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#SayHerName--Justice for Breonna Taylor

“There is no such thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” -Audre Lorde


At 1am on March 13, 2020 Breonna Taylor and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were asleep in their apartment when three plainclothes officers with the Louisville Metro Police Department arrived to execute a “no-knock” search warrant in a drug case. The police broke down the door and Walker, believing they were being robbed, called 911, grabbed a gun and fired once, shooting an officer in the leg. He had a license to carry. Taylor was unarmed. The police fired more than 20 shots into the apartment and Breonna Taylor was shot eight times and killed. Kenneth Walker was arrested and charged with assault and attempted murder on a police officer. Since the raid and the wrongful death of Breonna Taylor, more information has come out about the incompetence of the police in this case, and the misconduct of one officer in particular, Brett Hankison, who has been accused in an ongoing Federal lawsuit of harassing suspects with unnecessary arrests and planting drugs on them. All three police officers are currently on leave and this week, Louisville’s mayor and police chief asked the U.S. Justice Department and the FBI to review the police department's internal investigation into the shooting. We join the call for the three officers, John Mattingly, Brett Hankison, Myles Cosgrove, to be charged immediately in the wrongful death of Breonna Taylor.  

As the movement for Black lives has brought increased attention to the murders of Black men by police and white vigilantes--most recently the murder of Ahmaud Arbery right here in Georgia--we cannot allow the deaths of Black women like Breonna Taylor to go under-remarked and under-mourned.

#SayHerName is a response to the Black Lives Matter movement and the mainstream media's tendency to sideline the experiences of black women in the context of police brutality and anti-Black violence. Black women and girls have always been targets of structural and interpersonal white violence at rates similar to Black men, but because of structural sexism, their numbers and names are often not remembered or recorded in the same way. As feminists, we are always fighting multi-dimensional battles, knowing, as Audre said, we do not live single issue lives. To see men’s lives and deaths more honored and more centered than the lives and deaths of women, even within movement spaces, is painful. 

As always, we believe that books build bridges and change lives even in times of great sadness, anger, and exhaustion. This booklist, inspired by the #SayHerName movement, features books on police brutality against Black women, the school to prison-pipeline and Black girls, the role of women and non-binary folks in the Black Lives Matter movement, and the historical underpinnings of our current moment. Whether you are a Black woman sitting with pain or terror or numbness at yet another murder, a Black man wanting to learn more about how to support the specific calls to action from Black feminists or a white or non-Black person of color trying to be an accomplice in the fight against police brutality and structural racism and sexism, this list offers many places of entry for recognition, for healing, for action. Together we can begin to envision and build a world that celebrates and fights for the dignity and freedom of Black women—mind, body and soul.

Invisible No More: Police Violence Against Black Women and Women of Color By Andrea Ritchie, Angela Y. Davis (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Andrea Ritchie, Angela Y. Davis (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9780807088982
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Published: Beacon Press - August 1st, 2017

“A passionate, incisive critique of the many ways in which women and girls of color are systematically erased or marginalized in discussions of police violence.” —Michelle Alexander, author of The New Jim Crow

Say Her Name By Zetta Elliott, Loveis Wise (Illustrator), Loveis Wise (Cover design or artwork by) Cover Image
By Zetta Elliott, Loveis Wise (Illustrator), Loveis Wise (Cover design or artwork by)
ISBN: 9781368045247
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Published: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers - January 14th, 2020

From award-winning author Zetta Elliott comes a stirring and powerful poetry collection that reveals the beauty, danger, and magic found at the intersection of race and gender.

Inspired by the #SayHerName campaign launched by the African American Policy Forum, these poems pay tribute to victims of police brutality as well as the activists insisting that Black Lives Matter.

#HashtagActivism: Networks of Race and Gender Justice By Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, Brooke Foucault Welles, Genie Lauren (Foreword by) Cover Image
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ISBN: 9780262043373
Published: The MIT Press - March 10th, 2020

This “well-researched, nuanced” study of the rise of social media activism explores how marginalized groups use Twitter to advance counter-narratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent (Ms.)

Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools By Monique Morris, Mankaprr Conteh (Foreword by), Melissa Harris-Perry (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Monique Morris, Mankaprr Conteh (Foreword by), Melissa Harris-Perry (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781620973424
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Published: New Press - January 16th, 2018

The "powerful" (Michelle Alexander) exploration of the harsh and harmful experiences confronting Black girls in schools, and how we can instead orient schools toward their flourishing

Making All Black Lives Matter: Reimagining Freedom in the Twenty-First Century (American Studies Now: Critical Histories of the Present #6) By Barbara Ransby Cover Image
ISBN: 9780520292710
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Published: University of California Press - August 28th, 2018

"A powerful — and personal — account of the movement and its players."—The Washington Post

“This perceptive resource on radical black liberation movements in the 21st century can inform anyone wanting to better understand . . .

When They Call You a Terrorist: A Black Lives Matter Memoir By Patrisse Cullors, asha bandele Cover Image
ISBN: 9781250306906
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Published: St. Martin's Griffin - January 14th, 2020

New York Times Editor’s Pick.

Library Journal Best Books of 2019.
TIME Magazine's "Best Memoirs of 2018 So Far."
O, Oprah’s Magazine’s “10 Titles to Pick Up Now.”
Politics & Current Events 2018 O.W.L. Book Awards Winner
The Root Best of 2018

Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements By Charlene Carruthers Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807039823
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Published: Beacon Press - August 27th, 2019

A manifesto from one of America's most influential activists which disrupts political, economic, and social norms by reimagining the Black Radical Tradition.

Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag: Twenty-First-Century Acts of Self-Definition (The Feminist Wire Books) By Julia S. Jordan-Zachery (Editor), Duchess Harris (Editor), Janell Hobson (Foreword by), Tammy Owens (Afterword by) Cover Image
By Julia S. Jordan-Zachery (Editor), Duchess Harris (Editor), Janell Hobson (Foreword by), Tammy Owens (Afterword by)
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ISBN: 9780816539536
Published: University of Arizona Press - September 24th, 2019

Hashtag or trademark, personal or collective expression, #BlackGirlMagic is an articulation of the resolve of Black women and girls to triumph in the face of structural oppressions. The online life of #BlackGirlMagic insists on the visibility of Black women and girls as aspirational figures.

How We Fight White Supremacy: A Field Guide to Black Resistance By Akiba Solomon, Kenrya Rankin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781568588490
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Published: Bold Type Books - March 26th, 2019

This celebration of Black resistance, from protests to art to sermons to joy, offers a blueprint for the fight for freedom and justice -- and ideas for how each of us can contribute

How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective By Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor (Editor) Cover Image
ISBN: 9781608468553
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Published: Haymarket Books - December 5th, 2017

"If Black women were free, it would mean that everyone else would have to be free." -Combahee River Collective Statement.

A Bound Woman Is a Dangerous Thing: The Incarceration of African American Women from Harriet Tubman to Sandra Bland By DaMaris B. Hill Cover Image
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ISBN: 9781635574616
Published: Bloomsbury Publishing - January 14th, 2020

Nominated for an NAACP Image Award
A Publishers Weekly Top 10 History Title for the season
Booklist's Top 10 Diverse Nonfiction titles for the year
BookRiot's "50 Must-Read Poetry Collections"
Most Anticipated Books of the Year--
The Rumpus, Nylon

We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom By Bettina Love Cover Image
ISBN: 9780807069158
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Published: Beacon Press - February 19th, 2019

Winner of the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award

Drawing on personal stories, research, and historical events, an esteemed educator offers a vision of educational justice inspired by the rebellious spirit and methods of abolitionists.

Arrested Justice: Black Women, Violence, and America's Prison Nation By Beth E. Richie Cover Image
ISBN: 9780814776230
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Published: New York University Press - May 22nd, 2012

Black women in marginalized communities are uniquely at risk of battering, rape, sexual harassment, stalking and incest. Through the compelling stories of Black women who have been most affected by racism, persistent poverty, class inequality, limited access to support resources or institutions, Beth E.

Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches By Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Audre Lorde, Cheryl Clarke (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781580911863
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Published: Crossing Press - August 1st, 2007

Presenting the essential writings of black lesbian poet and feminist writer Audre Lorde, Sister Outsider celebrates an influential voice in twentieth-century literature.

“[Lorde's] works will be important to those truly interested in growing up sensitive, intelligent, and aware.”—The New York Times 

Women, Race & Class By Angela Y. Davis Cover Image
ISBN: 9780394713519
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Published: Vintage - February 12th, 1983

From one of our most important scholars and civil rights activist icon, a powerful study of the women’s liberation movement and the tangled knot of oppression facing Black women.

“Angela Davis is herself a woman of undeniable courage. She should be heard.”—
The New York Times

An insider’s account of the infamous Atlanta Public Schools cheating scandal that scapegoated black employees for problems rooted in the education reform movement.

The Crunk Feminist Collection By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor) Cover Image
By Brittney C. Cooper (Editor), Susana M. Morris (Editor), Robin M. Boylorn (Editor)
ISBN: 9781558619432
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Published: Feminist Press - January 10th, 2017

Essays on hip-hop feminism featuring relevant, real conversations about how race and gender politics intersect with pop culture and current events.

killing rage: Ending Racism By bell hooks Cover Image
ISBN: 9780805050271
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Published: Holt Paperbacks - October 15th, 1996

“hooks’s books help us not only to decolonize our minds, souls, and bodies; on a deeper level, they touch our lives.” —Cornel West

This Bridge Called My Back, Fourth Edition: Writings by Radical Women of Color By Cherríe Moraga (Editor), Gloria Anzaldúa (Editor) Cover Image
By Cherríe Moraga (Editor), Gloria Anzaldúa (Editor)
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ISBN: 9781438454382
Published: State University of New York Press - March 1st, 2015

Finalist for the 2015 ForeWord INDIEFAB Book of the Year Award in the Anthologies Category
Bronze Medalist, 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards in the Anthologies Category

Here is the courageous, groundbreaking story of Rosa Parks and Recy Taylor—a story that reinterprets the history of America's civil rights movement in terms of the sexual violence committed against Black women by white men.

"An important step to finally facing the terrible legacies of race and gender in this country.” —The Washington Post

Race After Technology: Abolitionist Tools for the New Jim Code By Ruha Benjamin Cover Image
ISBN: 9781509526406
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Published: Polity Press - June 17th, 2019

From everyday apps to complex algorithms, Ruha Benjamin cuts through tech-industry hype to understand how emerging technologies can reinforce White supremacy and deepen social inequity.

The Unapologetic Guide to Black Mental Health: Navigate an Unequal System, Learn Tools for Emotional Wellness, and Get the Help You Deserve By Rheeda Walker, Na'im Akbar (Foreword by) Cover Image
By Rheeda Walker, Na'im Akbar (Foreword by)
ISBN: 9781684034147
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Published: New Harbinger Publications - May 1st, 2020

An unapologetic exploration of the Black mental health crisis--and a comprehensive road map to getting the care you deserve in an unequal system.