The Dream Continues: Amplifying the Voices of Black Women to Achieve Health Equity


Talking up about a difficulty doesn’t imply you plan to harm different individuals; talking up is about selling justice. We can not heal illness by pretending it doesn’t exist.

Stephanie Dixon and her mom, Deundra Hundon show a assist approach for a birthing mom in San Francisco on March 12, 2019. Hundon and Dixon, a mother-daughter doula duo known as Naked With Me, are a part of the partnership with the San Francisco Division of Public Well being that gives doulas to low-income Black and Pacific Islander ladies, who’ve a few of the poorest maternal and toddler well being charges within the metropolis. (Carlos Avila Gonzalez / San Francisco Chronicle through Getty Photographs)

We not too long ago celebrated Black Historical past Month, adopted by Ladies’s Historical past Month, and have now transitioned into National Minority Health Month. Moreover, April 11–17 commemorates Black Maternal Well being Week. These commemorative markers every spotlight populations typically neglected and minoritized. Going ahead, I suggest that we shift the paradigm from characterizing these populations as “marginalized,” to focusing extra on our energy and resilience within the face of large adversity. Because the spine of my circle of relatives and neighborhood, Black ladies are the epitome of resilience and energy—significantly, Black moms and grandmothers.

I’m reminded of some of the iconic and memorable strains from the civil rights motion. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., in his “I’ve a Dream” speech, eloquently highlighted our nation’s hypocrisy, saying “I’ve a dream that someday this nation will stand up and reside out the true which means of its creed: ‘We maintain these truths to be self-evident, that every one males are created equal.’”

Two issues stand out to me on this quote:

  1. the irony of a founding doc emphasizing human equality whereas concurrently defining Black individuals as three-fifths human; and
  2. the exclusion of ladies from the notion of human equality.

I not too long ago had a vivid dream upon which I selected to replicate. Deciphering the which means behind goals is one in all many traits I inherited from my mom—she was recognized for doing this earlier than transitioning to the ancestral realm. Apparently, I acquired a name from my brother the morning after this dream, who shared I too was in his dream the evening earlier than.

My dream started with me looking for jewellery and ended with me being accused by safety of making an attempt to steal. Surprisingly, my preliminary thought was to not make a giant deal about it as a result of maybe my actions may have been perceived as suspicious—for instance, my extended looking. Once I give it some thought, my typical response when confronted with battle is to deal with my position and what I may do to enhance going ahead, understanding that different individuals’s actions are past my management.

However in my dream, I recall charging as much as the register with jewellery in hand, and yelling out, “This retailer is racist!” I keep in mind pondering “Wow, my voice sounds so loud and clear.” That is important as a result of I’ve by no means been significantly keen on the sound of my voice. For starters, the tone is kind of comfortable and turns into high-pitched when attempting to undertaking louder. Additionally, I’ve a pure tendency to talk quick, and my tempo will increase once I’m nervous or significantly keen about what I’m saying. Lastly, my accent is a mix of dialects from the South Aspect of Chicago and the southern U.S., which will get difficult when talking to skilled audiences. However on this dream, I used to be impressed with my very own voice.

I continued my outburst: “I’ve by no means stolen something in my life! I’m a school professor! How dare you accuse me of stealing.” Folks across the store regarded shocked at my outburst, however in addition they appeared to be on my aspect, together with some white prospects. I proceeded as much as the register as a younger white lady supplied an apology, which didn’t really feel significantly significant or honest. I responded, “Okay, are you able to ring up my jewellery?” She regarded shocked and requested, “You continue to wish to give us your cash?” I replied, “Sure, I need the jewellery, I put lots of effort and time into rigorously choosing every bit. I simply hope you study your lesson.”

As I mirrored upon this ending, an vital thought emerged: My aim in life is to not punish anybody for previous errors, or to take something I didn’t earn. My aim is to coach and lift consciousness about historic and ongoing anti-Black racism and sexism in hopes that we are able to all study and develop as a collective. My ancestors paid a hefty worth for the freedoms I at present expertise, and I intend to pay that present ahead in order that the following technology doesn’t need to combat the identical battles.

Because the spine of my circle of relatives and neighborhood, Black ladies are the epitome of resilience and energy—significantly, Black moms and grandmothers.

Our souls are drained. We wish to benefit from the freedom that has price greater than I can absolutely perceive. My ancestors fought to vary the narrative that Black individuals are inherently inferior to white individuals, and Black ladies performed a major position on this combat.

Consequently, the civil rights and feminist actions, together with associated actions, gave rise to the difference and creation of social, financial and political energy buildings to take care of the inequitable socioeconomic hierarchy we see right this moment. In brief, anti-Black racism and sexism went undercover. Subsequently, my work focuses totally on eradicating structural limitations which are sometimes hidden in plain sight. Elevating consciousness about structural racism and empowering Black ladies to boost our voices are essential to addressing well being and social inequity.

Exclusion of Black women from mainstream world history has successfully masked our contributions to society, serving to to facilitate marginalization. An vital step within the course of in direction of well being fairness and social justice entails amplifying the voices of Black ladies and different marginalized populations by creating areas for us to inform our personal tales. I hope that by sharing reflections from my dream, extra individuals are inspired to talk their truths and take heed to/assist individuals in talking their truths about injustice.

My dream highlights that talking up about a difficulty doesn’t mechanically imply you dislike or intend to harm different individuals; talking up is about selling justice. So, as a substitute of being offended by another person’s fact, we may hear with open minds and hearts, obtain any classes which may be there for us to study and hold shifting ahead. However be clear—shifting ahead doesn’t imply overlaying up the previous. Transferring ahead from any state of affairs requires sincere communication, mutual understanding and tangible reconciliation. We can not heal illness by ignoring it or pretending that it doesn’t exist.

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