April 24, 2015
Dear You: “I have no place to go in Madison where I fit in. I feel like I don’t belong and to be a young Black woman is unacceptable to a lot of people here.” That’s what I’ve been hearing over and over from young Black women and girls, especially as of late. So, I began asking my friends who are all mothers of Black girls one specific question: What do safe spaces for young Black women look like to you?
The spaces each of them described were what they wanted not only for their own daughters, but for all daughters. No matter how you’re involved in the community, please consider the following needs of young Black women in your discussions. More importantly involve them in the conversations and planning. Be purposeful, mindful and inclusive!
“What do safe spaces for young black women look like to you?”
“A circle of honesty and transparency where there is openness, sharing, nurturing and loving energy being transferred from one to another. There is peace there. There is respect there. There is a genuine level of understanding without judgment, but acceptance that facilitates personal growth, healing, and expansion. What a beautiful thing.”
“A protective environment where women are free of worry about molestation, rape, abuse, exploitation, degradation and oppression. Where women have civil rights and are able to actively participate in the political process. Where women have equal access to education, opportunities to take advantage of driving privileges, own property, receive inheritances, have access to clean water, air, and soil; quality health care, fair labor standards to sustain herself, and a network of support surrounding them.”
“A culture that values the female body much further beyond its sexual capacity. One that doesn't apply societal pressure and promote unrealistic, unhealthy, false standards of physical beauty. A code of ethics that admires a woman's dignity rather than objectifying her. She is whole.”
“A strong family structure. She has access to family members and their stories. There are grandmas hugging her, grandpas counseling her, aunties spoiling her, uncles telling her jokes, cousins reflecting her light, a father telling her about her worth and a mother leading by example. There are extended relatives that can't wait to tell her how much she has grown since the last family reunion, and when she looks at them — she sees herself and is proud.”
~Tamara Thompson-Moore, mother of two brilliant and beautiful girls
Named one of BRAVA Magazine's 2015 Women to Watch, Sabrina Madison or as you may know her “Heymiss Progress” is a poet, motivational speaker, entrepreneur and change agent. She can be reached through her website, About Sabrina "Heymiss Progress" Madison, at www.heymissprogress.com.