Solidarity With Our Black Sisters
By Maryluz Hoyos Ensuncho
Maryluz is an Urban Leadership Fellow and is in the process of getting her PhD in Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Black women have paved the way for minorities and women of color in the U.S. Women, like me.
Black women tend to be erased from history with only a few mentions here and there, but their work has been crucial for civil rights and women’s rights. And when structures keep pushing them down, Black women continue the fight to make society a better place not just for themselves but for all of us — for all of their sisters. Black women speak up, are our role models and demonstrate excellence despite the circumstances.
So, it is an honor and responsibility to stand in solidarity with my Black sisters.
But what does it mean to stand in solidarity?
Solidarity is not a one-time practice or gesture. We are not done until social justice is achieved for our Black sisters. Solidarity means examining our actions and inactions, getting involved and critically examining values and practices. Solidarity means acting coherently with our values. It means examining narratives of feminism. For women of color, it means understanding the particular oppressions that Black women live, but also working to affirm Black women, their power and their voices. As Tony Morrison told us in her commencement address at Barnard College in May 1979: “I want not to ask you but to tell you not to participate in the oppression of your sister […] I am alarmed by the violence that women do to each other: professional violence, competitive violence, emotional violence”
As women, we have to live and act in solidarity.
Solidarity with our Black sisters means resisting both racism and sexism in society.
For women of color, not oppressing Black women means not being complicit in the erasure of Black women and giving them credit for their work in advocacy and social justice. It means being intentional about centering their voices and supporting them through actions, not marginalizing the issues that directly concern them.
Black women and women of color working together in solidarity requires being respectful and honoring each other’s particular issues. It is a call to fight oppression in unity. It is a shared belief that until there is justice for all of us, none of us are free.