Locked Arms and Liberation: D.C.’s March for Black Women

This past weekend on Sept. 30, 2017, black women and allies joined arms and marched through the streets of Washington D.C. to advocate for societal change for one of the nation’s most deprecated groups. The March for Black Women was a sister march of the March for Racial Justice, which occurred on the same day. The date, Sept. 30, was chosen because it is the anniversary of the Elaine Massacre, a race riot during which over an estimated 200 African Americans were slaughtered as a result of conflict. During the march, black women were able to mourn their ancestors and honor their bravery and defiance. The March for Black Women also celebrated the 20th anniversary of the Million Woman March that took place in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1997.

The march had many other purposes in addition to mourning those that came before them. Prior to the March for Black Women, organizers released a list of demands directed towards both the federal government and the black community as a whole, as can be seen on the statement page of the website:

  1. Issue an apology to all Black women for centuries of abuses, including sexual violence and reproductive violations against Black bodies.
  2. Beyond the 2016 Gender Bias Policing Guidance, ensure immediate and sustainable measures by the U.S. government to eliminate incarcerations, incidences of rape and “sexual misconduct,” police murder and violence against all Black women.
  3. End the threat against the human right to health care and increase access, including all reproductive health care, bar none.
  4. Ensure economic justice for Black low-income women at the communal and federal level, many of whom are at increased risk for violence because of lack of economic power.
  5. Cease and desist all threats of deportation of immigrant women across the country, especially those whose deportation may cost them their lives or safety.

On the website mamablack, organizers of the event stated that people from across the nation came together as one to “denounce the propagation of state-violence and the widespread incarceration of Black women and girls, rape and all sexualized violence, the murders and brutalization of transwomen and the disappearances of our girls from our streets, our schools and our homes.”

People of all genders and races were encouraged to participate in the March for Black Women and they did. With their arms locked together, posters in hand and heads held high, black women and allies marched from Capitol Hill to the National Mall.

Courtesy: Instagram

Courtesy: Eric Baradat

Chants of, "Say her name!," "Black women matter!" and "Shame!" left their lips with unwavering pride as they marched. In their statement, the organizers of the march say that they have once again realized that “we [black women] are all we’ve got,” and called upon groups such as Black Lives Matter and Movement for Black Lives to join in the march.

Courtesy: Imani Randle

In the words of Malcolm X, “The most disrespected person in America is the black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the black woman. The most neglected person in America is the black woman.” Last weekend, black women and allies stood together in solidarity to challenge and demand change regarding the disrespect, lack of protection and neglect of black women.

Black women are, and have been, the most marginalized group in the United States. In due time, marches such as the March for Black Women and other efforts to improve the lives of minorities in our nation will change the world.

If you’d like to donate to the March for Black Women and contribute to bettering the lives and social liberties of black women, click here.