Tomorrow starts the first day of a weeklong celebration of Black Women. The goal of this week isn’t to break down all the systems of oppression that limit the human potential of Black Women. I wish we could do that in a week.
The goal of this week isn’t uproot the hold that transmisogynior has on the Black Liberation Movement. Yet we all desperately need to engage in that work. The goal of this week isn’t even to give the Black Women and Girls in our life a reprieve from the daily flood of negative images and messages that they are bombarded with. Yet I dream of that day.
The goal of this week is much more modest. It is a drop in the bucket of what is needed.
The goal of this week is to be intentional about telling the Black women in our lives that we love them. The goal of this week is to spend some time celebrating the Black women who created meaning, value and joy for our human existence. The goal of this week is to call-in all of us, including myself, who have sat on the sidelines for too long. The purpose of this week is to create a space to love.
I know that there are many things stopping us from doing this on a daily basis. We live in a world which tells us to hold in our love. We are told it is naïve to talk about love. We are told that emotions are a weakness. We are told to keep our love a secret. So we hide it. We are ashamed of it. We have little experience truly allowing ourselves to feel it, let alone express it. Or worse, we begin to believe the constant deluge of fear and hate that say we cannot or should not love Black Women.
This is why shouting #ILoveBlackWomen is so important. That is why it is so radical. In order for capitalism and patriarchy and white supremacy to sustain themselves, they had to convince us to stop loving each other. They had to persuade us to stop supporting each other. They had to make us believe that we were unable to work to together. They had to tell us we were not worthy of each other’s love. They had to divide us to conquer us. They had to convince us that another world was not possible.
So while we all need to commit ourselves to tearing down these systems of oppression, we must also commit ourselves to creating alternative spaces. We need spaces full of love. We need spaces full of unity. We need spaces full of joy. We must raise terraced beds of laughter and harmony and healing in which to plant the seeds of a better tomorrow.
There is no one way to tend the future. There is no optimal procedure for growing tomorrow’s, no obvious starting or end point. Yet I decided to start with creating a space to celebrate Black Women. I am starting there honestly, because that’s where it started for me.
My mother taught me to love the world. My sister’s taught are how to love myself. The Black Women I’ve met in the Black Liberation Movement have taught me how to harness the power of love for social change.
Black Women have given more to me then I can ever repay, but I’ve decided to start trying to pay it back anyways. I hope you will join me in celebrating Black women next week. Your reasons don’t need to be mine. Your celebration doesn’t have to look like mine. Yet hopefully, together, we can plant the seeds of tomorrow that loves, honors, respects, listens to, uplifts and supports Black Women, Black Trans* Women and Black Girls.
How I’m Going to Celebrate Black Women:
Everyday: I will be giving out Laniappe’s or DIY [Do-It-Yourself] gifts to the Black Women in my life and tweeting about it from @wellexamined and posting it on Facebook under the hashtag #ILoveBlackWomen
Monday: Read: I think it important that we get used to centering the narratives of Black Women and Girls in our own lives by consuming media written about and by Black Women. So I’ll publish a list of Black Women writers to read with links to purchase their works. I will be spending some time reading the poetry of Nikki Giovanni and Gwendolyn Brooks.
Tuesday: Donate: Since we live in world that does not trust Black leadership or Women in leadership, I’m going to donate to several organizations and Black Women who empower Black Women, Black Trans Women and Girls in my community. I’ll also publish a list of projects and organizations that you can donate to.
Wednesday: Listen: I encourage everyone to spend time with the Black women in their lives and just listen. Take your mom out to dinner. Take you co-worker out to lunch. Strike up a pleasant conversation with your neighbor. I will also try and release a podcast of some of my favorite Black Women writers, artists and intellectuals talking about their lived experiences.
Thursday: Act: Support the various national actions for Black Women and Girls being coordinated by the Black Youth Project 100 and Black Lives Matter. If there are no actions being planned around you, consider planning one. Or volunteer with an organization that empowers Black Women and Girls. Mow your neighbor’s lawn or clean your friend’s car for them. Do something to show that we know that while Black Women are capable of anything, they don’t have to do it alone.
Friday: Celebrate: Black Out Black Friday with pictures of people holding signs saying #ILoveBlackWomen and posting picture of the Black women in their lives. Post messages on facebook shouting out the Black Women who bring joy to our lives.
Saturday: Heal: Do something to help the Black women in your live heal from some of the trauma that comes with being Black and Female. Host a prayer session at your church. Host a party at your house to talk about some of that pain. If you can’t think of what might be helpful and healing to the Black Women in your life, ask them!
Sunday: Uplift: Twitter Storm lead by @wellexamined under #ILoveBlackWomen hashtag that tries to tie all of this together. Feel free to write posts on your own blogs about what you did you celebrate Black Women this week. Post pictures of you line-sisters going sharing a meal together or your church’s mother’s day celebration.
Next Week: Rinse and Repeat! Integrate your love for Black women into your daily praxis!