Those were the words spoken to me by the then reigning Ms. Wheelchair VA many, many years ago.
She and I had just presented a workshop together. I must tell you, though due to her disability, she doesn’t speak clearly.
Common intermediate speaker error. Consequences were suffered. But Ms. Wheelchair VA, oh she was ready. She was funny, engaging, and the audience was all in. She came with it.
Here was the touching thing
That is when she shared with me something I won’t ever forget. She told me that observing the civil rights movement had empowered her.
A white woman from southwestern Virginia. Hmph.
I knew that I had gained a GREAT DEAL from the movement.
I grew up in the civil war south. (I know I should say [post] but everyone there doesn’t know that.)
I got it.
I just had no idea that other people were impacted though.
Historical Honor in Activism and Advocacy
It wasn’t just her though. It was many folks in the disability rights movement. Along the way, I began to hear that from other groups of people, including feminists, LGBT activists, environmental activists, etc.
At one point, I had to catch myself because I had heard it so often that I was beginning to take it for granted.
You know, last night, I was so discouraged that I announced on social media that I couldn’t write. That stunned me.
Through all of my trauma, I can always write.
What do you mean, “I can’t write?”
Singing, writing, dancing, painting, sculpting, quilting, cooking, knitting, even cleaning is the language of the black woman. No one listens to us so sometimes that is how we speak.
“I can’t write………”
What in the world was wrong with us?
Not even tired, “tied”.
It is why we have the most and the worst trolls on social media.
We know, that even those who say they want to help often do so only because it serves their own agenda.
Do you see this?
Violence, health disparities, worrying about our families’ safety and well-being in ways that other people don’t even have to consider.
64,000 black women are missing and y’all will look for missing dogs first before you look for one of them.
Which makes no sense to us. Black women maneuver through an obstacle course of “isms” daily.
But on that day we just decide we can’t take it anymore?
To whom much is given, much is expected. In spite of all of this it is a wonderful gift to be a born a black woman.
I said, it is a wonderful gift to be born a black woman!
It is like waking up and opening a present on Christmas morning every single day.
We have no idea the impact that we are making on those around us.
We inspire entire social movements towards progress.
We shatter barriers of silence with our screams, our rants, our songs, our poems, our wailing, our tears, and our rallying cries.
That is why so many of us mourn this week. Because we lost a beautiful soul when we lost Sandra Bland. I will weep this week.
See I can not be caught off guard anymore. No, ma’am.
I must be ready.
I will choose to be vocal.
I will choose to be resilient.
I will choose to sparkle.
I will choose to be bold.
I will choose to express my beauty. Yeah, I’ll let you see.