Protesters March for the “Unforgotten 51” and Chicago’s Murdered and Missing Black Girls and Women

Protestors lead the way with a banner in the “We Walk for Her March” march held on Tuesday, March 22. John W. Fountain

She walked for her — this palpable trail of humanity and collective tears flowing down South King Drive, their chants rising in unison from here and the grave into the warm summer air in remembrance of those Black girls and women no longer able to speak for themselves.

Their voices resounded with a call for closure. For justice. For answers, and ultimately for an end to the slaying of young Black women and girls strangled, suffocated, shot or mangled, their bodies discarded like yesterday’s trash.

They spoke. For those Black girls and women abducted or who suddenly vanished without a trace, like a vapor.

For the dead, they walked. For those whose innocent blood still cries from premature graves.

They walked purposefully. For recognition of the humanity of Black women, despite brutalities suffered amid the perpetual American disparity in how their lives and deaths and disappearances are treated compared to white women in America, even animals.

They spoke. And they marched — each step symbolic of their earnest hope that some day there would be no need.

They marched and lifted up their voices for the “Unforgotten 51”: For Nancie Walker. For Gwendolyn Williams. For Reo Renee Holyfield and also for other African-American women murdered or missing in Chicago.

The event, held on Tuesday evening, was sponsored by a coalition of community groups, including the Kenwood Oakwood Community Organization (KOCO), H.E.R. Chicago, and Mothers Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE). They also called for policy change by law enforcement to “prevent more murders.”

The marchers advanced with solemnity and vigor, escorted by uniformed Chicago police officers on bikes and in blue-flashing squad cars as they headed south for blocks along King Drive from 35th Street.

Some in the estimated more than 100 marchers carried placards or banners. Many wore white T-shirts emblazoned with the emblem of a young woman wearing twin Afro puffs, and the words, “We Walk for Her IV,” in honor of the fourth annual march. Aziah Roberts, a KOCO youth leader, age 13 at the time, initiated the walk in 2018.

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SOURCE: Chicago Sun-Times, John W. Fountain

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