Black people are often tortured as well as women in general are often oppressed. Needless to say, being a black woman is frequently challenging. BWDL, the Black Women’s Defense League, is a union of women of color fighting against both racial and gender discrimination. Black women are constantly facing threats from misogynic black men and are experiencing misunderstanding within their community. “Violence against women is a national crisis with a particularly devastating impact on black women.” states VPC Legislative Director Kristen Rand.

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Only about two years ago Niecee, the BWDL founder, encountered a pure violence from the community she had been defending. Being a part of a Dallas’s black activist community she was in some relations with one of her allies. “There were issues with an individual that I had been dealing with romantically,” she said, “and there was some violence that occurred between him and me.” The assault lead to her miscarriage of a pregnancy. When she tried to galvanise the leadership’s attention to the issue, they refused to reckon it in. They offered her a tribunal with a council of elders but she rejected it worrying it would be ran predominantly by men unable to relate. Later they even kicked Niecee out of the organisation.

“In 2014, males murdered 424 black females in single victim/single offender incidents, at a rate of 2.19 per 100,000. In comparison, the rate for white women murdered by males for that year was 0.97 per 100,000.” the Violence Policy Center study says. Mostly, men used handguns to kill black women. 91 percent of victims knew their killers: they were their spouses, intimate acquaintances or family members. In most cases, the reason was an argument.

The situation with rapes terrifies also: 1 official report of an incident implies at least 15 real cases. Reporting has no sense, black women believe, as government does nothing to guard them. They got used to the constant fretting. Such an ambiance required an institution to help women of color, supporting and teaching them to self defence. Niecee couldn’t but establish one. The BWDL is womanist organisation and aims to protect women, their families and the community itself.

 

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Through physical and educational training BWDL is going to prepare current and future generations to destroy all forms of oppression. The organisation provides education about domestic violence and rape counseling, pregnancy prevention, police brutality and economic stability. As well they are teaching women hand to hand combat techniques, knife fighting and marksmanship. “At the end of the day, we have a common goal, and that common goal is ultimately liberation, but at the very least the well-being and safety of our sisters.” the Defence League’s leader said.

Niecee may seem brutal and ruthless as she brandishes firearms on her photos and preaches guns in social media. Though on BWDL’s political classes they don’t deliberate “killing whitey” or ambushing cops but they share their feelings and fears. These women are struggling with all round oppression, their willing to keep weapon is quite understandable. They are resisting not just men but their men and they have no support from outside. Moreover, they are often mistook for rebels even when they are unarmed.

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Black Women's Defense League: Fighting Racism and Misogyny

Niecee participated in the protest against police killing of Philando Castile, a 32-year-old black cafeteria worker. A police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot him in front of his girlfriend and 4-year-old daughter. Philando legally possessed a gun with him and was shot as far as he informed the policeman about it. At the end of the peaceful protest Micah Johnson, an army reserve Afghan war veteran, started shooting. He has killed five officers and injured nine before police blew him up. Though Niecee had no weapon with her that day, the police suspected her in being concerned to the issue: they didn’t let her out for more than 6 hours. They seized her car and the information from her mobile phone, as she says.

 

Facing discrimination

Such movements as Black Lives Matter, often attract the public attention to cases of police killing black. They will stand for justice for each black man victim organising protests, printing T-shirts, promoting hashtags — raising awareness, in one word. But this story isn’t about black women lives. The community doesn’t care so much of their death or of any act of violence they experience.

According to the Center for American Progress, more than a quarter of black women live in poverty despite making up a larger portion of the workforce than white and Latina women. Black girls are much more likely to be suspended in school, the US Department of Education states. It’s also a fact that black women make up 30 percent of women in jails though America’s female population includes only 13 percent of black women.

BWDL aims to refine, train and prepare women for a symbiotic relationship that will truly enrich their children, their lives and make a positive impact on the collective realities. They organise meetings, education classes, workshops, they call to arms announcing people in need. They are constantly telling stories of their lives to make women feel they are not alone. The defence league seeks to replace the oppressive systems with more social, equal, free societies which serve the interests of the people.

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