Be a loud, unapologetic voice against racism & violence towards black people.-Anonymous
Being Black in America is exhausting. I probably need it on shirt, a bag, a sweatshirt, coffee mugs, pens, you name it. I LOVE my blackness. Rich melanin, curly-coily hair that entangles itself into lucious locs, hips, lips, the whole nine. And my beauty is despised. As long as I’m in this country, my melanin will be weaponized.
I learned this lesson early on in life. I was probably 5 or 6 years old when it hit me. I was one of a couple black kids in my kindergarten class in California. Towards the end of the year, 2 little girls of Mexican-descent convinced other kids to not be my friend because I was black. I remember it with less distinction now because the iterations of othering have varied throughout my life. My intelligence dismissed, or my inquisitiveness met with disdain in predominantly white academic environments. My natural curls accosted by hands that weren’t invited to caress them. My body shape viewed as overweight or unhealthy because I don’t have a thigh gap. My personal run-ins with racism have usually been covert. Their impact stings no less.
I chose to exact revenge by healing and living my life as unapologetically blackity-black-black as I can. I recognize racism as a tool of the enemy to divide humanity. I recognize those who perpetuate racism as being used by that enemy. I recognize my God doesn’t condone racism and is grieved by every state-sanctioned murder, every racially-motivated fear or othering. He will bring about justice. I cling to that hope. I also intentionally support fellow black business owners and black artists, authors, chefs, professionals in any field.
And I have dedicated my life to valuing black life with the greatest honor. Being a doula is an act of rebellion for me. I rebel against the patriarchy that dismisses women’s autonomy and inherent rights to reproductive justice. I rebel against the racism of the USA that tries to perpetuate the false narrative that melanin is a threat to humanity. I rebel against the divisive commentary of colorism that tries to assert worth based on proximity to whiteness, as if that was the determining factor of what is a valid human life. I rebel against the fear trying to take root within our hearts about bringing new brown lives into this hate-filled world. With each little brown baby I welcome into the world, I say with greater boldness, “We cannot be erased. We cannot be dismissed. We cannot be uprooted.”
With the murders, just in the last few weeks, of Breonna Taylor, Sean Reed, George Floyd and Ahmaud Arbery, and the unnecessary death of Amber Isaac, living while black can feel hard. The weight of invisible oppression is tangible. But my heart smiles when I know that brown and black babies will continue to come into this world. I find hope to continue this journey knowing I get the privilege of welcoming them safely into loving arms. My feet plant more firmly into anti-racism, reproductive and birth justice work knowing their lives and well-being depend on it.