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VOF Week 2: Reclaiming Ourselves

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“Young Black Woman
what’s your name?…
It’s pride and beauty
For I have no shame.
I’m Young Black Woman.
You know my name.”

Sebek Sanyika

As girls, where do we go for useful information about ourselves and our lives? Even today as an adult with a background in research, I have a very difficult time finding information related to Black girls and their development.

Author Muata Ashby writes, “Womanhood can evoke transcendence: liberation, salvation, and self-realization.” Author and activist Audre Lorde stated, “For each of us as women, there is a dark place within, where hidden and growing our true spirit rises…”

We are all over the world. Females of African descent are a diverse group, so I do not attempt to represent us as one monolithic group. However, too many of us walk around not knowing that we are divine representations, part of the big picture and part of the universal design.

The way that I grew up was different. As a Black female, my history of slavery, racism and sexism in the United States and abroad are unique. This makes some of my experiences and feelings difficult for some to predict, comprehend, and accept.

It is crucial for Black girls to have a foundation of self-awareness because they complete the physiological changes of puberty before girls of other ethnic groups. And we are most likely to be miseducated about our culture, heritage, gender, and potential. There are things that we should know in order to not just survive, but to thrive, flourish, and be successful. With what we see now, I wonder how well we are thriving or surviving: media-savvy teenagers with little common sense or critical thinking skills, victims instead of warriors, prey for sexual predators, oversized children with limited perspective of the world.

Disenfranchisement from our own selves has occurred with such intensity and consistency that it has become normalized behavior, unrecognizable ignorance. The resulting individual and group behavior is dangerous. This is what motivated me to start Sisterhood Agenda.

One of my missions with Sisterhood Agenda is to share unique information in a meaningful way representative of the highest service. I share the information as I get it. The more self-aware I become, the more I know about myself and the more I can share with others. Therefore, I am always on a path of self-discovery in my own journey.

We all share this responsibility and obligation. Author Alice Walker writes, “Guided by my heritage and a love of beauty and a respect for strength-in search of my mother’s garden, I found my own.” She also believes, “Every small, positive change we can make in ourselves repays us in confidence in the future.”

The "work" is not just about ethical responsibility, but personal social responsibility in respecting each other and treating others are you would want to be treated, doing what is right instead of what is popular, and helping others in our collective paths toward greatness.

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ShukThi's picture

this is important work

Sister Angela,

How urgent and important it is to help our young women love themselves, and as you put it, see the divine spirit in themselves. And how difficult it is to have a healthy sense of self as a young racialized woman, growing up in North America, where if one's image is visible at all, only serves to bring down self-respect.

I recently moved to Victoria, BC and wanted to tell you about an organization here that I volunteer with called Antidote. They work with racialized young women through a system of mentorship, among other things. Members are therefore Gurlz, sistahs or aunties, depending on their age and what they have to offer to each other!

Here is their website: http://anti-dote.org/
It might be a useful connection. I will encourage them to connect with you as well, if they haven't already heard of your program.

In sisterhood
Soumya

Sister Angela's picture

Connecting

Hi Soumya,

Thank you so much for sharing your thoughts and resources on this issue. I will certainly reach out to Antidote-they sound great! I am encouraged daily by the work that women and girls are doing around the globe to address these issues. I look forward to sharing sisterhood with my sisters in BC.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela

molliv's picture

break down the miseducation of youth

sister angela:

sisterhood agenda sounds like an amazing and necessary project. i am quite interested in the effect of new media and changing technology on young women as well. new dangers to deal with when we have just barely (and in some cases not yet) begun to teach them about the old ones. things are changing so fast.

i would love to hear more about your journey to worldpulse, what led you here and what specifically your vision is for combining sisterhood agenda and worldpulse as a way to orchestrate change.

~molli

Don't let your worries get the best of you. Remember, even Moses started out as a basket case.

Sister Angela's picture

Hi Molli, Thank you for your

Hi Molli,

Thank you for your feedback! I agree that things are changing at a very rapid pace. I hope and believe that the advantages of new media and technology vastly outweigh the dangers. It opens up a whole new world for exploration and education.

I was referred to World Pulse by Global Giving. It has been quite a blessing. Who knew that this existed? There are countless ways to incorporate World Pulse into my existing work with Sisterhood Agenda and vice-versa. For example, Sisterhood Agenda works with over 1,200 Global Partners who may not know about World Pulse. It is a great fit for mutually beneficial exchanges.

Generally, I see us providing opportunities for connection, education, and strength through unity. Acting together, we make a difference in our lives, institutions, and environment, much more so than separately. It is the universal spirit of sisterhood that binds us in our collective pathways for positive creativeness.

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela

nikki's picture

VOF Week Two

Dear Sister Angela,

Wow. I was so moved as I read your words...your passion is as evident as your words are eloquent in describing your journey and aspirations to make deep change in the lives of Black women. What an inspiration.

I enjoyed the quotes you used to fill out your story, and that those quotes were backed up with such fervent prose on your part. I always appreciate people who use quotes from others to help lend gravity to their words instead of using the words of others to craft arguments or strengthen their own sentiments. You are such an excellent writer. I look forward to following more of the Sisterhood Agenda....you will be a force to be reckoned with!

Sincerely,

Nikki Jardin

Sister Angela's picture

Hi Nikki, You are very kind.

Hi Nikki,

You are very kind. I must say that I am finding such a supportive environment here: one that is affirming, but also one that challenges me to grow. It's perfect!

Looking back at what I wrote, I was moved by Spirit and my mindset at the time. Today is the weekend and I am so laid back, now my words seem very strong, almost forceful. I am also enbarking on a transition/transformation that is happening very quickly-it's almost scary for me.

I have always enjoyed the writing of others. They move me in ways that I could never have imagined. Because I was not exposed to the work of these writers until later in life, I feel compelled to share their words with others with the chance that maybe they will be positively affected like me.

I hope that we connect again!

In the Spirit of Sisterhood,
Angela

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