Tuesday, July 27, 2021

Hank Sanders: Sketches #1780 - The Year of the Black Woman

  The year of the Black woman. Sometimes things happen in bunches. The old folks say, "When it rains, it pours." It may not be pouring for Black women, but recognitions of excellence are coming in bunches. The Year Of The Black Woman.

  No segment of our society has been sacrificed more than the Black Woman. No segment of our society has given more to others. No segment has been less appreciated. But the past 12 months have been different, very different for some.

  There are too many Black women of excellence to mention in this Sketches. Therefore, I have limited the time frame to the last year and the number of Black women to nine (9). They are as follows: 1 - Naomi Osaka; 2 - Stacey Abrams; 3 - Simone Biles; 4 - Amanda Gorman; 5 - Maya Moore; 6 - Latosha Brown; 7 - Renee Montgomery; 8 - Zaila Avant-garde; and 9 - Kamala Harris. The Year Of The Black Woman.

  Naomi Osaka, a Black woman. Naomi was born to a Haitian father and a Japanese mother. She won her first Grand Slam tennis title when she was 19 years of age, beating Serena Williams in the U.S. Open in 2019. She has won three additional Grand Slams as well as other tournaments. Naomi made more money last year than any female athlete in the world. But these things alone do not place her in the Year of the Black woman. During the Western and Southern Open, Naomi decided not to play her next match in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin. She stood alone, by herself. In the U.S. Open Tournament in 2020, she wore a different mask during each of seven matches with the name of a Black person killed by police. Naomi also stood up to the entire Women’s Tennis Association when she decided not to participate in pre-match press conferences at the French Open because it impacted her mental health. When threatened by officials to remove her if she continued, she withdrew from the Grand Slam.

  Stacey Abrams, a Black woman. Stacey Abrams has been organizing voting initiatives in Georgia for more than a decade. She is the foremost voting leader in the United States of America. The fruits of her organizing were evident when she came split rain close to winning the Georgia governorship in 2018 in spite of extensive voter suppression. The fruits of her labor were further manifested in 2020 and 2021 when Joe Biden won the State of Georgia in the Presidential Election and Democrats won two U.S. Senate seats (one Black Senator and one Jewish Senator) in January of 2021, giving Democrats a majority in the U.S. Senate. Abrams is also a former leader of the Georgia Senate, a successful attorney, and the author of several books.

  Simone Biles, a Black woman. For years Black women were denied open participation in gymnastics. Black women were told they did not have the right body types. Yet Simone Biles has dominated gymnastics as no other in human history. She and her sister were in foster homes in Ohio for a while before being adopted by Ron Biles and Nellie Biles of Houston, Texas. Simone started tumbling around the house and was enrolled in a gym program. She has now won seven consecutive world titles and multiple Olympic gold medals. She has performed gymnastics maneuvers no other woman has done before, resulting in several moves being named after her. She is the greatest gymnast of all time.

  Amanda Gorman, a Black woman. Amanda performed the poem, The Hill We Climb, at the inauguration of President Joe Biden. At 22 years of age, she was the youngest presidential inaugural poet in U.S. History. Amanda has three published books and is the First National Youth Poet Laureate. She also performed a poem during the 2021 Super Bowl. She is also an activist, feminist, and supporter of social justice and equality.

  Maya Moore, a Black woman. Maya is one of the greatest women basketball players to ever live. She won two back-to-back college championships and four WNBA championships, and she was the league's most valuable player. But what puts Maya Moore in The Year of the Black Woman was not her game of basketball but her walking away from basketball at the peak of her career to help to get an innocent man out of prison. She then formed an organization to help free other innocent persons in prison. She received the 2021 Arthur Ashe Espy Award for Courage.

  Latosha Brown, a Black woman. Latosha resides in Atlanta, Georgia but hails from Selma, Alabama. She has emerged as a creative national voting voice with Black Voter Matters. She contributed to overcoming great odds in achieving victories in Georgia for the presidential and U.S. Senate races. She also helped in Alabama to win a U. S. Senate seat in 2017 against Roy Moore. Brown is a symbol of the mighty work Black women have performed in voting in these United States of America over the years.

  Renee Montgomery, a Black woman. She was a basketball player from West Virginia who played at the University of Connecticut and 11 years in the WNBA, winning two world championships. But that is not what places Renee in the Year of the Black woman. Last year, Montgomery became part owner and investor in the Atlanta Dream basketball team. This team was owned by a U.S. Senator who attacked Black Lives Matters, and the players rebelled. The team was purchased by Montgomery and two other investors, and she became vice president of the team. 

  Zaila Avant-garde, a Black woman. At 14 years of age, she is the first Black person in the 109-year history of the Scripps National Spelling Bee to win this contest. Zaila says spelling is just a hobby although she practices seven hours a day. She is also the holder of three Guinness World Records for bouncing multiple basketballs and/or bouncing and juggling balls. Zaila intends to play professional basketball in the WNBA and then become an astronaut. Of all the participants, 9 of the 11 finalists were South Asians. Zaila is encouraging more Blacks to participate in the spelling bee.

  Kamala Harris, a Black woman. In the two 231-year history of the United States of America, there has never been a woman president or vice president. Kamala Harris has broken through one of these ceilings – the vice presidency. Kamala Harris has a series of firsts: the first woman and first African American to be elected District Attorney in California; the first African American Attorney General for the State of California; the first African American U.S. Senator from California and the second in the country; and the first woman vice president. As United States Vice President, she presides over the U.S. Senate and breaks ties on 50-50 votes.

EPILOGUE – Black women were snatched from their families, tribes, and continent and enslaved in faraway places. They were raped and abused during and after slavery. Even today they get the least rewarding jobs and are woefully underpaid. They continue to be abused, sexually and otherwise. Still they rise, as Maya Angelou says in her famous poem, “Still I Rise.” It is way past time that Black women’s achievements and excellence be lifted. The Year of the Black Woman.

  About the author: Hank Sanders represented District 23 in the Alabama Senate from 1983 to 2018.

No comments:

Post a Comment