Marielle Franco: Black, Lesbian, Human Rights Activist and murdered at 38.

Franco, was unapologetic in her quest to create a just and equitable world for Black people, poor people, marginalized people.
I’m sure she was afraid.
It would be impossible for her not to be.
I’m sure her loved ones, feared for her safety.
In a place where, the police are the real terrorists, how could they not fear for her?
I’m sure she knew her time would soon come to an end.
How could anyone who was dedicated to ending anti black racism not be prepared for their death…their murder.

Who Gon’ Stop Her, Huh?

This award is important for a few reasons:

It honors someone who is moving like a freight train through Hollywood.
The award is named after a song by Jay-Z and pre-sunken place, Kanye.
I made it up and it’s dope.
Because it’s Women’s History Month, this award is recognizing another Black woman favorite of mine and apparently everyone else. Let’s not ignore the elephant in the room or should I say, the last Black unicorn in the room.

La Guarachera de Cuba: Celia Cruz

Cruz recast’s Gloria Gaynor’s famous “you’re not welcome anymore,” heartbreak anthem as a song about resilience and joy in the face of trials. The struggle for freedom, the tears for the friends we leave behind, the perseverance and the love for our people that carries us forward. The ancient song, hands on drums and feet dancing, the blood of our villages that we carry across all borders and barriers, into spaces that do not always love us but where we must love in order to survive.

Kemet Queens: Melissa Harville-Lebron

I made a post on Instagram a few weeks back after hearing Chris Rock on his new Netflix special Tambourine, where he said, “only children and women are loved unconditionally; but men are loved based off of what they can provide.” At the time, more than being funny the line felt true and so considered it fair game to repost. That is until I actually wrapped my brain around the saying and started to unpack it that I realized, what he said was complete and utter BS.

What Black History Can Teach Us About the Gender Binary

European colonizers met non-binary people advising kings, and being spiritual leaders, warriors, and court eunuchs among nations and tribes as diverse as the Zulu, Buganda, and Amhara. Christianity and Islam coexisted with women warriors, men with long hair and braids, and women marrying each other for convenience and economic stability. The diaspora is no different; there are many examples from Brazil, Haiti, the U.S., and Cuba where African descendants break our normal expectations of men and women.

Black Brilliance in Farming

As educators, I believe we should empower Black youth and youth of color to take their rightful places in fields related to farming and agriculture. I’ve heard of students going on trips to farms and having great experiences farming because they get to be outdoors, to move around, and feel validated in bringing the knowledge they have about farming to existing environmental spaces. After learning about the ties between racism and food justice, (see this dope article by Soul Fire Co-Director Leah Penniman) Black people have an unmistakable stake in this work and it is crucial to empower our youth to be revolutionary change makers on this front.