|Image courtesy of BlackOUT Collective|
The BlackOUT Collective Facebook page
Lately, a lot of us have been upset about the *crickets* we hear whenever a black woman is assaulted/murdered, whether by cops or civilians. We're not even named when we're the first victim in a string of victims. I've been reading Transgriot's blog for five years now and she can barely keep up with all the transwomen of color who are attacked in this country (and around the world), receiving little attention and even less justice. And Transgriot blogs daily, ladies and gentlemen. You practically hear the exhaustion and frustration in her written voice as she tries give voice to those who've been silenced.
You know, on the one hand, it is exhausting to be a black woman because despite all the *hearts*, the hastags, and the hollow claims of solidarity, when it comes down to it, we're really on our own. But on the other hand, I never lose faith that we as a group will rise to the occasion.
Protesters in cities across the country staged various actions over the course of two days this week in order to bring attention to state violence inflicted upon black women, stories often ignored by the media and even by other #BlackLivesMatter protests.Recommended
The first day of action was on May 20 in New York City. On that day, hundreds of protesters gathered in Union Square at around 5:30 p.m. bearing signs with the names of women killed by police for a vigil. The family members of Tanisha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Miriam Carey, Michelle Cusseux, Shelly Frey, Kayla Moore and Alberta Spruill — all black women killed by police — also attended the vigil and shared stories of how their loved ones were killed by state violence.
“#SayHerName was the hashtag, and it was part of a greater movement to raise the stories of black women and girls who are being killed because we’re not hearing those stories presently in the media,” said Delaine Powerful of the Black Youth Project 100, one of the groups that organized the actions. “All we’re hearing when we say ‘black lives matter’ are black straight males, but we’re not hearing about our black women, our black sisters, our black queer women, our black trans women.”
...One of the more stand-out actions happened in San Francisco where, among hundreds of protesters out in the Financial District, about a dozen women blocked traffic on Market Street during the morning. In addition to blocking traffic, the protesters were also topless, wearing colorful turbans, and covered in body paint reminiscent of some African tribes.
“We wanted to be able to say ‘enough is enough’ and draw on traditions from Nigeria, Gabon, Uganda, and South Africa, from women who bare their chests and other parts of their bodies in protest,” Chinerye Tutashinda, a founding member of the BlackOUT Collective, told BuzzFeed News.
Along with honoring African traditions, the protesters went topless in order to also bring attention to the fact that society tends to focus on black women’s physical bodies except when those bodies are victims of violence. They also wanted to let women reclaim their bodies in a public space. Feedback from onlookers was overwhelmingly positive, and at one point, black women on their way to work spotted the protest and walked over to hug, cry and thank the protesters.
In New York City, protesters led a funeral procession, complete with a coffin, from the African Burial Ground National Monument to City Hall, while saying the names of black women killed by police.
Once outside City Hall, they joined a #NoNewNYPD rally to say no to Commissioner Bill Bratton’s request to the City Council for 1,000 new police officers. Citing stories of black cisgender and transgender women killed by the New York Police Department, such as Shantel Davis, Islan Nettles, and Kyam Livingston, the protesters demanded that the City Council not add new cops to the streets. Some of the #NoNewNYPD protesters were later kicked out of a City Council hearing after heckling Bratton as he spoke to the Public Safety Committee and the Finance Committee about the NYPD’s budget. (Source)
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