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7 Things White Women New To Activism Can Learn From Rosa Parks

rosa parks

December 1st was the official day set aside to celebrate the tenacity of Rosa Parks, honorable mother of the Civil Rights movement. Behind her amiable image, you will find a staunch activist whose legacy continues to be a source of strength for many activists today.

There is no better time to re-activate the activist messages learned from courageous African American women who transcended women's rights and transformed the world’s message. Women who put feet to fire for causes that emancipated more than just women, but also set paths to freedom for all people.

The construct of the "Strong Black Woman” assumes a lifelong legacy for women of African ancestry to transcend towards triumphant resolve and achieve somewhat metaphysical feats to ensure that the voices of minority and marginalized women and girls are significantly valued. Sexism, misogyny, racism, and parallel prejudice continue to heighten, threatening the progression of feminist principles and the rights of all women.

Everything isn’t entirely fair in the fight for justice, equality, and intersectionality between feminists, therefore, derailing these ideologies must be contended for conversely and diversely. A succinct word to use as it relates to the black woman’s journey, along with her nameable strength and fortitude, is resilience, alongside strength.

Rejection catapults the resilient into resisting the status quo, therefore pressing into limitless reservoirs of intrinsic power.

Intersectional feminist resiliency implies that one accepts the boundless burden, commitment, and responsibility it requires to be unfathomably, unshakably anti-patriarchal, among undesirable circumstances and challenges for all citizenry.

Researching current evidence-based approaches towards resistance, and resisting faulty community practices that go against grassroots organizational regimens, are the first steps towards achieving infrastructures for activism that promote sustainable progress.

Generating a canon of literature, while becoming familiar with relevant past and current pieces of data and analysis on topics impacting and affecting minorities and the marginalized, is the key towards purposeful activism. Such pillars of perseverance exist, and these brave faces, adorned with the sweat of resiliency, have impacted the approach towards activism. They are the women to whom the next wave of activists should mold their movement and messages upon.

One such warrior, Mrs. Rosa Parks, refused to get up because she was tired. She left women with a remarkable path to tread. Her unwillingness to accept what was uncivil and inhumane woke up the world, including some “white sleepwalkers."

Here are 7 things white women new to activism can learn from Rosa Parks:

1. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop an Anti-Diva Directive. Divas rarely submit to getting dirty, so ditch the diva mantra. Resiliency requires a drive to get “messy” and confront conflict and challenges systematically.

2. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop a merit above material pedagogy. Strength is amenable, but the desire to build uses the rules of permanency. Resiliency requires committing to the process, even amidst the fear of catalytic opposition.

3. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop a message that sparks a movement — a breakdown doesn’t necessarily mean it will wear you down. Resiliency requires the fortitude to stick to the task.

4. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop a tenacious desire to collaborate and help others get some skin in. Resiliency requires changing the rules of the game, if necessary; better yet, deciding to not play the game at all may be the best option.

5. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop an unwavering ability to pivot. Resiliency requires pushing inward to innate power. Turning away from what isn’t working towards the unknown may be fearful, however necessary.

6. Mrs. Rosa Parks work up the world on how to develop a never-less-than mentality to defy norms. Resilience requires regulating oneself to brave the results, regardless of the immediate outcomes.

7. Mrs. Rosa Parks woke up the world on how to develop an intergenerational mind’s eye. Resilience requires the knowledge that expands the future voices of women and girls — it is up to reviled feminist to advocate for these non-traditional attributes.

Resiliency is not something many are merely born with or easily awaken to. This work isn’t for the faint at heart. The most resilient human beings, much like Rosa Parks, have experienced unwelcome conditions that disturb their content and comfortable existences. Women who are called to a cause and forge a communal spirit towards fundamental change are familiar with terms of loss and deliberation. If your advocacy and activism isn’t waking anyone up, then perhaps you are still sleeping, or agonizing over a dream with no basis in reality or testaments that will bring about true resolution.

If your activism isn’t waking anyone up, then perhaps you are still sleeping.

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To embark upon the brilliance of resiliency, the idea of rejection as an unavoidable exploit must be dismissed. Rejection catapults the resilient into resisting the status quo, therefore pressing into limitless reservoirs of power.

The future voice of women and girls is at hand, and it is up to reviled feminists to advocate for these non-traditional attributes.

In the days, months, years, and decades ahead, collaborating as intersectional feminists to empower the trajectory towards allegiance is more important than ever. As these values are being formulated for the common good, goals of tending to women and girls must be placed above ego and divisiveness.

Relentlessly readying ourselves to fight for women's rights cannot only make us stronger, but also add value to the ethos of resiliency — what it means to go to war as a woman for those who have seen womanhood as fragile.

The concept of fragility exists only to minimize ones’ worth; thus, developing resiliency and tapping into the revolutionary mission already honed in the history and lives of black women will benefit a society prone to indifference towards women and girls.

Significant, consistent constructs of appropriation, aligning with protecting feministic cultural philosophies, are left up to “woke women." Securing enhanced advocacy skills, and coming alongside leadership that has always exhibited a trajectory of response in the lives of infiltrated groups, must be made universal.

History repeatedly demonstrates that there is no need to reinvent the industrious wheel of resistance, therefore, women must take a spoke from the past and use it to ascend for the betterment of human rights for all.

In the now, it is important to listen to truth and teach yourself more about the subject of activism and advocacy. You must standing as a friend to those in need. As some black women may ask of their white family and friends, could you just ask me the hard questions, query me, include me, be a friend, advocate, rather than ally during these challenging times, and times to come for my race and personage?

Concretely, if there were no opportunities for video or pictures, would you go to the protest, would you participate, would you advocate? In a media-driven society that remarks, "if it isn’t on social media, it didn’t happen," it is as important to note persons who may be in the minority and marginalized will have others too know injustice does and is happening and will continue pictures or not.

White women new to activism, are you really “woke”? It will take the duality of focused and energized forces to forge this much-needed wave of joint activism. For the sake the safety and the imminent security of womanhood, listen and learn from those who have gone ahead and wiped the perspiration of degradation from the brows of their sisters, who tirelessly woke up to resistance while rallying communities to dream beyond the superficial or self-gratification of privileged nemeses....wake up with eyes widened to this world that exists today. It’s time to advocate while being “fully woke,” or respectfully, shut up!

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Salaam Green, M.S.: Poet, Author, Social Health Activist and Speaker. Founder of the Literary Healing Arts Foundation, promoting the healing power of words. 2016 Poet Laureate for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Contact Salaam and subscribe to book Salaam for speaking, community healing circles and workshops, or poetry showcases and readings at www.literaryhealingarts.com or salaaamgreen@gmail.com. Follow @beautifulblackpoetry on Instagram as Lit Healer; @salaamgreen1 on Twitter; Salaam Green on Facebook.

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