5 Ways To Stop Harming Black Women Today

One of my favorite gospel songs growing up said, “Give me my flowers, while I yet live, so that I can see the beauty that they bring.” The song always stuck with me now it resonates even more.

This past Friday, Joyce Quaweay was brutally beaten by her boyfriend and his friend reportedly because she would not submit. On Saturday, Skye Mockabee (26) was found dead in a Cleveland parking lot.  And, on Monday, Korryn Gaines (23) was killed while holding her 5-year-old son in her arms. As Brittney Cooper so aptly notes at the Crunk Feminist Collective, all of these women’s deaths are connected. To see them any other way is to deny the culture of white hetero-patriarchy in this country.

As a queer Black woman in the United States, I am keenly aware that my mere existence in public spaces is seen as disruptive, agitating, confrontational, and deserving of violence. For many trans and cis Black women, these sentiments extend into their private spaces as well. So how do we work to protect one another in moments like these? What do we do next?

Here are a few things we can work on right now that can help move toward collective liberation.

We Must Offer Black Women The Same Protections We Offer White Women

By now, the world has heard at length about the gaffes of two very famous white women this week. Taylor Swift was exposed on Snapchat by Kim Kardashian and Kanye West for lying about approving Kanye’s lyrics in his song “Famous.” Melania Trump, the wife of the Republican nominee for president, apparently lifted part of her Republican National Convention Speech from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Democratic National Convention speech. These two instances are part of a larger history of white women and public victimhood in the United States.

Why We Should Celebrate #LoudBlackGirls

Last week, at the end of President Obama’s ABC town hall on policing, Erica Garner spoke up for herself.

“I was railroaded!” she exclaimed, complaining that she did not receive apt time to ask the President a question, which she had been promised by ABC. Ultimately, according to reports, President Obama noticed Garner and did have a conversation with her after the town hall. This incident sparked the trend #LoudBlackGirls on Twitter, with black women discussing the times they, and other important black women, spoke up for themselves or for others.

On Being Biracial In The Movement For Black Lives

Sometimes I feel like people see me like they see Rachel Dolezal. Yeah, her.

As a biracial woman (half Black, half white) from the suburbs, whose features are not predominately “Black”, I find myself in a constant battle with myself as I try to figure out if fighting for equity and the uplift of the Black community is something I should act on – or even speak on – knowing that by doing so I am taking up space that should be reserved for darker-skinned Black people who cannot necessarily pass for anything else.

Poet Beautifully Details Black Women’s Struggles At PWI’s

While there are sure to be challenges at any kind of institution, the challenges that people of color face at predominantly white institutions (PWI) are a separate story. To take that idea even further, the experiences that black women have at PWIs can be even more stressful.

To detail those exact experiences, Kwyn Townsend Riley performed a poem detailing the 10 “guaranteed experiences” for black women at PWIs, including having people play in their hair, explaining the importance of #SayHerName and constantly having to educate.

On The Blatant Racism of Garrison’s Political Cartoon of Michelle Obama

On May 13, Ben Garrison released a racist photo that compared the First Lady Michelle Obama to Melania Trump. While Melania was depicted as the epitome of femininity, the First Lady was depicted as a muscular brute, a thing to be feared and unwanted. As President Obama’s second term in the White House comes to an end, we are left to reflect on mainstream media’s treatment of FLOTUS and what that means for young Black girls in America.

Jean-Louis’ Images are a Reminder of the Beauty and Power of Black Hair

Earlier this year, Pierre Jean-Louis, an artist based on the East Coast, posted a photo of a Black woman’s hair that he reimagined as a piece of art that looked like a perfectly coiled galaxy. Since then, Jean-Louise has continued to post artistic renditions of Black women’s hair on Instagram, and every photo is as beautiful as the last.