I follow the Our Lives Matter page on Facebook. The woman who runs the page, Rosa Perreira, is keeping track of the number of Black women and girls that were murdered this year. At last count, the number was 795 (November). That’s 795 Black women and girls who lost their lives mostly due to male intra-community violence. To break that down even further, 795 Black women and girls have had their lives ended mostly by the hands of Black men.
Most people will never know this, however. And they’ll never know because somewhere in the mid-2010s, society’s collective consciousness was bullied into believing it’s more of a crime (at least socially) to address sex-based differences, including violence and oppression against women. Society chose to pretend that men could be women and in doing so, turned women’s rights issues into human rights issues. Abortion rights are no longer a women’s rights issue because “women have penises too” and healthcare disparities became “not only women get pregnant.” Meanwhile, Black women and girls died in the several hundreds but society chose to focus on less than 25 individuals instead.
This spilled over into politics, as we watched our beloved 44th POTUS opine that males should be able to access women’s spaces if that’s what they felt on the inside. Now, every politician looking for a vote has decided that the less than 25 were worth far more than the hundreds of Black women and girls who experience life-ending violence year after year. They decided that our deaths were not an epidemic but the less than 25 are. They decided to build this premise into their platforms while we continue to have to fight, both mentally and physically for who we are as women.
The more telling part is that the perpetrators of violence against the less than 25, are the same ones who perpetrate violence against Black women and girls. And sometimes, members of that group are perpetrating violence against us, Black women, too. Yet, only their blood seems to matter and to speak about the stark differences and underlying reasons is sin.
Well, election season is here once again. We’ve seen several Democratic candidates broach the topic of violence against a smaller segment with smaller numbers while they basically talk about Black women in reference to how much they need our votes in order to win.
I think a time-out is in order.
I don’t generally embrace political labels but in my writings, I call myself a Centrist. I’m also adamant that candidates that are too far right or too far left are unfeasible choices for public office. Now, I must state that any candidate that even implies that the TRUE epidemic of the murder of Black women and girls is not a problem; either by their silence or choosing to highlight the less than 25 instead, is a non-starter.
“We must make sure not to get lost in other hot button political issues that would serve only to use us to influence their agenda as it relates to numbers,” says Ms. Perreira. She suggests not giving our support to elected officials, even at the local level, who are not willing to put a serious focus on us. “The data speaks for itself,” she notes.
We have the ADOS movement, the #MeToo movement, the Black Lives Matter movement, the Immigrant Rights movement…when do we, as Black women, stand up and refuse to be tossed to the side? When do we start a movement about us and for us only?
In this campaign season, I’d like all Black women of voting age to think about the women and girls who have lost their lives to senseless violence and the many more who have been subjected to sexual abuse and other types of violence and decide that any candidate who is not willing to wholly and truthfully address our plight, doesn’t get to reap the benefit of us putting them in office. If they need our votes so much, make them prove it.