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Breaking bread and building peace

Black women speak out about their experiences with police violence

Michael Brown. Eric Garner. Tamir Rice. Freddie Gray. Their names mark a shift in America’s racial consciousness. Their funerals were broadcast. Their families spoke out on the nightly news. Investigations into their deaths were followed closely by millions of Americans. Invocations of their names and faces inspired protests across the country and brought to life a crop of powerful young organizers.

The names of black men shot and killed by police became synonymous with the slogan “black lives matter.”

But that doesn’t mean black women and girls are unaffected by state violence.

A new report and campaign called Say Her Name addresses the lack of accountability for the deaths of black women and girls—and puts faces and names to the black and brown women whose lives have been cut short.

But what do the survivors and families of victims have to say about the realities of policing black and brown communities?

Crystal Pope, a 25-year-old mother of two, told Fusion she felt violated during a stop-and-frisk by male NYPD officers in 2012. The police, she says, were searching the area for a male rapist.

Fusion attended a three-year anniversary service for 23-year-old Shantel Davis, who was shot and killed by an NYPD detective. Her sister, Natasha Duncan, spoke with Fusion at the memorial, which she has held every year since Davis’ death.

Andrea Ritchie, a black police misconduct attorney and co-author of “Say Her Name,” has been raising the issue of how black and brown women are policed for 20 years, she says. “Unfortunately, I’m no longer surprised by stories, but I continue to be deeply enraged by them,” Ritchie said.