SAN ANTONIO – Kimiya Factory has been on the front lines of the San Antonio protests since the killing of George Floyd.
In the midst of the movement, the 21-year-old local activist created the Black Freedom Factory.
“It offers the city, businesses and organizations a seat at the race relations conversation table. Essentially it is data-driven activism,” said Factory.
Factory said the nonprofit is offering a report card to organizations to see where they stand on racial inequity, inclusion and diversity in the workplace.
“It gives them an opportunity to hold themselves accountable, hold their employees accountable and really make people of color and black people feel more accepted,” Factory said.
The nonprofit is a grassroots effort meant to connect people doing work in their communities to businesses and to have a more open and honest conversation about race.
“What are the intersections of race, sexuality, gender identity and culture that contribute to racial discrepancy within organizations and businesses and corporations,” said Factory.
Feedback has been positive and there is city-wide interest in Black Freedom Factory. She said a handful of businesses have signed up for the assessment.
“It’s time that these white collar professionals really sat with someone who is in the streets and who can represent the needs of the community,” Factory said.
Factory wants to keep these discussions moving forward.
As one of the primary organizers of the San Antonio protests, she was encouraged to see so many people from different backgrounds and races protest peacefully, but knows the Alamo City has a long way to go.
“Considering the historical segregation that occurs, we still have a lot of work to do,” Factory said. “It’s a fight that a lot of us activists say it’s not a sprint, it’s a marathon. I think San Antonio is definitely headed in that direction.”
Long before Floyd’s killing, Factory was focused on making systemic changes and activism.
In 2018, she helped organized a protest at UTSA to speak out on sexual abuse occurring on college campuses. The result was the #ChangeRapeCulture campaign.
These roots of activism run deep for Factory. The recent death of Civil Rights leader and U.S. Congressman John Lewis has only inspired her to continue to work for underserved communities in San Antonio.
“It’s very important to me and other Black Lives Matter activists that we keep his name and his legacy alive because voting rights are very important to communities like mine,” said Factory. “What he did for the black community is generational.”
Factory said she has been meeting with city leaders to have more in-depth discussions about race relations and what steps are ahead.
She hopes Black Freedom Factory can be part of the solution after a series of protests which she believes unified many San Antonians.
“Essentially the conversation was your fight is our fight,” said Factory. “That’s something the black community loves to hear because there are different centuries and decades of generational trauma that we’ve had to endure.”