Media Alert –
#SayHerName Vigil in Remembrance of Black Women and Girls Killed by the Police
Wednesday, May 20 5:30pm, Union Square, NYC
Family members of Alberta Spruil, Rekia Boyd, Shantel Davis, Shelly Frey, Kayla Moore, Kyam Livingston, Miriam Carey, Michelle Cusseax and Tanisha Anderson to Attend and Participate
With Art, Music & Poetry by Piper Anderson, Eve Ensler, Sarah Jones, LaChanze, Aja Monee Tonya Pinkins, Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, and more
Report “Say Her Name: The Urgent Need for a Gender Inclusive Movement to End State Violence” To Be Issued the Same Day by the African American Policy Forum, in partnership with Andrea Ritchie
Monday, May 18, 2015 – In order to shed light on Black women’s experiences with police violence, the African American Policy Forum, in partnership with One Billion Rising, BYP100, The Stop Mass Incarceration Network, Black Lives Matter NYC, and many other community organizations will hold #SayHerName: A Vigil in Remembrance of Black Women and Girls Killed by the Police. The vigil is being held on the evening prior to a National Day of Action to End Police Violence Against Black Women, being organized by the Black Youth Project 100.
On Wednesday, May 20, community leaders, groups, artists and activists will gather at 5:30pm in Union Square alongside family members of Tanisha Anderson, Rekia Boyd, Miriam Carrey, Michelle Cusseaux, Shelly Frey, and Kayla Moore. The family members will be supported by community leaders and the event will feature speaking, singing and poetry and art by Kimberle Williams Crenshaw, Piper Anderson, Eve Ensler, LaChanze, Aja Monee Tonya Pinkins and more. The event will lift up the stories of these women and recognize that although Black women are killed, raped and beaten by the police, their experiences are rarely foregrounded in our popular understanding of racialized state violence.
For the first time, family members of Alberta Spruil, Rekia Boyd, Shantel Davis, Shelly Frey, Kayla Moore, Kyam Livingston, Miriam Carey, Michelle Cusseax and Tanisha Anderson are coming together to create a space to honor their lost loved ones.
That same day, the African American Policy Forum, in partnership with Andrea Ritchie, a police misconduct attorney and organizer, will release Say Her Name: The Urgent Need for a Gender Inclusive Movement to End State Violence, a brief which will argue that the inclusion of Black women’s experiences is critical to effectively combating anti-Black state violence. The brief shares the stories of Black women who have experienced state violence, and provides some analytical frames for understanding their experiences for the media, organizers, researchers, policy makers and other stakeholders. The brief seeks to broaden dominant conceptions of who victims of state violence are, and what state violence consists of.
The families speaking at the vigil also have their loved ones’ stories told in Say Her Name, some accompanied by interviews. Tanisha Anderson, a loving mother and aspiring journalist, was forcibly slammed to the pavement and held for an extended amount of time in a prone position, in front of her family, before going limp and dying in police custody. Tanisha’s death has been ruled a homicide. Rekia Boyd, a 22-year-old bright personality, was shot in the back of the head by an off-duty cop who shot multiple times into an unarmed group of friends. Miriam Carey, a young professional in the dental field, was shot multiple times from behind while in the car with her young daughter. Michelle Cusseaux, a caring and forgiving woman, was unnecessarily shot and killed after the police forced their way into her house as first responders in an effort to bring Michelle to a mental health facility at the request of her family. Shelly Frey, the mother of two young girls living in Houston after being displaced by hurricane Katrina, was shot twice by an off-duty police officer in a Walmart parking lot where he was working as a security guard. Kayla Moore died in her apartment after police officers who arrived as first responders to a mental health call made by her friends failed to monitor her vital signs and provide prompt CPR after a brutal struggle to restrain her. These deaths have gone primarily ignored, unaccounted for and unpunished.
The community groups organizing the event invite all community members to attend the vigil and to join in remembering the Black women and girls who have been victimized by the police, but whose experiences are all too often relegated to the margins.
If the loss of their lives matters;
If the grief of their families matters;
If the impunity with which all Black lives can be taken matters;
Then we cannot allow these tragedies to remain unmarked, silenced and forgotten.
This vigil and brief release are being held the evening prior to May 21st, a national day of action to end state violence against Black women called by BYP100.
#SayHerName List in formation of Sponsoring Organizations:
African American Policy Forum
Black Lives Matter NYC
Justice League NYC
The Stop Mass Incarceration Network
One Billion Rising
Judson Memorial Church
The Precedential Group
The Chicago Alliance Against Racist & Political Repression
Yeah, That’s What She Said
Black Trans* Women’s Lives Matter
Agent of Change
The Civil Rights Coalition on Police Reform
Empowering Women of Color at Columbia Law School
Sister Circle Collective
th3e Revolutionary Communist Party
Sadie Nash Leadership Project