Sarah, I didn’t know you and we didn’t know you. I couldn’t save you and we couldn’t save you. Today, your birthday, I can’t celebrate and we can’t celebrate. All because they took you from your family, friends and community. But know that I struggle for you and we struggle for you.
Always the pace of our lives, black lives, the lives of women, have been set by the rhythm of struggle. We’ve learnt that that is the life you lived. When at each turn this society met you with attack and dehumanisation, you fought back. You fought on. How can it be that you had to fight so much? Your battles are ones we recognise too and a good share of us have had to fight them, but you carried the weight of all of these horrors. Medical professionals, police, courts, prisons all told you that your life didn’t matter. It did.
Every black life must matter doubly because there are those who work hard to ensure we don’t matter at all. Every black woman’s life matters ten fold because it is you we’re especially silent about. Silent about your labours, your struggles, your sacrifices and most silent about the abuses you suffer.
Please know that you’ve joined siblings who were dealt the same cold fate of state violence as you. As we took up their names, we’ve taken up yours. For all of you we promise to end the system of racist and sexist power that kills, so that we don’t loose and grieve like this any longer.
We can only imagine the pain your family feels, especially on days like today. But the long road ahead to justice will not be one they have to travel alone. Our wider family of black freedom fighters know that justice is not a solitary task, it is our collective duty.
A duty to know each other’s names. To save each other. To celebrate each other. To struggle for each other.
Happy birthday Sarah.
#SayHerName #SarahReed #BlackLivesMatter
Ash Sarkar and I discuss Trvero Phillips’ “What British Muslims Really Think” documentary and how Islam has come to be racialised in such terms.