Sisterhood in Struggle

Even months after the deaths of Eric Garner, Michael Brown, and Tamir Rice, the fury and activism that followed have not ebbed; the motto-cum-hashtag, #BlackLivesMatter, has emerged as a maxim of the movement. But think critically about the faces you see championing these words — maybe D’Angelo this past weekend or Jay Z and his basketball royalty squad. We gotta ask: where are the women?

Noah Berlatsky of The Atlantic interviewed Johnetta Elzie, one of the female organizers at the heart of the activism. According to Johnetta, who didn’t even consider herself an activist until someone told her as such, the representation of those protesting were limited mostly to straight African-American males, when, in actuality, the movement was much more inclusive.

Netta Elzie: In the beginning, the first 21 days, when we were under militarized police occupation, I can say for sure it was way more women than men in those streets. So many black women put their bodies on the line for this cause, because we birthed the people that the police are killing. So not only are we out there for ourselves, but we’re out there for our husbands, our boyfriends, our kids, our cousins, our nephews. Because we’re the ones who keep birthing black people, basically.

Let’s not forget them.

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