As we have continued to uplift and demand justice in individual instances of police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people, the need to create alternate visions and structures of safety premised on community care, mutual responsibility and accountability beyond police has become more and more apparent. We can no longer solely pursue visibility of our experiences of policing, reforms that fail to reduce the role of police in the lives of Black women, trans and GNC people, or strategies that seek justice and accountability from systems explicitly created to police, regulate, control and punish our bodies and restrict our autonomy and self-determination. At the same time, we need to continue to document the ways in which our bodies are violated by police in order to demand justice for our sisters and siblings and to make the case for removing police from our schools, institutions, and communities and building alternatives that will genuinely produce safety for all of us.
We left the Highlander Center refreshed, replenished, and recommitted to building our network, and to four main areas of work:
documenting sexual violence by law enforcement officers stationed in and around schools through a national participatory research project
building responses to unmet mental health needs beyond police
developing strategies for police accountability beyond prosecution
building safety for Black trans women and GNC people
The In Our Names Network is a national network of organizations, campaigns and individuals working to end police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people. We formed in 2016 during a Network Gathering at the Allied Media Conference. Since then we have been creating, gathering, and sharing resources and calls for action for individuals, families, and communities responding to and demanding justice in cases of police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming folks through our website and Facebook page.
In 2019 founding and new network members reconvened at the historic Highlander Center in Tennessee to assess our individual and collective work over the past three years, and the broader state of organizing and movements addressing police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people.
Through these collaborative projects, In Our Names network is engaged in visionary organizing aimed at dismantling systems of policing as they operate on Black women, trans and gender nonconforming people's bodies and life chances, and build new ways of preventing, interrupting, and ending gender-based violence so that all Black women, girls, trans, and gender nonconforming people can not only survive but thrive free from all forms of violence.
The In Our Names Network continues to raise visibility and promote organizing strategies centering the lives, stories and resistance of Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people targeted by the violence of policing through the Allied Media Project's Speakers' Bureau.
SAY HER NAME/ BLACK TRANS LIVES MATTER NETWORK GATHERING AT THE allied media conference
"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.