Last week, a young mother named Eliza Fletcher was abducted and murdered in Memphis, Tenn., not too far from where I live.
Liza was a beloved preschool teacher at a local private school. Her husband reported her missing after she did not return from an early morning run. My social media feed was filled for days with local women posting about her disappearance in the hopes she would be found safe. Sadly, that is not how the story ended.
As this heartbreaking story caught the attention of national news, Tucker Carlson took the opportunity to weigh in on Liza Fletcher’s death. He criticized her return to live in the city of her birth and cited recent federal statistics from 2021 rating Memphis as the most dangerous city in America to live in. Apparently, according to Carlson, we Memphians have accepted our fate and since crime and dysfunction of local government is the new normal, law and order is no more. American women — and he means white women — should look to Memphis and be afraid. Be very afraid.
Men like you, Tucker Carlson, would prefer that women stay afraid of certain kinds of men. Instead of prioritizing education funding, gun control and police, judicial and prison reform to address systemic issues including racism, you diminish the power of women. The women of Memphis don’t need you to spread fear about the state of our city, and we don’t need you to tell us what to believe or how to feel. We are not afraid.
We are angry!
We are angry that a young white woman was killed in our neighborhood.
We are angry that Black women go missing and often never are found in our city.
We are angry that our governor and Republicans signed into law permit-less gun carry making our state less safe for all, especially as convicted felons still have access to firearms.
“We are angry, and we have much to be angry about.”
We are angry that mothers and most Americans agree that common-sense gun control could help stop the mass shootings of adults and children in our country, yet a small minority blocks any change and abuses their power.
We are angry that we, as women, have less power over our own bodies than we did a year ago with the overturning of Roe v. Wade.
We are angry that our transgender children are being bullied by the legislative bodies of the state of Tennessee and in many other states in our union.
We are angry that our public schools are ridiculously underfunded and now are undercut by private school vouchers.
We are angry because you imply that Liza was killed because of social justice movements like Black Lives Matter and calls for reform — and this allowed her attacker, a Black man, to be released too soon from prison in the name of “equity.”
We are angry that people inside and out of Memphis are using this horrific crime as a platform to spew hatred and racism.
We are angry, and we have much to be angry about.
Women have a voice. We have a vote, and it is time we are heard. You see, Tucker Carlson, we are angry at the state of our country, and we are angry at you and people like you.
“We are angry because you are using us to make people afraid.”
When you spout dangerous rhetoric like, “Our entire country will be Memphis if we don’t put a stop to this insanity right now with as much force as is required,” we are angry because you are using us to make people afraid.
Women in Memphis organized an early morning run to finish the route Liza never got to finish. They want to demonstrate that women should be able to run in safety. We should be able to go anywhere we want at any time. We are humans just like men. We run, we work, we live our lives unafraid.
Do horrible things happen in this world? Yes. Do we allow it to send us back in time 100 years ago to a place where women and others had fewer rights as Tucker Carlson suggests, when we were afraid enough of violence to be kept in our place? Not a chance.
Julia Goldie Day is ordained through the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship and lives in Memphis, Tenn. She is a painter and proud mother to Jasper, Barak and Jillian. Learn more about her at her website.
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