UPDATE: In a weird twist, the FBI just announced that Sharmeka staged the whole thing. She set herself on fire. I still wish her a speedy recovery, both physically and mentally.
Imagine going to the local park for a run/walk, happy and healthy, and then leaving the park in an ambulance, with 60 percent of your body covered in burns because three men in white hoods set you on fire.
It’s horrific to imagine, let alone to live through. Sharmeka Moffitt, a 20-year-old woman in Louisiana, would know.
On Sunday, this happened to her. Not only did the three men set her on fire, they also wrote the initials “KKK” and a racial slur on her car. She is now in critical condition at a hospital.
“A Winnsboro Police officer who responded to her 911 call found no suspects or vehicles at Civitan Park where the attack allegedly happened, and the park has no surveillance cameras. Lewis said the state crime lab was analyzing several pieces of evidence.
Franklin Sheriff Kevin Cobb called it “a horrific event” and said authorities would “follow the facts and seek justice.”
Otis Chisley, the president of the local branch of the NAACP, said he was in touch with Moffitt’s distraught family. He said he was waiting for more facts before drawing any conclusions about what happened and that “everyone wants to move with caution.”
Regardless of the investigation’s outcome, Chisley said that racism and KKK activity remain a fact of life in the state.
“It’s prevalent throughout Louisiana,” he said. “It’s hidden but it exists.”
We do NOT live in a post-race, post-gender society. We live in a society where racism, sexism, and hate rear their ugly heads on a regular basis.
Crunk Feminist Collective has a powerful piece about this attack and its context as well as the following:
“And for all the folks who think Black women don’t use public parks for exercise because we want to maintain our hair styles, let this be an object lesson. Maybe Black women with modest resources who can’t afford to go to the gym don’t use public parks because those spaces are unsafe.
As of this point, the coverage of Moffitt’s attack has been minimal. I knew about it only because folks back home were posting info from local news sources. I guess it is left up to social media to convince the world yet again that violence against Black women matters. And I hope Black folks remember, too, that Sharmeka’s life deserves the same energy that we gave to the Jena 6 and to Trayvon Martin.
Sharmeka, you are not invisible to us. We stand with you in your fight.”
Amen. The Stop Street Harassment community stands with Sharmeka and wish her a fast recovery.
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