One of the most famous Black Lives Matter activists in the country has been shot dead in New Orleans. Muhiyyidin Moye aka Muhiyyidin D’baha was killed about 1 a.m. on February 6 after being shot while riding his bicycle, his niece, Camille Weaver, wrote on a Go Fund Me page.
The fundraising page adds that D’baha was shot in the leg and died of blood loss at a local hospital after attempting to cycle for help. Weaver writes, “Around 9-9:30am we received a phone call saying that he had died due to excessive blood loss. We don’t have many details, but will update as soon as we do.” His family are raising money for D’baha’s body to be brought back from New Orleans to his home in Charleston. At the time of writing, the page has raised close to its goal of $7,500.
WCIV reports that the New Orleans coroner’s office is not releasing an official cause of death pending an autopsy. The station adds in their report that a vigil was held at North Charleston City Hall at 7 p.m. on February 6.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. D’baha Will Forever Be Remembered as the Protester Who Stole a Confederate Flag Live on TV
D’baha will forever be remembered as the man who attempted to grab a confederate flag live on T.V. during a February 2017 protest. As a result, D’baha was charged with disorderly conduct. His actions were taken close to the Sottile Theater in Charleston. A group of confederate flag waving people were protesting the removal of the flag from the Statehouse in the wake of Dylann Roof’s massacre of nine people at the Mother Emanuel AME Church on July 17, 2015.
The Charleston Post and Courier reported that D’baha was released on his own recognizance after hearing. D’baha’s lawyer, Cameron Blazer, said in court that his client “has a long history of peaceable activism and demonstration. This incident was a product of a very unfortunate administrative decision that resulted in two opposing groups being positioned mere feet from one another.” The group, Standing Up for Racial Justice, had raised more than $8,000 for D’baha’s defense. A member of the organization, Mary Smith, told the Post and Courier, “I didn’t see any crime committed. I just saw a heroic event. He pulled a Bree Newsome at a Bree Newsome event.” Bree Newsome had been speaking at the protest, Newsome is famous for also tearing down a confederate flag in 2015.
In July 2016, D’baha was charged with disorderly conduct after disrupting a North Charleston City Council meeting.
Around the time he became a viral sensation, D’baha told the Charleston City Paper about his protest methodology, “We can insulate ourselves from a lot of the tumultuousness and a lot of the happenstance that is happening at those levels right now by becoming stronger at our neighborhood level, at our community level, becoming stronger at our city level. And then we can really look after individuals and look after people, and thats a little bit different than just winning talking points or changing public opinion so we can get someone into office.”
2. The Shooting Has Been Described as a ‘Random Act of Violence
There are no reports from New Orleans of a suspect being in custody or identified. On his Facebook page, D’baha’s friend, Brandon Fish, called the shooting a “random act of violence.” Fish also said that his last conversation with D’baha involved the slain activist talking about doing community work away from Charleston.
D’baha said that he was learning and looking forward to returning to his hometown. Fish’s post concludes, “He was loved by all of his friends and respected by all those who want to see social and racial justice in Charleston. We all have lost so much, so very much, whether you know it or not. This world was a better place because he walked around in it (barefoot, so he could feel the vibrations of the Earth of course).”
3. As a Kid, D’baha Got in Trouble for Stealing Cars, but Eventually Got His Life Together
According to a New Yorker feature, D’baha was born in Poughkeepsie in upstate New York. When he was 13, D’baha’s family moved to South Carolina. The piece reads, “As a kid, he got in trouble for stealing cars, but then he straightened himself out and went to a good magnet school; in college, he studied psychology and played football.” D’baha’s mother was raised in the Bahá’í Faith and his father is a Muslim.
D’baha goes on to talk about the culture in Charleston, particularly regarding those who spoke for Dylann Roof during his initial hearing.
“That was Charleston. That was accommodating white feelings and white superiority. It was ‘Yes, Massa, can I have another?’ But, at the same time, it was spiritual fortitude forged in a crucible of terrorism. It speaks of a spiritual level that I haven’t attained. What it also meant to Charleston was that, without the families’ backing, we couldn’t demonstrate at the pitch we wanted. Walter Scott’s mom said the same thing,” D’baha said. “When the families give these signals, and the pastors instill in the families a sense of grace and forgiveness, the anger never reverberates. No leadership arose demanding to have this pain recognized. Again, it’s let me accommodate you so you’re not scared, we’ll just get on the bridge and hold hands, Jesus is good, we’re over it. There has been an arrangement here, created over generations, to be able to endure terrorism. At this point, this is the way it is. We endure. We don’t ask for more.”
4. D’baha Has Been Described as a ‘Consummate Social Justice Activist’
Speaking to the Charleston City Paper, the head of Charleston activist group The Coalition and candidate for mayor of North Charleston said of D’baha, “He was a consummate social justice activist. He was a man that was driven by the spirit of community. We didn’t agree on everything, but we both understood that the mission and the message superseded differences, so we were always friends no matter what.”
5. D’baha’s Death Has Led to an Outpouring of Emotion on Twitter
D’baha’s death has led to an outpouring of emotion from followers and friends on Twitter. Here are the most poignant tributes: