#SayHerName: An Intersectional and International Perspective on #BlackLivesMatter

In 2015, Sandra Bland died of asphyxiation in police custody.  However, her death was ruled as suicide by police authorities. Most people did not believe this and took to the streets. This was how the #SayHerName movement started.

Aiyana Stanley-Jones, Alesia Thomas, Atatiana Jefferson, Breonna Taylor, Darnisha Harris, Kathryn Johnston, Kendra James, Korryn, Malissa Williams, Miriam Carrey, Pamela Turner, Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, Shantel Davis, Shelley Frey, Shereese Francis, Tarika Wilson, Yvette Smith and many more. These are all Black women murdered by police in America.  These are a few of many names that did not get the same media attention as the Black men murdered by police. I only recognize two of those names: Sandra Bland and Breonna Taylor.

The HBO film Say Her Name: The Life and Death of Sandra Bland covers the story of Sandra Bland and the protests after her death.

Breonna Taylor was killed during a “no-knock” raid and was shot eight times. Her house was identified as part of a drug investigation but no drugs were found in her house. Because there is no video footage of her death and Sandra Bland’s death, they haven’t received the same attention as the murders of George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery.

A case unrelated to police brutality is Monika Diamond’s. Monika Diamond was a transgender woman and LGBTQ activist who was shot and killed while being treated in an ambulance. The man who initially attacked her eventually murdered her while she was being treated by the paramedic staff.

As we are all enraged at the violence displayed against Black men in America, let us not forget Black women and Black transgender women. As Malcolm X said in 1962, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” This rings true today for Black women and Black transgender women all over the world.

Violence against women is the fundamental form of patriarchy. Its effects is especially seen in Black communities.

In America, domestic violence is the main cause of death for Black women between the ages of 15-34. Not only that, it took a long time for Black girls and women to be taken seriously in terms of the multiple allegations against R. Kelly. My own country, South Africa is the femicide capital of the world. What I have observed about gender based violence here is that mainly white women and middle-class women get the media attention, as seen with Reeva Steenkamp and Uyinene Mrewetyana.

The impact of the COVID-19 Lockdown

Since this lockdown, gender based violence has escalated.  In the UK, an NGO called Refuge reported a 700% increase in calls from domestic abuse victims. Black women in Brazil are the ones who suffer the most under gender based violence.  In South Africa, it is reported that gender based violence cases increased by 500% since the lockdown was implemented at the end of March. I cannot help but worry about the Black and Coloured women in rural areas and townships of this country that are unable to call authorities.

What about the LGBTQI+ community?

Since we are also celebrating Pride Month, let us not forget the violence against the LGBTQI+ community all over the world. South Africa is the only country in Africa where same-sex marriage is legal. Despite this, there is still violent homophobia especially against Black lesbian women. Gender reaffirming surgery is very expensive and unaffordable to most transgender people in South Africa.  They are also shamed and discouraged when they go to Home Affairs to change their names. In the rest of Africa, homosexuality is taboo and sometimes punishable by death.

Be intersectional with your activism

My belief is that if you are anti-sexist, you should be anti-racist and anti-homophobic as well. You cannot want equal rights for women and not demand equal rights for Black people and LGBTQI people. Intersectionality is the only response to widespread inequality and oppression. Peace and justice is the only response to violence.

You do not have to be an expert but stay educated. Protest injustice as much as you can. Speak up as much as you can. If you are a part of a dominant culture, stop trying to control the narrative on behalf of oppressed people.

And if this final sentence applies to you, please, stop using your privilege as a weapon against historically oppressed people.

Learn more about racism and intersectionality in our campaign Antiracist Voices here.

Bringing Humor & Diversity to Netflix with Gena-mour Barrett

For the fifth episode of We Belong Podcast, we go to the UK to meet Gena-mour Barrett, a journalist and Editorial Creative Manager at Netflix UK, where she curates the Netflix IX interview series. 

As a freelancer, Gena-mour has bylines at Elle, The Guardian, Refinery 29 and BBC Newsbeat. She was listed as one of 2019’s 30 Under 30 for Media and Marketing in Europe by Forbes and was a recipient of the 2018 Roxane Gay fellowship for a woman of colour writing fiction with Jack Jones Literary Arts.

In our conversation with Gena-mour, we dive into her personal story, her childhood in South London and her passion for writing.

We also discuss humour and satire in the media, representation and diversity in the entertainment industry and, of course, her views on Brexit!

Episode available on Apple PodcastSpotifyAnchorYoutube and at the bottom of this post.


We Belong is the podcast that gives a voice to the New Daughters of Europe. Yasmine Ouirhrane, appointed expert by the European Union and the African Union, hosts this series of conversations with young women who represent the diversity of Europe. She talks to women who are breaking stereotypes, navigating multiple identities, and challenging the conventional wisdom of what it means to belong.

As an advocate for social and gender justice in Europe, Yasmine Ouirhrane was awarded Young European of the Year 2019 by the Schwarzkopf Foundation. She was also named EDD Young Leader by the European Commission and is an expert on Peace & Security at the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub. She is an award-winning fellow at Women Deliver and a member of the Gender Innovation Agora at UN Women.

The Podcast is produced by Les Cavalcades.

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Linh-Lan Dao on Anti-Asian Racism & French Media

In the fourth episode of We Belong Podcast, we meet Linh-Lan Dao, a TV Journalist for France Info. She works at the fact-checking TV program ‘Vrai ou Fake’ and uses arts to explain the news on the Youtube channel Draw my news.

Following a controversial broadcast by two French humorists, Kev Adams and Gad Elmaleh, Linh denounced prejudice and racism against Asians in a video that reached 2.5 million views. She is committed to standing up to anti-Asian racism and has been particularly vocal since the outbreak of the coronavirus, shedding the light on anti-Asian discriminations, verifying news and tweeting with #Imnotavirus.

In our conversation with Linh-Lan, we discussed her passion for journalism and drawing. We also talked about the importance of giving a voice to Asian communities living in France and their representation in the media.

Episode available on Apple PodcastSpotifyAnchorYoutube and at the bottom of this post.


We Belong is the podcast that gives a voice to the New Daughters of Europe. Yasmine Ouirhrane, appointed expert by the European Union and the African Union, hosts this series of conversations with young women who represent the diversity of Europe. She talks to women who are breaking stereotypes, navigating multiple identities, and challenging the conventional wisdom of what it means to belong.

As an advocate for social and gender justice in Europe, Yasmine Ouirhrane was awarded Young European of the Year 2019 by the Schwarzkopf Foundation. She was also named EDD Young Leader by the European Commission and is an expert on Peace & Security at the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub. She is an award-winning fellow at Women Deliver and a member of the Gender Innovation Agora at UN Women.

The Podcast is produced by Les Cavalcades.

Follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Míriam Hatibi on Activism Against Islamophobia

For the third episode of We Belong Podcast, we take you to Spain to meet Míriam Hatibi. Míriam is an activist against racism and islamophobia and the author of ‘Look Me in the Eye’ and ‘Leila’.

Activist and author, Míriam Hatibi

She also contributes to the opinion sections of several publications, where she promotes a visible media presence for people of diverse origins, particularly women.

Following the August 2017 terrorist attacks in Barcelona and Cambrils, Míriam vehemently condemned terrorism at a demonstration in Plaça de Catalunya that brought together hundreds of Muslims. Since December 2014, she has been the spokesperson for the Ibn Battuta Foundation (FIB), an entity created to promote socio-cultural exchange.

In our conversation, Miriam recalls her reaction to the terrorist attacks and tells us about her work to deconstruct islamophobia and stereotypes surrounding muslim people. She also talks of her ambition to create new spaces for immigrant daughters to shine in society.

Episode available on Apple PodcastSpotifyAnchorYoutube and at the bottom of this post.


We Belong is the podcast that gives a voice to the New Daughters of Europe.  Yasmine Ouirhrane, appointed expert by the European Union and the African Union, will host this series of conversations with young women representing the diversity of Europe. She will travel and meet women who are breaking stereotypes, navigating multiple identities, and challenging the conventional wisdom of what it means to belong. 

As an advocate for social and gender justice in Europe, Yasmine Ouirhrane was awarded Young European of the Year 2019 by the Schwarzkopf Foundation. She was also named EDD Young Leader by the European Commission and is an expert on Peace & Security at the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub, mandated by the EU and the AU. She is an award-winning fellow at Women Deliver and a member of the Gender Innovation Agora at UN Women.

The Podcast is produced by Les Cavalcades.

Follow We Belong on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Bellamy on Amplifying the Voices of Afroitalians

For the second episode of We Belong Podcast, we take you to Milan, Italy – the country currently worst affected by the coronavirus. We recorded a special remote interview with Bellamy, a model, blogger, activist and the founder of Afroitalian Souls.

Bellamy was born and raised in Italy in a half Ugandan and half Sudanese family. Her interests range from fashion and skincare to international politics. She became increasingly passionate about socio-cultural issues, particularly on the experience of the black body in different countries. While researching this, she felt called to take action in Italy.

With her friend Grazia, she created Afroitalian Souls: a digital platform that promotes the excellence of the African diaspora in Italy while simultaneously bringing awareness to the endless social and racial issues they face.

In our conversation with Bellamy, we discuss the impact of Covid-19 in Italy, the structural and cultural forms of violence that black Italians face, and how she uses sarcasm and style to amplify the voice of Afroitalians on social media.

Episode available on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Anchor, Youtube and at the bottom of this post.


We Belong is the podcast that gives a voice to the New Daughters of Europe.  Yasmine Ouirhrane, appointed expert by the European Union and the African Union, will host this series of conversations with young women representing the diversity of Europe. She will travel and meet women who are breaking stereotypes, navigating multiple identities, and challenging the conventional wisdom of what it means to belong. 

As an advocate for social and gender justice in Europe, Yasmine Ouirhrane was awarded Young European of the Year 2019 by the Schwarzkopf Foundation. She was also named EDD Young Leader by the European Commission and is an expert on Peace & Security at the AU-EU Youth Cooperation Hub, mandated by the EU and the AU. She is an award-winning fellow at Women Deliver and a member of the Gender Innovation Agora at UN Women.

The Podcast is produced by Les Cavalcades.

Follow us on InstagramTwitter and Facebook.

Intersectionality: from Theory to Practice

You’ve probably heard the word ‘intersectionality’. You’ve maybe heard people call themselves ‘an intersectional feminist’. In a lot of feminist media, culture and conversation, intersectionality has become a buzzword. But what does it actually mean, and how does it relate to gender equality?

To understand more, we spoke to Mpho Elizabeth Mpofu. Mpho is a development practitioner and philanthropist from Zimbabwe. She’s also the founder of Voice of Africa. Here’s what she had to say.


“It’s one of those words that we keep bringing up, but then the question is, is it really happening on the ground?”

An important thing to know about intersectionality is that the legacy of the whole concept is rooted within black feminst movements. It can be traced back to at least 1852, and the idea was explored by women of colour throughout succeeding decades. In 1989, the word intersectionality was coined by Kimberle Crenshaw.

As Crenshaw explains it, intersectionality is a way of looking at the world. It draws our attention to the ways points of difference (such as gender, race, class, sexuality, ability) create overlapping and compounding inequalities. It’s like a lens that allows us to see that the many forms and sources of inequality are interwoven. Intersectionality is something you do, not something you are, and everyone shares the responsibility of taking the theory and using it in practice. If you’d like to learn more, Kimberle Crenshaw has a great podcast – Intersectionality Matters.

Girls’ Globe attended the Women in Dev Conference in March 2020. You can watch highlights from the event or join the conversation online. If you’d like to share your perspective, personal experience or work on intersectionality, you can amplify your voice with Girls’ Globe.