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As Fulton County Jail deaths continue to climb, organizers in other states with high jail deaths announced solidarity protests on Friday to draw attention to the rate of Black women dying in jail.

In Memphis, concerned citizens, advocacy groups, and community leaders gathered at the Shelby County Sheriff’s Headquarters at 201 Poplar Ave at 10 a.m. on September 15th. They hope to draw attention to the deaths in the Shelby County Jail, including the most recent death of Kimberly Clark, according to a press release from In Our Names Network.

The group says another action is planned in Nashville at 5 p.m. during the African Street Festival in Hadley Lillard Park. A third action is planned in Atlanta.

In Nashville and Atlanta, organizers will hold an altar build action to honor those who’ve died in jail.

Activists protest Fulton County jail deaths and others across the country

In Atlanta, the joint action between Black Feminist Future and the Southern Movement Committee will call “attention to the high number of deaths in the Fulton County jail including 19 year old Noni Batiste,” organizers stated. Batiste’s family is still seeking answers.

“I don’t understand why it’s taking so long to get this information. My daughter wanted to go to college. She wanted to run track,” Batiste’s mother told local media in August after Noni’s July death.

Formed in 2016, the In Our Names Network is a national network of organizations, campaigns and individuals working to end police violence against Black women, girls, trans and gender nonconforming people.

“These tragedies underscore the need for immediate action to address systemic issues, including inadequate healthcare, overcrowding, and a lack of transparency and accountability,” the organization stated.

By the numbers: Fulton County and other Jail deaths across the nation

As of Sept. 7, Fulton County Jail has recorded 10 deaths in 2023. Five jail deaths have occurred at the Shelby County Jail in 2023 as of the end of August.

Meanwhile in the nationally infamous Oklahoma County Jail, at least six jail deaths have been recorded as of April. The county saw 16 jail deaths in 2022. Currently, local officials are planning for a new location to address the overcrowding, staff shortages, and lack of adequate medical care and infrastructure.

Notably, in Pottawatomie County to the east, an Oklahoma Watch investigation found local officials allegedly engaged in a cover-up of seven jail deaths.

“All seven people arrived at the jail with medical and mental health or substance use complications that required care. None of them made it home alive. Most of their families still don’t know why,” according to the investigation by Whitney Bryan.

And in Lawton, Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Bureau of Investigations is currently investigating jail deaths.

Actions to honor families of lost loved ones

Nationally, jail deaths were already on the rise before the pandemic. In 2019, there were 1,200 deaths in local jails. That’s a more than 5% increase from 2018, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Organizers from Memphis to Atlanta say they’ve had enough.

“Black women and girls continue to be killed by police violence and often no one hears about it. We at In Our Names Network are changing that narrative and we #SayHerName to ensure not only that the public knows these Black lives were taken due to police violence, but that they were loved and cared for,” organizers stated.

“This altar will honor their memory and offer families a space to mourn their loved ones.”

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

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