This post is part of The Nation’s biweekly student movement dispatch. As part of the StudentNation blog, each dispatch hosts first-person updates on youth organizing. For recent dispatches, check out May 1 and May 18. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with tips. Edited by James Cersonsky (@cersonsky).
On May 21, Black Youth Project 100, Black Lives Matter, and Ferguson Action called for a Day of Action to End State Violence Against Black Women and Girls in an effort to complicate male-centered narratives about anti-black violence that often exclude the experiences of black women. In New York City, we called out the names of black women lost to police violence as we marched in funeral procession to City Hall where a budget proposal for 1,000 new cops was being made. Overall, more than 20 cities organized actions to advocate for black women just as we stand for black men. With #SayHerName trending nationally and attention being drawn to the high rates of police murder, incarceration, and sexual assault of black women, our generation’s black youth-driven movement made another strong move to bring the needs of the most marginalized of our communities to the center of our work.
In the Bay, we responded to the Black Youth Project’s call with a day of action: Black women reclaimed our bodies, agency, and Afrikan tradition in a shutdown of San Francisco’s financial district in the morning; the Anti-Police Terror Project uplifted the name and life of Yuvette Henderson, a mother who was murdered by Emeryville Police on February 3, in the afternoon; and the local BYP chapter facilitated a night march, mostly comprising black women and children, through the streets of Oakland. At the march, we were met with police aggression, as the Oakland Police Department confronted us in full riot gear to enforce a previously unannounced curfew ordered by Mayor Libby Shaaf—and deemed unconstitutional by the National Lawyer’s Guild. Since then, we have taken the streets two more times in defiance of the curfew. In the process, the OPD has targeted protesters, citing 47 and arresting five, some of whom were abiding by police orders. We demand an immediate end to the curfew, the dropping of all charges and fines for #BreakTheCurfew protesters, an abandonment of Mayor Schaaf’s request for more police officers, and an end to FBI surveillance in Oakland. Until our demands are met, we will continue to take the streets that will always be ours.