I have newly found myself a wife and in the throes of motherhood. In many feminist circles, I have encountered anti-family and anti-wifehood sentiments. The understanding is that to be a wife, and, to be a wife that chooses to start a family, is an oppressive position to occupy as well as the antithesis of the feminist movement. Though I am not typically a fan of tough physical, emotional, soulful labor, these two positions have been the highlights of my life so far.
My daughter embodies both my husband and me, physically. However, she is and will become her own person-soul. She is so young, but her soul is eternal, and has experienced eternity. I am here to help her navigate remembering who she is. She inhabits the intersection of Blackness, divinity, femininity, and infinity. Motherhood has greatly increased my capacity of appreciation for women and what women are capable of doing. Especially from the intersection of Blackness and woman-ness. From the capacity to create, labor, and deliver life to the task of raising Black children in a country that would have them annihilated, emotionally traumatized, and made to accept they are inferior.
Following the murders of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, Kelly Brown Douglas released her book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God. In this critical work, she details the embedding of structural violence within the doctrine of American Exceptionalism and the deep rooted racial injustice that our nation was founded upon.
Over the last several months, our world has changed. We’ve witnessed great tragedy and there is so much to grieve. COVID-19 intruded upon our lives abruptly forcing the realization of our misplaced priorities. However, systemic racism has always been here, tightly woven into the fabric of our society; yet privileged voices have failed to answer the call for justice.
As so many risk their health and safety to march for racial justice; to exclaim that Black Lives Matter and that George Floyd’s life was indeed sacred (as was Raychard Brooks, Breonna Taylor, Freddie Gray, Sandra Bland, Philandro Castile, Alton Sterling, Eric Garner…#SayTheirNames), we must consider our own responsibility in perpetuating oppressive structures that condone the trend of public lynchings.
Following the murders of Trayvon Martin and Tamir Rice, Kelly Brown Douglas released her book, Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God. In this critical work, she details the embedding of structural violence within the doctrine of American Exceptionalism and the deep rooted racial injustice that our nation was founded upon. She explains it was not a book that she wanted to write; rather, as a mother of an African American son, it is a book she was compelled to write. In doing so, Kelly has laid bare the sin of our nation. Five years later, her witness continues to demand our attention.
I reached out to Kelly and asked if she would be willing to talk with me about her book and she graciously agreed. Thus, for this post, I am sharing the wisdom of Kelly Brown Douglas, vlog style, knowing that, in this moment, it is her words that we all need to hear.
Gina Messina, Ph.D. is an American feminist scholar, Catholic theologian, activist, and mom. She serves as Associate Professor and Department Chair of Religious Studies at Ursuline College and is co-founder of FeminismAndReligion.com. She has written for the Huffington Post and is author or editor of five books including Women Religion Revolution. Messina is a widely sought after speaker and has presented across the US at universities, organizations, conferences and on national platforms including appearances on MSNBC, Tavis Smiley, NPR and the TEDx stage. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives of women around the globe. Messina is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing. Connect with her on Twitter @GMessinaPhD, Instagram: @GinaMessinaPhD, Facebook, and her website ginamessina.com.
This month I had originally intended to blog on the injustice of UK landowners using Covid19 as a ruse to illegally block public footpaths during lockdown when country walks are one of the few pleasures remaining to many people. However, recent events have completely blown that essay out of the water. In my hometown of Minneapolis, police officer Derek Chauvin suffocated beneath his knee George Floyd, an unarmed black man accused of a minor offense, while three other Minneapolis police officers stood by and did nothing. Outrage for this brutal and senseless killing literally ignited protests across the Twin Cities and across the globe. Thus, it would seem a travesty not to devote my monthly blog to George Floyd and the protesters around the world who are calling for an end to systemic police brutality against black communities. Continue reading “This is a Wake Up Call by Mary Sharratt”
This indiscriminate killing is not just of black people, but a disproportionate number of those killed, are black and Latino. In fact, according to the Post, “The rate at which black Americans are killed by police is more than twice as high as the rate for white Americans.”
Sons. Brothers. Fathers. Cousins. Husbands. Dads.
Rayshard Scales, 30
David Tylek Atkinson, 24
Finan H. Berhe, 30
Adrian Medearis, 48
Dreasjon Reed, 21
Jah’Sean Iandie Hodge, 21
Qavon Webb, 23
Demontre Bruner, 21
Brent Martin, 32
Shaun Lee Fuhr, 24
Malcom Xavier Ray Williams, 37
Elmer L. Mack, 40
Chase Rosa, 24
Virgill Thrope, 28
Steven Taylor, 33
Derick L. Powe, no age listed
Jasman Washington, 31
Goldie Bellinger, 39
Zyon Romeir Wyche, 19
Joshua Dariandre Ruffin, 17
Dewayne Curtis Lafond, 45
Idris Abus-Salaam, 33
Nathan R. Hodge, 66 Continue reading “They Too Are America by Karen Leslie Hernandez”