Dear Sista Friend,
Within a few days’ time, we have mourned the death of numerous Black men. Their names, Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and countless others have been etched into our brains.
The world stopped to demand justice for their untimely deaths, but it is as if we have forgotten who made the world stop. Ultimately, Black women, with power in their voices and determination in their hearts made the world listen up and take notice. It is Black women who initiated the #Blacklivesmatter movement. You didn’t know? Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi, and Patrice Cullors, all Black women who are using their voice for Black liberation. And even in their command for justice, the names of our slain sisters are rarely ever spoken of, and the fearless warriors fighting immeasurable battles in protests and on picket lines are rarely acknowledged and appreciated. Though liberation, not recognition, is always on their minds. But how could you forget the Black woman?
Currently, the one of the few Black women that the world even chooses to recognize is a fictional superhero in the new Iron Man. Riri Williams, a Black, female Marvel character on the pursuit to combat “chaos and violence…random street violence”. (Ironically, Black women have been doing this since the beginning of our existence). Yes, representation is phenomenal! And yes, she is worthy of recognition. However, the Marvel world is not synonymous with our reality. Riri is made in the image of many real, phenomenal Black women and we must not discredit the inspirational women that have enabled her existence. Our powers exceed beyond the Marvel Universe. Who we are as women go further than the majestic traits that are displayed in fictitious literature. Our powers are real, and shown every day when we stand on the frontlines of a war to gain our liberation. We are included in this fight for freedom, and should not be passed over like a distant thought.
How could you forget the Black woman? We are the men in blue’s kryptonite as they attempt to stand before our Black men. Black women are the shields of battle. We are like mirrors as we reflect the powers that are cast upon our enemies. We are like the hair of Samson, giving strength to all of humanity. Though, through it all we are blatantly ignored as if our lives do not matter. As if the capes and cloaks of our heroism, deem us as invisible and unworthy of saving.. Where is the uproar over our deaths and our abuse? Or are we being martyred for justice? Black women are dying with the same alarming rates, but when we talk about the lynching of our people, support is solely discussed in regards of protecting the Black man. When you say Black Lives Matter, who exactly are you speaking of? Because the last outcry that this country had for the slaughter of Black women, apart from Sandra Bland, was in 1963 when four Black schoolgirls were killed in Birmingham’s church bombing. Why are we exempt?
Black women do not scream Black Lives Matter because being “woke” has become a trend, but because we care deeply for our people and have used our voice as a cloak of protection since our inception. Without fear and hesitation we have birthed you. We have nurtured you. We have cradled you. Yet, the silence of our deaths makes it clear just how valuable we are to this country. It is unfortunate that our voices are still muted, and the struggles that we face are being dismissed by all, and specifically the Black men who we sacrifice our lives for.
However, we are Black women for a reason. We will not wait for assurance of our worth. We will not linger within the darkness. We will not be ignored. We will not be silenced. We will not accept the slaughter of our people.. We will continue to fearfully risk our lives with bravery. The Black woman is everyone’s light, and regardless of how dark her world may seem it never dims. So when we say Black Lives Matter, we mean all Black lives… those of our Black brothers, our Black sisters, our Black family, and our Black LGBT+ community. You matter #sistafriend.
Your Sista Friends,
Gabrielle & Faith Miller