Even in the few instances, women across the globe break barriers a barrage of unforeseen challenges are often never far behind and this is even more so for the black and brown community as a whole, however it is fair to say the women and girls will lag far behind than their men counterparts. Taking America for instance in 1869 when the 15th Amendment Law was passed it allowed anyone of any race to vote, however, this meant only black men could vote as the law passed did not allow females to vote, this only changed in 1919 when the 19th Amendment Law was passed. These two laws are half a century apart and one of the first instances where we see the intersectionality between race and gender discrimination, and how they both matter not only in the representation of women of colour but also in what is within their rights to do or say.
Michelle Obama who recently had a painted portrait of hers mounted in the White House said in her speech "For me, this day is not just about what has happened, it's also about what could happen," she said. "Because a girl like me, she was never supposed to be up there next to Jacqueline Kennedy and Dolley Madison. She was never supposed to live in this house, and she definitely wasn't supposed to serve as the First Lady...But what we're looking at today — a portrait of a biracial kid with an unusual name and the daughter of a water pump operator and a stay-at-home mom — what we're seeing is that there's a reminder that there's a place for everyone in this country because, as Barack said, if the two of us can end up on the walls of the most famous address in the world. It is so important for every young kid who is doubting themselves to believe that they can too."
"If you see inequality as a "them' problem or "unfortunate other" problem, that is a problem."
Lawyer, Civil Rights Activist and Intersectionalist Feminist
Thus when working to raise the voices of all females we must also consider the term Intersectional feminism, which was coined in 1989 by Kimberlé Crenshaw, an American law professor to illuminate the connection between all fights for justice and liberation. To show us that fighting for equality means not only turning the tables on gender injustices but rooting out all forms of oppression. It serves as a framework through which to build inclusive, robust movements that work to solve overlapping forms of discrimination, simultaneously.
It is thus important to have organisations such as The Colored Girl (TCG) whose aim is to gather inspiring, passionate, ambitious and open-minded women of color, to spark conversations around topics that range from wellness, and women’s issues, to personal & professional development. They use their digital spaces and events to shift the narrative and create a more positive outlook for the colored girl. Here are a few things we learned from Founder, Tori Elizabeth and Co-Founder, Rachelle Daglis on their journey as leaders in the redefinition of women of color.
Where is the space for us, for the person who kind of walks outside of the line, or is outside of the box of what a black woman or black person is supposed to act like?
Beautifully disrupting the status quo
Tori spoke about how her own personal journey where she felt undervalued in her career led her to start the TCG campaign where the aim was to change the representation of how black, Latina and Asian girls were viewed. Igniting and leading women to take control of their representation by sharing a more realistic and candid view of who they really are, therefore beautifully disrupting the status quo as part of their mission.
Creating safe spaces to thrive
Safe Spaces are so important and TCG creates events and retreats for women of colour to be somewhere where they are seen, valued and heard, and more importantly, they can freely create and form great and lasting connections. The safe spaces created by TCG ended up being a place that led Rachelle to be retrospective and upon reflection on herself, her choices and her journey, and having spent 14 years of her career in Corporate America, the TCG retreat had sparked a new need in her to help the movement. As a result, she and Tori formed a thriving connection which years later led Rachelle to be the CEO of TCG and co-founder too.
Everyone needs to heal, we are not all perfect. Everyone has their journey to being the best person they can be.
When women come together magic happens
Tori and Rachelle are an example of how two women coming together can create something magical but what must be said of their partnership is how different they are, but despite their differences, they eliminate their weaknesses by marrying their strengths. As a result, what started simply as a digital campaign aimed to shift the narrative for women of color has now five years on managed to build a community of 80,000 + women.
These incredible women are exemplary in what they do and what they have achieved is extremely commendable, there is so much more to be learnt from the women and with a simple click of a button you can enjoy the full conversation we had with them on Episode 5 of the #OVAReactPodcast accessible through the links below. You can also tune in to Capital FM on Mondays at 10.30 pm EAT to listen to the episodes LIVE on air!
Google Podcast: https://podcasts.google.com/feed/aHR0cHM6Ly9hbmNob3IuZm0vcy82YjVkZDQ0NC9wb2RjYXN0L3Jzcw/episode/NjVkOTJkN2MtNTFjMy00ZWQ0LWIyYjMtNWRlOTk3YjZmZjg2?sa=X&ved=0CAQQ8qgGahcKEwj4pcnqr5H6AhUAAAAAHQAAAAAQAQ