After the dust cleared and after we watched our fellow Americans come out in droves to support an openly fascist, racist, and misogynistic man, black women mourned. After eight years of propping up the first Black man and woman in office, we watched the nation’s keys handed to a man who wants to defund Planned Parenthood and punish women for seeking control of our bodies, deport undocumented immigrants, and enthusiastically celebrates grabbing women’s pussies. And that’s just a few nightmares he’s inflicted upon the nation over the past year.
I watched the election results with a close friend. We had thought we would celebrate a historic night as we watched the first woman accept the presidency. Around 8 pm our time, we realized that we were sadly mistaken. We watched the KKK endorsed candidate take the stage, with his Joanne the Scammer wife alongside. News later rolled in that the Republicans had taken the Senate and the House as well. And the knowledge that the conservatives would likely seize control of the Supreme Court filled me with an even greater sense of dread.
For me, this was the worst possible outcome of the election. In the next few years, we could see a giant rollback of rights that we have fought so hard to achieve. It’s a dire situation, and anyone that tells you that it’ll be okay is willfully uniformed. The best we can hope for is that Donald Trump is a moderate, which is laughable at best. Take a look at his cabinet choices. Tell me who strikes you as moderate and sane. I’ll wait.
But the reason I’m writing this essay is to celebrate black women. We turned out at a stunning 93% to elect Hillary Clinton. The group that is denigrated spit on, and rarely receives the same loyalty that they so eagerly offer up year after year, came through. We turned out because we know the consequences of letting a misogynistic white supremacist control the White House. Our fight has been ongoing for years.
Harriet Tubman, Ida B. Wells, Fannie Lou Hamer, Rosa Parks, Shirley Chisholm and so many before us have fought against the evils in America. And while they “won” battles, they were battered, abused, threatened, and given daily reminders that their very humanity was something to be questioned. Their “wins” have always seemed fleeting due to America’s very real hatred of Black progress. And I hate to hear people laud their strength, for a while they were strong, they shouldn’t have had to plead with this country to recognize their very beings.
Out of our current political dumpster fire we are seeing a new movement of Black women rising to the challenge. The Black Lives Matter was started by black queer women. A Black woman ran the Democratic National Committee. Black women covered the television networks warning of the dangers of a Trump presidency. Black women wrote songs and poems, and blog posts, campaigned, taught, and gave brilliant speeches on behalf of democratic ideals. Black churches filled with Black women preached the gospel and led voter drives and campaigns. Our Black First Lady gave us eight years of unprecedented grace and intelligence.
We should celebrate our brilliance every day because the world will soon forget that we turned out in force for a candidate that we admittedly weren’t excited for but ultimately accepted. We did our civic duty. We got in formation. And we stand to lose so much from a Trump presidency. So many of you will be vital in the upcoming years. Writing, creating, running for office, preaching, voting… the list is endless. Choose a passion and embrace it because your voice needs to be heard. Remember to love your brilliance because black women are the past, present and the future of this country.
And if no one will say it, I will: I love ya’ll.
--as told to So She Slays.