"In Our Names" was birthed from a one-day Network Gathering being held on June 16th, 2016 at the Allied Media Conference at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan. The Allied Media Conference (AMC) is an annual conference bringing together activists, organizers and media makers from across the country who are using media, including social media, video, art, radio, visual art, writing, and even games and dancing to inspire action for change. The AMC is intentionally youth and people of color driven, queer and trans affirming, and a safer and more accessible space.
The Say Her Name/Black Trans Lives Matter Network Gathering was organized by a loose network of individuals who have been engaged in work centering police violence against and criminalization of Black women – trans and not trans, queer and not queer – girls, and femmes. The gathering was not affiliated with any particular organization or formation laying claim to either of the hashtags referenced in the title, but rather brought together any and all folks across the country organizing in the spirit of both. Individuals on the planning team included survivors of police violence, family members of Black women killed by police, and people who are or have been part of organizations that have centered Black women, girls and femmes’ experiences of police violence, including INCITE!, Survived and Punished, Love and Protect, Black Feminist Futures, BYP100, Trans Oral History Project, Women with a Vision, and Black Women’s Blueprint.
The Network Gathering was attended by Black women survivors of racial profiling and police violence, family members of Black women and girls killed by police, and folks organizing around police violence against Black women, girls and femmes in Detroit, Chicago, New York City, Columbus, South Carolina, Oakland, Los Angeles, Miami, Atlanta, New Orleans, and more! During the Network Gathering participants looked at the movement history of police violence against Black women, girls, and fem(me)s and resistance, identified elements tying the work together beyond the hashtags, developed shared goals for increased visibility and action, and plotted strategies to strengthen relationships and responses to police violence. An important part of this conversation involved working to build bridges between Black trans women and non-trans women around shared and distinct experiences of racial profiling and police violence, charting a pathway to broader solidarity across gender identities and experiences.