From the desk of Lauren Carson, BGS Executive Director
As I debated with myself over the last few days about what I wanted to say to our Black Girls Smile community, I continue to be at a loss for the “right” words at this moment. But here is what I have come up with…
As we sat holding our breath for an ounce of justice for George Floyd and his family, we shortly afterward found out that a young beautiful and talented queen, Ma’Khia Bryant was killed by police officers in Ohio after she reached out to 911 for help. To say that we as black women and girls are traumatized is an understatement. We are retraumatized, over and over again.
My heart and that of the entire BGS team and community go out Ma’Khia’s family and friends. We are working as a team and community to find ways we can appropriately provide support and assistance to Ma’Khia’s tribe and will be sending more information to our broader community soon to address these efforts.
And to YOU black queen, there’s also a few things that need to be said right now:
One. Despite the trauma, the re-trauma, and sadly the past and future trauma that our black community experiences please know that YOUR LIFE MEANS SOMETHING. Many will see this as an opportunity to push their own agenda, politicize or devalue human life, to give you the impression or outright tell you that your life doesn’t mean anything or enough. They are cowards----- I said what I said. Cowards and thieves. We black women and girls are PURE STRAIGHT UP MAGIC. DON'T EVER LET ANYONE MAKE YOU THINK YOU ARE NOT WORTHY.
Two. While we can never compare one life to another, you and I are both acutely aware that less attention and outrage is being given to the death of a black girl. This is not unusual, even though it should be. Too often black girls and black women are overlooked and underserved. But know that you are not overlooked or underserved by US and by EACH OTHER. Our lives mean something, our lives are worthy just as much as any others. Again I said what I said. And I am here to remind you that even if we do not receive the attention we deserve, when it comes to justice we will continue the fight internally and make our presence known just like our ancestral queens.
Three. This one is going to be short. THERE IS NO EXCUSE OR REASON THAT MA’KHIA WAS KILLED. Do not let the media, police or anyone else try to convince you that there is a reason that this young woman was killed. We will not accept it. She should be here with us. Period.
Four. Black Girls Smile continued to up our game and find ways we can deepen our commitment to our community aka YOU. We are aware that at times like this the needs of our community are different and we want to hear from you on how we can best support you individually and collectively during this time. What do you need? How can we help? We are not here to preach and send words that fall flat with no action. We want to stand for and with you as a community. Tell us HERE how we can do that, how we can support you at this moment.
Five. And this one is IMPORTANT. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. Let me say that one more time, TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF. You will be expected to show up as “the best you” at work, at school, at home and so many other things but that may, and rightfully so, not be possible right now. Look for opportunities, create opportunities for you to REST. Find ways you can practice self-care including things like journaling, drawing, taking a walk, etc that can ground you and help replenish your cup. Lean into positive & healthy coping skills to express your emotions and feelings. And access resources if necessary (we have listed below several non-crisis & crisis resources).
We may not have all the right answers, but I do know this, black girls are queens and BGS will continue to intentionally create space and opportunities for you to shine, feel supported, feel heard, feel honored.
These words are for you, but they are also for Ma’Khia. May she rest in peace knowing we as her sisters will not let her death go without justice, change and honoring her beautiful legacy.
BGS Executive Director