New Report Highlights Harassment and Threats of Violence Against Black Women Leaders
A group of women on the frontlines of justice are sounding the alarm and providing recommendations to stem race-motivated threats directed at Black women in a new report titled “We All Deserve Safety and Peace.” In it, three Black women leaders shed light on the ongoing threats and attacks they — and other leaders like them — face in the fight for climate, racial and economic justice.
The authors, who remain anonymous for their safety, represent diverse identities, including mothers, sisters, teachers, community organizers and researchers.
The report highlights incidents of harassment toward women in leadership positions, such as Vice President Kamala Harris and Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, alongside the harrowing stories of three Black women who work in movement spaces. Through personal accounts, the authors reveal threats of rape, murder, surveillance, doxing, stalking and online harassment.
“These women embody the strength and determination of Black women striving for a just society,” wrote one of the authors. “However, our safety and important work is continually undermined by the alarming rise of hate and violence in the United States, specifically targeting Black women who bear the brunt of intersecting racism and misogyny.”
The authors report they received an inadequate response from law enforcement, some of whom prioritized their tormentors’ rights over their safety and well-being.
“It’s extremely taxing, going outside and wondering if someone is here to kill me,” wrote one of the authors. “It’s a very stressful way to live, especially because it gets worse over time. These relentless attacks have resulted in forced relocations, the sale of homes, and a pervasive sense of fear and unrest that has taken a toll on our physical and mental health.”
Kresge’s Environment Program helped support the report.
“We support the leadership and influence of people of color, people of low wealth, and equity-focused organizations in climate change-related decision-making,” said Lois DeBacker, managing director of Kresge’s Environment Program. “It’s a travesty that Black women leaders advocating on behalf of climate and racial justice face the extreme forms of harassment described in the report. We hope their stories illuminate this grave problem and inspire more proactive protective measures, such as those outlined in the report.”