I didn’t think that I needed to have this conversation, but here we go…
My heart goes heavy when I think about all of the Black lives that have been forgotten and plenty of other experiences and stories that I have yet to learn about.
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again, you can’t chant, yell, or say, “Black Lives Matter” when you forget to mention, advocate, and fight for Black women, the Black LGBTQ+ community, and the disabled Black community.
I hate to break it to you, but the Black Lives Matter movement wasn’t just meant for cis-gender, heterosexual Black men; It’s about all of the intersecting identities within the Black community. However, sexist, transphobic, ableist, and homophobic undertones tend to play a tremendous, yet subtle part in the lack of empathy, anger, and public attention for the Black women and Black LGBTQ+ people that we have lost.
When the media finally decides to show coverage on how the Black community continues to be treated by the largest gang of domestic terrorists in the world–the police–or even just by random racists, it almost always shows Black men. By no means am I trying to diminish the experiences and stories of the Black men that we’ve lost the same way that some did to Stephon Watts, Tony McDade, or Breonna Taylor, but I’m trying to help you see the bigger picture. #ALLBLACKLIVESMATTER
I bet many of you are wondering who Tony McDade was?
Tony McDade was a Black transgender man that was shot and killed by Tallahassee police on May 27th. The murderer’s name has yet to be released, nor has an investigation been started.
SAY HIS NAME: TONY MCDADE
Breonna Taylor was an essential worker that was shot eight times and killed in her own home after her murderers entered her home with a warrant for the wrong house without any announcement. New details are slowly surfacing and being made public.
George Floyd was just the tip of the iceberg, but Taylor’s murderers are still free, and I rarely see any march, protest, or Twitter threads dedicated to seeking justice for her. There are some, but there should be many more.
SAY HER NAME: BREONNA TAYLOR
Stephon Watts was a Black, autistic 15-year-old that was murdered by a Calumet City police officer in 2012. It’s 2020 and we’re just now hearing about this.
SAY HIS NAME: STEPHON WATTS
By the looks of my timeline and the poster boards at rallies that are nearly empty or solely filled with names of Black men, I can tell that some of you clearly don’t place as much value on the lives of Black women, the disabled Black community, or the Black LGBTQ+ community as much as you do for cis-gendered Black men. That doesn’t sit right with me. You’re comfortable with that?
We need to share the same amount of care, anger, grief, and attention that we have when a Black man loses his life for our Black women, the disabled Black community, and the Black LGBTQ+ community. We must protect them at all costs because they are not an afterthought and shouldn’t have to be in the background of the Black Lives Matter Movement.
Educate yourself, advocate for Black women, the Black LGBTQ+ community, and the Black disabled Black community, sign petitions, and participate in marches. There are so many unheard stories and so much more work left to be done. Don’t get comfortable and don’t get tired. We’re just getting started.
By Jada Daniel, Freshman, Beloit College