Op-EdOpinion

WILLIAMS: Message to My Sisters

Nobody knows better than Black women the challenges Black women and men still face. We must stand by each other no matter what.

During slavery, Black women would ask the slave master to allow her to whip her son because she knew if the slave master did it, he’d likely beat her son to death. Black mothers would tell their son as she commenced to beat him, “This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.” Her son didn’t understand that, but she knew what might happen if she left it to the slave master.

Black women have always stepped up to the plate to defend and show our love for Black men — even when some of their historical behavior hurt us.

For centuries, we’ve jointly had to deal with racism from which the wounds have never healed. When we see Black men trying to assist us in dealing with the many challenges in our lives, we must see them as GOOD BROTHERS. In the National Congress of Black Women, on every program where we honor women for their work, we honor Black men.

We honor Black men who work for the ERA. Recently, I met Bobby Hunter, formerly of the Harlem Globetrotters. This brother probably does more to help in passing the ERA than I do — and that’s saying a lot.

We honor Black men who respect and appreciate Black women for our competence. We honor those who do not define beauty as limited to women of all other races or cultures. We appreciate those who include all shades of skin, all types of hair, all dress sizes, etc.

We honor those who don’t sit back and say, “That’s a woman’s” job while they watch the woman do all the house work, take care of the children, work the polls on Election Day, get out the vote, without realizing the job would have been easier If there had been a cooperative effort.

Sure, it hurt some of us when we heard that 11% of Black men didn’t vote for Stacey Abrams for governor. Yet, it hurts all of us if we don’t encourage Black men to work with us to get out the vote in the election on Nov. 3. We have to make an effort to reach out to them and appreciate the 89% who did support Stacey. Black women have been getting credit for various political victories in recent years. Let’s work to make that headline say Black people made the difference!

We have to be inclusive, to involve them in what we’re doing from the beginning and applaud those who’ve been on the Biden calls even though we call ourselves “Black Women for Biden.”

Although there’re some Black men who’re reluctant to involve us in what they’re doing until they want us to take action to help them accomplish their goals that are often our goals, too — but we don’t have a say in developing them.

Nevertheless, we must be in the real struggles together and show our appreciation for the Black men who get it, and who want to be there with us even when they aren’t sure how to help.

I understand Black men who’re uncertain about what to do when it comes to working with women because of this new day, when accusers spring into action 30 or 40 years after someone allegedly touched them. We must understand that reluctance, and allow Black men to be comfortable working with us — because we do need each other to succeed, not only in the coming elections but in everything that has the potential for helping our community.

Williams is president of the National Congress of Black Women.

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