That translates to approximately every 30 days, a Black woman’s life ends in the United States because she was killed by a police officer. According to reports, four of those women were unarmed.
Those are the sobering numbers that Al Jazeera provides in their new documentary, The Lives of Black Women. A part of the channel’s Fault Line series, the 30-minute episode is available online beginning today (October 18). It examines the stories of women whose names do not make the headlines, although they were victims of police brutality. It also attempts to answer why the national—and global—conversation on American police brutality against Black communities largely focuses on men.
“At best [Black women are] taken for granted, at worst we’re abused,”says Page May, a teacher and member of the Chicago-based nonprofit Assata’s Daughters who appears in the doc. “And we see the manifestation of that in the mainstream, in the erasure of our deaths, our suffering, and of our resistance.”
This erasure was the impetus for the #SayHerName movement, created in 2015 by Columbia Law Professor Kimberlee Crenshaw, a leading authority on how law and society are shaped by race and gender. The movement is working to bring an increase in “calls for attention to police violence against Black women by offering a resource to help ensure that Black women’s stories are integrated into demands for justice, policy responses to police violence, and media representations of victims of police brutality.”
Beginning today with the availability of The Lives of Black Women, we have another way to learn more of these names, to say them and honor the female victims of this continuing attack on Black America.