I Love Us.
I love us. And by us, of course, I mean Black women. I love our brilliance and energy. I love that starting at a young age, Black girls see themselves as leaders, even as their schools too often miss that quality. I love our beauty, the many different hues, sizes, and even hair types that make up Black women. And I love that even as Black women continue to be barrier breakers, they don’t just join institutions – they remake them. Pauli Murray was the first Black woman to earn a doctoral of juridical science degree from Yale Law School. She is also credited with imagining and developing core early legal theories to challenge race and sex discrimination. Coachella was effectively renamed Beychella because Beyoncé redefined what it meant to perform there. Serena and Venus changed the game of tennis, adding a different level of speed and strength to the game (and fashion!) and growing the fan base for women’s tennis overall (not mention building on Billie Jean King’s campaign for equal pay).
And I love that Black women hold us all – our families, our communities, especially in tough times.
I worry, though, that all that magic and fire comes at a cost that is too high. The rate of black maternal mortality is four times that of white women – far higher in some cities. Toxic stress is taking its toll on Black women. So my promise to Black women today is to model what it means to believe Black women, to trust Black women, and to learn from Black women, even when our culture and institutions make it hard to do so. Because that is what you do when you love something – you show it.
—Fatima Goss Graves
We are Enough.
Dear Black Women,
When I imagine a future built for us, I picture a world where we can fully be ourselves and where our existences are not consistently attacked. Audre Lorde taught us that “without community, there is no liberation.” We know how to do the work of building community. It is difficult and never-ending, but through centering our joy and rooting our work in love, we make sure it is worth it.
I love us not only for what we do – which we all know is A LOT – but for who we are. I love the way our laughter can fill any void and how we are brave enough to show up when the world continuously tries to erase us. I love us enough to never stop fighting for our autonomy, our spaces, and most importantly, our future. We are enough, and as we make our way toward justice, I find peace in knowing that being in community with Black women, I will always find love.
Owning Our Magic
To my fellow Black women and girls,
What does it mean for us to love ourselves, to offer ourselves and each other the care we give everyone else? This day and always, I want us to think about that.
It’s true that we are magic. We’ve inherited and built upon the wisdom of generations who made a way out of no way, conjuring sustenance and art from nothing, often in the face of relentless economic exploitation, material deprivation, and violence from both within and outside of our community.
But we are also humans, who shoulder so much. We see so much, know so much, do so much, sacrifice so much. And that often comes at a high price for us physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
That so many of us survive and even thrive despite it all isn’t just a testament to our greatness. It’s an invitation to consider what our lives and the world would look like if we systematically claimed the space and time to heal, nurture, and put ourselves first. We’re already making miracles just in the daily work of navigating and outsmarting systems and structures built to destroy us; let’s do the deep inner work that will help us use our collective power to transform those systems and structures altogether.
We love and care so much for others. Let’s insist upon building homes, communities, economies, and societies that love and care back. We deserve it, and frankly, I’m pretty sure the world is doomed if we don’t.
For Us, By Us
When I imagine the future for Black women, I see Black women having the freedom to be their WHOLE selves. Black women deserve to live carefree lives, being able to focus on their goals and dreams without having to censor themselves and leave their personalities at the door. You can show your love for Black women by appreciating the realness that they bring to the table. The reason Black women deserve to be showered with love is because society has grown accustomed to the Black woman shouldering the struggles from the intersection of being (1) a woman and (2) Black. That journey is not an easy one, but someone has do it. The reproductive justice movement was started by Black women to acknowledge we needed our own space that prioritizes the identity of Black women and their specific needs to access reproductive freedom. I show my love for Black women by centering the Reproductive Justice principles at the core of my work at the National Women’s Law Center. When Black women are getting the care they deserve… that’s how we know society has taken a step forward.
Do-ing with Love
Dear Black women,
We are resilient. We are a force to be reckoned with. We come from a long bloodline of survivors and storytellers. We speak truth to power. We bravely navigate through a world that is determined to pit our Blackness against our Womaness. And we do it with grace and mercy for those who often times don’t deserve it.
bell hooks taught us that love is an interactive process, that “it’s about what we do, not just what we feel. It’s a verb, not a noun.” This could not be more true. If you think about it, Black women have been do-ing with love since forever.
I love that Black women continuously show up for others just as often as we show up for one another. Even when it’s hard. Even when it’s not reciprocated. I hope that we continue to harness our #blackgirlmagic for generations to come. To create change and to restore justice because we are the caretakers and change makers of the world.
With infinite love,