By now the world is aware of the decision by a grand jury to not charge officers in the death of Breonna Taylor which was explained by Attorney General Daniel Cameron of Kentucky, but what does this mean for African American Women? Since 2015, there have been a total of 247 black women who were killed by police officers and at least 89 killed in their residence. In 2014, the African American Public Forum created the #sayhername campaign to bring awareness to the fact that African American Women seldom get coverage in these types of cases as media tends to primarily focus on African American Men.
The issues black women face go beyond just police brutality. The #metoo movement was started in 2006 by Tarana Burke to bring awareness to victims of sexual assault, particularly women of color. The African American Women’s voice seemed overshadowed as Hollywood gained most of the press after it went viral from an Alyssa Milano tweet. Studies show that when it comes to rape and sexual assault African American Women are more likely to not be believed than any other demographic. African American Women and girls also make up a disproportionate number in the missing persons category and African American Women face a higher mortality rate in giving birth than any other ethnic group. There are numerous instances we can pivot to in order to showcase the level of unfairness African American Women receive among the issues they have to deal with.
In general African Americans live in a world where disparities seem to be the norm and the African American Women’s plight seems to gather even less accountability from lack of media coverage and/or lack of control of the narrative. The Breonna Taylor case was an opportunity for the American justice system to show that they would be fair in how they would deal with African Americans and that African American Women would also see some accountability for the cost of their life.
So what does the Breonna Taylor case mean to African American Women? That is a good question and one you should ask in person to the women who deal with these issues on a daily basis.
- The Violent State: Black Women’s Invisible Struggle Against Police
- Tarana Burke’s #metoo
- Tarana Burke Interview
- NBC News Article Black Women’s Maternal Mortality Rate
- AAPF #sayhername campaign
- Washington Post Article Nearly 250 Women Killed Police Since 2015