Black women with hands raised in fists, cell phones up documenting protests, holding signs. The woman in the center is a femme in bold red lips.

Women at the forefront of #BlackLivesMatter protests

If you’ve been paying attention to who’s been behind the scenes of much of the action in the aftermath of the extrajudicial murders of Eric Garner and Mike Brown, you might have noticed that Black women are at the forefront of the movement. 

Queer Black women were the creators of #BlackLivesMatter, and Black women and women of color (including Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, and Opal Tometi, creators of hashtag that’s shaped the national conversation on this issue) are at the forefront of the organizing on all fronts. Young Black women organized the Millions March in New York City last week (check out our interview with them today), Black women have been shutting shit down to interrupt business as usual from Ferguson to Washington, DC, and women of color, including Black women, have been at the forefront of the policy advocacy and demands that will be among the lasting results of these protests.

Al Jazeera America has followed a few of these women in a segment about Black women’s leadership in the recent protests. Take a look at parts 1 and 2 below!

I would also like to point out the femme in the bold red lips in the image above, as well as the femmes throughout these videos and those of you I’ve seen leading the way on the streets. It’s sadly in activist spaces that I’ve often felt most judged for the ways I present my own femininity, but I know femmes run shit, that without femmes this movement would be nowhere. So I want to say: I see you. Keep killing it, keep shutting shit down.

Header image photo credit: Al Jazeera America

New York, NY

Verónica Bayetti Flores has spent the last years of her life living and breathing reproductive justice. She has led national policy and movement building work on the intersections of immigrants' rights, health care access, young parenthood, and LGBTQ liberation, and has worked to increase access to contraception and abortion, fought for paid sick leave, and demanded access to safe public space for queer youth of color. In 2008 Verónica obtained her Master’s degree in the Sexuality and Health program at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. She loves cooking, making art, listening to music, and thinking about the ways art forms traditionally seen as feminine are valued and devalued. In addition to writing for Feministing, she is currently spending most of her time doing policy work to reduce the harms of LGBTQ youth of color's interactions with the police and making sure abortion care is accessible to all regardless of their income.

Verónica is a queer immigrant writer, activist, and rabble-rouser.

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