By Danielle Stevens
Dear Black Women, Femmes, and Girls,
Who are neglected and ignored within public discourses around police violence and brutality;
Who are told our stories do not fit into mainstream narratives of state-sanctioned anti black violence because it is ‘derailing’;
Who are told our quota of acknowledgement has been reached because that one time a masculine person let us speak at a march;
Whose organizations do not receive as much support as Black Liberation organizations led by black men, Feminist orgnanizations led by white women, or LGBTQ organizations led by white cisgender men;
Who are told our deaths are not worthy of being grieved.
Whose silent suffering through systematic sexualized violence and torture was placed on the backburner while our community mobilized around the horrific public spectacle lynching of black men;
Whose gorgeous braids, locks, twists, ‘fros, are chopped off, not allowed entry into Eurocentric spaces, classrooms, workplaces, because they are thought to be too ugly, too abundant, too much;
Whose labor is often exploited within organizing spaces that address the violence against men of color;
Whose perspectives are often trivialized and delegitimized through the celebratory glorification of the perspectives of white women and masculine people of color;
Whose classroom quirkiness and humor are met with silence and scrutiny while we continue to serve as the punchline of jokes that strip us of our humanity;
Who are denied compassion, understanding, and humanity because our greatness is seen as intimidating to white women and non-black women of color;
Who are seized and separated from one another within a capitalist police state and reproductive injustice system that devalues our very existence, that does not want us to experience love to any degree;
Who do not have national vigils, rallies, and marches planned for us;
Who do not receive empathy or public statements from the President of a nation that was built upon the capture, torture, and brutalization of our bodies;
Who do not have public policy initiatives implemented to address the systemic barriers that uphold our disenfranchisement, our woundedness;
Whose bodies, dialects, names, ways of being are readily performed, mocked, and targeted by white women and men, non black people of color, and black men alike;
Whose stories of violence don’t make it to the mainstream media circuits;
Who are told the worth of our lives come after white men, after white woman, after the lives of non-black men and women of color, after black men;
Whose names are often forgotten because we are told our deaths, our genocide, or assaults are business as usual…
I breathe and sing your essence, your fullness, your entirety, your existence, into humanity. I hold every single dimension, every contour of your spirit, in compassion, understanding, and care. Though your lives may have been captured, stolen much too soon, ignored for much too long, you survive, thrive, and live fully beyond the physical, your spirits infinite & transcendent in all of us. My life’s work is and always will be dedicated to the collective imagining of our freedom. Everything about our Blackness, our Black femmeness, our Black womanhood, our Black motherhood, our Black girlhood, is worthy, magical, and golden. Your infinite wisdom has always served as my blueprint for freedom in every way imaginable and I will continue to honor you today and every day. I am touched, consumed, & moved by your energy in my bones; Lifting me, filling me, feeding my spirit, curating my dreams.
My life. Is dedicated. To Black Women, femmes, and girls. Always and forever.
Your heart is my heart. Your skin my skin; your life, my life; Thank you infinitely for your reflection. Each and every day that I live, I fight. For you.
I fight for Skye Mockabee, Korryn Gaines, Joyce Quaweay, Marlene Pinnock, Mia Henderson, Islan Nettles, Lamya Cammon, Vanessa VanDyke, Gabby Douglas, Renisha McBride, Marissa Alexander, Rekia Boyd, Latasha Harlins, Islan Nettles, Yaz’min Shancez, Payden McConnel, Tiffany Edwards, Aiyanna Jones, Yvette Smith, Tarika Wilson, Tyisha Miller, my mama, my sisters, my grandmama, you, and so many others.
I value you. I see you. You are human. And you absolutely matter.
your sista, Danielle
Danielle Stevens is a California-born (and raised) educator, writer, dreamer, and community healer. She is the Co-Founder of This Bridge Called Our Health, a community forum for women & femmes of color of all genders to explore, develop, and imagine the infinite possibilities of healing from and imagining a world free of trauma. She currently resides just outside of DC, and is currently engaging in a much needed renewal from 10 years of activism & community organizing. She now spends her time falling in love with her true self, her life, and every single thing in it.