I am a Black Woman. I am a protest by myself. On Saturday January 21st 2017, I donned my pink and green Black Girl Magic sweater and headed downtown to the Women’s’ March. As I rode the train, I noticed that as the distance between myself and my home in Harlem increased, so did the number of support buttons and signs. At that moment, I realized that my being there alone was a form of protest because the streets weren’t flooded with people that looked like me.
I am fearlessly and unapologetically me. Black before being a woman and even then black before being educated, because you can only learn to dismantle your preconceived notions about me once you decided that I am worth knowing. I have read many thought pieces and posts asking if the white woman who came out in droves would also be present at the next Black Lives Matter march, and how sick black women are in having to care about issues that are deemed important by white people but that the coin is not fairly weighed when issues that are important to POC (People of Color) are raised.
I could have easily missed the march. To be honest, I spent a third of my time marching by myself because I only met up with my friends once I was able to weave my way through the crowd. There were times that I thought of finding the closest train station and heading back up town, out of the sea of people chanting “Pussy Power” (for the record I don’t agreed with the statement, ‘vagina power’ anyone?). Then, I thought about what this meant for me, while yes, to the world I am black before woman and woman before educated, I did not create a sign that would proclaim my truth to the world. I wore my message and embodied it. I am black girl magic. I belonged in this conversation just as much as any of the other thousands of people marching in the street, and if I am not there how am I making sure that we have a seat at the table?
One amongst many still changes the crowd, the dynamic and the conversation. If we are not there who can we expect to speak for us? I marched with people of all ages, sizes, colors and genders. I marched for fundamental HUMAN rights and CIVIL rights. We cannot continue this malicious cycle of placing blame and then leaving it there to rot. I marched because I am tired of sitting by the wayside; we learned in grade school that a bystander is just as responsible as the bully.
It’s time for a systematic change in our government, the popular vote made that clear on election night as well as at the march. If you want to see change, and representation, you have to first be the change and representation.
Three women going through life.