The last few months have been heavy. It seems that we are bombarded daily with painful images of harm being perpetrated against Black bodies, including Black women. The list of Black women who have unjustly lost their lives grows larger each day: Breonna Taylor, Monika Diamond, Nina Pop, Atatiana Jefferson, Sandra Bland and countless others.
Despite it all, we continue to show up. We are essential workers in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, and we are permanent fixtures in local marches against police brutality. Yet, our sacrifice and role in shaping the trajectory of this country continues to be erased. Our efforts to do right by America and forge a path for ourselves as professionals, mothers and community members are continuously unappreciated and often downright disrespected. As a Black woman who works in politics and is actively fighting to dismantle the power structures that have caused these national uprisings, I am exhausted, and I know you are too.
But I want you to remember something: Other Black women will always have your back, even when society and the rest of the world do not.
The Black sisterhood has been the thing that has saved me during these times. One of the ways I take care of myself is by connecting with other Black women who are doing this work and also need to talk through their trauma. I also have a group of Black women in my most trusted inner circle that I can cry to, get advice from and lean on when the pain becomes unbearable. Black women seem to always be left holding the bag, but we do not have to carry it alone.
Please also know that your efforts to make this country a better place are seen by me and millions of other Black women and girls. We appreciate that you are fighting hard to make this a better place for us all to exist. Your work is not invisible and this country needs your perspective now more than ever. It’s why I encourage Black women to run for elected office, because it’s clear that our nation desperately needs us at its helm. Throughout history, we have been the moral center of this country, but our access to political power has long been denied. We’re no longer asking for permission; we’re going to take what is owed to us.
You are loved. There are so many Black women waiting with open arms to support you when you are spent and fed up. I’ve been there and I encourage you to always accept the help of your sisters. Tend to yourself as a human being and check in on your mental, physical and spiritual health. You cannot be there for each other if you are running on empty.
Black sisterhood is among the greatest sources of power we have, and I hope you’ll join me in celebrating and uplifting it.
A’shanti F. Gholar