By Stacy M. Brown, NNPA Newswire Senior National Correspondent
According to statistics released by the FBI this month, more than four black women and girls were murdered every day in the United States in 2020.
Uniform crime reporting statistics revealed that these startling numbers were up sharply from 2019.
The FBI said it recorded at least 405 additional murders of black women and girls, but reports strongly suggested that number represents an undercount.
These reports do not surprise or comfort the families of the victims, but serve as yet another reminder of the lack of worth attached to the lives of black women.
“There was no justice,” said Claumisha Reed, whose daughter Zymia Joyner was shot dead last year.
Just over a month before her 20th birthday, 19-year-old Zymia and Rashard Waldo were shot dead by an unknown assailant in the 3100 block of Waclark Place in southeast Washington, DC
Since the murder, Zymia’s mother and siblings have tried to keep one foot in front of the other.
“Zymia had a lot of things to do,” Claumisha Reed remarked.
“She started a small business selling hair products and really wanted to work in obstetrics and gynecology. We have lost an angel. His dreams were cut short.
Zymia is among the many victims in an increasingly deadly country, with reports noting that murders overall have increased by about 30% during the pandemic.
“Black women are exposed to police violence and systemic racism every day, all day and all night. Marcela Howell, Founder and President of In Our Own: National Black Women’s Reproductive Justice Agenda.
“We face the sting of racism at work, at school, on the streets and in our own homes. We cannot escape it, nor deny racism, it is too often a death toll. We certainly cannot rely on the criminal justice system to value our lives or deliver justice to black people killed by police. “
Rosa Page, the founder of advocacy group Black Femicide US, told The Guardian newspaper that the increase in murders of black women in 2020 did not surprise her.
In her work as a nurse, Page for years listened to black women and girls describe their stories of abuse or know someone else who had been assaulted or murdered.
“Black women and girls have been brainwashed into believing that everyone matters except themselves,” Page told the outlet, which first reported on the latest FBI statistics.
According to the National Crime Victimization Survey, black women were twice as likely as white women to encounter an offender with a handgun even before the pandemic.
Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that homicides of black women continued to increase before 2020.
Parents, activists and others have said that concrete plans for prevention and early intervention are desperately needed. They argue that the days when black women are honored with the same value as others are gone.
“Zymia was the kind of person you would like to be with,” remarked her mother, Claumisha Reed. “His friends loved him and our family loved him.”
Prior to her death, Zymia had recently completed her sophomore year at Trinity Washington University in Northeast, DC. His aspirations included nursing and owning a business.
After graduating as an Outstanding Student from Dunbar High School, Zymia decided to major in Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Her love for her children and her passion to help others were the driving force behind her nursing desires.
She lit up a room, ”said Reid.
“She was an outgoing person and was more motivated than most other people we knew. But, on top of that, she was so focused, and you couldn’t tell her to stop at something because she was going to accomplish whatever she set out to accomplish.
Zymia enjoyed a large following on social media and gave advice to his friends who were looking for him, Reid recalls.
“She inspired her friends, and they felt they could talk to her,” Reid noted. “Zymia always listened intently, and when she gave advice, it was the kind of advice that came from the heart, and she said it as it was and told her friends that it was up to them to heed the advice.”