#SayHerName: A Digital Memorial

Say Her Name: March for Black Women and Femme Survivors | Photographer: Shae McCoy

Originally posted on Electric Marronage.

Over my desk hangs an image of Korryn Gaines, a 23 year old Black woman, mother, daughter, and sister, shot and killed by Baltimore County Police in 2016. On Juneteenth at the Say Her Name: March for Black Women and Femme Survivors, organized by Baltimore activists Amorous Ebony and Brittany Oliver, protesters said Korryn’s name alongside the many cis and trans Black women and girls who were also victims of police brutality. Some names were familiar, some names I never heard before. As we stood on the corner of North Ave. and North Charles St. in Baltimore, I realized that this was the first protest I’ve attended that centered on Black women and girls. Oftentimes, their names are barely shouted in protests and they become, as we seen in the case of Breonna Taylor, lost and forgotten within this movement.

The #SayHerName campaign emerged as a response to the invisibility of Black women and girls in conversations surrounding police brutality. Launched by the African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) in December 2014, this hashtag demands that the names, voices, and stories of Black women and girls be amplified for they too, are victims of police brutality. It is important to note that the #SayHerName is inclusive to all forms of police violence not solely those killed, but those who are physically assaulted and/or sexual assaulted. With the various forms of police violence enacted on Black women and girls, we must still demand and shout today, “Why are they continuously forgotten?” 

This digital memorial site was created to remember. It remembers the name of those cis and trans Black women and girls who should still be here today. This was a hard labor of love, if one can call it that. It was a labor of anger, frustration, sadness, and grief. Reading the stories, ensuring that I include as many names as possible, but knowing that there are countless others. Reading multiple news articles of how a district attorney or judge justified murder time after time after time again. Seeing mugshots as as the sole representation of a Black woman’s life, without knowing her smile or light. Reading the obituaries that share how a mother, daughter, sister, or grandmother’s life was tragically taken and the family and friends they leave behind. And remembering that the lives of 8 year old Aiyana Stanley-Jones and the unborn child of Charleena Lyles ended before they could completely begin. So this is my form of protest, saying the names of cis and trans Black women and girls louder–not just for folks in the back, but for those up front too.

TW: Police Brutality. Created through Twine, #SayHerName: A Digital Memorial centers on the all too many cis and trans Black women and girls who have been killed by the police or within police custody. The number of women and girls who are victims of police brutality extends beyond the 95 individual in this memorial. This site is an ever growing archive as I continue to add names and extend the project prior to 1984. To navigate this memorial, please wait for each page to fully load, after 6 seconds, a hyperlinked “Continue Here” or “SayHerName” will appear at the end of each page.

Artist: Ariel Sinha

Blog at WordPress.com.

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