At every turn in her life, Oluwatoyin was failed by all the people, all the places, and all the entities that were supposed to protect her. TW/CW: suicide ideation, murder, anti-Blackness, domestic/interpersonal violence, and sexual assault. I should not be here. This, of
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,
Kenneka's death shows that so many weeks, months, and years later since #SayHerName was first spoken, we are still no closer to uplifting and valuing the lives of Black girls, women, and femmes.Here we are again. Far too soon. It wasn't that long ago that I wrote about the ways that violence and misogynoir against Black girls, women, and femmes are still upheld. We've heard the same arguments made: this pain that we feel is too familiar, the anger that is washing over us from seeing an innocent life callously stolen long before her time is seeping out. Our voices are raw, our fingertips are tired, and we're clawing at what more we could be said, or done, to stop this predatory hunt on the lives of Black girls. But that isn't enough. It's not nearly enough. As usual, the outrage over the murder and violence directed on Kenneka Jenkins has been extended mostly from the efforts of Black women and femmes. There is an overwhelming silence from major news outlets, and those that have expressed any kind of interest in the story have hyper-focused on the details of what Kenneka went though. This post won't be trauma porn; I will not rehash the violence that Kenneka went through before she died. I won't go over the details about how police were lazy and following the playbook check by check to show through their actions that Kenneka didn't matter. I won't do that because I'm tired; I'm exhausted and too full of rage to perform trauma porn for audiences that won't see the humanity of the victims first.
Heather Heyer’s death is not an excuse to further perpetuate white supremacy and the erasure of women of color.By Arielle Gray I rolled my eyes over the outrage splashed across all social media outlets when white nationalists descended onto the University of Virginia’s campus in Charlottesville. The scene wasn’t anything new or surprising to us — to Black Americans, this insidious imagery is emblematic of our country’s racist history. We’ve all either seen or witnessed torches in the night, white supremacist gatherings or outward displays of hate. Our recent political climate has emboldened white supremacists to finally take off their hoods. Counter-protesters filled the city the next day to denounce the hundreds of white nationalists expected to gather in Charlottesville for the “Unite The Right” rally — Heather Heyer was among them when James Alex Fields Jr., 20, of Maumee, Ohio, drove into a crowd of protesters and killed Heather. Fields, was later arrested and charged with second-degree homicide among a myriad of other counts. It wasn’t long after that Heather Heyer’s name started trending under the #SayHerName hashtag. Heather Heyer was an activist. A daughter. She was loved. She put her life on the line to uplift the disenfranchised and to denounce white nationalism and used her white privilege to both educate her fellow white people and to condemn anti-blackness. Heather was what a lot of white women should be. Heather Heyer should be honored, as all activists who’ve lost their lives on the line, should be. But we don’t need to use the #SayHerName hashtag to do it.