Shamell Bell’s Black Studies’ teacher told her she had to go out and “do something“. That was the start her activist career. As a core member of #BlackLivesMatter LA she was a keynote for the very first  #BlackHerstories. An event showcasing the struggles black woman encountered when fighting for right equalities.

Shamell Bell, #BlackLivesMatter activist

©Photo by Nour Abida

Shamell Bell, University of California Los Angeles doctorate student opened the evening with a speech explaining her struggle and how she became an advocate to the cause, she said  “My vision is to viciously attack the detrimental practices and policies that disadvantage the poor and people of color”.

Shamell Bell, Keynote for the night

©Photo by Nour Abida

This event was born from a collaboration between the Multicultural Affairs and the Equity Center to “detail the experiences and stories of Black women who continue to rewrite and change history”.They hope to add validation to the struggles that Black women face in creating change while providing a space for Black women to speak openly and unapologetically about their journey to freedom.

Also, when asked about the importance of the event and the reason why everyone should attend  Desiré Campusano, representative of the Women and Gender Equity Center said: “Black voices have always been important and key to telling the very real stories of the history of this nation and world, yet they have often been silenced.”

Around a hundred of people showed up for the evening, among them Dion Sparks who said: “I thought it was definitely an eye-opener, it was just like someone else speaking what I felt internally”. As a black women she felt like she could relate to other black women.

Brittany Coleman was also here to raise her voice regarding the recent tragic events the black community has been going through; the raise of murders committed by white policemen targeting black people.  She picked on the justice’s passivity and the poor law enforcement  when treating the case by telling the story of her brother and saying that “he was shot by someone who was  supposed to protect him”.

Jade Turner also emphasised on racism black people are subjected her piece #BlackGirlMagic “All Black girls and women matter and we are tired of being silenced, erased, pushed out, overpoliced and underprotected”.

One of the highlights of the night was during Jay Dent’s speech when she made a piece about being a black mother and what it involves. In other words, a black kid has more chances to be shot by the police than a kid coming for another community. The audience started to feel emotional, some people started to burn into tears when she said in her poem: “You want me to invest in something they’re going kill”.

Jay Dent

©Photo by Nour Abida 

The event detailed the experiences and stories of Black woman who dared to rewrite and change history along with the struggles they shared in the fight for justice. For that matter, Kel McCoy needed to share her story. After she was raped and abused she tried to commit suicide. She eventually went over it :”Because of my pain and everything  I have been through,  I was able to put it in my events and touch other women. I was able to talk to them and tell them that they are not alone, give them advice of how to leave when you don’t want to”.

Even if the event only featured female speaker, a few men showed up to listen to them like Taharka Anderson who said ” The event was magical, it reminded myself  that  black women had tremendously contributed to the forward flow of the humanity  in terms of the liberation movement across the world. They have continuously given their times and talent energy and lives in order to see the world becoming a better place”.

The even was very well received by the audience when  women took the floor to share their stories through the art of voice or poetry.

You can check the slideshow with the pictures of that evening below.

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©Photos by Nour Abida