It was a Tuesday. I casually walked through my office building, routinely greeting my fellow co-workers as I made my way to the water cooler. A colleague of mine gave me her usual cheery “good morning” and asked me if I was going to the Black Women’s March to the Sacramento Capitol building the upcoming Saturday. It was evident I knew nothing about it, yet I flirted with the idea of attending. I researched the march and decided it would be a meaningful experience to participate in and cover for my site. Fast forward, I received my press credential approval, and prepared my media gear for an event in which I had no idea would change the way I look at myself as a Black Woman in America.
Crocker Park was the designated starting point. It was around 9:00 am, a comfortable seventy six degrees, and the grassy area was occupied with men, women, and children clothed in bold political statements and themes of cultural pride. Both print and makeshift signs produced a picturesque mosaic amongst the sea of activists and supporters with the statements “Organize, March, Rise & Vote”, “Black Women Lives Matter”, “Stop Killing Us”, and “Trust Black Women”. Patrons and organizers clustered around the park posing for photos and fielding press interviews. Organizations in attendance included Party for Socialism & Liberation, Black Lives Matter Sacramento, and the hosting organization Black Women United, to name a few. All were in full representation as voices of their respective causes and communities. It was a glorious spectacle as not only Black women gathered, but men and women from European, Latino, and Asian decent held supporting roles in the movement.
There was friendly community chatter, as well as intense dialogue about justice and reform. There were wise village elders well versed in civil rights, and vibrant youth likely oblivious to how instrumental they are to the future of this country. There were some who sought to teach and some who came to learn. It was then that the sobering reality came over me as I stood in the midst of such intense energy: we as Black women have truly had enough. Enough of being abandoned. Enough of being murdered. Enough of burying our children. Enough of injustice. Enough of disrespect. Enough of division. Enough of self-hate. Enough of being undervalued. We were fueled by our intolerance, yet we were eloquent and majestic in our posture. We were gearing up to fearlessly exercise our First Amendment rights. We were a voice that wasn’t to be ignored, and a force to be reckoned with. We were prepared to rally at the steps of the California State Capitol to confront any and every form of societal and bureaucratic weaponry designed to endanger our fathers, sons, brothers, mothers, sisters, and daughters without consequence. We were an army.
Hundreds of us flooded the streets as we made our way to the Capitol building. Led by the rhythms of the Grant Union High School Drumline, we made our way to the structure with the determination of a three thousand woman brigade. Our front line held a long banner, with fists in the air leading with melodic phrases like “I LOVE BEING BLACK!”, chanting demands of “We want justice now!” and “If we don’t get it, shut it down!”. This was the 2nd Annual Black Women’s March and the theme was #CanILive. The words on the banner displayed #CanWeLive, which sparked rhetoric in a collective sense for Black women as a whole. We were there as a reminder that Black women have and always have been valuable and powerful resources to the entire world. Yet and still, we are degraded, dismissed, mocked, appropriated, and executed. The message was clear: we were literally marching for the preservation of our own existence. Being the Hip Hop enthusiast that I am, the theme also brought to mind Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt classic “Can I Live”. Jay rhymes a bar saying “I’d rather die enormous than live dormant, that’s how we on it” and instantly those words hit me like a ton of bricks. To some that might’ve been a far-fetched parallel, but the magnitude of that line swept me into a whirlwind of my Blackness, my womanhood, and the love for my people. These elements serendipitously aligned to bring purpose, and enlightenment to why my passion for media chose me. My journalistic ability is a communication platform to and for my demographic. My responsibility to my culture and society as a whole, dawned on me in a way stronger than it ever had. I am a Black woman in media with the power to spark minds through my God-given gifts and my service to others. I am a Black woman with the potential influence to stretch beyond a superficial layer and dig deeper into a language that my peers will learn, revere, and share. Every Black woman present had a unique connection to that march and a gift inside of them to heal society. As we neared the Capitol building, I silently vowed to be an influencer through how I live my life as an awakened Black woman and to project a message that will resonate into the future. I refused to live dormant.
We made it to the streets of the Capitol and it was an afternoon of amazing speeches, motivation, enlightenment, and celebration of Black womanhood. Host Takarra “KariJay” Johnson kept the energy alive as we enjoyed amazing performances, by The Hundreds Unit, and Blyue Rose Dance Project, Mino Yanci, Vadia Rhodes, Samiya Lowe, and Daughters of The Sun. We all sat attentively as we received empowering messages of strength, unity, acceptance, and self-love for who we are as Black women. There were no exclusions as to what background anyone came from. We were all there as Black women to connect, uplift, love, educate, and empower one another as our sister’s keeper. There were so many phenomenal speakers at the podium including Sac Cultural Hub CEO and Founder Pleshette Robertson, the boldly spoken 10-year old Lyric Watts, and New York Activist Blari Imani to name a few. The day ended with a speech from legendary Hip Hop icon, MC Lyte who gave an impactful life testimonial and ended with the message of using our voices and to never stop standing up for what we believe in. In all of my years, I couldn’t remember the last time I felt so liberated, endowed, and accountable as I had in those few hours. It was a great day for all who had the opportunity to experience the march, but it was an even greater day to be a Black woman.
Visit Black Women United for more on The Black Women’s March.
– Dominique Nicole
Facebook Dominique Nicole