My prompt to Black women authors was simple:
What is it that you imagine for yourself and for other Black, mixed race or AfroLatinx women and girls? What has shaped your imaginings, encouraged your possibilities and supported the fabrics of your dreams? How do you support or encourage yourself or others? You might consider elements from the kitchen, church pew, ballot box, picture books, classroom or something else altogether that speaks to what you dream possible, are working to make possible or even demand for our women and girls.
Collect your thoughts into an essay, poem or other written form and email it to me.
This went out before pandemic pandemonium struck. Now, these imaginings seem that much more brave, fearless and necessary.
My first essay in this series was written by Randi Pink and her thoughts seem to empowering all that freedom and tenacity our girls deserve.
A native and resident of Birmingham, AL, Randi Pink leverages her unique experience with her southern roots when she writes. Randi is a mother, a wife, a writer, an advocate, a fighter, a friend, and so much more. Randi’s first novel Into White was published in 2016. After publishing her first novel, Randi’s second novel, Girls Like Us, was Inspired by the passing of shocking policies for abortion and other threats to women’s rights in her home state as well as her nation, Randi decided it was time to humanize the faces behind abortion. Girls Like Us hit the shelves in October, 2019.
What do I imagine for my little black girl?
I imagine her waking to a welcoming world where her words are understood without translation or interpretation. I imagine her pounding pavement alongside men from all of the world’s corners, holding court with them unflinchingly and bold. I imagine invisible muscles worked – muscles of confidence and fearlessness and courage, guts actually. Guts abounding!
I imagine her hand shooting into the air when she thinks she knows the answer to the teacher’s question, with zero trepidation or worry of getting it wrong. I imagine her kicking the ball first, not because she’s better than the rest of them, but because she fucking wants to. I imagine her standing alongside the meek. Speaking for he who cannot speak. Guiding along he who cannot see. Breathing in for he without access to the free air. Describing the delicacies to he without distinct buds on the tip of his tongue. And allowing the touchless to feel her beautiful face.
I imagine her empathetic. Never hopeless, always believing in that which she cannot reach, and even when she reaches that thing, continuing still to hold her hand out for someone who can’t quite get there. Grabbing firm hold and pulling them up, only in love, never competitive nastiness.
I imagine her setting one single foot in front of the other until she gets to the place she’s headed. All the while taking in the wings and sings of fluttering songbirds, dancing willows and skies of every color. I imagine her conquering with grace the space that no one has ever conquered – middle school and then high and then where ever she chooses thereafter.
I imagine her rocking naturally unprocessed hair with a love that I never could. Lifting the topmost knot to proudly reveal the shortest, tightest curl at the edge of the nape of her neck. The kitchen, as they call it. Showing it off to those who criticize it. Refusing, without restraint, to cover it up or press it with heat.
“It’s a curl, goddamnit, it’s beautiful!” I imagine her yelling to her naysayers.
I imagine her walking on grass. Never avoiding it. Only appreciating it for its unsung fabulousness. I imagine her finding the only five leafed-clover in the field because God hid it there especially for her hands. I imagine it crushed in her journal for many years, along with thousands of heartfelt words written only by her. Words that may one day be published and found strung together in books alongside her mamas. Books checked out of libraries and bought from bookstores and traded between friends. I imagine her feeling what it feels like for a black girl younger than her to tell her that her words made their journey a bit easier. Made them feel less alone, more seen in a world where we are not at all seen.
I imagine her marrying someone worthy of her which will be a tall task I assure you. I imagine her birthing her own daughter and only then finding out how much I love her. I imagine her digging in the dirt without worry of manicure. But above all of this, I imagine her with eyes wide open in a nation whose eyes never quite opened to see black girls clearly. Her chin up and her head up, I imagine. Her walking as slowly or as quickly as she chooses: completely and totally FREE.