Pleading, begging, demanding, praying, protesting for the abuse to end, for the knee to be removed from our necks; history has shown us these protests only rewards us with crumbs. The crumbs they drop to give us hope that real change is possible. The crumbs they drop to appease us to get back to our daily lives.
Our only true hope is within ourselves, each other and our allies. We must invest our financial and emotional resources into the independent, political, economic empowerment of black people and black communities. We should not rely on appealing to an oppressors conscience in order for us to rise. Abusers lack a conscience, which is why it is so comfortable for them to continue to oppress generation after generation. They benefit from our conscience, our compassion, our empathy, our patience and through psychological abusive techniques, they use those very qualities against us. Perhaps the real power for legitimate change in advancing black people, lies within us and those who choose to be allies with us.
When dealing with an an abuser, you must take your power back. Here are a few ideas on how we can take action within our own lives.These ideas do not place all of the power into the oppressors hands or require us to wait for their crumbs:
We can VOTE and hold local officials accountable. For example, elect mayors and county executives who have a clear plan for police reform.
Give money and/or time to organizations which support the rights and advancement of black lives.
Invest in our emotional intelligence. Our IQ and degrees are not enough. EQ is equally important in the advancement of ourselves and our people.
Be extremely intentional about buying black (allies too); not just hair and clothing but place money into black owned banks and credit unions for example. Do not give your money to organizations who are contributing to the knee on our neck. This includes your favorite sports teams, restaurants, grocery stores and more. Do your research.
Know what the system has set us up to be at the most risk for and recognize our power in preventing it. For example, did you know that the number 1 health condition for black women is domestic violence? Approximately 1 in 3 black women will experience intimate partner violence in her lifetime.* Black women are 35% more likely to experience domestic violence than white women and 2.5 times more likely than other groups.** However, black women are significantly less likely to report the abuse due to fears of police brutality against their partner, racism, religious pressures and more***. Commit to learning how to avoid these risks which are also directly related to systemic racism, but also something we have complete control over once we are armed with the knowledge. Here at Innovative Weaves, we have been dedicated to the empowerment of black women who are overcoming abuse while creating awareness by educating the community on various forms of abuse and how it impacts health and the ability to thrive. Learn more about our social cause here.
Invest in therapy. Being black can be daily traumatic experience. These traumas can contribute to divisiveness within our own community; can cause health issues and more. Can’t afford therapy? Buy books and workbooks which can guide you on how to process your feelings and emotions in a healthy way and/or join support groups online.
These ideas require research, hard work, sacrificing, reaching out to allies, holding people account, being uncomfortable and more. It's not easy. But neither is continuing to live in a world where there is zero humanity for black lives.If the goal is to thrive financially, emotionally, mentally, to be safe, to feel safe, to have equity; let’s look both at how the systems need to change and what we can do, on our own, to claim the full meal and not just accept the crumbs leftover from the leftovers they give to the dogs.
"We can disagree and still love each other, unless your disagreement is rooted in my oppression and denial of my humanity and right to exist." Robert Jones Jr (@sonofbaldwin)
written by Innovative Weaves
*USDOJ, OJP, “Extent, Nature, and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings From the National Violence Against Women Survey”. 2000
** Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2001
*** Feminist Majority Foundation’s Choices Campus Campaign, “Women of Color and Reproductive Justice: African
American Women.” Available at: http://www.feministcampus.org/