Dear AAPF Family,
The events of the past decade have underscored the urgency of using intersectionality to build a more equitable world for people of all genders, races and nationalities.
Particularly during a time of global upheaval, we’ve been buoyed and energized by our tremendous community, and all of us at AAPF are deeply grateful for your solidarity and goodwill. We tip our hats to you, our backers whose support is the cornerstone of all that we do. It’s your engagement that enables all of the triumphs summarized here, and we couldn’t do it without you. With your help, we organize, we bring people together, we raise awareness, we develop leadership, we mobilize arts for activism, we inspire. We fight against the rollback in civil rights, justice, and every effort undertaken since 2016 to reverse the hard-fought victories of the past, and we thank all of our supporters for making it possible.
As 2019 comes to a close, we look back on the journey that fighting for intersectional justice has taken us on this year. We are honored to have you in our corner, and we hope that the gains we’ve made over the past twelve months will inspire your continued support in 2020 and beyond!
Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series
In 2019, we continued our Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series which elevates the stories and experiences of women and girls of color. The series provides women and girls of color with a platform to share their experiences in front of a panel of decision makers and a public audience, advocating for their inclusion in race and gender justice agendas. This year we brought our 14th and 15th town halls to Los Angeles and Minneapolis respectively. With these latest two town halls, we transitioned into a new model in which we incorporated art as a form of activation and coalition building. In Los Angeles, the panels examined issues surrounding public and private policies that have harmed women and girls of color, including gentrification, school privatization, trafficking, deficiencies of the child welfare system, and deportation, detention and immigration. The event concluded with a strategizing session on how stakeholders, foundations, and other organizations can come together to assist in redistributing funds to sustain local community-based and facilitate support from institutions like academia, labor unions, religion, and legal firms. In Minneapolis, the event featured panels on criminal justice, housing, education and health and wellness, which precipitated rich, provocative discussions between community members and policymakers about how best to address the array of challenges that uniquely imperil Black women and girls. With these Town Halls, we have succeeded in developing long-term collaboration with local stakeholders in the cities we have visited and helped develop sustainable policies that uplift women and girls of color from the margins of public discourse. In 2020, we plan on continuing the Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series and have targeted several key cities that are in need of an intersectional intervention.
Her Dream Deferred: A Week on the Status of Black Women (5th Annual)
At the end of each March, in honor of Women's History Month and the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent, AAPF hosts Her Dream Deferred, a weeklong series of activities focused on elevating the crises facing Black women and girls.
AAPF held its fifth annual edition of Her Dream Deferred last March. The program featured seven live events across the Los Angeles area and on the world wide web. The week began with a Black Feminist Homegoing for Aretha Franklin on March 24th. AAPF convened this celebration of Aretha’s life to coincide with the Queen of Soul’s first birthday since her passing, and to expurgate the misogynoir that pervaded her actual funeral service last year.
At AAPF’s reimagining of the traditional earthly send-off, Aretha fans far and wide contributed remarks, art, and performances that recast, reconstituted and reclaimed what she means to Black women. We followed up our Aretha fete two days later with a panel discussion on Black women and the #MeToo movement. The conversation included rapper and television personality Dee Barnes, #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Tisha Barnes, cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux, supermodel Beverly Johnson, actress, writer and producer Rashida Jones and historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers. Later that week, AAPF utilized art to channel the spirit of Harriet Tubman with “Harriet’s Political Will: Black Women’s Electoral Strength in an Era of Fractured Politics.” First, a cast of arts-activists staged a performance that explored the life and legacy of Tubman, a civic organizer and political agitator ahead of her time. Afterwards a panel of p
olitical analysts and theorists expounded on the lasting implications of Tubman’s pivotal role in American history. This panel included California State Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
Her Dream Deferred week 2019 notably featured the world premiere of a staged reading of Say Her Name: The Lives That Should Have Been, an original play written by Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw, Arts and Education Director Julia Sharpe-Levine and Writing Director G’Ra Asim. The multimedia performance imagines the lives that mothers, sisters and daughters may have led had they not been cut short by state violence. To close out the week, AAPF partnered with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research for a timely and morally urgent webinar called Work Supports to Reduce Maternal Mortality, which addressed Black women’s disproportionate rates of death during childbirth.
Say Her Name Campaign
Say Her Name Day of Remembrance Earlier this month, we commemorated the 5th anniversary of the #SayHerName campaign. AAPF first marched under the banner of Black women killed by the police on December 14, 2014, at the NYC Millions March, an anti-police brutality demonstration fueled in part by grand jury decisions not to indict police officers for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Marching together with tens of thousands of protesters, we urged others to join us to “say her name” and politicize the stories of Black women, girls, and femmes who were killed by the police, and whose names were often excluded from dominant narratives around police violence. Since that day, #SayHerName has emerged as a rallying cry around the globe, demanding that violence against Black women is treated with the same urgency and awareness as violence against their brothers.
Original Play After debuting Say Her Name: The Lives that Should Have Been at HDD 2019, AAPF went on to hold a 29-hour workshop with theatre artists in New York in October to refine and revise the performance piece and incorporate new elements. The piece’s evolution celebrates the beauty, complexity and everyday normalcy of the victims’ lives, and to bear witness to and demand justice for Black women and girls. Keep an eye for additional staged readings of Say Her Name: The Lives that Should have Been on both coasts in 2020.
Mothers Weekend The fourth annual #SayHerName Mothers Weekend took place at the end of January 2019 in New Yor