Although it is often left out of the mainstream narrative, the lives of Black girls, women, and trans women are being consistently lost to our violent and traumatizing corrections facilities. Yet, amongst all of their investigations, the federal government has refused to take action on these in-custody deaths. That’s why we are standing with Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Action, Project South and activists across the country to #SayHerName.
As we saw with the deaths of Gynnya McMillen, Kayla Moore and Joyce Crunell, violence toward Black girls and women receives significantly less mainstream media coverage. Even the death of Sandra Bland didn’t initially receive the coverage it deserved. It was the advocacy of ColorOfChange members and activists across the country, that pushed Sandra’s case to the forefront of mainstream media.
Yet, the DOJ has still failed to open an investigation into Sandra’s death or any other. We must continue to lift up the stories of Black girls, women, and trans women whose families are calling for accountability until our government recognizes that this is a crisis in our criminal justice system.
#SayHerName is a national movement that began in 2015 to bring attention to violence against Black women, girls and trans women. With Black women making up the fastest growing population in our criminal justice system, the trend of unnecessary deaths of Black mothers, sisters, daughters in jails, prisons, and detention centers appears destined to continue unless there is a massive intervention.2 By acknowledging and investigating instances of state abuse that Black women experience, the Department of Justice can give this crisis the attention it deserves.
Like #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName started as a Twitter hashtag but soon spilled into the streets. ColorOfChange is joining with Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, Ferguson Action and Project South to make Thursday, May 19 a National Day of Action to end domestic and state violence toward Black women, girls, and trans women. In coordination, we are delivering over 193,000 petition signatures to Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin calling for justice for Gynnya McMillen, but it’s time to take it to the next level. Will you continue to advocate for Gynnya, Sandra, and others?