By Rev. Kevin Slayton
Ask any religious person of color where their “help” comes from, and they will without fail acknowledge that it comes from the Lord. But every other person of color, whether religious or not, would concede that an undisputed primary source in their lives is a Black woman. Black women have been on the scene and vitally critical to every success of the African American experience. Without their contributions and sacrifices, we would have achieved very little progress to date. During this month where we as a nation pause to recognize the many contributions of Black Americans, I think it’s important to acknowledge the amazing gifts of Black women to our modern-day conversations.
Locally, we should all be encouraged by the strength of our city State’s Attorney as she withstands the public and private attacks of systems that are committed to her political demise. Yet, she continues to stand in the tradition of strength as those that have come before her. She understands, like many of her contemporaries, that there is an often politically motivated effort to paint them as untrustworthy or angry. Black women who don’t “stay in their place” are particularly targeted for such character distortion. But we know that when black women refuse to stay in their place, entire systems can change as they did in Montgomery, Alabama in 1955. When Black women get “tired of being sick and tired,” entire political parties have to pause and take note.
But we should not confuse the passion of Black women with the emotion of anger. One needs to look no further than our U.S. Congress to witness the twisted reframing of such behaviors. Leaders such as Cori bush, Kattie Hill, Alexanderia Cortez, Ayanna Pressly, and Rashida Talib are labeled as angry and dangerous to our democracy. While their white female counterparts Kyrsten Sinema and Marjorie Taylor Greene are couched as “courageously defiant” when they align themselves with the most unhealthy attempts at public rhetoric.