Moving Beyond Take Back the Night: Black and Pink – Buffalo’s Response to Recently Reported Sexual Assaults

Black and Pink Buffalo is a group of “free world” LGBTQ people and allies and incarcerated LGBTQ people who support each other. We are outraged at the recent violence against women in our community. We acknowledge the harm that has occurred in our communities as well as the fear and anger of those who live and work in the Allentown and Elmwood Village neighborhoods. As we discuss anti-violence strategies, we would like for transformative methods which do not strengthen or rely on the Prison Industrial Complex to be part of the conversation.

The large showing of community support and collective desire to address the current reported violence at Sunday’s “Take Back the Night” march and speak-out proves that our community can support and listen to one another and work toward ending sexual violence in Buffalo. The event was a space for healing from both current and past instances of sexual violence, which was powerful for some who attended.

Sunday night’s rally should be the starting point of something bigger: ending the atrocities of sexual and gender based violence and transforming the attitudes and practices of our communities in response to this violence. Furthermore, if we desire a collective and community based solution to end this violence and the oppressions which create and perpetuate it, we must not forget about our community members who, for some of us, are outside of our immediate neighborhoods and identities. We must support the actions and efforts of those living in areas outside of Allentown and the Elmwood Village. We must acknowledge sexual, gender based, and other forms of violence that are experienced daily by people all over Buffalo.

We know that no one is disposable. We cannot forget about the most marginalized members of the Queen City; those who are undocumented, who are trans women of color, who are Native, who are sex workers, who live with disabilities, and others who are not afforded the same privileges as those of us who can march and speak freely with minimal fear of retaliation by the police and ICE.

As an organization whose work is rooted in the abolition of the prison industrial complex and all the oppressions that produce it, we:

  • Do not believe that more policing will make our communities safer.
  • Do not support news stories that sensationalize this violence.
  • Do not support efforts to map certain areas of Buffalo as both naturally and exceptionally criminal and violent because of their racial and economic demographics.
  • Know that most sexual violence occurs by people in our own lives and not by strangers.
  • Know that most victims of gender based violence are women of color, trans women, disabled, and poor women.
  • Know that both the police and the state perpetuate violence in many different forms against members of our community everyday, but often that violence goes unacknowledged.

As our community works to heal we seek responses that do not center on victim blaming or making the most affected members of our community bear the weight of being responsible for their own protection. We ask that our community’s call to action not be for more police surveillance, harsher sentencing laws, and “zero tolerance” policies. Instead, we seek a call to action that asks how we as community members can create and implement long lasting transformative solutions that dismantle the root causes of sexual violence and assault. How can we as community members challenge the belief that punishing individual perpetrators leads to safety for us all?

Further Reading:

Generation 5: Toward Transformative Justice

INCITE! Community Accountability

Community Accountability: Emerging Movements to Transform Violence

Suggested Readings from the Shifting from Carceral to Transformative Justice Feminisms Conference

Beyond Eve Ensler: What Should Organizing Against Gender Violence Look Like?

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