“Black women feel like home. There is a familiarity, a trust and a recognition of self that I would not trade for anything. My practice of sisterhood does not mean we are all besties but rather me having an inherent respect and commitment to the betterment of the lives of black people.” - Owethu Makhathini
Anyone that knows me knows that I love and appreciate my blackness in all sense of the word. Black women are beautiful, smart, audacious, go getters and more. We, however, have to endure a very negative view of ourselves due to society telling us over and over again that we are otherwise. That we are not quite enough, but enough to imitate. You know, the Kylie and the Kims have taken the very thing that makes black women extremely unique and beautiful and making it “popular” than any black women could without being ridiculed for her curvaceous body, unique hair, and all around magic.
This is where the importance of black sisterhood and friendship plays a role in restoring the power of being a #blackgirlmagic. Don’t get me wrong, I love all of my sisters from all parts of the world. There is nothing like women bondship and friendship, seriously. However, there are experiences and familiarity that black women feel when they are with their black sisters. These friendship/sisterhood gives us the space where we feel seen, felt and our experiences completely validated. One of my favorite bloggers, Owethu Makhathini said it best “For a black girl living in a world that either ignores us or makes us hypervisible, sisterhood as a physical manifestation of space is invaluable.” When I am with my black girlfriends, I just feel at home. At peace with my inner self to express freely and feel freedom.
When I started attending UC Davis, where black people in general made up only 2% of the student body, it was seriously needed for all of us to form sisterhood. And it happened almost instantly that you knew it was inevitable that these connection are needed and are to be had. My dear friends, we call ourselves the Davis Divas (Go AGGIES!), are the reason I was able to have a voice, to be seen, to be felt and to be understood.
Fast forward many years later, these sisterhoods constantly feed my soul with power and love, especially as we all witness the violence and unfairness experienced against black women in America. In 2015, the unfortunate but very common issue of policy brutality was surfacing at a higher level than ever before. In 2015 summer, we all witnessed the death of Sandra Bland, in addition to many black women who lost their lives in jail or in custody. I remember thinking that could’ve been me, one of my girlfriends from college or the many black girls that I am associated with. I thought about how being educated or having a very solid career couldn’t probably save us from being harassed at any point of our lives. And that’s only because of the color of our skin. You see, that’s really hard to fathom. It is and was very traumatizing to know that’s the truth of our society.
Couple of months later, my dear friend Tiffany approached me with an idea of hosting brunch for black women. Although my friends and I may have the space to discuss, cry, yell, and feel outraged etc... we felt that there weren’t a lot of black women who would have an outlet to discuss all of the fear, microaggression, racism felt in current times. The first time we hosted the brunch, we focused on #sayhername campaign that “documents stories of Black women who have been killed by police, shining a spotlight on forms of police brutality often experienced disproportionately by women of color. In addition to stories of Black women who have been killed by police and who have experienced gender-specific forms of police violence, Say Her Name provides some analytical frames for understanding their experiences and broadens dominant conceptions of who experiences state violence and what it looks like.” (http://www.aapf.org/sayhername/) We had 35 women show up to share their true experiences and feelings openly and freely, as they should. The next was in 2016, where we focused on dismantling the superhuman persona black women carry around in the world. We hope and plan to continue the movement of creating brunches all around the world in hopes of creating those same spaces that provided me a voice to be heard, felt and understood.
On Thursday, December 15th, Sol Sisters and Black and Beautiful Women Brunch will be hosting a healing circle plus get to know our efforts event at Art Beats Studio (308 13th Street, Oakland, CA) from 6-8 p.m. Please join our movement and spread the importance of creating spaces for black women and forming healthy sisterhoods! Hope to see you there! Please RSVP to firstname.lastname@example.org.