I wanted to write a beautiful and lighthearted tribute to the Black women for Women’s History Month. But that groove was disturbed when I took the time to scroll down my Facebook timeline and learn of two shootings–one in my old neighborhood and the other that was happening literally two blocks away from me.
My joy was stolen by a frequent occurrence in Chicago. Whenever the weather breaks, people start acting like fools and shoot up everything with no regards for human life.
We are legit living in fear–and that’s no way to live.
I’m a hardcore advocate and a few years ago, I couldn’t put my finger on where this passion even came from. I went to college because America told me that’s what I was supposed to do to achieve its dream–but I didn’t have a plan.
And while I signed my life away on over $100,000 worth of student loans to obtain degrees that I haven’t really used, the Universe had a plan for me all along–and that was to become an advocate, activist and public servant.
So when people in my community are killed because of senseless violence, it hits me hard because I feel like my work is in vain. It isn’t easy–it’s physically, emotionally and spiritually draining and there have been more than a dozen times where I’ve wanted to quit.
Going back to not really knowing how or why I was directed on this path, I think about my mother and grandmother.
As far as I know, they weren’t community activists nor did they have strong feelings about education. They just knew in order to be successful, their kids had to get a good education and overall, they were relentless in their efforts to take care of their families.
And then it dawned on me. My spirit and passion for taking care of my community comes from my mother and grandmother, the women they came from and the women they came from.
Black women have been the backbones of Black kingdoms/communities since Queen Hatshepsut. We are Queens–always have been and always will be. But. it’s a hell of a title that comes with a lot of responsibility, grief, disappointment, abandonment, backstabbing and criticism.
That’s real talk. We see this in a feminist movement that constantly wants our backing but never gives it in return. A justice system that could care less about us being raped and kidnapped. The media and entertainment industry that oversexualizes and underrepresents us. A society that slams doors in our faces due to its racism, sexism, colorism, and homophobia. And a world that, overall, doesn’t acknowledge or appreciate our gifts.
But through it all, we persevere. And through that perseverance, we are beautiful, resilient, poised, calm, supportive and wise nurturers who are unapologetic when it comes to protecting what’s ours.
So I guess this did turn out to be a tribute to Black women–and a note to self. We hold the weight of the world on our shoulders and we never falter.
And while I don’t have a family of my own, the community is my family. I’ll forever be relentless in my efforts to uplift and take care of it and grateful for the advocacy instilled in me (and all Black women) by the women in my family, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Dorothy Height, Shirley Chisholm, and other regal ancestors.