Ain’t I A Woman

Since the beginning of the the feminist movement WOC have had to struggle to be recognized. We have been silenced, marginalized and exploited. Sisterhood within the feminist community has meant nursing and caring for white children instead of our own, fighting back breaking poverty while trying to maintain our dignity, and crying salty tears alone as our rapes, beatings and assaults went unpunished.  It has been many years since Sojourner Truth stood up and asked Ain’t I A Woman, and today her daughters are still asking the same question.

Her speech continues to resonate with truth after all of these generations,  simply because black women have yet to be validated in our quest to have our humanity, and dignity recognized. We remain the ‘unwoman’ of the western world. We are the welfare queens, the jezebels, the mammies and the angry shrews, shifting from social construction to social construction to justify our exploitation. 

Sisters I know that you are tired, and that the burden is heavy, but for our daughters sake we must soldier on.  We must be as brave as our foremothers, and continue the battle in their name.  You are here because someone loved you enough to fight for life on the middle passage, surviving on meagre food, menstrual blood, and feces. You are here because someone bore the weight of the lash, and the nightly visits of the master. You are here because your foremother said I will endure this for my daughter, and I will overcome.

We do not have time to fight amongst ourselves. We do not have the time to internalize the hatred that is directed at us. There is work to be done and we are equal to the task. We are the descendants of Queens though the world would have us believe otherwise.

Those that seek to come between us, do so to reap financial, social, economic and sexual rewards.  Every Black woman is a woman that matters.  Do not turn your back on them in favour of others, because your sisters are your allies. Do not support the rapists like R.Kelly who seek to abuse and diminish black womanhood. He is no friend to you, care instead for his young victim.  Do not shun a sister who is trans, lesbian, poor, old, young, or a single mother. They are your allies, they are black women in the same struggle as you.  We are one. Each one of us has a unique voice, and a precious lesson to teach.  WOC I beg you to see beyond the petty divides, hear the whispers of your foremothers, we are women and we matter.  We are to the earth as water is to mankind, nourishing, sustaining and of incalculable value.

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