Violence against Black women focus of march through downtown San Diego

Organizers Kaylah McNairy, Jordyn Wyatt, Teija Purvis and Delina Selam lead the demonstration on Sunday.
Organizers Kaylah McNairy, Jordyn Wyatt, Teija Purvis and Delina Selam lead the demonstration through downtown San Diego for “Say Her Name” as they march toward the County Administration Center on Sunday.
(Ariana Drehsler/For The San Diego Union-Tribune)

More than 100 protesters chanted names, one by one, of Black women who have been killed


More than 100 people marched through downtown San Diego on Sunday afternoon to protest violence against Black women and systemic racism across the country.

Carrying “Black Lives Matter” posters and wearing T-shirts with the names of Black women killed by police, the marchers chanted the names — one by one — of Black women who have lost their lives to violence.

The march was organized by Dream High Black Girls, a nonprofit launched by students at San Diego High School and Patrick Henry High School. Called “Say Her Name,” the march attracted dozens of Black women, but also women of other races and a few men.

In addition to police brutality against Black women, the march focused on other sources of violence and danger, including hate crimes, domestic violence and racially biased health care.

“It’s all these things combined,” said Delina Selam, a San Diego High student who led the protest. “The point is really just to shed a light. These women, their names are never out there, so if at least one person says their name it makes a huge difference.”

But Selam said it’s crucial to remember that the list is not exhaustive.

“We don’t know the names of so many other Black women who have been killed,” she said.

Some participants said they felt angry and frustrated over police misconduct and what they characterized as inaction by local leaders since racial protests began in May. The march was peaceful from start to finish.

“There are so many communities that don’t feel safe having police around,” said Rachel Maldonado of El Cajon. “It’s more dangerous to be threatened by the police and their lethal weapons than when a crime might be occurring.”

Emily Davis of North Park said Black women in San Diego are more susceptible to domestic violence because of bias among police, and more susceptible to medical problems because of bias in the local health care system.

Selam said Sunday’s march was much larger than her group’s first protest, a June 14 march from the San Diego Zoo to police headquarters at 14th Street and Broadway.

She said it’s been encouraging to see protests continue in San Diego throughout the summer.

“A lot of people have been saying the momentum will die out, but here we are,” Selam said. “You can’t fight with three people. You’ve got to have an army”

One of the march participants, Danisha Jenkins, said she thinks protests have continued nationwide because the country is at a turning point regarding brutality against people of color.

She has attended more than 70 local protests as part of the San Diego task force of the American Nurses Association, which handles medical responses at protests when necessary.

“Nurses have an obligation to advocate against police brutality and any racist structures in our community that impact the health and wellness of the patients we take care of,” she said.

Many participants in the march carried signs with political messages, such as “protect trans women of color” and “you’re not so blind to patriotism that you can’t face reality.” Others wore political T-shirts, many of them demanding justice for Breonna Taylor, a Black female paramedic shot and killed by Louisville police in March.

But a couple from Point Loma may have generated the most buzz by adorning their toy poodle Bo with a sign saying “You don’t have to be human to be outraged.”