I’ve always been fearful and uncomfortable in speaking about racism publicly. I’ve never had the courage to be vulnerable about sharing the times I’ve been the target of racism. I’ve never felt confident in amplifying anti-racism.
When I first heard about the murder of George Floyd, I was numb. This was NOT an isolated incident, and it’s something that happens far too often in the black community.
Feeling numb wasn’t, “Oh my gosh, I can’t believe this happened”. Rather, a cry of, “Not again. I’m so angry. I’m so exhausted this keeps happening.”
I received a message reading:
You must be so sad that George Floyd died and I’m so sorry for your loss.
I was a bit baffled and responded with the inquiry: “May I ask, are you really sad when you hear that a person has passed away if you don’t know them?”
“It’s sad to hear about but I’m not really sad if I don’t know them.”
EXACTLY. I didn’t know George Floyd or his family. I do feel sad for the loss but my sadness mostly stems from why he was murdered. He was murdered because of the color of his skin the same as Breonna, Ahmaud, and so many more – that’s the loss that I feel the most.
That could be me, my sister, my mother, my father… we can’t “take off” our black skin. Being black isn’t a choice or something that can be changed. Being black isn’t a bad thing and being made to feel otherwise is WRONG.
Individual and Systemic Racism is intertwined into the fabric of black people’s lives. We are taught at a very young age that the world will treat us differently because of the color of our skin. We were taught that we’d need to work twice as hard to be seen and heard, to be careful how we look, act, and carry ourselves. To be aware of our environment and who we were with… the list is endless. Being educated on racism at a young age wasn’t a choice – it was necessary.
We learned about the hundreds of years of slavery, segregation, and racism from generations before us. We learned that is stitched to the color of our skin, and that we are still fighting for change.
Constance Baker Motley said “We will not be leaving racism behind as we enter the twenty-first century. The question, therefore, is clear: What do we do about it?”
I realized we can’t be paralyzed by fear or being uncomfortable in speaking up about things that matter.
Black Lives Matter.
Our voices matter.
I firmly believe the more united we stand in our voices and action, the more of a difference we can make.
As ugly and evil Racism is – I am proud to be a black woman. I’m proud of the color of my skin and I’m proud of my ancestors and generations before me… and generations to come. Here are just a few crucial black women in our history, blazing the way for black rights, equality, freedom, and so much more!
Harriet Tubman: Daring, revolutionary, anti-slavery activist. One of the most famous conductors of The Underground Railroad a lifeline for slaves escaping to freedom.
Daisy Bates: Heroine of the civil rights movement. She led the charge to desegregate the all-white Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas in 1957
Amelia Boynton Robinson: Powerhouse woman who helped organize the 1965 Selma March and became the first Black woman to run for Congress in Alabama.
Rosa Parks: The mother of the freedman movement, the first lady of civil rights.
Jane Bolin: Trailblazer as the first black woman to graduate from Yale Law School. She became the nation’s first Black woman judge in 1939.
Dr. Mae Jemison: The first Black woman astronaut to travel into space in 1992.
Mary Mahoney: The first licensed Black nurse in the U.S. in 1879.
Dorothy Height: Civil rights activist who advocated for improving the lives of Black women. She also pushed for female rights.
Maya Angelou: Civil rights activist whose poetry continues to inspire and empower the world.
Jane Elliott: An American school teacher, anti-racism activist, and educator most known for her blue-eyes, brown-eyes exercise the day after Martin Luther King was assassinated.
As I said, these are just a few empowering and impactful trailblazers in history. If they can be uncomfortable, fearful, struggle, and still overcome, speak up, take action, keep going, and make a difference then so can I and so can YOU… no matter the color of your skin.
Watch I Am UnMuted: My experience with Racism on YouTube:
More information here:
Photos via Google.