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Editor’s Letter: Black Women - Never Visible And Always Silenced

I have tried to write three editor’s letters this year and I’ve never gotten further than 200 words max. There was something that just wasn’t right with my previous attempts.  At first I wanted to write about the word “diversity” and why I find it problematic. Then I started writing about colourism and the face of young black feminism and my other attempt isn’t even worth talking about.

It’s an awful feeling to feel out of inspiration when it comes to writing. A month into 2016, I have tried searching for inspiration everywhere, conversations with girlfriends, social media, the mass media, books, but nothing prompted me to put pen to paper, or rather my fingers to be the keyboard. However, this evening as I type, I realised it’s not always about inspiration when it comes to writing. Writing for a reason and writing with a purpose is why I write for Black Ballad and it is how my writing on this platform differs to the majority of my writing on other publications. 

So for the first time this year, it feels like I’m writing with a reason. My reason is to question why are black British women are erased in life; but in addition, to also question why black British women are also erased in death.

This evening for the first time, I read about a woman called Sarah Reed. Sarah Reed, like many other black woman was subjected to police brutality. In 2012, she was punched and dragged across the floor by a police officer in a London high street shop because she was suspected of theft.

Her story doesn’t start there. Sarah suffered from mental illness after losing a child in 2003. If we fast forward past the theft incident and into October 2015, Sarah was sectioned under the Section 3 Mental Health Act in Maudsley Hospital. While there, she was a victim of attempted rape. Yet in a twist that would take place in a Hollywood movie, (a whitewashed Hollywood movie, I may add,) Sarah was arrested and placed in prison without medication. Then on 11th January, her family was told that she had died, from suicide - according to officials she had strangled herself.