Don’t Forget to Say Her Name


Asha Brown

In 1962 Malcolm X said, “The most disrespected woman in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America, is the Black woman.” Unfortunately, 58 years later this statement still rings true.

With all of the recent Black Lives Matter protests you may have heard of the saying or hashtag, “say their names”. #SayTheirNames is used to remind everyone of the Black lives lost to police brutality and anti-Black violence. It is important that we do not forget the magnitude of Black lives lost due to the heavy presence of racism in this country, because we do not want to stop the fight that brings us closer to racial equality. 

What many people do not know is that #SayTheirNames is derived from #SayHerName. The African American Policy Forum (AAPF) and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS) created the #SayHerName campaign in 2014. According to AAPF, this campaign was created to bring “awareness to the often invisible names and stories of Black women and girls who have been victimized by racist police violence, and provides support to their families.” The hashtag was made to specifically cater to Black women. There is nothing wrong with #SayTheirNames being inspired by #SayHerName. The problem is when the names of victims of police and anti-Black violence are mentioned, Black women are often excluded.

According to the New York Times, 48 Black women have been killed by the police since 2015. No nationwide protest took place for any of those Black women. However, this was not the case for Breonna Taylor, the 26 year old EMT who was fatally shot in her own bed in Louisville, Kentucky this past March. Taylor was killed over a month before the public execution of George Floyd, the 46 year old father, by four Minneapolis cops. The death of George Floyd set off the ongoing wave of racial unrest. Many protestors made sure not to forget Breonna Taylor during these protests. The #SayHerName was used across all social media platforms when demanding justice for Breonna Taylor.

Now you may be wondering, what is the point of saying her name? It can be very discouraging watching the lack of justice being served to the victims of police violence. But we must keep lifting up the name of these victims, especially the Black women. According to Psychology Today, “identifiable victims may cause us to donate more money to help them and feel more distress and sympathy toward them.” It is important to identify these people because they are people and not statistics. Continuous to say her name because she is a human. Black women are being targeted and killed by the police too. Black women’s lives matter just as much as anyone else and they deserve the same advocacy for justice as anyone else. 

Familiarize yourself with the names of female victims of police violence and don’t forget to say her name.

Here are a few names of young female Black teens who were killed by the police in the past ten years:

  • Derrinesha Clay, 17
  • Darnesha Harris, 17
  • Renisha McBride, 19
  • Sheneque Proctor, 18
  • Kindra Chapman, 18
  • Gynnya McMillen, 16
  • Aiyana Mo’Nay Stanley-Jones, 7