Black Woman

#8M #WomenDay #WeCan

Anonymous

What makes me strong?

My heritage
What makes me weak?
My fears
What makes me whole?
My God
What keeps me standing?
My faith
What makes me compassionate?
My selflessness
What makes me honest?
My integrity
What sustains my mind?
My quest for knowledge
What teaches me all lessons?
My mistakes
What lifts my head high?
My pride
What if I can’t go on?

Not an option
What makes me victorious?
My courage to climb
What makes me competent?
My confidence
What makes me sensual?
My insatiable essence
What makes me beautiful?
My everything
What makes me a woman?

My heart
Who says I need love?
I do
What empowers me?
My God & Me
Who am I?
I AM AN AFRICAN Caribbean WOMAN!

Celebro la Mujer que soy

Yolanda Rossman Tejada

Celebro la mujer que soy,

piel de mango de rosa

carne de níspero sabroso

leche de coco en el paladar.

Celebro mi pelo crespo, inquieto,

rotunda cascada sobre tu pecho a la intemperie,

dezlízate, entre esa marejada tempestuosa,

tupido manglar de raíces ancestrales,

maraña de bosque tropical.

Hunde tus manos allí …

atrapa los deseos que aún oculto,

nido de oropéndola, desafiante,

tibio musgo abrigando tu cuerpo

desnudo, dispuesto.

Celebro este rebelde encaje,

lianas y parásitas adheridas a mi tronco,

danzando con la brisa

en seductores malabares.

Enredadera, intrincado follaje

olorosa a melón, granadilla, maracuyá,

te invito a gozar este cuerpo palpitante.

Sonrisa de mayo, mirada de abril..

Celebro esta pascua florecida

que agresiva se asoma,

evadiendo los colores

que intentan apaciguarla,

ella indómita salta, más plateada,

!Atrevida!

Celebro la mujer que soy,

“agua de lluvia acariciando tu cuerpo”.

Photo by Mohamed Nohassi on Unsplash

Maya Angelou

Are you a phenomenal woman? I am.

Maya Angelou (1928-2014), is a renowned poet, storyteller, auto-biographer, playwright, journalist, and actress born in St. Louis, Missouri (USA), also shared a passion for radio journalism. She was a strong activist who contributed to the civil rights movement and worked with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. 

She published volumes of poetries, essays, and plays, as well as many children, cook, and picture books.

Her work includes seven extraordinary autobiographies: I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, Singin’ and Swingin’ and Gettin’ Merry Like Christmas, Gather Together in my Name, The Heart of a Woman, All God’s Children Need Traveling Shoes, A Song Flung Up to Heaven, and Mom and Me and Mom. 

Moreover, on January 20th, 1993, at the Presidential Inauguration of Bill Clinton, she recited her poem “On the Pulse of Morning” this recitation being the second time at a similar event that something of this kind was done. (Robert Frost recited “The Gift Outright” at John F. Kennedy’s inauguration). 

Several of her writings received merited awards and honours from over seventy universities like the University of Arkansas, Ohio State University, Atlanta University, and others. 

Here is one of her poems. Phenomenal Woman.

Pretty women wonder where my secret lies.

I’m not cute or built to suit a fashion model’s size

But when I start to tell them,

They think I’m telling lies.

I say,

It’s in the reach of my arms,

The span of my hips

The stride of my step.

The curl of my lips.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman,

That’s me.

I walk into a room

Just as cool as you please,

And to a man,

The fellows stand or

Fall down on their knees.

Then they swarm around me,

A hive of honey bees.

I say,

It’s the fire in my eyes,

And the flash of my teeth,

The swing in my waist,

And the joy in my feet.

I’m a woman

Phenomenally.

Phenomenal woman.

Photo by Jessica Felicio on Unsplash

A Role Model: Matilde Lindo Crisanto

Being a Nicaraguan Caribbean woman means you need to be more aware of your identity.

The International Day Against Women Violence was celebrated on the 25ht of November. Globally, many women took the streets or social media platforms to demonstrate once more that this pandemic affects all of us. A lot of women and girls have been victims of gender-based violence at home, at work, on the streets, and in other places. On the other hand, we also have many women leaders who campaign to put stop to this knotty issue that exists in our society.

After ending my bachelor’s degree, I returned to my hometown and started to participate in the Nidia White Women Movement activities, which protect women and girls against violence by giving advice, shelter, and legal accompanied during the process. Its office is located near my house. I knew several of the women who worked there. One was Matilde Lindo Crisanto, a strong Garifuna woman, active, and firm with her statements regarding women’s rights.

Lindo was the second of three siblings. Her father was Harold Lindo and her mother was Imogene Crisanto. After graduating from high school, she studied at the normal school in Waspan to become a teacher. Upon ending this period, she worked in the rural areas with the Miskito and Sumu communities. I recall Matilde being a teacher during my high school years. She taught Geography to both of my sisters at the Moravian Hight School, Juan Amos Comenius.  

My second sister remembers her like this. “Lindo was my geography teacher during my first year in high school in Nicaragua. She taught me Nicaraguan and Central American geography. Due to her passion for teaching the class, I grew to love the subject. It was definitely one of my favourites in high school. Beyond being a teacher, she was an advocate against violence. She voiced herself and fought for women’s rights and equality. Her voice was heard in and out of the classroom. It propelled in the community she served”.

Besides being a teacher, she was a fervent woman’s rights activist who stood up defending women of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua. She began involving herself in the feminist movement during the late 80s, by participating in meetings, workshops, and conferences.

Furthermore, in 1995, she participated in the Fourth World Conference on Women held in Beijing. Lindo was also a member of the Women’s Network’s Against Violence, an active member at the Creole Moravian Church, and the National Women Movement.

Shira Miguel, who is the coordinator of the Nidia White Movement where Lindo also worked, remembers her as a passionate woman. She expresses to Women Wheel that when she arrived at the movement, Lindo told her “This is not an easy road. First, when you talk about human rights especially women’s rights; there are lots of people who do not agree with it. Second, be clear that being in a feminist space does not mean that there is no discrimination, being a Caribbean Black or Indigenous woman is not the same as the rest”.

Moreover, Lindo stressed that violence was structural and that women violence in the Caribbean of Nicaragua was not the same as the one on Pacific Coast, which she said loudly and repeatedly on many occasions. Lindo’s trajectory as an activist is not only for the women of the Caribbean Coast of Nicaragua, it’s also at a national level; thus we should embrace and learn from her legacy.

Lindo said, “I am from the black culture, we come from a tradition of the Goodness, queen of the nature, a tradition that reflects our way of being and practices”.

I would like each one of you to think of a black woman in your community who has been a role model for your actions, thoughts, and motivation as a black female. Join moving women stories by sharing your story with us!

25th of November

Gender-based violence is a pandemic.

Photo: Julie Schroell

Today as we take the streets or social media platforms on International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women let our voice be loud saying: this pandemic needs to stop.

I am proud to present this interview to Susanna Viljanmaa produced by PlusCollective. The production team was composed of Gloria De Felice, Susanna Viljanmaa, and Shirlene Green Newball.