Why I celebrate Black, Indigenous, Womxn of Colour today and every day
I need to celebrate you, to celebrate us, for the future that you carry
This column is an opinion written by Kendi Tarichia. For more information about our commentary section, please read our FAQ.
There is an active genocide against Black, Indigenous, Womxn of Colour (BIWOC), so while International Womxn's Day may have been a few months ago, I'm here to say:
HAPPY WOMXN'S DAY EVERYDAY TO US!!!
Because we are never safe.
The least we can do is celebrate us and our Goodness every single day.
What I mean by genocide
A concern of mine during my undergraduate in political science over 10 years ago was the inability for the global community to define genocide.
Globally, we have always been late to the party to address genocide because we are too busy debating what constitutes a genocide.
- Point of View'Failing to act is no longer an option' when it comes to righting wrongs against BIPOC: Point of View
My being a few months late doesn't seem so grave anymore, does it?
The definition of genocide: the deliberate killing of a large number of people from a particular nation or ethnic group with the aim of destroying that nation or group. (Oxford Languages)
The violence we face
BIWOC are killed, imprisoned and institutionalized at alarming rates.
Yet it is not addressed.
It is violence that finds us within the home, in our communities, schools, workforce, social areas and religious institutions.
We face violence everywhere.
Womxn are at a higher risk
The self-hate and self-harm (suicide, addiction, unhealthy relationships) that comes from the trauma of this violence is killing us as rapidly as toxic masculinity, white supremacy, poverty, intergenerational trauma, injustice and racist health care.
Malcolm X said: "The most disrespected person in America is the Black woman. The most unprotected person in America is the Black woman. The most neglected person in America is the Black woman."
I believe Malcolm X would agree that Black and Indigenous women face the same/similar violence.
Hyper-visible, yet invisible
Now around the world, Womxn of Colour are being harmed and killed at terrifying rates.
It is the systems in place and apathy to our plight that lets this continue happening even in Canada in 2021.
In a world that we are hyper visible in yet invisible when it comes to our genocide.
In a world where the world knows the numbers yet still clearly does not care, I don't need to tell of what is happening,
I need to celebrate you.
To celebrate us.
For the MagiK that you are.
For the safety net that you are.
For the future that you carry.
Our existence is due to our resilience and our resilience has been through our networks. Through each other.
We are the gaps
Womxn have looked out for me in ways and in moments that saved my life.
From knowing the creepy, drunk uncle to teaching a cousin how to navigate a racist, fatphobic, white grandmother, to helping you pick the best outfit for your first night out with a crush your homophobic parents don't know about, to early sex education including legal/illegal abortion access.
We are the in between.
We are the gaps.
Protected by the Aunty network
The Sisterhood network, the Aunty network is/has been life saving for many womxn and girls.
The most blessed of us are raised within these safe, beautiful and colourful networks encountering whiteness/men as adults.
These networks were created because of systems that couldn't and wouldn't hear us.
Auntys don't have PhD's from Harvard yet the streets are theirs.
They know everything that big brother/daddy doesn't care to know about.
They know what's happening.
They flow through the community.
Quietly, gently, tiptoeing.
Always present everywhere.
We are water
We know how to navigate our communities, spaces, environments because it is a matter of life or death.
We are water, from water, of water.
We are made in water.
We will make the next generation in our water, our body's can hold the ocean of life.
We are Divine.
We are water, water is life, we are life.
We started life
For we make life. For we started life.
Therefore we understand life.
Black womxn are your foremothers,
Indigenous womxn carry the world's Indigenous wisdom we so desperately need to get us into the next world.
The path to saving the Mothership, Earth, includes protecting the Oceans, Whales and Forests. It equally includes protecting Black, Indigenous, Womxn of Colour.
I want to celebrate you
For today and every day, I want to celebrate you.
For birthing my Ancestors and I,
For teaching me how to move through this complex MagiKal world others have desecrated,
For protecting me even taking on violence intended for me,
For loving me and teaching me self-love.
In a world full of hate, our self-love which is reflected in community love and love for Mother Earth is the Magik everyone needs.
We are the soothing balm to the burns of this toxic world.
I see you. I love you. I honour you. I respect you.
I can't protect you.
For I am you.
To all the Mothers, Auntys, Sisters
Happy Mother's Day to all the Mothers that came before me, the ones here and the ones that will birth the next generations.
Let's honour MMIWG, not just once a year but everyday
And to Aunty Grandiose (Stephanie Douglas) and the one Brown Aunty on the jury,
To the Aunty Mary's/ Maria's.
To my Mami.
I am YOU, YOU are me.
My LOVE for my Mothers, Aunties and Sisters spans the multiverse.
I LOVE YOU.
For more stories about the experiences of Black Canadians — from anti-Black racism to success stories within the Black community — check out Being Black in Canada, a CBC project Black Canadians can be proud of. You can read more stories here.