#SayHerName: Memorializing Black Women Lost to Police Brutality

Intersectionality: Being a Black Woman

When we have conversations about police violence against the black community we often exclude Black women, cishet, and trans folks from the narrative. In fact, a study done by Anita Jones Thomas and Sha’Kema M. Blackmon on “The Influence of the Trayvon Martin Shooting on Racial Socialization Practices of African American Parents”,  states that most parents assume that Black girls will be safe from police brutality because of their gender. These parents also believe that black parents should focus on the safety and wellbeing of their sons. These assumptions are false. In fact, Black women are 1.4 times more likely than white women to be killed by the police. Using Numbers from the Fatal Interactions with Police (FIPS) Research Project it was found that black women are 60% more likely to be killed when unarmed than any other group. It is time to have a conversation around the interactions between black women and police.

 

Leaders of Our Movements and Police Brutality

Throughout the history of the US, Black women have always been leaders and key components in human rights and social justice movements. However, the contributions of black women are solemnly included in the history books. We have seen women such as Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Marsha P Johnson, and so many others attract police attention and become victims of police harassment in their fights for equality. Currently, there is a range of black women activists fighting against police violence such as Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi, the creators of #BlackLivesMatters, Tamika Mallory, as well as Sybrina Fulton, mother of Trayvon Martin, and Erica Garner, daughter of Eric Garner.

 

Say Her Name: The Movement and Conversation Starter

After the police murder of Rekia Boyd in 2012 Black women decided that enough was enough. In December 2014 from a collaborative effort by AAPF and CISPS, #sayhername was created to bring attention to the names and stories of Black women and girls (including those who are trans) who have been impacted by police brutality, and to offer help to their families. It’s important that #SayHerName does not erase trans women as many of them are misgendered when logged as victims. As of June 2020, this hashtag has been used millions of times across social media networks.

 

#SayHerName Now and Forever

It is not enough to say their names. We must retell their stories so they will never be forgotten and continue the fight against police brutality and sexism. Here are a few names of women and girls who have died in the hands of police:

Sandra Bland | 28 | Waller County, Texas | July 13, 2015

Rekia Boyd | 22 | Chicago, Illinois | March 21, 2012

Miriam Carey | 34 | Washington, D.C. | Oct. 3, 2013

Shantel Davis | 23 | Brooklyn, New York | June 14, 2012

Shelley Frey | 27 | Houston, Texas | Dec 6, 2012

Korryn Gaines | 23 | Baltimore, Maryland | Aug. 1, 2016

Mya Hall | 27 | Baltimore, Maryland | March 30, 2015

Darnisha Harris | 16 | Breaux Bridge, Louisiana, | Dec 2, 2012

Kiwi Herring | 30 |St. Louis, Missouri| Aug 22, 2017

Kendra James | 21| Portland, Oregon | May 5, 2003

Atatiana Jefferson | 28 | Fort Worth, Texas | Oct 12, 2019

Duanna Johnson | 42 |Memphis, Tennessee |Feb 12, 2008

Kathryn Johnston | 92 | Atlanta, Georgia | Nov 21, 2006

Bettie Jones | 55 | Chicago, Illinois | Dec 26, 2015

Deonna Mason | 27 | Charlotte, North Carolina| Oct 7, 2015

Kayla Moore | 41 | Berkeley, California | Feb 13, 2013

Nizah Morris | 47 | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Dec 24, 2002

India Kager | 27| Virginia beach, Virginia | Sept 5, 2015

Yvette Smith | 47 | Bastrop County, Texas | Feb. 16, 2014,

Aiyana Stanley-Jones | 7 | Detroit, Michigan | May 16, 2010

Breoanna Taylor | 24| Louisville, Kentucky| March 13, 2020

Pamela Turner | 45 | Baytown, Texas | May 13, 2019,

Tyisha Miller | 19 | Riverside, California | Dec. 28, 1998

Malissa Williams | 30 | Cleveland, Ohio | Nov 29, 2012

Tarika Wilson | 26 | Lima, Ohio| Jan. 4, 2008

To the women and girls listed above Walker’s Legacy remembers you.

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Isha Kamara

Isha is a Communications Intern at Walkers Legacy. She also owns her own brand Iced Out Cosmetics that launched in 2018, which she uses to uplift WOC and LGBT members by using makeup as a tool for diversity. Through Iced Out Cosmetics, Isha has been a member of UMD's Startup Shell Xi Batch, Terp Startup 2019 Cohort, and Do Good Spring Fellowship for Spring 2020.

 

Walker's Legacy is a growing global women in business collective founded to establish networks of empowerment and access for women of color in business.

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