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Sacramento activists raise awareness to under-reported issue of crime against Black women

Groups in Sacramento and across the country say black women's lives are cut short at an alarming rate - and there is no outcry. And CDC figures reflect it.

SACRAMENTO, Calif. — While the United States was in the grips of the coronavirus pandemic, fallout from another pandemic surfaced. A racial reckoning is taking place across the country after cases like Ahmaud Arberry and George Floyd.

A case that got a little less attention was Breonna Taylor, a black woman that was shot and killed after police served a no-knock warrant on her Kentucky home. Breonna’s boyfriend thought someone was breaking in. 

Groups in Sacramento and across the country say black women's lives are cut short at an alarming rate - and there is no outcry.

Chiffon Buckner's 19-year-old daughter Taylor Blackwell was found dead in a Sacramento hotel room in late February. Months after Taylor’s death, Buckner was finally told that it was being investigated by the coroner's office in the same way they would investigate a homicide because it's considered a suspicious death. She had no idea because she said she didn’t hear from investigators for weeks at a time. 

"I honestly feel like they just didn't care. They didn't make my daughter a priority," said Buckner.

Christi Ketchum is the founder of Sacramento Sister Circle. It's a Facebook community for black women in our area to connect and raise awareness for issues.

"She shared the story of her daughter and thankfully she continued to share the story of her daughter and what happened to her here in Sacramento. It's July and she has very little answers,” Ketchum said.

Taylor's story then went viral online and that sparked action in the community to demand answers. Ketchum says it shouldn’t take public outcry to get answers from investigators. 

Ketchum also says stories like Taylor's happen too often and then go untold because they're of black women. 

"We can go back to a quote that Malcolm X said black women are the most disrespected people on Earth and I definitely believe we have examples of that throughout time," she said.

Rosalind Page is the founder of Black Femicide US on Facebook. It’s a group with more than 23,000 followers that focuses on sharing those untold stories. Page agrees with Ketchum that crimes involving black women as the victim go untold and lack the same public outcry of their male counterparts.

In 2017 the CDC said black women experienced the highest rates of homicide than any other racial group in the US. Page believes raising awareness can help stop the violence – which is all they want. 

"This is not about who is most oppressed in the community. It's that we all in the community are affected and impacted by violence," said Page.

Page says saying the name of the victims, using the hashtag symbol with their names online, and using #SAyHerName can help draw attention online as it did for Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson, Taylor Blackwell, and so many others. 

Page says her inspiration for the cause started with another young woman’s story. 

"When (I saw) that happen to Sandra Bland, I thought that could be my daughter. That could be me," Page said. 

It’s a fear she says, most black women face daily.

On July 20, another protest was held demanding answers in Taylor Blackwell's death. The Sacramento Coroner’s office says they are still determining the cause of death.

Continue the conversation with Keristen on Facebook.

Editor's note: A previous version of this story incorrectly listed Taylor Blackwell's case as a homicide and criminal investigation. That case information has been updated. 

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