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The Erasure of Black Women in Media

In the dress of our society, Black women have consistently been the threads holding everything together, often without recognition. They have been the backbone of love, guidance, and strength, yet time and again, the media writes them out of the narrative. This is not a new phenomenon but a reflection of a deeply rooted historical pattern that persists today.

On June 5, 2024, a local publication in Colorado attempted to retell the story of The Green Book Initiative, a cornerstone substructure of the Epitome of Black Excellence and Partnership. The tireless effort required to build the foundation, framework, and culture of this initiative was one of the first groundbreaking tools I envisioned and executed when I launched the Epitome of Black Excellence and Partnership. I galvanized four other exceptional Black women, and together we conducted an extensive feasibility study and evidence-based research to create a platform unprecedented in modern times. Our work, spanning from late 2022 and concluding in 2023, masterfully leveraged the historic concept of the Green Book, originally published in 1936, to address systemic challenges in education, the workforce, media, technology, and healthcare.

The original Green Book, created by Victor Hugo Green, was a lifeline for African Americans during the oppressive Jim Crow era, providing crucial information on safe places to eat, sleep, and travel. This group of visionary Black women revitalized this concept, with the hope and expectancy of safe, inclusive, and supportive environments for Black students, families, professionals, and community today. The local publication's decision to ignore this profound work and our contributions is not only deeply disrespectful but also perpetuates a racist narrative that seeks to erase our achievements and diminish our impact.

The Historical Pattern of Erasure

Historically, Black women have been undeniably necessary in movements for justice, civil rights, and community development. From Harriet Tubman’s brave missions on the Underground Railroad to Fannie Lou Hamer's bold, and unapologetic stance, Black women have been at the forefront of social change. Despite our critical roles, we are frequently overshadowed by our male counterparts (Black and non-Black) in historical accounts and media portrayals.

In the times we are in, this erasure continues and has been even more pervasive as the "dust" of 2020 continues to move further and further beyond us. When stories of community impact and leadership are told, Black women’s contributions are often minimized or omitted entirely. Our voices are not leveraged, our achievements uncelebrated, and our struggles ignored. This pattern of neglect serves to undermine the foundational role Black women play in shaping our cities and our nation.

The Most Unprotected Class in America

Malcolm X famously stated, “The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman.” This statement rings true even today. We continue to face unique challenges that intersect race and gender, leading to higher rates of discrimination, violence, and economic disparity. Yet, our resilience and strength remain unmatched.

We often find ourselves fighting battles on multiple fronts, advocating for our communities while also demanding recognition and respect for our contributions. We are frequently on the front lines of protests, in the boardrooms advocating for diversity, and in our communities providing essential support and care. Despite this, we remain the most unprotected class in America, and our stories untold.

Yet, We Still Love

Despite the persistent erasure of our stories and contributions, Black women continue to love willingly and unconditionally because we carry the hope and promise of our community in our hearts. Our love is a powerful force that transcends the pain of invisibility and neglect, fueling our resilience and yearning commitment to uplift those around us. This enduring love is rooted in a deep-seated belief in the potential and greatness of our people, propelling us to nurture, guide, and inspire those around us. It is this love that empowers us to persist in the face of adversity, to fight for justice, and to build a legacy of strength and unity that can never be erased.

As I reflect on the countless instances where my story and the stories of other Black women have been systematically erased, I am reminded of the urgent need for us to raise our voices and vehemently denounce this insidious pattern. The erasure of Black women is not just an oversight; it is a deliberate act that undermines our contributions and our very existence. Without the tireless efforts, love, and resilience of Black women, our communities would unravel. To all of the Black women and Black women in the making, may each of us proclaim our stories, honor our legacies, and ensure that the world acknowledges and respects our indispensable role.

One Final Thought...

In recognition of the Black women whose stories remain untold, whose contributions are overlooked, and whose voices are not sought, I leave you with this poem. It is the journal entry I did, this morning, after reading the article that counted me out.

I am the Black Woman you won't write about,

I am the truth in a world full of doubt,

I am the voice that rises, unbowed,

I am the storm, relentless and proud.

I am the Black Woman you try to forget,

I am the legacy you haven't met,

I am the dream you tried to quell,

I am the story you won't tell.

I am the strength in a world that fears,

I am the courage amidst the tears,

I am the rhythm in the silent night,

I am the dawn that brings the light.

I am the Black Woman you can't erase,

I am the power you can't deface,

I am the wisdom of ancient times,

I am the cadence of freedom's rhymes.

I am the history in every strand,

I am the future you can't withstand,

I am the fire that burns too bright,

I am the truth in your quiet night.

I am the Black Woman who won't be denied,

I am the spirit that won't be tied,

I am the justice in every shout,

I am the Black Woman your brain can't find the words to write about.

I am the heart that beats so strong,

I am the lyrics in FREEDOM's song,

I am the rise from every fall,

I am the Black Woman who stands tall.

I am the echo of those who came before,

I am the promise of so much more,

I am the fight that will never cease,

I am the Black Woman, I AM THE PEACE.

I am the dream that won't be deferred,

I am the voice that will be heard,

I am the hope in every stride,

I am the Black Woman, dignified.

I am the challenge to your pen,

I AM THE STORY told again,

I am the Black Woman, bold and true,

I am the change, the breakthrough.

Let this be a reminder and a call to action: the stories of Black women deserve to be told, honored, and celebrated. The media must do better, for in the erasure of these narratives, we all lose a part of our collective truth and history.

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