At seventeen, I was pregnant with my daughter, Keisha. The only support available was with Keisha’s dad. His family was a tight knit clan that gave her a sense of home when my own was falling apart. Leaving her with the Branch’s was not a conscious choice. It was the only option available to an insecure young lteenager. After school, Keisha came home to a family including an Aunt Gail that was her second mother. At eighteen, my emotional wounds were too deep. I had no time for healing. I had to build a life in the adult world.
The Black family has undergone a heartbreak that has never healed. It is a direct result of slavery. There are remnants that continue to tear at our mental faculties. Our mental health has taken a hit. Slave owners split the Black family apart. This created a fissure that paved a road to catastrophe. A support system disappeared and replaced was State integration. Material wealth replaced family and community. The Black woman had to be strong. On the other hand, having a break down like the white female and respite for a month was not an option woman had. Some called her a man. She did not have the luxury of being submissive. Our primary concern was to provide for her child.
Almost forty years have passed. I have been going solo tending to my emotional wounds. How could I trust enough to build a family with compassion and love? A healthy tree stands alone in the middle of the forest. This has been the mantra of American Independence. I was the result of a broken home and a Black woman trying to go it all alone.
I became a teacher thinking education would empower me. I would teach with compassion and love. I found no remedy. Children came to a school from broken homes and the cycle continued. I could not understand their emotional wounds because I had not healed mine. Together we could not find joy or a love for learning in the world we found ourselves in. The environment was a war zone. Each one of us tried to gain control. Children talked about an uncle, brother or father that was in jail. Their family structure had all but disappeared
The fractured Black family has become an epidemic. There is a need for someone to bring it back together. It is the Black woman’s mission is to ensure the continuity of family. It is the home where this rebuilding of community begins. Women gather and build thriving communities that support and nurture the Black child. I know you need support, spiritually, mentally and socially.
This is why I created the Womanist Empowerment Series. My mission is to heal the Black Woman’s Heart, Mind and Body so you can regain respect in your family and relationships. You can heal and live with respect and worthiness. Then you can provide guidance and love for your family, and be strong. Just recently, my daughter told me that she thanks me for being the anchor for her family. I never viewed my life in that way.
I did have an example. I always looked up to my father. He was a minister for over fifty years. He stood on a podium and preached to a congregation. I looked up at him and was proud. He was sort of a poet. His words flowed from his tongue like silk sliding across your shin. I think I am more like my father in search of a platform.
The myth of the strong Black woman is long gone. We need love, support, and an agenda that speaks to our interest and needs. One that will help connects us to a source of power within. That power will heal our Heart, Mind and Body. With so much opposition from outside sources, we have had to be hard. Now it is time to release the emotional wounds that have made us outraged and embrace a culture of healing. Healing that is more about letting go of what causes pain and tend to our emotional wounds, and heal the heart so it can love again.