The inaugural event will feature poets and access to community resources.
Marches that celebrate Black women and provide a platform to discuss community issues that need to be addressed have been popping up around the country in cities like Houston and Washington D.C. These gatherings inspired author and poet Coffy Davis to organize a March for Black Women and Girls in Arkansas. The inaugural event begins at noon Saturday at The Bernice Garden in Little Rock.
“Just being here in Little Rock I noticed that there was an uptick in violence against young Black women and so I wanted to do something here to raise awareness for that,” Davis says. “And also to celebrate Black women and girls in our communities, and to empower and bring resources.”
The event is being hosted by the T.U.R.N. Project (The Underground Railroad Neighborhood Project), which Davis helped create in 2004. The group of mentors and students formed in response “to the need for our community to be able to have access to art and also to be able to have an outlet for it,” she said.
Saturday’s event will feature performances by poets and Unique the Deaf Dancer. Guest speakers include Little Rock School Board member Vicki Hatter, Drekkia Morning from the Arkansas Arts Council and Dawn Jeffrey, an activist who will discuss the state of Black women and girls in Arkansas. One victim’s family will also present an impact statement.
“Although the event as a whole is a celebratory event, we’re going to do a tribute and a memorial to the women that have been lost in our community,” Davis says.
Guests at the march can support the community by purchasing goods from participating vendors. Organizers will also be handing out information about community resources such as the number for the suicide prevention hotline as well as resources for members of the LGBTQ community.
Amber Booth-McCoy of The Diversity Booth Inc. will serve as mistress of ceremonies and DJ Whathedo will provide music. Davis says the entire community is invited to this weekend’s march, which she hopes will raise awareness.
“I’m hoping that it helps the concerns and issues that are unique for Black women and girls to move into the forefront as opposed to being out in the margins,” she says.
The inaugural March for Black Women and Girls is scheduled for 12 to 3 p.m. June 26 at The Bernice Garden, which is located at 1401 S. Main Street in Little Rock. More information is available at www.marchforblackwomen.com.