Watch This Poet Address Police Brutality In A Striking Performance
Black men are not alone when it comes to facing senseless acts of violence by police forces. Innocent black women (albeit their encounters with police brutality aren’t readily picked up by media outlets) have their fair share of traumatic confrontations with authorities. Concurrently, there’s an unfair distribution of news coverage and visibility on this rampant issue plaguing the African-American community, making it difficult to quantify the abuse black women in America endure by state forces.
Enter the campaign #SayHerName. As an initiative hoping to bring attention to black women’s experiences with police violence, the movement plans to pinpoint cases of police brutality involving women of color that have been overlooked. Participants in the campaign are daring to recite victims’ names through various forms of expression, hoping that with these testaments, they’re able to raise spirits during this vexing journey towards socio-political justice.
Esteemed slam poet and Brooklyn native Aja Monet joined the campaign to give voice to women of color whose lives have been directly taken away by state violence; she chose to recite a poem she wrote after Sandra Bland’s death in jail last year. Bland is one of the rare few women repeatedly recognized by the Black Lives Matter movement; but what about the other six black women (that we know of) who have been killed after being stopped by police in 2015 alone? The campaign, which is sponsored by The African American Policy Forum (AAPF), begs that we say their names too: Tanisha Anderson. Rekia Boyd. Miriam Carey. Michelle Cusseaux. Shelly Frey. Kayla Moore.
Monet—who, at the tender age of 19, became the youngest winner of New York City’s Nuyorican Poet’s Café Grand Slam—calmly, with some shakiness to her voice, recites these victims’ names in her poem for #SayHerName. At the beginning of the poem, Monet utters, “I am a woman carrying other women in my mouth.” She continues, informing us of the need to take real action beyond our social media wannabe activist ways, stating, “Black and woman is a sort of magic you cannot hashtag. The mere weight of it too vast to be held.”
You can watch the performance of the spine-chilling poem for #SayHerName below.
Stay tuned to Milk for more on police brutality activism.
Images via The Huffington Post