In July, 30 members of the recently-formed Black Umbrella Global held hands around Madison’s state Capitol and prayed. 

Led by Rev. Everett Mitchell, the group bowed their heads and prayed to untie the spiritual traumas in Madison, co-founder Shy told Madison365. And as they prayed, it slowly began to rain.

“That was actually a really, really, really heavy day,” Shy said. 

Shy described the group that formed after George Floyd was killed by a Minneapolis police officer in May, as a resource for the community; a coalition of community organizers and grassroots activists working together for Black liberation. 

“It represents the elevation of Black people and Black liberation,” Shy said. “That is our main goal is to elevate Black people by educating, supporting and showing them what community looks like.”

Shy, who wished to remain anonymous because the “path to liberation isn’t always legal,” said the group wants to be a resource for the community. Each day the group has an event — either through protests, community meals, spiritual days, mock interviews, resume building and physical activities. Each day for more than 100 days the group has done something to work toward that goal of Black liberation, another co-founder Radical said. 

“This is something that should be worked on every single day,” Radical said. “It shouldn’t be worked on when people die. It shouldn’t be worked on for two months because the problem isn’t solved in two months, you know what I mean?”

Black Umbrella Global

“We should always be working towards these things every single day because people will be homeless every single day and you know, racial disparities occur every single day. So the only time to work on them is every single day,” he later added.

Each Monday, members give out clothes and food to homeless people around Madison. On Sept. 10, dozens of people showed up for the group’s first Unity March near the Capitol, which consisted of a 5K run or walk. 

“We did it to actually get a different type of crowd out and have them understand that we don’t protest to try to fight the community. We protest to fight the system,” Shy said. 

During protests, the group has blocked traffic downtown and on the beltline. An organized peaceful protest outside the Apple Store at Hilldale Mall ended in a shutdown of the west side location for an afternoon. Members consistently contact elected officials, Radical said, with no cooperation in return.

“We have very consistently reached out to all of our elected officials who refuse to hear us out or speak to us… Certain (officials) will say ‘Hey, you guys can talk to me if you want to instead of going out and protesting,’ and that’s just not true.” Radical said…”We’ve got documentation and proof every time we’ve tried to contact certain people to resolve issues. That’s what the point of a protest is — you protest to get people’s attention and to have them resolve issues. If they actually wanted to speak and fix things and hear people out — they would.” 

Each founder– Shy, Tatiyana, Radical, Godzilla — has skill sets that help the group achieve their goals including marketing, event planning, health and fitness and fundraising. 

In addition to the events, Shy said the group has connections with nonprofits in the area — so when people come to them with problems founders can connect people with resources through Urban Triage, Link Madison and Impact Demand. 

But what sets the group apart, she said, is members being outside every single day building community and working toward Black liberation. 

“People see results when they are outside with us,” Shy said. “It’s just a community thing.”