Happy Holidays, SuzyKnew! Readers!
It’s been a long year, hasn’t it? While the Holidays are a great time to reflect on the year that’s passed, it’s more important than ever to prepare for the one that’s coming.
That Grinch, 2016, may have taken Prince, Phife Dawg, and Muhammad Ali. And 2016 may have given us a rabid, immature, racist/sexist with tiny hands and bad hair as POETUS. But what we not gon’ do is sit around and wallow in despair!
We need to turn our outrage into REAL activism, because if ever there was a time to put our Black Girl Magic to use, it’s now. We’ve got work to do, y’all!
I’m not just talking about keyboard activism, either. Not that there’s anything wrong with using social media to bring attention to the issues that impact our communities. I respect the power of the keyboard. I’ve seen how rousing, social justice reform manifestos born by the light of a laptop screen and fueled by too much caffeinated angst can be effective.
But we gotta do more, ladies! Take that despair you felt when you woke up on November 9th and harness it into real, boots-on-the-ground action in 2017! Let’s go!
I know what you’re thinking. You already have so much to do, how can I possibly ask you to do more? Especially when it’s not even our fault that fool got elected!
“Sophia,” you’re saying. “94% of us (Black women) acted like we had some damn sense at the polls. Go ask the 53% of white women or the 18% of Black men who voted for that orange buffoon to do the work! Leave us alone! We’re tired!”
I hear you, Sister. I know you’ve got to focus on keeping your job cuz your snitch-ass co-worker is always clocking your breaks, and running to your asshole boss who’s way too stupid to be making THAT much more money than you. I know you’ve got kids and family that need your undivided attention. I know you’re already doing so much with your church or favorite charity.
But listen. If we don’t make it our business to be heavily involved in shaping the opposition to the horrible changes that are sure to come, we’re all DOOMED!
Think about it. No one else has OUR backs. We can’t depend on white feminists because, to quote the late, great Bebe Moore Campbell, their blues ain’t like ours. Sure, we can work together, but until they understand genuine intersectionality, we’re on our own.
I love my Brothas fiercely, but let’s be real. They ain’t really been holding us down like we hold them down. They’ll march, speechify, preach, and rally when the issue is centered on them. But for issues that specifically affect US – crickets. Black men, before y’all get in your feelings and listing all the good shit you do for your moms, wives, and daughters, look at the facts. Y’all can write 2,000 word, thesis-quality think pieces on police violence against Black men or anything sports related, but when it comes to calling out toxic masculinity, rape culture, or domestic violence? Suddenly you can’t even spell hashtag. That may hurt to read, but it hurt even more to write. Brothas, y’all got some work to do in 2017, too.
Ladies, clearly we have to look out for ourselves. But where to start? There are so many urgent issues, like rape/sexual assault, repro rights, voting rights, hunger/food insecurity, and health care, just to name a few. These issues affect all Black people, but especially Black women. They’re all urgent, so how do we prioritize? Where does our 2017 activism begin?
I’ve got a list for you! Here’s how you can prepare for the war years ahead, cuz make no mistake – we are at war:
- Focus: Pick one issue. You can’t do it all, so choose one issue where your particular skills set or experience can be of most use. Yes, we need soldiers, but we need generals, too. We need leaders and experts to demand a seat at the tables where these issues are addressed, and they need to be qualified. If that’s you, go for it. Unable to commit to leadership? No problem. We still need soldiers!
- Don’t Reinvent The Wheel: I’m not asking you to go start up a new Black Lives Matter Movement, or anything. We don’t want to compete with or draw precious resources away from organizations who are already doing good work. Instead, research groups in your area that address the issue you chose, and join their efforts. Go to meetings. Volunteer for committees. If there’s a vacuum in your area, then by all means, take whatever steps to fill it. But if the infrastructure is already in place, share your talents with them.
- Do The Research: You may have some expertise or experience working on your issue, but you don’t know everything. Take the time to get up-to-date on your issue. Research local, state and national policy. Learn new trends. Investigate the latest scientific research. Dig deeper than Wiki or mainstream media. Keep learning.
- Donate Money: Money makes the world go ‘round! These organizations desperately need funds to operate and remain relevant. Give what you can, as often as you can. But do your research, though. Make sure you give your dollars to legitimate organizations, only.
- Raise Awareness: Stay vocal about your issue! Issues that face Black women, in particular, are often ignored by mainstream media. Utilize your social media platforms, leverage your network and connections, and do your part to spread the word.
- Re-activate Your Membership: You probably already belong (or used to belong) to an organization or group that’s doing good work. Maybe you got busy, had a kid, moved … whatever … you’re just not actively or financially involved anymore. 2017-2021 are not the years to sit on the sidelines, ladies. Go pay those dues and re-activate your membership in whatever group you used to ride hard for, and get busy. They need you. They need your time, talents and your money.
Remember, even if you focus on one issue, you can and should still support the other issues that affect us. Get busy, but don’t over-extend yourself. The next four years are going to be a marathon, not a sprint. Pace yourself. Practice self-care. And get to work!
In the meantime, Happy Holidays! Whomever, however and wherever you celebrate, I wish you love, peace, joy and lots of good sex (had to throw that in there)!
Photo Credit: fierceforBlackwomen.com