State violence does not only show up as false arrests and physical harm. State violence is also the unwillingness of the State to rehabilitate those that are impacted by it’s terrorizing reach.
Today is International Women’s Day. This is a time when we should be looking for ways to implement ideology and action into our lives that expands our definitions of womanhood and feminism while pushing us all to aware of the work that women are doing to secure more justice. Black women, in particular, have been doing this work for generations.
This list of books, ideas, and organization offers a step in that direction.
I am not the same person now as I was when I was 14—and thank God for that. I was remarkably naive and unbearably insecure, and stuck in an environment that did nothing but exacerbate those complex internal struggles that are so typical of adolescence.
So imagine my outrage upon being continuously confronted with articles that insist on describing the affairs between Thomas Jefferson and a fourteen year-old enslaved Sally Hemings (simultaneously his slave and wife’s half-sister) as a ‘relationship.’ I cannot fathom, at fourteen, being denied the liberty to reject the sexual advances of a 44 year-old man (and not just any man, but a man who would become the President of the United States) only to have historians and writers skip over the imbalanced power dynamics and categorize it as a ‘relationship.’
I remember the first time I had my intelligence questioned by a peer like it was yesterday; I had just won the regional spelling bee when a classmate, a non-Black person of color, started a rumor that my accomplishments were simply a result of me smoking marijuana.
I was 14, and had never smoked a day in my life.
Young Thug made headlines last week when he was recorded on video calling two black women working at an airport “peasants,” “ants,” and “African-looking.”
Thug has apparently arrived late to his flight and tried to offer the employees $15,000 to quit their jobs. After the women said no, they informed the Jeffrey rapper that they’d called their manager. As time went on, Thug went on to taunt the women.
I felt my heart sink when Kalief Browder’s name suddenly began trending on Twitter in June of last year. Just a couple years older than I am, Browder ended his life after suffering through three years of being beaten and held in solitary confinement in a Rikers Island prison for a crime he did not commit.
The resulting trauma left him tormented.
Regardless of where you are in your political education, Ava DuVernay’s documentary The 13th was pretty well done.
Weaving the staggering numbers of rising incarceration rates with the insights of prominent activists, journalists, and academics coupled with a soundtrack that highlights the connectedness of mass incarceration to Black realities, it is a signature piece of art imitating life. The 13th brought many conversations around systematic racism that usually happen in select circles to a potentially larger audience, but I’m not sure if anyone besides the usual “woke” circle sat in on this one, and if they did – what now?
Originally from Sacramento, CA Lindsey Day, the co-founder and Editor-in-Chief of the new Black women’s hair magazine CRWN, said she got her tough attitude from her dad’s relatives on the east coast. Not only that, she has always had the drive to change the world around her and the tenacity to see it through.
“I always wanted to help people,” Day said, “that was something that was like a common thread I really wanted to do something in my work that would help others.”
When I first read the code of conduct administered at Pretoria High School for Girls in South Africa, I was mortified. As a mother, with a daughter whose hair at 3 years old would be classified by some as “nappy”, all I could think was “How would I do her hair if this came home from her school?” The answer quickly revealed itself: I wouldn’t. I couldn’t.
In recent years, movements to address sexual assault on college campuses have gained attention and achievements across the United States. Activists Wagatwe Wanjuki and Kamilah Willingham are adding their voices to the conversation with their #JustSaySorry campaign, highlighting the importance of colleges acknowledging their failures in addressing sexual violence on campus. In an interview, Wanjuki shared the goals and guiding principles of the campaign.