Students and faculty gathered Thursday evening at Baker University Center to honor and respect the lives of black women who were killed unjustly by police.
#SayHerName is a racial injustice social movement intended to educate the public about police brutality trends toward black, queer, transgender, and heterosexual women, and to honor their lost lives.
The hashtag phrase was dubbed by the African American Policy Forum in February 2015, which has become a popular protest movement used in rallies and on social media.
The Ohio University event was an interactive workshop in the multicultural center, co-sponsored by the LGBT Center, Women’s Center, and Unified Sisters.
Director of the Ohio University Women’s Center, Dr. M. Geneva Murray kick-started the program with a presentation in remembrance of those affected by police brutality, along with content that highlighted the importance of acknowledging such injustice.
The event continued with an embroidery art project. Participants were given a piece of paper with the names and stories of different black women who had been killed, and instructions to embroider each name onto a piece of cloth.
Dr. Murray explained the significance of the project, stating to participants, “For those of you who are not familiar with embroidery, this is going to take a lot of concentration. And that’s the point. We want this to be a time of concentration where we can be thinking about why it is we’re writing out these names, and what meaning is attached to them”.
While participants engaged in the activity with thoughtful respect, members of Unified Sisters, a female empowerment group on campus, read aloud the names and stories of the women who were honored. Each reading concluded with the statement “Say Her Name,”‘ followed by the crowd’s united response.
“#SayHerName is to commemorate the women who were killed by police or domestic brutality,” Junior Social Work major and Unified Sisters member, Brianna Bryant states. “It’s important to remember because it kind of gets overshadowed sometimes by Black Lives Matter, which is great, but sometimes we need a forum for the women who are killed and mistreated as well”.
The room resonated loudly in remembrance of women including, Mya Hall, Margaret LaVerne Mitchell, Yvette Smith, and Alesia Thomas.
The racial injustice movement was a successful event on OU’s campus and marked a significant move toward awareness on a local level.
However, OU was not the only recent account of movement towards reform.
Earlier this morning, Daniel Holtzclaw, a former Oklahoma City Police Officer charged with raping 13 black women, was sentenced to 236 years in prison, which gave the #SayHerName movement exactly what they wanted- justice.