Los Angeles, CA—The #Standing4BlackGirls coalition held a press conference at City Council District 8 headquarters on June 22, 2023. The primary objective of the conference was to draw attention to the alarming increase in violence against Black women and girls in Los Angeles County. Members of local organizations such as the Women’s Leadership Project, Positive Results Center, Young Women’s Freedom Center, and the California Black Women’s Health Project, along with activists Suzette Shaw, Dr. Ronda Hampton, and Kathy Evans, collectively urged CD8 Councilmember Marqueece Harris-Dawson and Mayor Karen Bass to take decisive action.
According to shocking statistics shared during the conference, although Black women and girls constitute only 4.3% of the City of Los Angeles’ population, they account for a disproportionate percentage of female violence victims, ranging between 25-33%. This demographic experiences record levels of gun homicide, rape, and domestic violence.
Frustrated with the City’s lack of accountability towards Black women, Black girls, and Black gender expansive communities, the #Standing4BlackGirls coalition is advocating for targeted prevention programs, improved mental health services, and increased availability of safe spaces for Black women, girls, and gender expansive youth and communities.
The coalition emphasizes the urgent need for comprehensive resources tailored to their specific needs. To further advance the cause, the #Standing4BlackGirls coalition plans to present testimony during the L.A. City Council’s regular sessions scheduled for the week of July 10th. By engaging with local government officials directly, the coalition aims to ensure their demands are heard and appropriate actions are taken to address the escalating violence.
The coalition is dedicated highlighting cases of violence against Black women in the local community. Most recent tragic cases involve 16-year-old Tioni Theus, who lost her life in South Central. Additionally, Mikeona Johnson went missing during the pandemic and was later discovered in her car near a school in South Los Angeles. Another distressing case is that of Ruthey Smith, who has remained missing for over a year from a notorious sex trafficking area along Figueroa in South Central.
In 2009, 24-year-old Mitrice Richardson went missing after being released from the Malibu/Lost Hills Sheriff’s Station. She was missing for 11 months before her remains were found in 2010 by park rangers.
All of these cases remain unsolved by police and detectives in Los Angeles County.
The #Standing4BlackGirls coalition is committed to effecting positive change and combating the violence faced by Black women and girls in Los Angeles. Through their collective efforts and advocacy, they strive to create safer communities, provide better mental health support, and empower Black women and girls across all sexualities.
For more information on the coalition’s demands and additional details regarding the press conference, please visit the following link: https://bit.ly/3MVncgw
Video: Zorrie Petrus Photos: Sikivu Hutchinson | Women’s Leadership Project