incident such as the police killing of Tony Robinson Jr., the goals of the DA are to provide prompt and fair justice while also providing critical services to the family. Further, the DA’s office believes that peace and justice are not possible without progressive and fair law enforcement. The family of Tony Robinson, Jr. wonders what about this process is progressive and fair and also wonders what critical services have been provided to them. The Family calls on the DA, Ismael Ozanne to practice what his office preaches, to do what his office says it does – and that would lead to criminal charges; to an indictment of Officer Matt Kenny for killing Tony Robinson, Jr.

While the Madison Police Department and those affiliated with the investigation are trying to frame this as fair and independent, this is not a fair process; this is not a just process. What we know about how this case has been handled so far, is that it is unjust. We know that MPD got to pick who they wanted to oversee the investigation. We know that the Division of Criminal Investigation has worked in partnership with MPD on every step of the investigation. We know that Division of Criminal Investigation is staffed with retired Law enforcement officers. Although the law allows all of this, it is not an independent investigation by any ethical or moral standards. The process is biased. What we do know is that Tony was unarmed and was shot at least 7 times in the chest and head by Officer Kenny. This was neither reasonable nor necessary. We say to DA Ismael Ozanne, if you want to be just and fair, you have to indict.

Additionally, the Madison Police Department is neither progressive nor fair. They use the same standard that all police use around the country to justify lethal force which is one that asks whether the force was “reasonable” and “necessary.” Again, Tony’s murder was neither reasonable nor necessary. That is an unjust standard, and we need a progressive standard for the use of lethal force. Secondly, there is nothing progressive nor fair about the misleading documents MPD released last Friday. Most of the reports released by the police department about police incidents were not about Tony Robinson Jr. Again, I repeat most of the police incidents reports were not about Tony Robinson Jr. Furthermore, the information released by MPD had nothing to do with the 18 seconds that passed between when Officer Matt Kenny approached the apartment where Tony was and when he shot him at least 7 times in the chest and head. The facts we know for certain are that Tony was unarmed and was shot multiple times and killed by an officer who has a long history of using force against Madison residents and Tony was not the first person Kenny has killed. Chief Mike Koval has repeatedly said that Madison Police Department is living up to national standards of policing. But national standards have repeatedly found that it is both necessary and reasonable for police officers to kill unarmed black people. MPD continues to say that Madison is different, that the Madison Model is what sets us apart and will ensure that Madison is not like Ferguson. But as long as MPD does not operate by truly progressive standards, we will not have justice, and Madison will be like Ferguson.

Unity and peace will never exist in a community that allows police officers to murder with impunity. In the words of the great Martin Luther King Jr., The time is always right to do what is right; DA Ismael Ozanne, Do the right thing for our community and Indict. Thank you.

You can find a video of the Press Conference here

Why We're Here

We stand against the many forms of state violence: police killings, mass incarceration, poverty and others.  We stand for justice for Tony Robinson and ALL Black lives lost at the hands of the state. We stand for community and self determination. We will not stop until we are free.
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YGB needs your voice in order to get an investigation by the United Nations as we elevate the conversation of of racial disparities in Madison and fight for justice for Tony Robinson, the unarmed black teen murdered at the hands of officer Matt Kenny of the Madison Police Department  



YGB demands that Matt Kenny, the murderer of Tony Robinson, be fired. Far to often are killer cops left unpunished, and we want Kenny off the streets.



The Young Gifted and Black Coalition is a circle of young leaders determined to end state violence and raise the voice of communities of color. We are young Black Women, Queer Folks, Straight Folks and Feminist Men who are fighting for Black Liberation. Our focus is on the low income black communities that our core members call home. 




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