On August 1, 2016, Baltimore County police arrived at the Randallstown, Maryland apartment of 23-year-old Korryn Gaines to serve a warrant alleging that she had failed to appear in court. Gaines, who had miscarried twins as a consequence of improper treatment while being held in connection with a traffic stop, had received paperwork for the stop that did not provide the date on which she was expected to appear. A month prior to the day officers descended on her home, Gaines had visited the police station seeking clarification about her court date, only to be told that the officer who had issued the paperwork was unavailable. When Gaines noticed police attempting to force entry that day in August, she sat down in her living room with a legally owned firearm, and a 6-hour standoff ensued. Gaines had amassed a sizable online following via her activism and poetry, and narrated the sequence in real time on Facebook Live until the social media portal shut her page down per police request. During the 6-hour standoff, Gaines relocated to her kitchen, at which point Officer Royce Ruby, Jr. fired at Gaines from outside her apartment. Officer Ruby then entered the apartment and shot Gaines three more times. One of the bullets passed through Gaines and wounded her young son, who survived but sustained lifelong disabling injuries. County prosecutors concluded that the killing of Gaines was justified, and Officer Ruby was not criminally charged.
Pundits and critics have foregrounded Korryn’s possible mental impairment, her gun ownership, and her ideology as reasons to paper over the possible intersectional vulnerabilities that contributed to Korryn’s killing. In this riveting and morally urgent episode of Intersectionality Matters!, host Kimberlé Crenshaw sits down with Rhanda Dormeus, Korryn’s mother, to reveal the untold story of Gaines’ death, the blatant miscarriages of justice that led to it, and the harrowing consequences of Officer Ruby’s authorization to take the life of a mother in her own home. Dormeus’s story plumbs the very depths of unfathomable grief and raises deeply disturbing questions about whether the sanctity accorded to most human life is withheld from Black women and their families. Dormeus has reaped some positivity from tragic topsoil by becoming a leading voice in the Say Her Name movement, a campaign to shine light on Black women who are the underreported victims of police violence.
Intersectionality Matters! is recorded and produced by Julia Sharpe-Levine. This episode was edited by Julia Sharpe-Levine and Alex Schein and recorded by Stacia Brown, Rebecca Scheckman, and Julia Sharpe-Levine, with consulting help from Thea Chaloner. Additional support was provided by Janine Jackson, Naimah Hakim, G’Ra Asim, Kevin Minofu, and Madeline Cameron Wardleworth.
Learn more about Korryn’s story and the #SayHerName Campaign at aapf.org/podcast. Sign up on Patreon (patreon.com/intersectionalitymatters) for bonus content from this interview.
We're pleased to bring you a new podcast from AAPF and Kimberlé Crenshaw, Intersectionality Matters! Featuring on the ground interviews with some of the world's most innovative activists, artists, and scholars, each episode will explore a different topic through an intersectional lens, ranging from the Supreme Court to grassroots activism in Brazil and the Congo to #SayHerName and the future of the #MeToo campaign. Today we bring you a special preview episode in time for the midterm elections. We hope you enjoy it, and stay tuned for the official podcast release later this month!
Donald Trump’s path to power was littered with attacks on Muslims, women, immigrants, people of color, people with disabilities, people who are undocumented, and people who are queer. And these communities have suffered under his administration. The November 6th election presents an opportunity to put significant checks on Trumpism. There is no lack of clarity about what is at stake, but the ability to fight back effectively turns on the ability of all of these constituencies to see common cause and to overcome concerted efforts to keep them from voting. On this special preview of Intersectionality Matters!, we talk to two African American women leading the fight for our democracy: Barbara Arnwine, Founder of both the Transformative Justice Coalition and Election Protection, the nation’s largest nonpartisan voter protection coalition; and Kristen Clarke, Executive Director of the Lawyer’s Committee on Civil Rights Under Law. Clarke is leading the court challenge against Georgia’s vote suppression tactics in the face of the historic campaign being waged by Stacey Abrams, a candidate who may make history by becoming the first African American woman to be elected governor. These eye-opening interviews by Kimberlé Crenshaw address critical issues presented in this election, and explore what more we must do after November 6th to ensure intersectional justice for all.
Music by Blue Dot Sessions
Produced and Edited by Julia Sharpe-Levine
Special thanks to Thea Chaloner, Alex Schein, Luke Charles Harris, Michael Kramer, Naimah Hakim, G'Ra Asim, Madeline Cameron Wardleworth, Kevin Minofu, Janine Jackson, and Abby Dobson.
Kimberlé Crenshaw: @sandylocks
African American Policy Forum: @aapolicyforum