We know those names because of their common denominator: They died at the hands of police officers because they were perceived as threats. We marched for them. We protested for them. A few have even died for them. But they are only the few. The full list reads like a morbid graduating class in which the certificate denies life. When we talk about the black men killed by police, we rarely mention the women. If #BlackLivesMatter, and they do, we should be angry when a woman like Sandra Bland gets stopped for failing to signal a lane change and is arrested, jailed and then found dead, her death reported as a suicide that is supported by the district attorney. One day after Bland’s death, Kindra Chapman, 18, was found dead in her jail cell in Alabama. In an eerie replay of Bland’s death, Chapman is thought to have committed suicide after being held for taking a cell phone.
The thread connecting the men to the women is that the offense leading to the confrontation or arrest was always minor and nonviolent. Yet they were perceived as threats, and just like the men, their overall crime was being black in America.
Words: By Ailene Yasmin Torres