INCITE! is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color working to leverage grassroots organizing onto a national and transnational platform. INCITE! specifically focuses on issues of police violence, reproductive justice, and media justice
It’s important to understand what is identified as violence. It’s also important to address violence of oppression and how that oppression intersects in the lives of women of color. INCITE! is taking action by organizing conferences designed to build connections and develop thinking, mobilizing people around national projects, and engaging the media to help shape ideas about ending violence.
Women of color who experience violence may identify themselves as women, transgendered, bisexual, aggressive, dykes, butch, studs, and/or genderqueer.
At INCITE!, women are able to recognize and openly discuss expressions of violence and the struggles of racism, sexism, classism, heterosexism, and all other forms of oppression. Having a space where women can feel free to confess and understand from other individual stories and then give support while building powerful coalitions is a great thing.
INCITE! Was started in 2000 by a group of nine women of color from across the US coming from a variety of ethnic, and political contexts. This is what made up the National Collective that now organizes events, publishes books, fundraises, facilitates and supports the wide network of radical feminists of color that is INCITE!.
Open dialogue is a key component in the aiding process of ending oppression and acts of violence against women of color. Acts of violence can be motivated by racism, homophobia or religious bias. These are hate crimes, and if we are not able to come together and support each other with action, then we are allowing perpetrators to attack.
Black women face a greater risk of domestic violence– a fact I was unaware of before encountering INCITE! site. Further, many articles have quoted studies by the Violence Policy Center stating Black women are murdered by men at a rate more than two and half time higher than White women. According to the study, the primary risk of violence does not come from strangers; 94% of Black women were murdered by someone they knew and 87% were not related to the commission of any other felony. This shows that most of the violence against Black women occurs in the home. Among the Black female victims who knew their offenders, 52% were wives, ex-wives or girlfriends, and 93% were intra-racial homicides.
Using information like this can help organizations like INCITE! gain better insight on their work. Besides the women that are victims or activists against violence, the issue remains still, in the home and with the attackers who are initiating these horrendous acts. Educating women on speaking up, collaborating and recognizing situations that they should not put themselves in or accept to be reduced to is important. It is essential that there is an emphasis on the engagement and confrontation of offenders in a less volatile way. There should be attention targeting the education and exposure men are given on the effects of violence on women, as well as civic engagement of non Blacks, both men and women, and the oppression that occurs daily in our society today. Bringing people together to fight for a cause is powerful, but expanding beyond the individual members and their involvement can create more awareness among all communities, including those indirectly effected.
To get involved, INCITE! offers chapters (local collective of members), affiliates (independent organization who collaborate), working groups, national collective, and individual members. Find out more here.
By Angela Kote