Back in 2008, as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton vied to win the Democratic Presidential Primary, a deeper conversation was stirring among black women in America. Caught between identifying with only either race or gender, neither Obama’s nor Clinton’s platforms fully addressed the struggles of black women like gender-violence, poverty and the over-criminalization. The election spawned a complex discussion on intersectionality—black women reiterating their cultural minimization—disavowing the societal assumption that white women represented their gender and black men spoke on behalf of their race.
As black women gathered to have these discussions at kitchen tables, living rooms and backyards an obvious demand surfaced to create their own “blueprint” for change that would both reflect and benefit their needs. It was then that the Black Women’s Blueprint (BWB) emerged.
An organization set on differentiating the needs of black women from the larger context of women of color, BWB is dedicated to ending child sexual abuse, providing healing services for survivors of sexual assault and rape, increasing leadership skills as well as raising awareness of police brutality and the incarceration of black women. Their efforts are based on clear evidence that black women historically have been and currently are subject to unequal treatment in the United States. They are disproportionately incarcerated (2x more likely than Latino women and 3x more likely than white women), historically victims of unprosecuted rape and sexual assault, and earn lower wages in comparison to nearly every other racial or ethnic group in the country.
In 2016, BWB hosted the “Black Women’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission” (BWTRC)-- the first gathering of its kind to focus on rape and sexual assault against black women in the US. This weekend, they will recognize the first anniversary of BWTRC by honoring the contributors to Words of Fire: An Anthology of African-American Feminist Thought edited by Beverly Guy-Sheftall. In furthering the discussion, the conference cuts through divisions to illuminate the experiences and misguided historical and societal expectations of women, girls, queer and trans women of African Descent. - Maureen Post
We stand with the Black Women’s Blueprint. We encourage you to make race a part of the conversation and register for this weekend’s conference. For more information please visit: http://www.blackwomensblueprint.org/
Photo Credit : NADYA WASYLKO