Note: I look back at this blog post and chide myself for being such a pollyanna; yet there is something about the Bridging mentality of calling white women as true allies into the circle that I still think holds value. Brave Sis does not want to serve as "cover" for bad behavior and virtue signalling; my hope is that in learning about women who don't look like society's "default," white women as well as white-adjacent women of color (look that up if you need help) will shift their thinking to a more pluralistic, honest, and humble stance when we talk about "feminism," "history," and even "'women'hood".
Brave Sis's big idea is that Black, Brown, Asian, and White women can in some ways comes together in celebration, learning, and growth, building an Inclusive Sisterhood.
The founding drive of the Brave Sis Project was (and is) to build well-being, learning, and celebration, using the stories and bravery of Black women and other Women of Color in American history as our point of departure.
So much has changed since I first started this project Christmas Day, 2019.
Understatement of the decade.
We are living in a time of reckoning, truth-telling, and new commitments around inequities of race and gender—finding new ways to live, learn, and celebrate life.
Emotions are justifiably strong. White women's tears perpetuate racism in feminism, by taking the focus off the issue at hand, so we recommend the grieving and shock be handled in private. (A journal is a great place for that!)
Black and Brown* women's honest anger, sorrow, or fed-up-ness are all justified—but isn't it also true that there is nothing more beautiful than rest, play, care, and joy? Don't my fellow Black and Brown sxsters also deserve to be part of a narrative that is about what's good and what's even great?
That was what I was building with Brave Sis without even knowing, but a year in, I see it as vividly as I felt the Foremother presence calling me to do this on that Christmas morning.
Brave Sis Project is an integrated space, fostering and welcoming the possibility of learning, building, and committing to a cross-racial solidarity and sxsterhood.
Some of my Black sxsters have let me know they are less than comfortable being in space with white women, so they aren't feeling Brave Sis as entirely as they'd like to. That is totally OK, and there is no pressure to do so. I always intended for this to be "the Planner Without the Pressure," and that holds.
I believe there is a way to carve one's one inner haven within a framework of intercultural, inclusive womanist celebration, and use the journal for your own journey. But if it feels diminishing for anyone to "share" Brave Sis Space with other cultures, I thank you for giving it some consideration. I do understand where you’re coming from and I uplift and am grateful for shift you are building on a parallel and different path.
Now for me...
When you build your own thing, you get a freedom to do what you want to do. And what I want to do with Brave Sis is build an unapologetically inquisitive, shared, creative open-minded, and heart-centered will to generate individual and community and global shifting.
In my many turns around the sun, I've come to learn that when you understand yourself better and value yourself more, you are better able to celebrate others. And when you are better able to celebrate others, you create a new narrative that defeats one based in the patriarchy, in constructs of racial superiority, and in the tragedy of separation, siloization and “othering.”
I would submit that we are now at a crucial point in our global history where we have a decision which way to go.
Brave Sis believes that the moral and emotional cost of racism, coupled with ignorance of history, breeds a of lack of empathy and understanding that is unsustainable: personally, within families, among friends, at the community level, nationally, and globally.
If we are to save the planet and also make it a place worth living on, I uphold that is time to mutually commit to a paradigm that:
- De-centers whiteness as the default narrative (celebrate the sxsterhood)
- Does not assume Blackness or BIPOC-ness as the monopolistic solution to our societal ills (please don't put that labor on us!)
- Makes room for each womxn to arrive as their individual self, flaws and all (you are fine without the size-zero bamboo yoga pants)
- Openly seeks to transcend bias and blind spots (more plans on this coming!)
- Refuses to fetichize, stereotype, appropriate, or diminish any sxster, no matter what their age, gender expression, cultural background, racial identity, or any other marker of identification (my actual self is not about you)
- Acknowledges and sits with sorrow and anger, but moves beyond it towards a new game that is no-shame, no-blame, and definitely not lame (and we need more poetry in the world, better than this one ha ha!)
We are here to celebrate, to learn, to grow, and to restore!
That's our story and we're sticking to it.
Again, with feeling: the Brave Sis Project is rooted in unearthing and celebrating history and women in history. As its birth mother, I am acutely aware that much of the American story we unearth together is one of straight-up EVIL: exploitation, racism, sexism, transphobia, cruel, low-vibrational, selfish, hateful, MURDEROUS evil.
Brave Sis Project is hardly dismissing this ugliness, but offering a practice and a space to stop ignoring and hiding it—AND to move into learning and understanding why it has been so (we know so little about our own history, and if Brave Sis helps more people become amateur historians, my work is done here!).
Also, we want to seed a place (imagined, and actual: in your physical journal, virtually with others, on social media, in your head, soon face-to-face,) that evokes celebration and gratitude.
Thank you, this Women's/Womxn's History month to the amazing Foremothers who pressed on, despite and because.
Let’s know them, let’s love them, let’s let them into our lives, and let’s commit to embodying their legacy in the ways we live now and tomorrow.
Look forward to sharing so much more with you on this trail.