Black women’s lives matter too

Courtland Milloy has a very interesting column about the founders of the #BlackLivesMatter. #BlackLivesMatter was co-founded by Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi two years ago after the acquittal of George Zimmerman who was charged with the murder of Trayvon Martin.


All three ladies were recently honored by the New York Women’s Foundation. But as Courtland’s column states their hashtag may have come at price. While all the attention has been focused on black men losing their lives due to police brutality, the lives of black women who are also losing their lives to police brutality is being ignored. The taser gun death of Natasha McKenna in Fairfax County, Virginia is a recent example.  Last month the medical examiner ruled her death by stun gun an accident.


It is clear that #BlackLivesMatter struggles to generate as much concern for the safety and welfare of black women as it does for black men. The death of Natasha McKenna in the Fairfax County jail is a case in point.

McKenna, who suffered from mental illness, was shocked four times with a Taser stun gun by a sheriff’s deputy. She was in coma for several days before she died. A “Students March for Natasha McKenna” was supposed to have been held earlier in May to protest her death, which was ruled accidental. But the march has been postponed because of a lack of participation.

During the 1950’s and 1960’s civil rights movement black women were pretty much relegated to the sidelines. The co-founders of #BlackLivesMatter have stated that that mistake will not be made in the 21st century. Even though black women aren’t losing their lives at the hands of police brutality at the same rate as black men their lives matter just as much as men.

Which makes all the more abhorrent the decision by so many black men they support to push them aside.

“For the three of us and for millions of black women around this country, we aren’t just taking to the streets to demand justice, but also trying to create justice in the home, the workplace and the community,” Garza told me.

The trio responded by writing and posting “A Herstory of the #BlackLivesMatter Movement” on the organization’s Web site. In it, they make clear that marginalizing women who work just as hard as men for civil rights was a 20th-century mistake that would not be tolerated in a 21st-century freedom struggle.

Check out the entire Courtland Milloy column at the Washington Post.

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