Statement from me too. International on the Death of Lauren Smith Fields
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 27, 2021
Media Contact: email@example.com
ATLANTA – Tarana Burke and Dani Ayers – Chief Vision Officer and Chief Executive Officer of me too. International, respectively – issued the following statement on Lauren Smith Fields:
Lauren Smith Fields should be alive today. Like many Black women, her story illustrates the distinct intersections of oppression that result in violence upheld by systems of misogyny and white supremacy. Now, six weeks after her death, after campaigns and community pressure, Lauren’s case will finally receive the investigation it so justly deserves.
The burden of demanding accountability should not fall on the backs of a mourning family and community.
Furthermore, the media’s retelling of Lauren’s mysterious death suggests that she is solely responsible for what happened to her. The gruesome details that followed represent how our death and pain are brutally sensationalized.
Lauren’s death is not the result of one bad actor. It is the result of a culture that enables the abuse of Black women to permeate our digital spaces, intimate relationships, and everyday life. A study by dating app BLK found that 29% of Black women do not feel safe on mainstream dating apps. From online harassment to physical endangerment, Black women experience the full spectrum of harm and abuse that should be taken seriously no matter the degree.
We expect dating apps to create safer experiences for their users, and use their platform to respond when tragedies like this occur. Bumble, an app founded as the direct result of one woman’s online abuse, should take a stand at this moment to, beyond acknowledging Lauren’s death, reflect on how they can make Black women and femmes, and as a result all communities, safer on their platform. This is not just one company’s responsibility; this is a demand for the systems and structures that consistently overlook and disregard Black lives.
Though there is no justice for the loss of Lauren’s life, there can be accountability and the hope that one day, Black women can feel safety and freedom, knowing that the world values them and deems their lives worthy.