Twitter is ripe for hashtags, obviously. Some of them have better sticking power, also obviously. In my ignorance, I wasn’t quite sure what #SayHerName was until a few months back. I had seen it make the rounds in certain of my circles on both Twitter and Instagram, but the fact that it was potentially being something that elevated the voices of womxn, persons of color and trans folx finally caught my attention.
I discovered that Say Her Name was an effort to raise awareness of the jaw-dropping number of women killed by police brutality. As the African American Policy Forum explains, much of the narrative around police violence was framed around male victims. The hope was to focus more of this energy on the number of womxn who are disproportionately killed.
At this time, I was working on some pieces memorializing Stephon Clark (shot 20 times in the back) and Saheed Vassell. I realized that I wanted to devote more of my energy to something related to womxn victims.
During the process of creating that piece, I realized I wanted to spend more time reflecting on the women who lost their lives. So now I’ve undertaken a Say Her Name embroidery project. I have a list of 37 womxn from the AAPF, and I’ve just learned that since the original report was compiled, there are other womxn to learn about, like Decynthia Clements, a woman in mental distress who was shot in the head by officers responding on March 12.
There’s quite a bit of work ahead of me, but I’m eager to discover more and honor these folx, and their families and friends.
My only hesitation in this project is that I’m a white, cis woman. I want to make sure that my work doesn’t take up the air space for other creators who are similarly reflecting on this pattern and this movement. If you have any feedback for how I can ensure I’m not whitesplaining things, I’d definitely appreciate it. That said, I certainly don’t expect folx to do free emotional labor to help me out, but I’d love any guidance.