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In an effort to stem the tide of violence being waged against African-American women in the criminal justice system, the Black Lives Matter movement on Thursday began incorporating women and girls in its protests against police brutality.

The Black Youth Project 100, Ferguson Action, BlackLivesMatter, and We Charge Genocide, among others, led rallies in at least 17 cities across the U.S., including in Chicago, New York City, and Washington, D.C., to raise awareness about the often ignored experiences of Black women and girls with police violence.

Activists also hoped to give voice to their stories about sexual, physical, and structural violence by law enforcement officials, according to a news release from the Black Youth Project.

In a striking case of injustice, the group says, Chicago Police Det. Dante Servin was acquitted last month of the 2012 killing of Rekia Boyd, who was unarmed when she was shot in the back of the head by the off-duty cop.

“This national day of action was catalyzed by a group of young Chicagoans, who decided to call for the immediate firing of Dante Servin during the May 21st Chicago Police Board meeting,” Charlene Carruthers, national director of BYP100, said in a statement.

Via the Black Youth Project:

Sexual assault and harassment continue with impunity, with police rarely being held accountable for the crimes they inflict against the Black community in general and Black women and girls, specifically.  A 2014 study released by the Black Women’s Blueprint and Women’s All Point Bulletin to the Committee Against Torture reports that the over-policing of Black women has increased since 2000, and cites rape and sexual violence as the second most prevalent form of police violence.

“As we continue to struggle for justice on behalf of our fallen brothers, we join to declare collectively that when we say ‘Black Lives Matter’ we mean ALL Black lives – including our women, transgender and queer sisters, and girls too,” says BYP100 National Co-Chair, Jessica Pierce. “The respective murders of Aiyana Jones, Rekia Boyd, and Mya Hall at the hands of law enforcement officers are just as important as the tragedies of Freddie Gray, Tamir Rice, and Michael Brown.”

It is beyond apparent that Black women and girls are not exempt from the same police brutality experienced by Black men, and that their murderers and perpetrators also leverage a biased judicial system to evade justice. BYP100 is committed to seeking justice for all Black women and girls who have been victimized by police and state violence until justice prevails.

It’s unfortunate that the plight of Black women was drowned out of this critical movement from the start, but we’re happy the Black Youth Project and other activists are now shutting it down for Black women.

Check out some posts from events across the nation:

SOURCE: Black Youth Project 100 | PHOTO CREDIT: Twitter

SEE ALSO:

Officer Who Killed Rekia Boyd Not Guilty Of All Charges

“It’s Time For The City To Heal,” Michael Brown’s Dad Says Of Decision To Remove Memorial

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