Updated: Jun 17
Along with the rest of the world, we are watching with mixed feelings the fight for justice and dignity for Black lives in the United States. We feel a rage that has long been suffocated by stereotypes and subversions that forced us to swallow our words when we should have roared. We feel the pain and the indignity of lights snuffed out because they dared to shine. We feel the quickening and surge of power that come through unity as we create a movement. We feel afraid for those on the frontlines and even behind the scenes pushing with all they have for a change, for life. We feel hope that this time, the violence that begets violence will be forever quashed.
The energy spreading across the world as we confront decades upon decades of white supremacy in every system of civilisation has been brewing for a long time. As we stand up for ourselves; our loved ones; and communities, demanding our rights and justice, we approach every battle battleline unflinching because we know what it means to contend with a faceless enemy while our faces are splashed across the media as transgressive, aggressive, and regressive.
I would like to share this short piece submitted by one of our essay contest participants. These words were written by a teenager in high school. She is American and has grown up in a harsh reality. She is a future Black female who sees that for her future to matter, her life has to matter. Her life does matter. Her voice matters. These are the words of Jamaria Thomas (Kilgore Texas, USA).
First, let’s discuss the obvious. Prejudices and biases are the basis of most problems minorities face. Everyone knows that prejudices are preconceived opinions that are not based on reason or actual experiences, just as biases are unfair decisions made in favor of or against one person or group compared to another. We all have them. Some are in the open; others are manifested implicitly, through unconscious effort, without an attempt to understand the wrong(s). An example of the latter would be a hospital deciding to select one physician applicant over another because one is African American with natural hair, despite having superior credentials. This is the world I will face. But, I know I must not lose hope. I must trust that not everyone will violate the premises of the constitution and act on unfounded stereotypical beliefs. I must keep the faith that, unlike the plight of 200 extra years for Texans to realize they were free, Black women will soon see progress prevail. Most importantly, I must encourage others (of all races) not to act on years of embedded hatred. I must continue to scream that it is the unjust, unconstitutional, and prejudicial treatment of women based on race and sex that has created unnecessary gaps in privilege and patronage. This is a truth many know, but few openly acknowledge. Just as the clock has run out on both sexual assault and sexual harassment, it has also run out on the unequal treatment of women of color. Time is up! It is time to remove the tightropes women have to walk, the glass ceilings women see above them, and the double jeopardy that being both Black and female has caused. Black women should not need to anxiously assert themselves to overcome the deeply entrenched issues that still plague their position in society.