I was at my mom’s house, doing what we do, watching the news and there was a report about the high number of women running for elected office this year. Specifically in Virginia there had been a 60% increase of female candidates.
The news package then commenced to layout a long line of pictures of women, maybe there were 20 pictures.
There was one Black woman.
I sighed heavily.
Tomorrow is election day and as I stated in our newsletter (with mad typos) we will all be triggered. A year ago, we really couldn’t fathom that we would have Trumpf as the leader of this country. Therefore, we gotta be a little gentle with ourselves and each other this week as we head back to the polls and deal with the consequences of this election cycle.
But back to mommy’s house, as I watched the faces of all these White women, I couldn’t be as excited as everyone in the package was. Mostly because I don’t trust White women to be intersectional with their governance. I mean, 53% of them voted for the Cheeto’ed one and 80% of White Evangelicals think he is the best thing since Easter Sunday.
I was feeling a little deflated.
But then I remembered our trailblazer, Shirley Chisholm. We wrote about her before election day last year.
She was an audacious woman, who, no matter what she faced decided she was gonna be a straight G.
Sidebar: You ever notice whenever we talk about a self actualized woman we use masculine terms? Like power and strength can only show up as masculine. I know I’m guilty of it. Decolonizing is a practice. So let me try this again.
She was an audacious woman, who, no matter what she faced decided she was going to conquer it. As the first Black woman elected to Congress in 1969 there have only been about 40 Black Women to serve since.
48 years after her glass ceiling fete, we average about one new Black congresswoman a year. Le Sigh.
The thing about Shirley Chisholm is her path to congress and eventually a run for President in the 70s started with her being a day care center director. She started working with the babies and kept pushing herself up and out of her comfort zone, risking everything and saying whatever in the world she wanted.
Her love and dedication for children and the fact that the political clubs at the time were dominated by White leaders and therefore dealt with issues that White folks thought were most important led her to run for State Assembly.
I can only imagine the deep belief in self she had to have in order to preserver during the late 60s and early 70s in this country. I can only imagine the deep and abiding love she had for her people at the intersections of being Black, women, poor, and marginalized was the strength she used to push through all the mess thrown her way.
The news package ended with two women running for office in Virginia stating that no matter who won, it would be a success.
Ummmmm, not for me, if that Republican chick wins, I’m afraid for the Women of Color, who may be poor, or immigrants in Virginia. Just because a woman wins, that doesn’t mean that all women win.
I have been talking a lot lately with the people in my circle about what we can do in these current socio-political times to make a change. I have found that most people fall in one of two camps; the first camp is the we can’t do anything especially because I’m not willing to risk my material comfort and the second camp who are actually putting their material possessions on the line and risking it all in order to make change happen, they don’t feel like they’re doing enough and they’re resenting others who are not as “woke” as them.
I sometimes…more than often, fit into the second camp.
One of my favorite meme’s (that I can’t find right now) is the one that states, “If you ever wondered what you would have done during the 60s, you’re doing it now,” always keeps me on track. Reminding me that now is not the time to just be about talk and hand wringing.
Now, more than ever, all of us who are talking about all the ways the world is falling apart and love to wax poetically about what is wrong with Black folk (nothing) now is the time to put our actions behind our words.
And for those of us, who have been working tirelessly in the name of progress and liberation. It is time for us to continue to build community and learn from what our ancestors have done.
I can no longer sit idly by and watch the world crumble, so today I want to announce my candida….
Yeah right! I’m not running for an elected position (yet).
But let’s talk about what I am doing:
I am dedicating myself to building a community of teacher activists that teach skills along with a critical consciousness that will help to form the next generation of leaders. We start this by offering willing and dedicated teachers an opportunity to get paid while learning how to go from culturally responsive theory to culturally responsive practices with our Woke Cypha Series.
I am dedicating myself to become a highly profitable entrepreneur in order to put my money where my mouth is and be a bridge for others who want to be financially independent. That begins with the publishing of my first children’s book with my partner Chemay Morales-James of My Reflection Matters dropping this December.
I am dedicating myself to becoming a thought leader on issues that affect me and you at our intersections, for me this is big. It will require me to stand in the bright lights and not shy away, because I am not ready, not articulate enough, not educated enough. Or that I got too many skeletons in my closet and am too ashamed of past mistakes and failures. Rather I choose to face my fears and endure, because I love my people more than anything else in life. Last year we posted videos on YouTube, sharing our work, this year we began our podcast and sharing our thoughts. I have somethings cooking in the kitchen for 2018 and me and my team gonna be out in these streets making change happen.
A few Friday’s ago, I listened to Dr. Angela Davis describe herself as trying to be a revolutionary. I was stunned, because if she was trying, then most definitely, I was failing. However, I got what she was saying. One can never fully call themselves a revolutionary, because the revolution is continuous. If ever, the revolution happens, in whatever arena you choose, there will be an intersectional revolutionary need elsewhere.
What I know for sure (thanks Oprah) is that words plus action equals living in my integrity and working for liberation.
And I hope that we can all use our words, aligned with action to gain all of our liberation.
I pray that years after I’m gone off this earth somebody, somewhere can say I want to walk in her footsteps and make their own path in terrain I can only dream about.
Happy Monday Family.