A White Girl’s Journey Through Black History Month

Watercolor style image of the silhouette of an African American woman
Watercolor of an African American woman

By Kali Nelson

It’s Black History Month and I couldn’t figure out what exactly to write about that could do this month justice. I knew that I should acknowledge this momentous event, but how eluded me. I spent a better portion of the month unsure, there were so many things I could write about. I could write about #BlackLivesMatter, or how racism affects pregnancy, or black feminists we’ve forgotten about. I had so many options to choose from, it overwhelmed me. So I started to read. I read Roxanne Gay’s book, “Bad Feminist.” I watched a documentary on Audre Lorde and I read her poetry. I read Maya Angelou, I googled “black feminist.” I sat and thought about what I, a white, middle-class woman, could bring to the table on this topic.

I figured I couldn’t bring much, to be honest.

Then I read a poem Maya Angelou wrote called On Working White Liberals, and it hit me. I’d write about this, this is what white people need to read. Angelou is telling White people what we can do to help them with this battle. To me, it said that she doesn’t want us to fight it for them but to follow the Black man.  This poem was published in Maya Angelou’s Poems in 1981.

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Black Women Find a Voice

By Tess Fox

This story may contain triggers for survivors of sexual assault or rape.

“The saddest fact I’ve learned is nobody matters less to our society than young black women. Nobody.” – Jim DeRogatis

Between Sandra Bland, whose mysterious suicide following a traffice violation resulted in protests, and the countless young women who have been victimized by R. Kelly, it is clear that society does not view black women as a priority. But there is a possibility that’s changing.

A portrait Sandra Bland
Sandra Bland

Daniel Holtzclaw, a police officer with Oklahoma City Police, was sentenced in January to 263 years for the rape and sexual assault of 13 women while he was on duty.

Holtzclaw preyed on women who lived in high-crime areas with rap sheets and a fear of police. Some were convicted felons, sex workers, drug abusers with histories of lying to the police. He used the police database to find women who would be considered unreliable witnesses and would be afraid to report him.

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