Take Up Your Pen

Sisterhood As Activism

July 27, 2016

What had started as a sweet love affair progressed very quickly into something deep and moving; something Halle thought would last forever. So, she moved in with him with the promise of a ring, a baby in her belly and hope propelling her every move. A baby boy came and they were elated. He was a tangible manifestation of a love aesthetic; he was evidence that she had been loved well, wildly desired then favored by the Most High to steward a little soul through all of the toughest and sweetest experiences brought by life. So, when her lover’s hand slipped from her own, when his eyes averted elsewhere and his heart was no longer in the home they built together, she was lost. All the things that happen when relationships fizzle dutifully took their turn contributing to her heartbreak until she knew that it was time to go. But the problem was, where? She had left everything she knew and possessed for this love and now, here she was, back at the beginning with more needs than assets including this precious young mouth to feed. And she felt ashamed. She knew the deafening tune of the critiques and comments waiting for her.

“How could you be so naive? You never move in with a man and let him handle everything!”

“Why would you let go of your life for a man?”

“Why did you stay with him for so long?”

So it sounded like a sweet melody when Gwen called saying, “I heard about what happened. Get your stuff packed. I’m coming to get you and the baby. You can stay with me.”

Pride compelled her to refuse but reality required that she get her things and move in with Gwen and her children until she could figure out what was next.

That’s Halle. But when Michelle was being sexually harassed at work, Tina helped her find a lawyer and met her for coffee Thursdays after her counseling sessions. When Erica lost her mom to a long, fierce bout with cancer, Renee, Lisa, and Crystal were there with her and remained to care for her while she grieved and tried to get back to life afterward. At 50, when Valerie said “I do” after being convinced that she would never find a lover with whom to share her life, her girls took her on the most epic bachelorette escapade, celebrating with her for a week, reveling in her happiness. And when Kesha allowed misunderstanding and miscommunication to deepen the conflict and render her silent, Stephanie kept calling, kept texting, kept showing up because she felt that Kesha and their 5 year friendship was worth fighting for.

This is sisterhood, as activism.

Sisterhood as activism is the act of Black women engaging one another in an intimate, intentional manner for the wellness and goodness of the other; to take up one’s position as kindred, in all of its intricacies, in order to hold space for, care for, defend, cover, another sister.

So how can sisterhood be used as activism?

When a woman exercises her authority in another woman’s life to celebrate, keep, sharpen, accept without conditions or make light the suffering of another woman.

Why activism? 

Because Black woman face several micro and macro aggressions that complicate what it is for us to live with our unique aesthetic and be well and whole simultaneously. So often we take up the position of “protector of the well and good” for everyone else in our lives, to our own neglect and detriment. We must be intentional about cultivating our well of keepers and protectors through the women whom we’ve grown to love and trust.

What is sisterhood in support of/fighting for?

Wellness and wholeness.

What areas does/can sisterhood as activism address?


The workplace

Social and Familial Relationships

Black Girlhood

Black Womanhood

And every other nuance of life.

What role do the stories of this particular campaign, The Sisterhood Storytelling Series, play?

The stories are a reminder that there are life giving people and spaces in support of our wellness and wholeness. They are a comfort and help to see a way through and out during hardships. The stories are encouragement to continue in the race, the fight, the life. Lastly, the stories are a call to cultivate sisterhood relationships for our own wellness and in support of the wellness and wholeness of the other.

Five more days. Will you join us?

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