Embracing Roots: A Step Toward Liberation
liberate /ˈlibəˌrāt/ set (someone) free from a situation, especially imprisonment or slavery, in which their liberty is severely restricted.
"A people without the knowledge of their past history, origin, and culture is like a tree without roots."-Marcus Garvey
If I am honest, January wasn't all bad, there were a few highlights. On January 20th, our nation welcomed -with open arms- a new, historic presidential administration. This is not just monumental for the entire nation, but for all POC and women, especially. Its was a day of triumph, relief, and if I may... a whole lot of #blackgirlmagic. The lovely, Amanda Gorman, graced us with her The Hill We Climb poem, and inspired a nation of young and old to love, lead, and fulfill their destiny. And, honey Michelle Obama shut it down with a stunner monochrome lewk! The inauguration left so many of us on a high, and it followed the celebration of our national holiday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It can't get any better than that! We needed this. After four years of what seemed like an ongoing nightmare- and each year getting worse, the Black American and POC community needed this!
On MLK Day, we spent the day talking to our children about his great influence across the world and how we benefit today from his leadership and activism. After talking to my babies, I looked at my husband and said, "we have to do better." Something struck me...hard. We need to take #major steps to lead them towards becoming powerful, self- sufficient Black youths (that will one day be adults) who intentionally embrace their roots. Let me be clear, we are a home that centers our values and morals around our religion and culture. We take every opportunity to immerse our children in all things BLACK, and do so while not sugar-coating or omitting truths. My husband and I were both raised to be proud of our people. But, for me...for us, it's not enough for our children to just be proud of being Black. We want our children to embody and own their BLACKNESS. It's not enough for them to learn about great leaders, activist, and changemakers. I want them to be educated and thrive, and become leaders. Take up mad space...while being BLACK! This journey for our children, however, must start with us.
Being Black in America, has layered meanings (I will touch on these in future posts). We have been molded to accept and- often without knowing- assimilate. We yearn to be accepted by the majority, (white Americans) that we often hide or shun our Blackness. Hoping to be seen as "good" Black folk. We look to white Americans for validation, as though as our success can only be validated by and through them. Then we begin to assimilate. We begin to adopt their culture and their practices, only to neglect and lose our own. Our children, then, grow up wondering how to own their BLACKNESS. Not my children.
Growing up, learning about my Black culture, history, and my people was never intentional. It came and went like the month of February. Don't get me wrong, I learned a great deal from school (which was usually watered down), and my mother (my grandmother and great grandmother) picked up the slack of the failing American school system where they saw fit. I didn't, unfortunately, become fully exposed to my history until I was older and began to educate myself. While I was raised with pride, that pride didn't show up and show out until I was an adult. Unlike my story, I want to change the narrative for my children. I want them to live each day intentionally embracing their culture and heritage. To learn Black History is one thing, but to be educated on the legacy of our people and our influence on cultures around the world, is another. I want them to live every moment liberated by and through the greatest of their ancestors. To know that our history did not began with enslavement and the degradation of African and Pan-African people. They will know the truth and... Own. It. Live. It. My children will love, embrace, and thrive in their BLACKNESS. They will be liberated.
But, it starts with us- their parents. How do we get there? And, what steps do we take towards liberation? Questions I am asking myself.
....as always, love and live naturally.