We are seeing righteous indignation pouring on to the streets in just about every state in America over the systemic treatment of black bodies by aggressive and deadly policing. The most recent cases of Michael Brown Jr. and Eric Garner have not only brought (again) to our collective attention how easy it is for unarmed black men to end up dead after an encounter with law enforcement, but they also show the little value placed on black lives as our justice system failed to hold officers accountable, sparking protest around the country.
I’m encouraged as I witness protestors of all racial and ethnic backgrounds voice outrage over the undervaluing of young black men. It’s encouraging to see images of young black men on signs and posters screaming to the world that black lives are just as valuable as any other. It is encouraging to see that a diverse group of protestors see the worth and value of young black men to the point they are standing in solidarity with them and putting themselves at risk to fight injustices.
I wish, however, that America applied that same sense of value and worthiness to young black women.
In the midst of the outrage we are witnessing for young black men who are harassed and are suffering on the streets of their community by those who are sworn to serve and protect, I cant help but ask where is the service, protection, and the outrage for the countless young women who are suffering and being devalued in these same communities? Where is the outrage for teen girls, some as young as 12 years old who are forced into the sex trade in every city, and in every state in America? Where is the protest for young girls who are forced to sleep with as many as 20 men a day to meet the quota of some pimp or trafficker? Where is the outrage, protest, and home-made signs to stand in solidarity with girls who are treated as nothing more than the owned property of some man who sees her as a means to his financial end.
If #BLACKLIVES really matter what about the lives of young black women?
Every year in America 100,000 to 300,000 girls, mostly from minority and forgotten
communities, are at risk, or are enduring a horrific and insidious life in the sex trade. And as I have listened to, for the past two weeks, every cable news, local and national news, and other TV programing talk about how black lives matter, I can’t help but wonder if young women in the sex trade are included. Do they matter? The wide-spread silence on the issue of domestic minor sex trafficking seems to suggest, NO!
I can hardly wrap my mind around the silence over what is happening with young girls in the sex trade. After watching the news and the outrage around young black men, I wonder when will we become outraged over our TEENAGER GIRLS being forced, and or coerced into modern-day slavery? I ask myself over and over how is it that we are allowing teenage girls – TEENAGE GIRLS – to be used as sex slaves? REALLY!?! Could this mean, in some subconscious way, that the lives of our black boys have more value then girls?
I’m not sure why we, as a society, are so silent on the issue of sex trafficking. Could it be the demand? Domestic Minor Sex Trafficking is a multi-BILLION dollar criminal enterprise, which means the demand is high. Could our silence reflect the fact that we are okay with men, some who sit it in our pews, walk the halls of congress, and are our uncles, brothers and next door neighbors, who purchase sex with teen girls? I’m not sure what the silence is about, but the silence speaks volumes to who we are as a people.
I’m not sure why we are not on the streets everyday protesting and demanding this crime against girls be brought to the forefront of our collective conscious like the brutal police treatment of your young men. As Dr. King words remind us, “a threat to justice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.” If we are outraged and are working for justice for our young men, we should be equally outraged and we should equally work for justice for our young women!
BLACK GIRLS LIVES MATTER TOO! I’m just not convinced their lives matter as much as our young men!