We usually body Black Historical past Month discussions prior to now tense, highlighting essential Black figures in historical past from slavery by the civil rights motion. Whereas these folks undoubtedly should be acknowledged for his or her accomplishments, solely specializing in Black figures from a long time in the past generally is a disservice to the continued battle for fairness and equality. Acknowledging the changemakers who’re actively working to create a extra simply society can function a reminder of how racism nonetheless impacts practically each nook of society. It will also be alternative to advertise Black excellence throughout us, which is rarely a foul factor.
Black girls have already offered a lot to American society, however till lately, they hardly ever obtained correct accolades. The Prism staff and its contributors have reported extensively on the neglect, mistreatment, erasure, and underrepresentation of Black girls in practically all points of American life. By now, many Black girls are used to being disrespected, figuratively and actually knocked down, erased from discussions about feminism, underrepresented in insurance policies, and being disproportionately mistreated in their work life, education, the prison system, and in health care. However regardless of what new, artistic methods the racist forces in America attempt to tear them down, Black girls have saved combating, and up to date occasions have proven the remainder of the world what many people have already identified: Black girls are a strong, influential, relentless, and joyous drive who should be acknowledged and valued.
The barometer for the way a lot society respects Black girls is simply too typically tied to what they will present for everybody else. Whereas some Black feminine activists have expressed gratitude for the reward they obtained after the 2020 election wins, it exhibits the lengths many Black girls should undergo to show their price and obtain respect from the general public. How a lot reward could be granted to Black girls in the event that they hadn’t helped to sway the presidential election and win back the Senate? Would they nonetheless be seen as worthy of respect? Would most people consider that Black girls must be represented within the insurance policies put forth in Washington? In all probability not. If they assist to vote in a preferred Democratic candidate, they’re briefly beloved and praised. In the event that they fail to point out up in large numbers, there’s an opportunity they may very well be criticized or blamed for the loss regardless of being subjected to voter suppression. Black feminine activists who do the arduous work know this. They know there isn’t any assure the work they do will translate into insurance policies that may instantly assist them and their households. They know the reward they obtain will possible be short-lived, they usually’ll should do extra work to show themselves as soon as once more. They know all these items, and but they hold combating for a greater America anyway.
This previous 12 months has thrust a number of Black history-making girls onto a nationwide platform, they usually should be honored throughout this February’s celebrations. Stacey Abrams with Truthful Combat, LaTosha Brown with Black Voters Matter, and Nse Ufot with the New Georgia Undertaking are only a few of the folks to credit score for the historic wins in 2020 and earlier this 12 months. The nation has additionally found its new favourite poet, Amanda Gorman, who simply weeks in the past made historical past because the youngest individual ever to recite a poem at a presidential inauguration. We can also’t overlook to acknowledge newly elected Vice President Kamala Harris for shattering a number of glass ceilings as the primary lady, first Black American, and first South Asian American to carry that workplace. There are additionally many Black girls who’re making historical past who haven’t but made it to the nationwide information but, like JoAnn Walker and Pamela Price, two Black girls in California who’re working on a joint bid for police chief and district lawyer in Alameda County. All of those girls and their history-making accomplishments deserve a particular highlight this Black Historical past Month, and for a few years after.
Final 12 months was memorable, to place it mildly. It was the 12 months a worldwide pandemic halted the lives of individuals around the globe. It was the 12 months a number of police killings led to a different nationwide racial justice rebellion. It was the 12 months People voted a white nationalist out of the White Home. For many individuals, it was additionally the 12 months of Black girls. This 12 months, let’s make sure that our celebrations replicate that.
Carolyn Copeland is a duplicate editor and employees reporter for Prism. She covers racial justice and tradition. Observe her on Twitter @Carolyn_Copes.
Prism is a BIPOC-led nonprofit information outlet that facilities the folks, locations and points at the moment underreported by our nationwide media. By way of our authentic reporting, evaluation, and commentary, we problem dominant, poisonous narratives perpetuated by the mainstream press and work to construct a full and correct report of what’s occurring in our democracy. Observe us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram.