In 2009, 11,341 untested rape kits were discovered in a Detroit police warehouse
Charities working to get the kits processed, the cases investigated and prosecuted
Erykah Badu pledged portion of her concert proceeds until all cases done
Seven years after the discovery of 11,341 abandoned and unprocessed rape kits in a Detroit police warehouse, Shahida Mausi-Johnson sought out ways to somehow bring justice to the victims.
Mausi-Johnson is president of The Right Productions, a Detroit-based event management company. She created an event to raise the funds needed to process the kits, partnering with the African American 490 Challenge, the Michigan Women’s Foundation and the Detroit Crime Commission.
But she needed one more element to really make her event sing.
With 81% of those rape kits belonging to black women, Mausi-Johnson looked for an artist whose work inspires empowerment in the African-American community. She reached out to Erykah Badu.
“She as an artist has always demonstrated a great social consciousness, and she brings that to her artistry, she brings that to her life,” Mausi-Johnson told CNN.
Badu gladly accepted the invitation to perform a benefit concert for the cause.
“When I learned about it I thought it was very important, I thought it was at this point in my life it was my responsibility,” the Grammy award winning artist said.
The August 12 concert at Detroit’s Chene Park Amphitheatre raised more than $50,000.
Badu, inspired by the community response, pledged to donate a portion of the proceeds from all of her concerts going forward to the cause, in an effort to help bring the number of unprocessed rape kits to zero.
“Activism and creativity, all these things are very personal things and they are things that warriors know have to be done alone,” Badu told CNN after the concert.
“But when we are in a group together we are so much more powerful. When you find that connection with an organization that can move things in the same way that your heart feels necessary, then you’ve done a wonderful thing,” she added.
Wayne County Prosecutor Kym Worthy has also been a driving force behind raising funding to get all of the kits tested. Her office released a statement earlier this year saying that roughly 10,000 of the kits have now been tested. The results identified at least 750 suspected serial sexual offenders, and there have been 41 convictions among the cases.