Clockwise from left to right: Rekia Boyd, Yvette Smith, Shereese Francis and Alexia Christian (138251)

Alexia Christian. Rekia Boyd. Yvette Smith. Shereese Francis. Aiyana Stanley-Jones. Most of those names are probably unfamiliar to you. It is a partial list of Black women and girls killed by police officers in the United States in the past five years. Their stories—just like those of Michael Brown, Freddie Gray, Eric Garner and others—are nuanced and colored by the details of their particular situations. However, just like their male counterparts, these women and girls were all unarmed. Yet, we do not know their names the way we know the names and even the parents of the young men felled by police actions.

Trayvon Martin’s death in 2012 at the hands of George Zimmerman—a man who was not a police officer, but wanted to be one and presented himself as a person of authority—proved to be the catalyst for a new wave of activism. Thousands of people rallied and marched all over the country, expressing their disgust, anger and sadness about yet another young Black life cut short. The activist work continued through the trial and beyond.

Similarly, Michael Brown’s death in 2014 in Ferguson, Mo., by police officer Darren Wilson, created yet another passionate response. The hashtag #BlackLivesMatter proliferated online, more marches were held and it seems that a new generation of activists and politicians has been awakened. The local elections in 2016 should prove to be interesting.

When a grand jury declined to charge Wilson with any crime, Ferguson exploded with fury and frustration as the world watched. Yet, when Dante Servin, the officer who shot and killed Rekia Boyd in Chicago, was acquitted of all charges in late April of this year, not even a fraction of that activist energy was spent in protest of her death or her killer’s freedom. A few articles were written, a poorly attended rally was held in New York City’s Union Square, and then … nothing.

We talk about the fact that #BlackLivesMatter, but too often we are not mentioning the names of all of those whose lives matter. The fact that there appears to be a hearty momentum of activism in the wake of these fatal encounters with law enforcement is a good thing. The amount of attention placed on the multilayered issue of police brutality in the media right now just might be enough to be a jumping-off point for real change.

The lives of these Black men that we’ve lost do matter, and we should keep talking about them. We should also talk about the Black women who have lost their lives in these same kinds of encounters. All of our #BlackLivesMatter.