Black History Month is an annual celebration of achievements by people of African descent. Not all countries observe the tribute to those who struggled with diversity and fought for their place in society. However, it is a remembrance of those who made remarkable steps in fighting for their rights as well as breaking forth in their dreams around the globe. As Future Black Females, we resonate with the many phenomenal Black women that came before us to set a foundation for us in civil rights activism, claiming our space, and pursuing our ambitions.
We revisit some of the lessons that we get from these women in this post.
As a Black girl who am I in society? What is my role? What do I aspire to be? Are my dreams possible in my world? These are the questions that come to my mind when I hear these words from the phenomenal Miriam Makeba, Mama Afrika. I ask myself what it means to be a mother. Looking at her life, I learn quite a lot in that regard. She was a mother in more ways than one. Her music healed nations, spreading hope and faith for better days. Above all, she set precedence for Black females in that, yes, you can win a Grammy! That, you, a Black girl in a small town can have dreams so big and see them to fruition.”Our dreams are valid, big as they are, they are what makes us mothers of our society.”
Black History Month has opened my eyes to role models, from whom I draw strength, courage, and wisdom. “While you may be wondering how you can keep up with big dreams when you’re just a girl, remember that you are not just a girl, you are a Black girl.” The highlight of Black History Month has been learning about the so many Black girls that turned their situations into works of history. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the first female president in Africa, is an example of how dreams can be scary but just big enough for you! So keep dreaming on, and when it gets difficult look back to Ellen. Remembering that because of them we can!
Turning dreams into realities is challenging. Not only because we encounter many difficult moments that prove to be almost impossible to overcome. There are many other factors around us that have a hand in determining our realities. These may be sociopolitical and economic factors. However, Wangari Maathai made a decision to defy the odds and press on for her vision. As an environmentalist and activist, in pursuing her vision for a better environment and political systems, she took advantage of opportunities in her way. Just imagine how difficult it seems. “It takes determination to see opportunities in difficult moments.” The most important thing to remember is that there are opportunities!
At the age of ten, Michaela finally got her break, a lead role, and a reward for her hard work. Living with vitiligo and trying to break into ballet, a predominantly white discipline, as a Black girl in a western country couldn’t have been easy. As though the psychosocial stress, and trauma of war dreams and the loss of her parents was not enough, she was a different girl, with a different skin, in a different sport. The discrimination and stigma that she encountered were enough to have brought her down. She stayed determined and focused on her dreams. Black girl, you are different but that’s what makes you magical. Our differences are often viewed in the negative. Society expects us to be the same. To fit in and conform. Whenever the pressure gets daunting, remember that Michaela paved the way for you to dance! “Never be afraid to be yourself.” Today we pursue our dreams in all our realness because we know it’s possible. Let us always be reminded of this as Future Black Females.
Bessie Coleman once said, “The air is the only place free from prejudices.” As a civil aviator/ pilot, she lived the reality of a prejudice-free life, soaring across the sky and performing flying tricks. “As Future Black Females, we take from this the lesson of pursuing a prejudice-free life in all that we do.” For Bessie, this statement pushed her ambition to fly, it pushed her beyond all that she could not change. A prejudice free life is one in which we are able to claim and enjoy all our rights. When we can self-actualize and pursue our dreams without limitation. However, this becomes possible when we start to change all that we cannot accept. In simple terms, this calls us to act on our dreams by taking advantage of the opportunities around us. After learning this, I told myself that I would not complain again, instead, I will act against all that I cannot accept in my life! Always, something can be done about your life even in the most difficult situations.
We want to be equal! These words resonate with Future Black Females all over the world. Throughout this month we learned of the history of phenomenal women who took strides to change the world. In all their efforts they paved the way for Future Black Females to carry on creating a better world. Above all, together with them, We Want to Be Equal.
From all these lessons and strengths drawn from our heroines, let us press on as Black Females. Enabling a generation of Future Black Females to carry on our work and live in a better world. We Win Together!
“Next Black History Month, your story may be an inspiration for others.”