In the Fight for Black Lives, Don’t Forget Black Women

Whitney Alese
7 min readMay 17, 2020

I heard my Pastor lead prayer for Black men this morning, and I cringed. Not because there is anything wrong with prayer, nor the prayer he prayed, nor anything wrong with praying for Black Men. After the videos of Ahmaud Arbery, a Black man who made the mistake of going for a jog and was murdered by two white supremacists, and Sean Reed, who after being unnecessarily gunned down by officers while fleeing, was made fun of by those officers who suggested a closed casket.

We have been doing a lot of talking about Ahmaud Arbery and Sean Reed, lives that mattered, lives that were lost. But in these discussions of these men, men whose lives mattered and who deserve justice, where is the discussion of Breonna Taylor? While I appreciated the prayer, our men need the encouragement and protection that the Lord can provide, I was perturbed. I found myself saying, out loud, “Yes Ahmaud, yes Sean, but what about Breonna, pastor?” Do Black Women need less prayer, less support, less protection just because we are women.

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The stories and data say otherwise.

Breonna Taylor, an awarded EMT who served in Louisville, Kentucky, was shot to death during a botched no-knock warrant job by the Louisville police. During this botched job, 3 police officers in plainclothes, despite insisting they announced themselves, attempted to serve the no-knock warrant by entering the home where Breonna and her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, were sleeping. Hearing what they perceived to be a break-in, Kenneth called 911 and grabbed his gun (which before you ask, yes, he was licensed to carry) and went to investigate. From his perspective, there were multiple burglars in his home. He opened fire. The police sprayed the home, unloading 25 shots into the home, 8 of those shots hit Breonna, killing her.

The suspect these officers were supposed to be serving lived 10 miles away from Breonna.

This is not an isolated event. Not too long ago, Atatiana Jefferson, a 28 year-old pre-Med student, was shot in her own home by former officer, Aaron Dean, 35, when police were called for a wellness check at her home by a neighbor. Atatiana was babysitting her 8 year old nephew, playing video games together when…

Whitney Alese

Whitney Alese is a writer & podcaster, featured in WIRED Magazine (Sept 2020) & I-D Magazine (Dec. 2021), and NBC (Jan 2023). She is based in Philadelphia.