The human voice is one of the most complex functions that a human being can have. It is comprised of your lungs, larynx (“voice box”) and the vocal folds. If you touch your vocal folds on your larynx you can feel vibrations, yea the power, of your own voice.
In this, the waning days of Women’s History Month, for a moment let us consider the cost of making history. This coveted phrase by which allows one to be remembered when those who set up and sacrificed for progress or greatness go to as the Bible says go to sleep in the lands of the fathers–and perhaps also the Valley of Kings and Queens, if I am allowed to wax poetic for a moment.
In times of chaos and shaking, it is natural and normal for people to look for strength, comfort and someone to help them rally. In times of social upheaval in this nation, those points of strength have been black women.
Fight me. It would make this statement no less true.
Our lioness natures don’t allow us to sit idle amidst suffering and apathy. We get up and do sh!t! In that process, we become the go-to, the outlet, the strategists, the front line leaders, and favorite media punching bag.
From: Mary Cady Shadd, Harriet Tubman, Fannie Lou Hamer, Mary Church Terrell, Maya Angelou, Rosa Parks, (the mother in my last life) Ida B. Wells Barnett, Dr. Angela Davis, Elaine Brown, Eleanor Cleaver, Assata Shakur, Erica Gardner, all the women involved in the #Ferguson moment (there is STILL work being done, and needing to be done), and those now finding their voices, make no mistake. Deciding to become and activist, deciding to change the course of human events will cost you something.
You may be seen as the rallying figure as Erica was, to the cost of her health. You may be seen as the mother figure-shero as Fannie Lou was. You may be classified as one to watch and arrest first times of protest as three young women whom I still call shero of the Ferguson Movement (for the sake of their privacy, they will only be mentioned by their first/nickname: ‘Netta, B, and A.). It damn near may cost you your life as it almost did with Ida and Harriet. The fight always takes a toll on the fighter but when the rounds are ongoing, when the ‘I have to go because they need me’ supersedes the care of self, then what?
Who saves the shero?!
In a time and place where to be black and female is to be deemed immortal and impervious, or thotish and low-down, what can be done to make sure you get to need you? Self-care is one thing, being able to execute that self-care in the face of community need is an animal all together different.
Women of color are not robots, and are entitled to all aspects of rest and personhood. We are entitled to be present with ourselves first, and then tend to what needs to be tended to after. In times of crisis, chaos and change, it is often black women who go without: whether it be sleep, health, food or sacrificing the needs of their own households to find and fund the greater good.
Sometimes the greater good is to be supported, to be allowed to be tired and to ask for help…for our own selves. We should not continue to die to for people whom only take from us, and hashtag us when there is no more to take from.