With the growing visibility of the phrases “black lives matter” and “justice for George Floyd”, as both a rising grad school student in journalism and a black woman, I couldn’t help but attend the protest. Then push my passion for creating in all aspects of the movement. This led me to discover the disparities of black women, their trauma, their pain as well as if we fight for their justice and how intense we do it. Breonna Taylor and her senseless murder at the hands of police officers executing a no-knock warrant. But the collective cries for justice and worldwide recognition of her hashtag has lost traction becoming what seems to scream into the void. I found that this is not uncommon and much like these other disturbing statics, I was never made aware of. Black women are 2.5 times more likely to be murdered by men than white women.¹, Black women and girls as young as 7 and as old as 93 have been killed by the police.² And yet despite these statistics, the most widely reported cases of kidnapping, murders, and violence in it’s whole seem to be the ones with lighter or more so whiter faces. As well as when violence is discussed within the black community it has a very specialized lens on black men especially. But with respect to those who have suffered any of these horrible acts no matter the race. My research including within this article and others is not to negate their trauma or their pain. It also is not to play a round of “who is oppressed more in the United States”. This and all my subsequent work in regards to these topics are all for one simple reason and that is love. Love for my people, love for my ancestors, love for those the world tries so hard to erase as well as. As well as my passion for the right to be told just as much as their white counterpart. As well as equally the same weight of demanding justice in a country claiming to be ”home of the free”. In a more recent example of this erasing of the stories of black women the case of R. Kelly’s 2008 trial for child pornography where one juror stated that he voted to acquit Kelly because he did not believe the testimony offered by Black women.³ To return to my intuitional point of the protest that resulted in the arrest and nationally televised funeral of George Floyd. And nothing but a no longer trending hashtag, the cover of Oprah’s magazine, a soon to be made documentary series, and endless memes online for the woman who was murdered in her home months before George Floyd.
In 2015, Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was convicted of multiple counts of rape; he specifically targeted Black women with the expectation that no one would believe his victims.⁴ But I wish to become a journalist to belive victims, to tell their stories. And I began my participation in black activism thinking that the goal was to do just that. Believe in victims and create safe spaces for every one of the black communities in this country. But sadly as I continue further down this journey I am becoming more and more aware of just how little those also on this journey care about the female section of that community. That realization has led me to my new passion both in my art and in my writing, which is promoting positivity into the black female community and to share my research. With this project the main objective is simple. “Love and passion for the truth be found and told.”
All artwork done by me can be found on @melted.graphics on Instagram. Cover image courtesy of this artist.
If you like this article, check out: https://www.harnessmagazine.com/let-us-breathe/