Last week, an all-white jury convicted Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw of 18 counts of rape and sexual assault of Black women. Although 13 women testified against Holtzclaw, the jury effectively threw out the cases of five of those women.
The jury has recommended 263 years, but the case is far from over. Holtzclaw is set to be sentenced on January 21st, 2016, and the judge can decide to depart from this recommendation. Civil cases against Holtzclaw are also pending.
This was a landmark event in the long and obscured history of police abuse of Black women, but this momentary reckoning will likely close quickly unless we bring this issue into the clear light of day.
Join us for a conversation with the courageous organizers in Oklahoma City, who have struggled to bring local and national attention to this egregious example of police abuse. Other speakers will include the legal counsel representing some of Holtzclaw’s victims, and thought leaders who will explain why this case must be a Call to Action.
Let’s come together to support the OKC 13 and others across the country who have been surveilled and assaulted by police officers based on perceptions of their race, gender, occupation and socio-economic status. It’s time to Say No More!
Candace Liger, OKC Artists for Justice
Grace Franklin, OKC Artists for Justice
Barbara Arnwine, Transformative Justice Coalition
Terry O'Neill, National Organization for Women
Devon Carbado, UCLA School of Law
Andrea Ritchie, Police Misconduct Attorney and Organizer
Moderated by Kimberlé Crenshaw, African American Policy Forum
Join the conversation on social media using the hashtags #Holtzclaw, #BlackWomenMatter, and#SayHerName.
The Holtzclaw conviction represents a critical step toward visibility of Black women victims of state violence and rape. Some justice has been served, as Holtzclaw’s victims are now assured he will no longer continue his destruction. But we cannot forget that Holtzclaw preyed on and abused Black women in an institutional context that reinforces the idea that Black women -- especially those system-involved or further marginalized by class and ability status -- are not perceived as human beings who can be wronged, violated, and abused.
It’s on us to change the narrative and combat the erasure of Black women’s experiences from media coverage, activism and resources. Let’s use this unprecedented moment as a call to center to Black women, to recognize their humanity, and listen as they narrate their own experiences.