Nina Simone’s haunting ballad “Images” based on the poem by Waring Cuney tells a story about black girls we know all to well. Not knowing our beauty and not seeing our images; for many of my friends and family it has been a struggle for us to see ourselves as beautiful, worthy of love, and major contributors to the world around us. However, when we found Audre Lorde, Ella Baker, Angela Davis, Mary Church Terrell, Ida B. Wells, Darlene Clark Hine, Alice Walker, Faith Ringgold, Toni Morrison, Septima Clark, Fannie Lou Hamer, Barbara Smith, Shirley Chisholm, June Jordan, Nina Simone, Aretha Franklin, Erykah Badu and so many more we saw our image in the river and we knew…
Currently black girls are under attack, on display, and undereducated. Cyberbullying on FB, actual bullying at school, constant surveillance by school security, heterosexism and homophobia all contribute further to the marginalization of black girls. There are no palm trees in the streets, but they have to deal with unwanted sexual attention in public, and sometimes private, as well as fat-hatred on billboards and tv commercials. They are not getting adequate general health education or sex education. Neither their public or private education tells them of the streams of powerful black women and girls in their lineage. As black feminists, womanists, Afrafeminists, women of color scholars and activists we cannot wait for them to come to us. We must seek them out and as we guide them to the river we must listen to what they have to say.
Last year the CFC learned the power of our community when we reached out for support with our Feminism 101 for Girls workshop and we received an outpouring of love. The workshop was a success and we provided a report back in good feminist form, but it was just the beginning. Since then bloggers Tami Harris and Julia Stevens from Love Isn’t Enough contacted the CFC and workshop facilitators to participate on an online panel and we agreed.
Join us for a live panel discussion, Images in the River: Black Girl Dialogues, at 9 am ET, Saturday, March 31, featuring Sheri Davis-Faulkner, member of the CFC and American Studies PhD Candidate; Mashadi Matabane, Fem101 facilitator and PhD Candidate into transformative agency; Bianca Laureano, founder of the LatiNegr@s Project, who has worked with and taught youth of color and speaks at national and international organizations advocating sex-positive social justice agendas; and Asha French, member of CFC and Doctoral Student in English to discuss planning, funding and facilitating feminism 101 discussions for black girls. The conversation can be accessed on Love Isn’t Enough, Crunk Feminist Collective, What Tami Said and Cover It Live.
This conversation is about sharing best practices and learning from one another. It is also a call to action so after the panel we encourage participants to schedule dialogues with black girls in your communities and report back. Specific details for joining the discussion are forthcoming. Tweet using the hashtag: #blackgirlsdialogue.
It’s time we see our images in the river. It’s time to talk about black girl problems. It’s time to talk about black girl joy. It’s time to talk.