Leolia, Dorene, Ebony, Jazmin, and Nala. Why I’m participating in the Women’s March on Washington.

IMG_9226.JPG

This post is dedicated to these 2 women, in the pictures above my mother Dorene and grandmother Leolia.  This post is also dedicated to my sister Ebony, a single mother to my two beautiful nieces Jazmin Olivia 7ys  and Nala Imani 1yr.   This blog is  in the spirit of @womensmarch These pictures at my 2008 grad school graduation at Howard University hold 97 years of progression and sacrifice. I begin with my 97 year old grandmother on the right- she was born in 1919 and worked as a share cropper in SC as a child who later as an adult fled the south with her husband (my late grandfather) and then 5 kids to Philadelphia so escape their cruel racial environment. While my paternal grandparents never graduated junior high school, they made sure 3 of their 6 kids graduated college. They prayed when 3 of their 6 kids fought in the Vietnam war. My grandmother has attended all of her grandkids’ graduations. ALL. No matter the state or date she’s attended ALL. My mother the lady on the left went to graduate school 15 yrs into her marriage to my father. It inspired me to AND my father to later get our masters degrees. Today my mother works as a special educator at an urban school that is suffering from severe budget cuts and teacher turnover. There are also TWO #generations of #hbcualumae in this picture. The women in my family did not dream or sacrifice so that I may be stagnant. My mother used to bake cakes on the side in addition to teaching full time to help support her children (my Dad has a hardworking wife!). Now I work in an industry- health care that is at major risk of further disenfranchising the people we serve.  My sister Ebony is currently living in the U.S. Virgin Islands a place where every landscape is beautiful but the economy is ugly.  I’ve learned from my sister that in some parts of our country a struggling parent is a voiceless parent.  So as women what have we overcome?  Why isn’t the institution of motherhood more respected as it should be in 2017?  Why are there still parts of this country that provide minimal social, academic, and financial support options for hardworking single moms?  An investment in our women is an investment in our children.  You see our struggle for women’s rights, access, and opportunity has never ended. From share cropper to licensed mental health clinician we ARE still fighting for similar issues. I march to honor the sacrifices these women made for me. Respect, equality, access, equal pay, and education. I march for Leolia, Dorene, Jazmin, and Nala.  We’ve come this far, it’s too late to give up now.  We will not fail.  I will not fail.  I will continue to celebrate the promises of our women.  I will continue to be a beacon of hope for our women. We must champion each other’s causes in 2017. #womensmarch #womenempowerment #blackgirlmagic #cheyneyu #howardu #hbcusmatter #cheyneyalumni #howardalumni

*in memory of my Aunt Patricia Ann Belle,

with love,

Shivonne

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s