Organizer Of Wichita Rally Honoring Black Women Calls For Action: 'Our Power Lies In Our Vote'

Jun 30, 2020

A rally in Wichita over the weekend focused on remembering Black women in the fight for racial justice. Now, organizers say they want to keep the momentum going.

The "Say Her Name" event brought dozens of people together Sunday to hear speakers and visit information booths to learn more about issues facing Black women — including the ugliness of racism and police brutality, and the importance of building community power and voting.

"We are here to uplift some of those voices, listen to those voices and concerns and kind of pull Black women together especially during this time and furthermore," said organizer Nichole Lee.

Fifteen-year-old Cayla Lee holds a sign that lists the names of women who have been affected by police brutality. "So many times our attention goes towards the men who have been affected but the women have too," she said. "We matter too."
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

"'Say Her Name,' right now, it just means that there have been women forgotten, and we want them to be said too," she said. "Everyone at the protests are saying George Floyd's name and Ahmaud Arbery and we appreciate that because they are not here to say their own names, but what about the women?"

Women like Breonna Taylor, Atatiana Jefferson and Sandra Bland.

Lee said after the rally, she wants "people to move into action."

"It’s not just enough to say 'Black lives matter' without any action," she said. "Support the candidates and vote for policies that really bring resources into the Black communities that ultimately help Black women.

"Our power lies in our vote and in our dollar."

Rosa Hernandez (right), with help from NAACP member Lavonta Williams, registers to vote at Sunday's rally.
Credit Carla Eckels / KMUW

Rosa Hernandez took the opportunity at the rally to register to vote, something she didn’t know she was allowed to do.

"I just found out I am able to vote. I’m a felon," she explained. "I was told that if we are off of papers and off of probation we are able to vote.

"I’m excited because now my voice is really going to be heard,” Hernandez said. "I mean, I can’t complain if I don’t have a say and now that I have a say, my voice is going to be heard along with all of the other women here."

And Lee said the rally is only the beginning; she said she's working on a women's candidate forum for some time in July.

"Honestly, I don’t want this to stop," she said. "I want us to continue to … stand and support Black women. I want Black women to lead this movement and not just be the backbone."

Carla Eckels is director of cultural diversity and the host of Soulsations. Follow her on Twitter @Eckels. To contact KMUW News or to send in a news tip, reach us at news@kmuw.org.