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Say Her Name

We Need A Gender-Inclusive Understanding Of Police Violence

Like most powerful exercises, it’s a simple one. Professor and legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw asks audience members to stand as she lists names of Black people killed by law enforcement in this country, and to sit when they hear a name that they don’t recognize. For Eric Garner, George Floyd, Michael Brown, most of the crowd—whatever crowd it is, students, academics, the general public—stay standing. But when it gets to Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, it thins and thins.  And by the time it gets to Rekia Boyd and Michelle Cusseaux, generally everyone is seated. Is that because Black women’s deaths via the same state-sanctioned violence that kills Black boys and men are less compelling?
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