By Sally Bartolameolli & Kim Siongco,
Racism, like misogyny, are often hidden within the fabric of our institutions and in the recesses of our minds. But hidden does not mean non-existent, nor does it mean that we are not responsible for bringing it out of shadow and doing our part to heal it.
Dee-Gardner and I began a project called D.A.R.R.E. ~ Dialogue Authentically About Real Racial Experiences and we have open and real conversations as a Black Chick and a White Chick. Just as is the mission of LORA Bridges, Building Bridges for Transformation, we build a culture bridge in our conversation with one another.
It’s my belief that it is women’s voices that are most significant in transforming the “isms” in the world and it is women who lead by honoring the sacred feminine energy within us that will also honor the diversity within all of us.
Here are four Black Women that have shared their wisdom with us:
1. In 2011, Oprah interview Toni Morrison and asked her to share her wisdom. Here is what she said: “Having a place that is mine, just mine. When I write, it’s my world and my language. No one can tell me what to do or say in my world, my sacred place.” Here we see the importance of women claiming their own
2. In 2011, Alice Walk wrote an essay entitled, Life Lessons. Within this essay, she made a declaration that is especially meaning for me in a time of personal grief and transition in my life. She said, “I used to think that the most important thing about love was to receive it. Now I understand that it is more important to fee it and to give it.” This is a call to white women to reach out to our black sisters and offer a compassionate, open heart for listening and learning about racism.
3. Maya Angelou spoke in an interview in 2018 and shared this wisdom, “Don’t narrow your life. Life is going to be short no matter how long it is. You don’t have much time. Go to work.” This is especially a call out to white women who want to make a difference. Reach out to your black sisters and build that bridge for healing together.
This leads me to the final wisdom that was share with me recently by my mentor and friend, Cherry Steinwender from The Center for the Healing of Racism. Perhaps she was channeling Maya Angelou when she answered the question I asked of how white women can help in the healing of racism.
4. Cherry said, “One of the things that gets on my nerves is when white women whine. As Black women and women of color, we don’t have the luxury to whine. We have to get it done. The oppression that people of color have endured has strengthen us to develop the motivation to get the job done, especially around social activism. Find the strength and get the job done.”
This healing process is not simple. Dr. Joy DeGruy’s book, Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome is a beginning text for learning more. We know the problem of institutionalized racism and impact of multigenerational trauma is complex. Still, we must begin somewhere and a place to begin is to address these complex issues by talking about it. It is the beginning of building a bridge. As white women we can ask our black sisters, “How can I help?”
At LORA Bridges we empower transformation for the purpose of building bridges.