#DearBlackGirl was born out of the brilliant mind of Erin Stephens, The Beautiful Project’s Health & Wellness Coordinator and our beloved friend. She is powerful and lovely, walking through the world igniting barriers and creating safe spaces. This woman…we just can’t say enough. Read her words to find out how #dearblackgirl came to be.
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“I write for young girls of color, for girls who don’t even exist yet, so that there is something there for them when they arrive.” – Ntozake Shange
As a little black girl, I was blessed to have countless black women around me speaking into my life. They spoke words of who I was and who I would become; they celebrated my dancing feet and ever singing voice; they affirmed that my life had meaning. As I grew into a black woman, the voices continued, but the messenger and messages changed. Now I heard words that projected a character that wasn’t mine; I resisted and mourned the labels that were thrown my way just because of my race and gender; my song faltered and my feet grew heavy.
As black women, we find that all too often the world attempts to define and label us in ways that disrupt our relationships with one another and disguise, distort and contain our individual and collective power. Yet, my journey has taught me that within each other, we can find the wisdom, joy and strength to overcome negativity and know our beauty and power. Most of us can think of the one or many black women whose support and wisdom has helped us on our path to becoming who we are.
Now it’s our turn- and we can begin simply with #dearblackgirl…
Erin Stephens is a doctoral student in sociology at George Mason University and a graduate research assistant at the Center for Social Science Research (CSSR) and the Institute for Immigration Research (IIR). At the IIR, she provides statistical analysis on immigrant economic participation and experiences as it relates to gender. To learn more about our Erin, check out her TBP bio and follow Erin @rinimeister.