My Cyber sister and friend, Marketing expert, Mystery writer, Marathon runner and Business guru, who, by the way, does not care much for the ‘guru’ reference, recently informed me that she was a badass! Considering ALL this powerful woman has accomplished, I think she is a badass too. My friend’s bold revelation initially made me laugh, but it got me thinking about women. Those of us who are out here standing for something, leaning in, and organizing, marching, protesting and making our badass voices heard. Black women are doing the thing and it’s time for society to recognize the empowerment era of our women and girls…It’s time to break the chain and shatter that proverbial glass ceiling held hostage by the good ole boys network.
There are women worldwide who might not be known influencers in the media, but who, nonetheless are doing great things, empowering voices, leading girl to greatness and putting in the work to make life better for generations of black girls to come. When I was growing up in the Mississippi Delta, I became friends with another girl whose three generation of womenfolk lived in the country as well. This girl was a few years younger than me, but her mom, aunt and grandma had instilled something in her that I liked. It was self-confidence and an air of being comfortable in her blackness. Black people, surviving Jim Crow, hardly let other people witness their shine or boldness for fear of racial retaliation, but this girl’s family was the epitome of black pride.
I loved going places with that family because they exposed my mind to opportunities my parents could not. Once, we visited an elder lady’s house. From the moment I walked into the gathering of black folks in that room, I knew instantly that something was up. That something was a protest orchestrated by the woman of the house. We would be driving to Greenville, Mississippi to hear the verdict of three white men who had murdered a black high school senior the night of her graduation. Of course, the killers went free, but it was my first glimpse into black people standing up against injustice. I later realized that the catalyst for integrating the first segregated school system in the South, was because of this woman. She had a down to earth essence about her and in her presence, I felt the ambiance of power, pride and activism permeate from her light skin and natural head of white hair into my young soul. I also realized much later, as an adult, that she was the daughter of one of my best friends in high school. Talk about humility! The Mae Bertha Carter family were doing groundbreaking, visionary work in Mississippi during Jim Crow, but their children remained humble as pie.
In 2020, we are witnessing a need like none since the dawning of Slavery, Jim Crow and KKK alike. It is a need for justice the likes of James Baldwin’s fires raging in our bones! There is a need right now amid the devastation of the Coronavirus, that disproportionately kills black people; there is a need amid the deaths of innocent black men, women, and children at the hands of racist police and the lack of accountability from our governments and police associations. There is a need like none before for all people, like Martin Luther King envisioned, to stand together, step up in protest of racist hate; a systemic disease that threatens the lives of its most oppressed people- black people.
Black Lives matter. Black voices matter. Justice for the murders of our sisters and brothers matters! We, as a people, matter! White separationists like to spew that ole racist rhetoric of “all lives matter” as a deflection from their white privilege just because, but, in the words of Malcolm X, “we won’t be bamboozled. We will not stray from the facts that living black in America can lead to certain death for its citizens. As the battle cry for justice goes, #wearedonedying.
– Clara B. Freeman
Clara Freeman is a poet, writer, author, and activist, living in the Midwest. Her works have appeared in several magazines and newspapers, on websites, and in numerous anthologies, including, Black Lives Have Always Mattered. Michele Obama’s Impact on African American Women and Girls. Fiction International vol51 World in Pain and When One Door Closes; Reflections from Women on Life’s Turning Points. Look for her latest essay “An Unknown Activist” appearing in the upcoming anthology, IMPACT: Personal Portraits of Activism.
Clara’s book, Unleash Your Pearls Empowering Women’s Voices, is available on Amazon. Visit her on Twitter @C50something