Mother’s Day is a triggering day for many women, but there is also joy and community and love.
This is especially true for those of us black women who have to navigate not only interpersonal relationships with our children but also our relationship to the state. It is a terrifying task trying to raise aware, radical, loving, confident black children in a white supremacist society that tells them every day that their lives do not matter—a white supremacist capitalist society that tells our children the only value their lives hold is what can be used in the service of sustaining institutionally discriminatory systems intended to destroy them.
Anika Simpson, associate professor of philosophy and women’s and gender studies at Morgan State University, and founder of Beyond Policy LLC, has made it her mission to disrupt those toxic narratives by intentionally raising her daughter in black feminist traditions.
And she has seen the results.
Read Simpson’s letter to The Root below:
Three mothers gathered our school aged daughters in my living room to begin their induction into the joy and wisdom of black feminist traditions. The urgency of our endeavor was clear from the start. Many of our girls had already begun to question the glory of their kinky hair, the beauty of their brown skin, and the significance of their voice. We have sustained our expanding Black Girl Feminism gatherings over the years to ensure that our daughters are confident in themselves and understand their power to influence the world around them.
The impact of this feminist work was revealed when our daughters came together in an act of resistance against our threatening political and social climate. Their experience of anti-black racism and sexism had caused feelings of anxiety, fear, and anger. In response, my oldest daughter wrote a poem inspired by the contemporary black liberation movement that has most deeply influenced her politicization: Black Lives Matter. The girls developed the poem into a video project and invited their diverse friends to support their insistence upon the dignity of black children.
A childhood marked by #blackgirlmagic is indeed delightful. But we also have a responsibility to empower our children with #blackgirlfeminism. There is no greater gift for me this Mother’s Day than the assurance that our daughters are connected to the historical legacies of black feminism and are prepared to carry the torch forward.
This is what revolutionary black love looks like.
Watch the video below: