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SPOTLIGHT MONOLOGUE The Struggle For Black Women is Far From Over By Farah Tanis, Black Womens Blueprint

and Collette Carter, Audre Lorde Project The struggle for Black women is far from over. Tonight as we reflect on the words gathered from over a century of wisdom, these are blueprints from the brave women who dared to speak before we could. Let this idea take root: that as Black Women, our visibility, our ability to leverage power, and ability to achieve social change is undeniably tied to our capacity to deepen our connections with each other, in this room, and as a community, as well as locally and globally. As Black Women, we have a historical understanding of what it means to stand in defense of ourselves and what it means to unite and effect social change. Across the Diaspora are legacies of survival and strength which have led us here today. Our lives are left in the shadows of history, OUR truths, not well documented and preserved in the pages of our books, but for the majority, are passed down from person to person, professor to classes, grandmother to generations, from us this very day, to you. When looking toward the future it is our responsibility to raise the bar. We must determine what we will pass down to our future generations. No one group in America, or in the world has had their identity socialized out of existence as have black women.1 Invisibility and silence prevails about Black womens lives and our experiences with poverty, domestic violence, rape, human trafficking, street harassment, HIV/AIDS, homophobia, community brutality and violent confrontations on non-gender conforming Black women, police brutality and brutalization inside prison cells, welfare offices, on our very streets, in our very homes. Myths persists we fair better in society. Our overall struggles continue to fall out of the sight and out of the minds of our community leaders. We are the least likely to climb out of poverty, least likely to get justice, least likely to get married, least likely to be considered. The suffering of Black women in the United States today is still not registered in our consciousness. We sit at the intersection of race and sex, as well as class, ability, sexuality and gender expression, immigration and size and many, many, many, other

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identities. Our liberation is tied to yours. Our humanization. is tied to yours. Our freedom entails freedom for all people. How often do you wish you could do something to help change the lives of women and girls in Black communities? By being here today, youve already taken a step to make our lives matter as we strive for justice. We must continue to confront institutions and community cultures that perpetuate our oppression. They already aim to make us invisible as African American, as Afro-Caribbean and as African, as a united people. Understand that we have the influence and power to create change. We must understand that immigration is also a Black Womens issue. We must make visible the Black Women who have immigrated to this country, who share in our oppression, but with the added struggles of gaining access to language and to resources. We stand in solidarity with Haiti women, the FANM VANYAN, brave women passed on or still alive, as a global Diaspora, from the shores of Haiti where communities are fighting rape, hunger, sickness and other epidemics both natural and man made. We stand with the war torn countries in Africa, the trafficked women of the Congo, women of the Sudan and Black women of Darfur. We live in a global economy where dollars and cents, race and sex determine who can or cannot get basic human rights in this society. We must broaden our lens of gender justice. Take off the blinders so we can see one another and celebrate our diversity. Most importantly, as we move forward together we must never forget to revisit the lessons and struggles of the past, born out of blood and resistance, rooted in our Mother Tongue which sustains the fires for liberation, justice and equality. We are the mothers, lovers, students, parents, care givers, artists, elders and teachers who can support one another, and contribute our piece to the blueprint. Join us, speak louder, be bolder, give everything. This is the moment.