Refined and Fly

Wednesday, March 15, 2006


What is the role of sisters in the struggle for freedom, justice, and equality in 2006? It will be what it has been throughout history, for this is a continuum and we stand on the shoulders of those who came before us. Energy is neither created nor destroyed. It only changes form. So what is here, has always been here, and will always be here, just in different manifestations. Sisters will do what we have always done, which is a variety of useful and valuable things, for there is no movement and no nation without the woman.

We’ve been organizers, activists, speakers, warriors, empresses, queens, planners, strategists, earth mothers, artists, housewives, scholars, educators, leaders, supporters, letter writers, campaigners and champions of freedom. From the Civil Rights Movement to the Black Power Movement and back to the root of civilization, when empires and kingdoms were defending their people, their land, and their right to be themselves…to exist...sisters have always been there. The Black Panthers, the Brown Berets, the Young Lords, the students in the Soweto uprisings in South Africa, the Zapitistas in Chiapas, Mexico and their struggle for the rights of indigenous women, to the Parents in Action in Pittsburgh, and Save Our Sons and Daughters (SOSAD) …sisters have always been there.

We are mothers of civilization, mothers in our homes, mothers to our blocks and neighborhoods, and mothers to children who are not our own physical seeds. And it is imperative to acknowledge and recognize the importance of mothers, as this role continues to be de-emphasized in American society. We are the first teachers of children, from the womb to the grave, and without this vital role being fulfilled and appreciated, we have no future movement or nation.

Ella Baker, Fannie Lou Hamer, Lolita within the Puerto Rican struggle for liberation, Queen Mother Moore, Assata Shakur, Angela Davis, Hapshepsut, Queen Nanny of the Maroons, Nefertiti, Queen Nzinga, my elder sisters in the Nation of Gods and Earths, my own mother (who was the first Black clerical worker at U.C. Berkeley and a damn good mother if I should say so myself), sisters today blazing the trail like Dericka Blackman in the Bay Area, and so many others, recognized and unrecognized. We’ve been on the front lines of many different fronts because we’ve had to be. The issues that effect brothers affect us too and we are also targets for destruction so we have to be involved in our salvation. We have to make the choice to save ourselves and put that energy in motion.

A people must have a goal, and we have to work toward making it as specific as possible. We know that life is a journey, not a destination, but you have to know what road you are on. Knowledge is the foundation to everything in life and knowing where you’re headed because everything starts with a thought, with information, and education. So sisters, we have to be scientists! We have to investigate why we have so many liquor stores in our neighborhoods or why our schools don’t have the resources to properly teach our children or why our neighborhoods have trash everywhere or why children are killing each other because there is a reason! We have been oppressed through an intentional institutional process for hundreds of years so its' no mystery why we got issues!

We have to know and understand the power of the Black, Brown, Yellow, and Red people across the planet and the tricknowledge that this wilderness teaches in order to emphasize our differences so we won’t work toward solving a common problem. Once we find the why, then we can move to the what…meaning what are we going to do about it…knowledge and wisdom…knowing and then doing. If you don’t know anything, you won’t do anything, and you won’t be anything. Then we must work to be consistent, to not be a flash in the pan or an initiative that comes and goes, because we, our people need stability. So whatever your value system, school of thought, culture or religion, be a scientist, set a goal, and work to see your goal manifested in your community.

A popular word that is often used within liberation struggles and community organizing is "empowerment." Empowerment comes through education, mentoring, and being amongst the people. You can’t empower anybody if you can’t break bread with them because it takes more than programs and events. It takes being there consistently and people seeing you have a stake in what happens in their lives. People have to see your face. Most women who have made positive contributions to humanity were right there with everyone else marching, speaking, fighting, and teaching. Empowerment is emphasizing self-sufficiency and institution building so that people have the ability to control their own destiny…to make decisions that are in the best interest of self, family, community, and nation. To be empowered you have to have the knowledge of yourself. You have to know the reality of who you are and why you are here. Once you empower yourself, you can teach and empower others.

We can't just keep talking about the issues of our Community. We can't just keep having symposiums or conferences with people who already"get it." We can't continue to just engage in intellectual meandering just to show how many books we've read or our credentials. We can't continue to have forums where the people we are speaking about are not present because at that point, who is growing and learning from the conversation? We can't just keep writing books. A lot of these things are necessary, but we can't just stop there and think that we have accomplished the end goal, because as we get our accolades and add experience to our resume, people are dying and distressed!

As the Black woman grows less present in the home (physically, mentally, emotionally) due to stress, fatigue, the effects of the psychological legacy of slavery, and systemic depravity, young girls are growing up without the consistent influence of their primary role model: their mothers. If there is no one there to show them how to be, can you really blame them for learning through trial and error?There are practical ways that you can impact young sisters. You can start by spending time with one, two or three young girls who can benefit from your positive influence. Nature, is Supreme Mathematics taking place on the planet so just how you may acknowledge and study the process of how a tree grows from fertile soil, if I identify myself and strive to live out being the Earth, young sisters need to be able see how I live out Supreme Mathematics by being an example of womanhood, not just lecturing or talking at them.

Whatever skill that you have...teach it! Whatever love, energy and strength you have...share it! Whether you say that you want to start a coalition or run a program for children, deal with international relations, or if you want to make sure that those marching at that rally are properly fed or you want to be the best mother you can be so you can cultivate and teach your seeds, your children, to change the world, all roles are vital. But whatever role you choose, know that you have one, and you have to use whatever knowledge, skills, and talents you have to move us forward.


P.S. Although the date for the post states March 15, it was actually posted on the 16th, the knowledge equality day.


  • At 12:00 PM, Blogger Faheem said…

    I'm with you sis!

  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger Divine IZ Earth said…

    Peace Queen!

    Indeed. We are at a time where our young sisters need to be scooped up and molded as productive, powerful reflections of Allah God. To do that, we with knowledge of ourselves, and other conscious sistas must mentor and create links to the past, present and future. Only through linking, networking and sustaining strong bonds, will the legacy of the likes of Queen Mother Moore, Nzinga, Harriet Tubman, and sistas whose names we do not know continue on.

    Keep building, keep teaching, keep being true and living!



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