Black women, girls, gender non conforming people and femme folk need options beyond the police when dealing with gender-based violence.
This essay contains discussions of sexual violence.
On April 8, the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100) launched “She Safe, We Safe,” a national campaign to help combat the many forms of gender-based violence perpetrated against Black women, girls, femmes, and gender non-conforming people every day. State violence, in particular.
These violences and the systems that perpetuate them are all connected, and rooted in misogynoir and transphobia. Black women and girls especially have been historically painted as licentious and unworthy of protection, while gender non-conforming Black folks have often been written out of history. This allows violences against them to be unwritten as well, and often not conceived of as violences at all, especially when they are committed by the state.
The “She Safe, We Safe” Vision Statement reads, in part:
“BYP100 organizes through a Black Queer Feminist lens, which means that we are vigilant in focusing our methods, stories, and solutions on those that society deems most deviant and most undeserving of justice so that we all may be free.
Black women, girls, and femmes – both cis and trans – as well as gender non-conforming folks experience persistent violence within our households, within our communities, and at the hands of the state… [and] many policies put [us] in a position where we are criminalized and demonized for our own survival…
We envision a world where a cultural shift away from disposability will lead to greater community control, self-determined resources, and dependable infrastructure that addresses gender based violence. We deeply believe that Black liberation is achievable; and to get there we must build power, we must organize and we must defend Black women, girls, and femmes. And in keeping her safe we will get us free.”
These frequent violations include racialized sexual violences — under-reported and under-investigated — but they also include the likes of disproportionate public housing evictions, being pushed out of the education system, punishment by child protective services which helps to siphon Black children from their homes and into the foster care system, disparities in Black maternity mortality, intimate partner violence, and the murder of Black trans women.
BYP100’s “She Safe, We Safe” campaign will work to address these issues through community outreach with hopes to “increase interventions to gender-based violence available to Black women, girls, femmes, gender non-conforming people, and communities that do not rely on contact with the police.” This is one of their goals they will work towards over at least the next three years, along with “reallocat[ing] funding from the police to community-determined programs that address gender-based violence in Black communities.”
Wear Your Voice spoke with Asha Rosa Ransby-Sporn, the young, Black, queer National Organizer Co-Chair for BYP100 about the campaign and their work with the activist organization.
BYP100 is a member-based organization of Black activists and organizers around the country who engage in grassroots organizing and action toward creating lasting change for Black people. We organize through what we call a Black Queer Feminist lens, which means we’re always looking at who’s at the margins in Black communities, who has a proximity to violence and a distance from power and that’s who we put at the center.
About the “She Safe, We Safe” and what hopes the organization has for the campaign in the coming years.
We’ve always engaged in coordinated days or weeks of action as an organization. From our work around #SayHerName to the #FreedomNow actions we did targeting the Fraternal Order of Police and other racist police organizations, we’ve been able to see the power and impact of being connected across the country in these moments of coordinated action.
This campaign came out of the desire to build on the power we’ve felt in those short term efforts and figure out what it looks like in a longer term way to create a coordinated strategy to really move forward a Black Queer Feminist agenda and political project. That’s how we arrive at “She Safe, We Safe.”
I hope that “She Safe, We Safe” truly increases the number of Black women, girls, gender non conforming people and femme folk who feel like they have an option other than the police in the face of experiencing violence. And I hope it brings folks who are not margins in terms of gender oppression to see their liberation as tied to ours.
On centering queer and trans folks in their work.
We want Black queer, trans and gender non conforming folks to the center. Many of us are queer in so many ways. We also understand all Black people to be inherently “queered” by society, even if all Black people don’t claim that. We want to engage in a real conversation about the inherent connectedness of Blackness with queerness and gender non conformity and that starts with centering folks who live at those intersections.
More information about the campaign and its goals can be found here.
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