For many of you, today is just the beginning of the weekend, payday or casual Friday at your office jobs. Today may be just June 19th to some of us, another day closer to the official date marking the start of the summer season. However, many of us recognize that today is Juneteenth or Emancipation day, a historical day celebrating the end of Slavery throughout the South.
Times have changed in a number of ways. Yet, one fact remains, Black lives are not valued. Black lives are still systematically enslaved. Black lives do not matter? In these past few years, the outcry of the black community has been ringing all over the country, demanding to be heard and respected. We saw mass movements take place in Ferguson, New York, and most recently, Baltimore. Some of us participated in demonstrations and organizing, and some of us anxiously watched from the other side of the television screen.
People have organized and implemented national and local change pertaining to police brutality way before social media gave us access to it. Cis women of color and Trans* women of color have always been at the fore front fighting to bring justice to the fallen bodies of our brothers. They have been organizing behind the scenes while educating and uplifting their communities. However, when one of our sisters die at the hands of the state, it rarely makes a headline. We have watched the #blacklivesmatter movement grow and many of us are familiar with the sensationalized cases of Mike Brown, Trayvon Martin and Eric Garner. But, why is it that we never hear the stories of WoC and TWoC such as Rekia Boyd of Chicago who was fatally shot in the back of the head by an off-duty cop in 2012? or Yvette Smith of Texas who was shot by a police officer who was responding to a call in 2014? or Tarika Wilson of Ohio who was shot and killed with her infant son in her arms in 2008? or CeCe McDonald, a survivor of a transphobic and racist attack who was punished for protecting herself and desire to live? Cis WoC are widely ignored and our Trans* sisters are kept invisible.
Why hasn’t the deaths of any of these women incite national and global solidarity? Why hasn’t the dehumanization of our sisters spark the same anger and passion that gathered millions to honor the lives of black men?
It is time that we #SayHerName.
It has come to my attention that today there will be a vigil taking place at India Point Park to honor to the lives and stories of All Black Lives. I am not sure who has organized this gathering, and I do not wish to take any credit for it but, I am bringing this to your attention, to the audience that closely follows our blog in hopes that you attend, tell a friend or begin to #SayHerName. More details below:
Date: June 19, 2015
Time: 6:30 pm
Location: India Point Park
Brief message from Andrea Sterling, who I believe created the event on Faceboook:
“This is a call to the Rhode Island community to pay respects, mourn, honor, and acknowledge our fallen Black Cis and Trans* Sisters who have lost their lives and freedom at the hands of the Police State. A vigil for the lives that are too often forgotten or pushed aside. The names who do not get chants, the faces who do not get to be transformed into posters, the people who are not chosen for Million Marches.
This event is not a march. It is a collective gathering to acknowledge lives lost and to speak out against Police State violence. It is a time for us to gather together as a community to mourn together and begin to heal together.
Bring drinks, snacks, signs, candles, frustrations or just bring yourselves. Let us come together to chant “Black Lives Matter” and truly mean that “All Black Lives Matter”.