It was important to me that I honor black women that inspired my life and the way I walk in this world. They have taught me so much about life, this society, and how to be more truthful to the power that I possess as a thinker. Here are my personal picks for the Women's History Month.
Philadelphia native and former chairwoman of the Black Panther Party. Elaine helped establish the Free Breakfast for Children program with the Los Angeles branch of the Black Panther Party. A this time the party had community farms, schools, over 30 national headquarters, and the Panthers were pursuing multiple positions on the city level of Oakland, CA. Elaine is fierce. She is an advocate for American prison reform and proponent of a womanist perspective to liberatory practices.
"I absolutely reject the premise there is anything wrong with Black people “talking white”. It is as if to vast swathes of the privileged white left and impoverished Black community diction, education and a mastery of thought is somehow “white”… comrade, how wrong you are to say that after decades in academia I’m acting white. I’m being black. I’m being black everyday a cop pulls my car over for a “routine stop”, I’m being black each time I look in the mirror, and I’m damn well being black when I school young fools out of the myth our race is too ill-evolved to be both black and accomplished."
Bell Hooks is a powerhouse author and one of the greatest minds in feminist thought. She has published more than 30 books. Bell doesn't just talk about one subject. She doesn't talk about one subject in one way. The way in which she synthesizes topics, she presents a completely new way of rethinking our values to center wholeness and healing. She is an academic on a mission to abolish racially and sexually based white supremacist ideology. Her career spans multiple decades, and unlike many other authors she has a way of weaving her ideas with each generation she teaches while uplifting younger voices.
“To me feminism is not simply a struggle to end male chauvinism or a movement to ensure that women will have equal rights with men; it is a commitment to eradicating the ideology of domination that permeates Western culture on various levels--sex, race, and class, to name a few--and a commitment to reorganizing U.S. society so that the self-development of people can take precedence over imperialism, economic expansion, and material desires.”
― Bell Hooks, Ain't I a Woman: Black Women and Feminism
Many of us consider her a prophet. If you read her words you are forever changed. If you hear her voice it is almost otherworldly. Octavia Butler's premonition like novels won her a MacArthur Fellowship and a cult-like following of lovers of justice, spiritualism, and visionary literature. Her work exerts the will of an emancipated spirit, a spirit that defied sex, race, and genre. Her work is unapologetic and medicinal. Many grassroots organizations have been built with the legacy of her work as the foundation of their efforts.
Irrational and blind,
Or fear looms,
Defiant and closed.
—Octavia Butler, Parable of the Talents