Time to Break the Silence by: Frances Hamilton

In Charlotte, Civil Rights, Diversity, Local Level Advocacy, Racial Justice, Social Change, Social Justice by Donna TarneyLeave a Comment

It has been totally disregarded, or begrudgingly noted with the least amount of recognition, for too long. It’s been threatened, degraded, forced out, pushed aside, silenced, unappreciated, criticized, downplayed or ignored relentlessly all too often.

This treatment goes back as far as slavery and remains sustained in many ways today. I speak of the Black female voice regarding equity and justice!

We are the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and “sista” friends who have born the burden of the past and are faced with the circumstances of living in a present day white world.

As far back as plantation days in this country, because of their skin color, the vast majority of white women consistently had their needs and wants met with little to no exception. We’ve seen pictures of lavish mansions, tasteful and pristine furnishings, sprawling wardrobes, generous meals and people to serve them in their every desire. Add to that the ability to voice their pleasure or displeasure at will with minimal consequence, if any at all. Black women of that same period of time were, at best, servants. They lived in dilapidated shacks devoid of almost anything except cramped space and whatever they could make a use for found in the fields surrounding them. They were clothed in anything cast out to them, fed whatever they were allowed to
harvest, and used as vessels for breeding the labor population. And, let’s not forget the brutal disregard for their bodies for any reason. Black women suffered all of this with the inability to speak out or risk a variety of heinous consequences.

The differences could not be more pronounced. The differences are still with us. Black and white women today share gender in common, but there exists vast inequalities between the focus of their fight when it comes to feminist equality and justice in many critical ways.

A common goal of many white women today is to be on an equal level as their male counterparts with regard to career advancements. Their lives have been blessed with homes and resources, healthcare provided by jobs, freedom to go wherever they want whenever they want without fear or harm. These white females want to be recognized, appreciated and rewarded for their accomplishments as they have been recipients of quality upbringings, opportunities for advanced education, available job offerings, and they feel they have “paid their dues”.

We have to share our personal stories to bring an awareness of reality that has likely been omitted or not honestly portrayed through conversations and interactions with others.

Black women have a very different challenge. While career advancement is certainly a significant accomplishment for some, there are throngs of Black females who would gladly strive for that success but face insurmountable roadblocks.

Countless Black females are the heads of male-absentee households struggling to provide bare necessities or adequate amounts to sustain their families, living in substandard housing in depressed neighborhoods without nearby available sources of healthy provisions, facing the challenge of raising Black sons who are targeted because of their size and/or skin color. Black mothers try to explain to their children why they can’t wear certain clothing or be in certain places in order to live. They are unable to find decent work opportunities, either because they do not have the skills which they were unable to get or because they have no provisions for affordable child care They have no healthcare, lack dependable convenient transportation, have significant health problems because of the disparities between the races as a result of cyclical generational inequities for opportunities . . . and the list goes on!

We are strong, determined, focused, motivated and empowered to speak out regarding our lived experiences and our advocacy for a just and equal future. All we need is the space and the chance to be heard.

Black females hold a powerful weapon and opportunity. Because of the disparities, inequalities and injustices done to our people, we have voices in our numbers! We have the ability to articulate the many wrongs done to us in the past and those still happening today. We can be strong advocates for basic needs being provided to our people who are void of them. We know that if basic needs are not met, no dream of success can be accomplished!

We are the mothers, sisters, grandmothers, aunts, godmothers and “sista” friends who have born the burden of the past and are faced with the circumstances of living in a present day white world. We have to share our personal stories to bring an awareness of reality that has likely been omitted or not honestly portrayed through conversations and interactions with others. We cannot let this opportunity go by. We are strong, determined, focused, motivated and empowered to speak out regarding our lived experiences and our advocacy for a just and equal future. All we need is the space and the chance to be heard.

To disucss this issue with others, join us on July 26 from 7:00pm-8:30pm as we explore the book Hood Feminismby Mikki Kendall. Click Here to register.

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