Today the African American Policy Forum, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies at Columbia University and Andrea Ritchie, Soros Justice Fellow and expert on policing of women and LGBT people of color released #SayHerName: Toward a Gender Inclusive Analysis of State Violence, a document highlighting stories of Black women who have been killed by police and shining a light on gender and sexuality specific forms of police brutality often experienced by Black women such as sexual assault, police violence against pregnant and mothering women, and police abuse of lesbian, bisexual, transgender, gender nonconforming Black women.
The report’s release is timed to support mobilization for a National Day of Action on Black Women and Girls called by Black Youth Project 100, Ferguson Action, and #BlackLivesMatter on May 21st. It is intended to serve as a resource for the media, organizers, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders to better understand and address Black women’s experiences of profiling and policing.
What follows is an introduction to the report by co-author Andrea J. Ritchie.
#Say Her Name draws, builds, and expands on the cases, themes and analysis of a body of work beginning with Anannya Bhatacharjee’s groundbreaking 2001 report Whose Safety? Women and the Violence of Law Enforcement and the Audre Lorde Project’s groundbreaking work and analysis of police violence against women and LGBT people of color, through the writings and organizing tools published by INCITE! over the past decade in The Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology and Law Enforcement Violence Against Women of Color and Trans People of Color: A Critical Intersection of Gender and State Violence, to the publication of Queer (In)Justice: The Criminalization of LGBT People in the United States in 2011 and Beth Richie’s Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America’s Prison Nation in 2012.
It is also informed by a long legacy of efforts to lift up Black women’s experiences of police and state violence dating from Harriet Jacobs’ (writing as Linda Brent) harrowing accounts of the abuses of enslaved African descended women by slave patrols, to Ida B. Wells’ documentation of lynchings of Black women along with Black men, to Angela Y. Davis’ calls for attention to physical and sexual violence against Black women by law enforcement agents from the Civil Rights movement to the present, to a report published in the mid 80s documenting police brutality against Black women in New York City described by Joy James.