Police violence against African American women

This video from the USA says about itself:

Say Her Name: Families Seek Justice in Overlooked Police Killings of African-American Women

20 May 2015

As the Black Lives Matter movement grows across the country, the names of Michael Brown, Eric Garner, Tamir Rice and Freddie Gray have become well known. All died at the hands of local police, sparking waves of protest.

During this time, far less attention has been paid to women who have been killed by law enforcement. Today, a vigil under the banner of Say Her Name is being organized in New York to remember them. We are joined by Kimberlé Crenshaw, professor of law at UCLA and Columbia University, founder of the African American Policy Forum and co-author of the new report, “Police Brutality Against Black Women.”

From the Daily Tar Heel, student newspaper of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the USA:

#SayHerName highlights police violence against black women

Sofia Edelman

25 August 2015

Stories of rape, murder and discrimination against black women were told at the #SayHerName vigil in front of Wilson Library Monday night. The vigil sought to remember transgender and cisgender black women who were killed by police or died in police custody in recent years. “If anyone asks why we are here, we are here to heal so later we can act,” senior June Beshea, who organized the event, said at the beginning of the vigil. “We are here to say her name because so many have not.”

This vigil comes less than a week after the Silent Sam monument was spray-painted with the words “Who is Sandra Bland?” Bland was a black woman who was found dead in her Texas jail cell in July after being arrested during a traffic stop. Her death was ruled a suicide by officials in Waller County, Texas. During the vigil, the stories of the deaths of 10 black women from around the country were told, highlighting whether or not the police officers involved in the event were indicted. Poets and speakers also took the microphone to tell their personal struggles of feeling unsafe because of their skin color.

“I wasn’t trying to educate as much in this event as more give a space to heal,” Beshea said. “But I guess people will come away from it knowing just the scope of black women that are killed by police in this country.” Beyond holding vigils and offering spaces to grieve, Beshea said she plans to use this semester to showcase plays, display art and hold Pit takeovers under the umbrella of “Black Heals” to celebrate blackness. Reverend Robert Campbell, president of the Chapel Hill-Carrboro National Association for the Advancement of Colored People which co-sponsored the vigil with on-campus groups, said he was happy to see college students taking up social justice issues. “All this feeds into why we should focus on what is the value of a life,” Campbell said. “What is the value of a female’s life? What is her worth? Not just as a mother, not just as a sister, but as a human being that should have the same rights as a male.”

Destinee Grove, president of the UNC chapter of the NAACP, which also co-sponsored the vigil, said she hoped the vigil created allies and informed attendees on what they can do as students to become involved in events like the #SayHerName vigil. “I think (Say Her Name) means ‘don’t forget, don’t move on, don’t be undone by the initial murdering of a person and then forget them. Remember these people,’” Grove said. “It’s a catalyst to keep the movement going. If you just take away anything, I think that’s a positive.” Junior Charity Lackey, who spoke at the vigil, said it’s important that individuals inside and outside the black community learn more about violence against women of color. “I get emotionally drained just trying to see all of the women’s lives that are lost,” she said. “You just have to keep your eyes open and your ears open, and listen more than you speak sometimes.”

UNC STUDENTS TOPPLE CONFEDERATE STATUE Students at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill stormed a controversial Confederate statue on Monday night — toppling it with their own hands. The students said they had grown frustrated by the inaction of university leaders and their school’s “institutional white supremacy.” [HuffPost]

7 thoughts on “Police violence against African American women

  1. After nine African American churchgoers were shot to death in Charleston, South Carolina, June 17, longshoreman Leonard Riley Jr. was buoyed by the tremendous outpouring of sympathy and outrage.

    ‘I was so moved by people saying “This is appalling, horrific – all of the adjectives,” ’ he said. ‘And now this might be a historic opportunity to react in a way that we can get some change.’ Riley is a member of International Longshoremen’s Association Local 1422, a union long known for its efforts in the community.

    The local is spearheading ‘Days of Grace’ on September 5th and 6th: a march in downtown Charleston and a strategy conference that will, Riley hopes, ‘galvanise all these good people against these policies that inflict tragedies on lives every day. We can transform all that expression of forgiveness and “we want to be one” into efforts to change policies.’

    One of the local’s 800 members lost a son and an aunt in the massacre at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church. Another member is the brother of Walter Scott, the Black motorist who was shot in the back by a North Charleston policeman on 4 April.

    After Scott was murdered, the local participated in protest rallies and sponsored community meetings at its hall. With the Black Lives Matter movement and other organisations, it formed a new coalition in North Charleston, the Civil Coalition for Reform, which is pressing for a citizens review board to check the police.

    Local 1422 is not new to challenging racism. Its members, who load and unload ships at the Port of Charleston, are 99.8 percent Black. In 2000, the local was a prime mover of the effort to take down the Confederate flag from South Carolina’s Capitol building.

    The movement included an NAACP-led economic boycott of the state and the cancellation of many sports events and conventions. Local 1422 hired buses and organised members to walk the 120-mile march route from Charleston to the state capital, Columbia.

    The boycott ended after a compromise moved the flag to a somewhat less prominent spot on the Statehouse grounds. But in the wake of the Emanuel shootings, even South Carolina’s Republican governor finally said the flag had to go.

    Kerry Taylor is a college history professor in Charleston and one of the organisers of the Days of Grace. When he heard that politicians were jumping to remove the flag, he said, ‘my initial response was, ‘I’m looking for something more substantive, something material.’

    ‘But this has been a key demand of the Black civil rights community in South Carolina for many, many years. To be on hand for the removal of the flag, that was powerful.’ Local 1422 rented a bus so Charlestonians could witness the taking down July 10. It was shortly afterward that Riley initiated the idea that became the Days of Grace. The whole purpose is not to stop at symbols. ‘Some might be placated,’ Taylor said, ‘but my hope is that it’s emboldening. Something from which we’re able to build momentum.’

    The march and conference are organised around the legacy of minister and State Senator Clementa Pinckney, who was killed at Emanuel, with the goal of winning legislation he had sponsored and causes he espoused. These include an end to discriminatory policing and gun violence, $15 an hour and collective bargaining rights for all workers, expanded voting rights, Medicaid expansion, quality education, and ‘accuracy in our historical commemorations.’

    South Carolina is one of the states whose governors have refused the expansion of Medicaid that is part of the Affordable Care Act. People are dying because they don’t have coverage,’ Riley said. ‘The governor gave in on the flag, but not on that.’

    Taylor said the organising committee expects the march and conference to draw participants from outside South Carolina, including from the Southern Workers Assembly, Black Workers for Justice, and Fight for $15 networks. They are expecting groups of fast food workers from North Carolina and Georgia, ‘maybe as far as Richmond.’

    Rev. Thomas Dixon, president of the Carolina Alliance for Fair Employment, stresses that the organising team is seeking multiracial attendance. I’m looking forward to lots of white allies,’ he said.
    At the same time, he can’t agree with those who’ve said the U.S. is in a ‘post-racial era.’

    Racism is alive and well, he says – and when people stopped talking about it, ‘it continued to fester till it exploded in a Dylann Roof – the Charleston shooter – and in our law enforcement and judicial systems.” Riley said he’d angered some people when he objected to simply organising shows of sympathy and commemoration.

    ‘If you love, let’s change the policies,’ he said. For the Days of Grace conference, ‘the most important thing is to extract strategies. Labor has a unique responsibility to answer this kind of social injustice because we can mobilise people,’ Riley said. ‘We have to come out of our comfortable place and do this work.’

    Dixon, too, is looking for results. ‘We can’t keep wringing our hands talking about peace and love,’ he said. ‘We cannot have a kumbaya moment again—we need a kumbaya millennium.’

    Longshore Local 1422 is spearheading ‘Days of Grace’ September 5 and 6: a march in downtown Charleston and a strategy conference. Themes include policing, wages, union rights, voting rights, and Medicaid. Community and labor activists rallied against police violence after Walter Scott’s death.



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