By Brittany Graves

What have you seen or noticed in the last few weeks related to black lives matter? Protests have not relented until change comes. Anti-racism has become a dominant conversation among folks that have never needed to talk about racisms impact before. We are seeing both steadfast and performative action as people proclaim black lives matter, now more than ever. But there is something missing from this narrative! Justice and liberation for all black lives, black women and queer.

The black lives matter movement exists to liberate every black person. Its founders, three black women, started it in response to black men and boys that are being murdered by police brutality AND to include black transgender and queer women that are often omitted from the conversation. The viral murders captured on film call attention to racism in profound ways. Let us have the same fervor for the unjust murders of black women, queer and transgender. America has a volatile history of public lynching’s from past to modern-day, when we watch or share viral murder we participate in this harmful, white supremacist legacy. We should not need to watch murders to be outraged and we should have the same indignation for those that are murdered unseen.

As we create this new world, rebuild it with a persistent lens: one of liberation for everyone without privilege. Black women and black queer are often last to receive justice. Left to fight for equity, seldom without fervent help from others. White people and non-black people of color, as you take to frontline work and deconstruct America’s systemic racism and patriarchy, do not leave out justice for black women, trans and queer. Womanist theology and black feminism calls attention that when black women are liberated, then everyone is free. Our liberation dismantles all systemic oppression.

Questions to consider:

  • Is murder or assault unjust only when it is captured on video? Then, how can we call for justice when violence is unseen?
  • Ask yourself: in what ways have I not given equity to black women, trans or queer in my community?
  • What will you sacrifice to bring justice and sustainable change?

What you can do:

  • White people, settle into discomfort. It is an invitation to discomfort that BIPOC have always felt and an opportunity to set us free. 
  • Sign this petition to support #JusticeforBre and learn other ways to take action. Advocate and learn about unjust murders in #BlackTransLivesMatter.
  • Give black women, men, and queer space to grieve. Oppression is exhausting.
  • Support black business. Find BIPOC to support online or in your local community. Be aware of mainstream and popular businesses that endorse people or beliefs that are destructive, and stop supporting them.

Below is link to a raw spoken word piece on my experience as a black woman in America, my response to #BlackOutTuesday, and a call to action. Trigger warning, sexual assault mentioned in this poem. Click on the link to listen to Unseen.

Brittany Graves is associate coordinator, Public Witness & Advocacy, American Baptist Home Mission Societies. She welcomes your input at Brittany.Graves@abhms.org

Photo by @tolu.bamwo from nappy.co