ED GRAY

(NNPA)–This has been a monumental year for the reaffirmation of women’s rights in the workplace and the ballot booth. This is long overdue. The battle for the rights of women, and specifically Black women and girls, has gone on for centuries. In America, the spotlight on this fight for women’s rights shines brightly on White women, while Black women, who have often fought more vigorously for equality and justice, are largely consigned to the shadows of the movement.

TIME magazine placed “The Silence Breakers” on their cover, noting that the tenacity and courage of the women’s voices could be heard over the walls of systemic oppression.

Still, in the stories of Dajerria Becton, a teenager who was violently handcuffed and thrown to the ground by an overzealous McKinney, Texas police officer and Sandra Bland, who was arrested and died in police custody in Prairie View, Texas, that oppression seems unsurmountable.

Most acts of extrajudicial violence and aggression towards Black women never become national headlines and many Black women suffer in quiet silence as their complaints of sexual harassment are ignored and discounted, regardless of their socioeconomic status.

Mainstream America labels Black women as angry Jezebels unfit for normal, social interactions. Black American pop culture hypersexualizes our young girls while condemning them for being too fast. There is a deafening silence in the Black community that is complicit in the degradation of our Black women.

When we do speak, instead of a healing, sometimes our words just cause more wounds.

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