10-25-2020 Women to Watch - Flipbook - Page 34
Tawanda Jones at a 2015 protest. Since her brother’s death in 2013 in
police custody, she has called for police accountability.
PHOTO BY BARBARA HADDOCK TAYLOR
Tawanda Jones, Kelly Davis and other Baltimore women
fight for causes that blend the personal and political
Jones at a rally this summer.
During the pandemic, she turned
to YouTube to conduct her weekly
“West Wednesday” protests.
PHOTO BY KIM HAIRSTON
By Colin Campbell and Phillip Jackson
or 372 straight weeks, Tawanda Jones has
told her brother’s story to anyone who
will listen. She has bellowed his name into
microphones and bullhorns to as many as thousands and as few as a handful of supporters. During the coronavirus pandemic, she carried on the
effort on YouTube.
Before the deaths of Freddie Gray and George
Floyd brought widespread protests against racism
and police brutality to the streets, Tyrone West died
in the custody of Baltimore and Morgan State University police at a Northeast Baltimore trafc stop in
Four years later, the city and state paid his family
$1 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging police
WO M E N T O WAT C H
misconduct and excessive force. But the medical examiner’s ofce ruled that the 44-year-old died from
a heart condition exacerbated by the struggle with
police and the summer heat. No ofcer was charged.
Jones has consoled grieving family members of
Floyd, Michael Brown and Eric Gardner. She wants
prosecutors in Baltimore and across the country to
reopen police brutality cases and deliver justice for
her “blood family,” whose relatives’ blood “has been
on the hands of ‘Amurderca,’” she said.
“There’s no statute of limitation on murder,” said
Jones, 42, who lives in White Marsh. “I’m never going
Jones, a Baltimore County teacher, is one of several Baltimore activists who exemplify the convic-
tion that women — and Black women, in particular,
from Ida B. Wells to Rosa Parks — have contributed
to peaceful protests throughout U.S. history.
Women’s activism, often sparked by personal experiences, represents a recognition of the many inequalities and injustices in their communities, said
Adele Newson-Horst, coordinator of the Women,
Gender and Sexuality Studies Program at Morgan
“It is personal, and the personal is, in fact, political,” Newson-Horst said. “We are living the experience.”
It’s the same drive that inspired Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors and Opal Tometi to found Black Lives
Matter. Initially a response to the acquittal of George