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I am a survivor of domestic violence and sexual assault.
My experience informs my narrative and the perspective I plan to bring to this project as the new Community Storytelling Radio Fellowship – about how it feels to be Black, female, often economically disadvantaged, and at a disproportionately high risk of physical and sexual violence.
These stories rarely make it into mainstream media; our lives and our deaths get no attention and would appear we don’t deserve any…There is little justice, little consequence, and no national outcry to put an end to the violence against us because committing acts of violence against Black women is not thought of as unusual. And, shouldn’t we be used to it?
In thinking about my story, I was drawn to that of Kimberly Robertson, a young Black woman who was raped and murdered in Oakland last spring. Her body was found at Francis Marion Smith Park at Park Boulevard and Newton Avenue, and except for the minimal local media attention, she was all but forgotten.
However, Kimberly’s unfortunate and untimely death caught the attention of a local resident, Hazel Streete, who was inspired to coordinate a local art project, “Her Resilience: A Mural for Women Affected by Violence,” now underway at Park Community Garden in East Oakland. In this way, Kimberly’s life and the life of others will be memorialized, honored and serve as a reminder that women’s lives matter, and for me that means Black women, too.