Say Her Name by Zetta Elliot, pays tribute to the #SayHerName movement. The #SayHerName movement was started in 2014 by the African American Policy Forum and the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies to bring attention to the women who have been victimized by police brutality. In this YA non-fiction, Elliot graced us with a beautiful collection of poetry that showcased the intersectionality of being black and a woman. These poems are meant to empower our queens while shedding light on topics like social justice, mental health, body positivity, and so much more.
Elliot touches on her struggles with mental health in the introduction of the book. She uses the poems “Self/Care” and “Appetite” to express the emotional roller coaster that comes with anxiety and depression. Last year I found myself filled with anger, disappointment, sadness, and confusion. My mental health was shot. Amad, Breonna, George one right after the other. I think I gained 20lbs in two months. I definitely ate my rage. These two poems are powerful yet comforting. You are not alone sis.
I also personally connected with the poem “Lullaby”. It is almost like a prayer of protection. With every line, I could feel the warmth and care in Elliot’s voice. It’s the fact that a black person may not make it back home for simply just being themselves. That black parents fear that their black children may not make it home simply because of their skin tone. That it is seen as necessary to stand by and watch any interaction with police and black people. You must be hypervirulent just to make it home safe each day because someone may deem your blackness as a threat. You have to hear her read it; get the audiobook.
In addition to the impactful poetry, the book is filled with vibrant artwork by Loveis Wise that captures the essence of each poem. If you are a lover of poetry and art, passionate about social juice and women’s right...BLACK WOMEN’S RIGHTS this is an amazing read. It will empower and encourage you to live authentically and to continue to #SayHerName.
#OwnVoices at Richland Library is a way for African American, Hispanic, and Latino/a/e staff to provide thoughtful and well written book reviews, book lists and blog posts to promote authors of marginalized groups and their work about the life experiences of these under-represented groups through their own perspective. The series invites our customers to learn one more way we are continuing the conversation in our community and speaking our voice. Find more resources on race, equity and inclusion, here.