Flowers for Black Girls in Honor of Teaira

Last Friday,  October 24th, a group gathered downtown at the Wood Street T Station to celebrate Black Women, Girls and Black Femininity. They rolled deep with 500 flowers, carefully adorned with ribbons and messages of affirmation, “Your Life Matters” “You are valuable.” This day was also the birthday of Teaira Whitehead, the young woman who was found dead in a northside park just a couple weeks earlier. Her death has sent shockwaves through the Pittsburgh community – not only the disturbing and violent circumstances of this young life cut short but also the mainstream media’s response – blaming Teaira for her own death. IMG_6680

autopsy by Joy KMT

(for Teaira Whitehead)

Teaira Whitehead Rest in Power

at some point you found that the world was a dagger. the gap between your legs

was meant to be filled. Your eyes deepened with the swallowing

of the lesson. This is what they call womanhood for

black girls-  an intimacy with hopelessness. Your last day
of school there were no ceremonies, no pomp, maybe

you watched your papers flutter in a summer breeze

imagined the wind carrying you to your real life where

there were no shields of bladed despair carefully placed


you and the nutrients

-you needed

to stay alive-
how long had you been dying?

How many  fingers of people not trying

to catch you had you slipped through before you landed in

Riverview Park? I blame us all for murdering you
& still murdering you,  refusing to say your name

putting distance between ourselves and your last breath

as if we do not know how 16 year old black girls wind up

dead in a park to be found by random white joggers

(who are now concerned for their safety)
lying to ourselves about the viciousness

of this world for black girls whose deaths

are only  diplomatic misunderstandings

in a war that is not happening
us pantomining

a fictitious world

where you decided

at 16

to lie down

nude in the park

and die

& where we

shake our heads

and murmur

about the peculiarity

of you being found

by anybody

when you were supposed

to be invisible

flowersfor bg flowercrew truth flowers group flowers

The pictures of the flower action are by Tom Jefferson and you can see more at Bekezela Mguni’s facebook page.  Joy’s poem reposted with permission.

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