#DearBlackGirl was conceived with the goal to engage a multitude of Black women in imagining and articulating the full range of possibilities for Black girls. We were excited and amazed to see such a simple idea become a movement through the pens of countless of Black women.
We released a portion of those letters online and witnessed the powerful impact those letters had. However, the vision has always been that once written and collected, the #DearBlackGirl letters would be directly shared with Black girls. We know some of you have shared the letters with girls you know- subscribing your daughters to our blog, printing copies for your nieces, tagging friends on Facebook and otherwise sharing letters with Black girls in your life. So far we have had the opportunity to share letters with girls in Durham, NC, a group of high school teens in Washington, DC, and a room full of black girls and women in New York City during the Black Girls Movement conference.
After reading one letter, one 17 year old girl wrote:
When reading this letter, I feel motivated and appreciated. I believe every word she said, about myself and all young black women. I am worthy of love, respect, my dreams, health, education, the world, friendship, my beauty, and my life, not because I am a black girl, but because I am a human being and I deserve everything I am willing to work for.
Another wrote in response to a different letter:
There are times when you’re just feeling so alone as an individual soul that you can’t help but want to feel acceptance from what the public overall wants. You think that maybe if I look like this and this represents me then I could be more positive about myself. But, that’s not how it works and it’s not how it should work. It makes me feel as if I don’t need to compare myself to anyone or anything to feel loved or to be powerful. A positive radiant soul then creates a lovely being and although the world may not make it prevalent, we are beautifully powerful individuals with untold stories.
During our workshop at the Black Girls Movement conference a group of girls of various ages collectively penned their own letter in response.
Thank you for opening our eyes to our deeper feelings that we share with other beautiful women of color! Thank you for reminding us that we are worthy. Thank you for reminding us that we are not alone in our struggles as Black girls and women. We are aware that the world isn’t always fair, but it is important for us to keep fighting for equality and peace… Because you rock, we do too! [We] hope that whenever you fall into insecurity or anything you outlined in your letter remember what you said. May you experience the comfort we did.
These letters — so simply formatted, yet so full of wisdom, hardships, joys, hopes and dreams– have brought light, love and laughter into the hearts of black girls and women around the world. As we wrap up our online #DearBlackGirl exhibit we say to our authors, with deep gratitude, thank you. And to those of you who have been inspired by these amazing love letters, we aren’t finished with them yet! We will continue to share them with Black girls and women. Stay tuned to our blog to see what will come next!