Color of Change has picked up the story of LaVena Johnson and sent out an email to all of their subscribers asking them to take action. You can read their full email and take action here.
This is, of course, good news for LaVena Johnson’s family and those who have been working on her case. I also have to wonder if it’s a good sign for black women all around when a major black civil rights organization is actually paying attention to the cover up of her rape and murder.
As you may well (and should) know by now, feminist organizations have a long history and a continued way of ignoring issues important to women of color, including black women. And in an additionally cruel twist, black civil rights organizations have a way of also ignoring the issues important to women in their communities.
Color of Change has in the past supported very real, actual rapist Genarlow Wilson (who may have been convicted on a somewhat unfair charge, but whose ass certainly deserved to be in jail for rape all the same). And just a couple of months ago, Al Sharpton and the NAACP took the side of the young black men who stand accused as the Dunbar Village Rapists, completely ignoring the harrowing ordeal of the black woman who they allegedly gang-raped, tortured and attempted to murder, and that of her 12-year-old son with whom she was forced to perform a sex act.
So this makes me happy and I’m hoping that it is a positive step forward. As I said in the Dunbar Village post, of course black men do not deserve to be convicted of crimes which they did not commit, and they do not deserve to be treated differently by our judicial system than white men (or anyone else) — this is discriminatory, and sadly it happens a lot. But black women have a right just like white women (and anyone else) to not be raped — and in Johnson’s case, also murdered. They have a right to have their rapists held accountable, regardless of the assailant’s race. And acknowledging this is not setting back the movement but furthering it.
Is Color of Change decision to pick up Johnson’s case a sign of progress? After all, we don’t know the race of her rapist/murder(s) yet. If said rapist/murder(s) turned out to be black, would the organization still celebrate the investigation finally taking place? I certainly hope so — but I hope even more that justice is done and we therefore have a chance to find out.
If only we could get NOW to get up off their asses, too. Sorry, ladies: though I’m glad that you’re finally starting to take up the case of Michelle Obama like she’s a real woman experiencing sexism in the media, too, that alone isn’t good enough. (Especially since the outrage lacks the same furor seen over the sexism directed at Clinton.) You’ve cared before about the rates of rape against female soldiers and contractors in Iraq. I’ll be waiting for LaVena Johnson to be worthy of that same coverage.