Black Lives Matter: Cincinnati (BLM) held a rally and march on May 28 at 6:30 p.m. starting in Zeigler Park. Participants and organizers demanded justice for 22-year-old Rekia Boyd, who was shot and killed by Chicago police detective Dante Servin in March 2012. On May 18 the judge ruled Servin clear of all charges because he “felt threatened.”
While the organizers wanted to pay special attention to the lives of young women, trans women and women of color, they also highlighted the continued attention of shooting unarmed men of color such as Michael Brown, Tamir Rice and John Crawford III.
“I think this is important right now because of all the attention that’s being paid specifically to black men,” said Abby Friend, participant at the event. “I think (trans women) are targeted for the same reason why police target anybody of color and anybody that identifies differently. They’re very much about power, and that stems directly from the white, cis, hetero capitalist patriarchy.”
According to BLM, every 28 hours police or vigilante law enforcement murders a black man, woman or child. BLM additionally states that the average life expectancy for a black transgender woman is 35 years.
The rally began with Tia Edwards, event organizer, leading the crowd in several chants including “Black girls matter,” “No justice, no peace,” and “Rekia Boyd, say her name.”
Event organizer Christina Brown told the crowd, “Justice should be extended to black women just like the love and fight for justice is extended to black men.”
“(Many are) seen as violent, seen as loud, seen as aggressive, and seen as strong but with low intelligence, as something to be feared,” added Emmanuel Gray, a marshal of the event. “We are here to say we will not stand for the murders and brutalities against our sisters, our daughters, our mothers and our friends. We are human beings and it doesn’t matter what the court says we know when murder happens. Murder is murder.”
Children of the community held signs reading “Say Her Name” and wrote the phrase on one another’s arms.
“Children are always welcome at all Black Lives Matter Events,” said Friend, who made the signs. “They are the ones that are going to need to grow up and recognize that they are more than what society allows them to be. I think you’d be surprised at how much children understand, especially when it’s something that happens in their daily lives.”
December Lamb, who also served as a marshal of the event, said that he believed that for racial police brutality to ever be solved completely, it was essential that blacks work together with people of other races.
“Every time I turn on the TV, it’s like a series now, somebody unarmed is getting shot,” Lamb said. “It makes me feel like ‘hey, what is the world coming to?’”
About 50 people then marched across 12th street and down Main Street waving signs, shaking fists and shouting chants.
Among attendance were friends Bek Wald and Kellie Sedgwick, who attended the march because they felt it was important to participate in rallies regarding social issues.
“We need to all come out to these events and show solidarity,” Wald said. “It’s important for people of all walks of life, people of all races, people of all faith to come together and show support for people who need support.”
The march ended with a rally at the Justice Center, where participant Anthony Allen named “women who have died at the hands of state-inspired violence” as the crowd repeated the names.
Kevin Farmer also stood up and spoke against police brutality.
“What they always say is ‘I’m doing my job,’” he said at the Justice Center. “The Nazis said the same thing and they persecuted and killed millions. I’m getting tired of people just taking orders. They just want to get paid.”
The event ended shortly after Edwards, who sported a shirt that read “I love being black,” spoke to the crowd.
“Black girls do matter,” Edwards said at the event. “We give birth and because we give birth, we want to keep our black girls alive and our black guys alive as well.”