Sunday, April 3, 2016
Black Women Speak Up
"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare" - Audre Lorde
Yesterday, I attended an event called, The Black Women Speak Rally. The facilitator, Cana Caldwell of the Pierce County Aids Foundation was absolutely magnificent. She is a young woman on the rise. When I read about the event I was skeptical. The reason for my being skeptical is because for so long I have witnessed many woman especially black woman who come together to speak out on a given hardship to see it turn sour. Many come together to scream, rant, and blame. Many come together to obtain validation for negative behavior and conversation, this I can't do. My attention span for this type of behavior is null and void. With reservation, I went to the event and I am happy that I did.
The room was filled with women who came together to discuss the racial divide that is prevalent in our community and its effects on them personally. The raw emotion and passion that these women shared was heart breaking and enlightening. Some of us have not experienced real racial hatred, but we have surely witnessed it within the community and in the media. Many of us have been victim to snide remarks about our hair or they way we dress. Some are even judged for the way they speak with eloquence and passion To listen to these women, some of them young adults, share their experiences of racial hatred was an in your face look at the effects that being of a different race has caused. We are more often than not, feared or disrespected by many. Look at President Barack Obama. He is the President of the United States and not respected for who he is. People call him names, bash him and blame him for everything under the sun. No other President has been so disrespected. To me it is obvious, that because President Obama is a Black man, he is made the scapegoat for the down fall of this nation. Yes, I said it and I firmly stand on that. Because of the color of ones skin, one is looked at as less than, portrayed as unequal in a world where equality is shouted from the roof tops, but for you of another race, it is voiced negatively and brutally that equality does not apply to you. The tears of pain in a world where we all should be accepted, where we all were created as equal is paramount in this so called United States of America, land of the free and home of the brave.
The most powerful moment for me was listening to Crystal Chaplin. She is the mother of two sons, Andre and Bryson who were shot multiple times by a Thurston County police officer, one in the back and is now paralyzed. This officer claims to have feared for his life. This mother in her small petite frame with the face of grace showed up to participate and share her horrific story. Her story just as raw on this day as I am sure it was on the day she received the phone call that her sons were almost taken from her. I am a mother. I fear for my sons as adults and have feared for them since they were teenagers living in gang territory having to do what they needed to do to remain alive, not because they were doing things that would bring them harm or others, but because they are Black men. I talked to my oldest son yesterday and he told me he was stopped by the police on his way to work, Buckley, Washington is no place for Black people in reality though it should not be so. He stated that 4 police cars were present to witness a simple traffic stop that turned out to be unjustified because there was no infraction. Racial profiling. That could have been my son, shot or beaten up or worse. Thank you Lord. Lord God of grace provided your covering and protection. My prayers are long for all children because they are living in a world that seems to not care about them. Look at the mass killings that take place in Chicago, Illinois alone, horrific and heartbreaking.
The discussion of culture awareness in a hungry community was brought to the forefront. As a Black woman I understand the lack of available resources that should be available. I understand the lack of unity due to fear of who we are as a black people. I understand the hatred and anger that many woman have. The hidden agendas of those not for us yet, smile in our faces all in effort to side track us from the important task of bringing Black awareness back to the Black community. This is the agenda. Our agenda, and for me this solidifies my efforts in doing just that, bringing our voices back to our people through books. But this is not about me, this is about every man, woman, boy, and girl of the minority because ALL LIVES MATTER. This is about encouraging and motivating all people of color to stand up and speak against the social injustice of race division. This is for our youngest generations who are coming up behind us, to open up awareness and providing the education needed so that they can stand on solid foundation. To do this we must unite and bring the voices to the mic, we must keep our hope alive in this long walk of freedom, because we are indeed free. We are a nation of leaders who can create change, and the change will come to fruition, by any means necessary.
Here are the four topics that were discussed. I encourage you to discuss them with your families and open up the conversation and bring out into the open the effects that many live with in silence.
Racial Based Trauma - the pain and physiological effects racial trauma causes.
Imposters Syndrome - this is where we internalize racial issues mainly in the workplace.
Strong Black Women Stereotype - the stereotype that black woman are angry, unruly, mean, and loud.
Holistic Medicine - this is where the importance of good health and healing was discussed. The Black community is dying at a higher rate due to the lack of trust in health care workers. One main point discussed was the lack of Black health care workers. This is a huge crisis that needs to be addressed. GO GET YOUR MAMOGRAM, PAP SMEAR,, and COLON CHECKUP. Men, GET YOUR PROSTATE CHECKUP. If caught early, you will live a long life.
Connect with the group on Facebook to learn more about future events at BWS Tacoma and at Black Woman Speak Rally.
I am elated at the opportunity to sit with these woman. There is a saying, "You can not change that which you fail to acknowledge". We must speak out for all woman. We must create safe places for creating opportunity and orchestrating change. Change first starts in our minds, we must be willing to acknowledge the problem and then, set in motion solutions for growth and harmony. Let freedom ring. Let our voices sing aloud that we are woman and men all created by God. Are you having the conversation? Do you desire change or have you turned a blind eye? Speak Out! YOU MATTER!