The Black Lives Matter movement has lifted up the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Walter Scott, Freddie Gray, and Tamir Rice. But although black women and girls are also frequent victims of police violence, they aren't as likely to have their stories told. Activists are looking to change that with the #SayHerName campaign.
Groups like Black Youth Project 100, Ferguson Action, and Black Lives Matter organized a National Day of Action that included demonstrations in more than 20 cities across the country on Thursday. A vigil in Union Square Wednesday drew a crowd of several hundred:
The women being honored include 22-year-old Rekia Boyd who was shot while walking in Chicago by an off-duty cop; 37-year old Tanisha Anderson who died after being physical restrained in a prone position by Cleveland police; 47-year-old single mom Yvette Smith was fatally shot in front of her Texas home after calling the police about two men fighting in her house; and 7-year-old Aiyana Stanley-Jones who was killed in her sleep when police conducted a military-style raid on her Detroit home. Many more female victims are being remembered both at demonstrations and online.
The #SayHerName movement is a perfect example of intersectionality—the idea that members of multiple minority groups face a complicated web of discrimination. So not only do black women face racial prejudices like black men do, they are also subject to sexism both within the black community and outside of it. That's the reason black female victims of police brutality have yet to receive the same amount of national attention.
One protest garnering a lot of attention took place in Oakland, California where black women took to the streets topless to protest the idea that American culture commodifies black female bodies while ignoring the needs of black women.