I came across an article that ushered today’s musing. The authors concluded that ‘minority youth have access to valuable resources within their families and communities, yet in the general population, these youth have poorer outcomes than their majority counterparts.’ This conflict between what minority youth have and how they fare, is a conflict that ought to remain a conflict but with attempts at solutions. It’s a conflict that should make all of us in this line of work uneasy, troubled, restless, until we permit harmony in a life for minority youth at risk for numerous negative outcomes. The statistics are dire and I won’t belabor you with them for I want solutions. There must have been a time when access to valuable resources protected the lives of minority youth, protects them still. How do we get back there? How do we move forward from there? What will it take so that this harmony is realized?

A small remnant of these resources can be observed in Black churches where other mothers cater to every child as if it where their own. It’s the very reason why I am always on the look out for one, a Black Catholic Church whenever I am in a new town. They have been a source of community, where myself and my children feel welcomed, feel safe, feel warmth, even from strangers we are meeting for the first time. We tried a non Black Catholic Church yesterday for Good Friday. Our church’s service was at 6pm and with four children, time was of the essence. So I looked around our neighborhood for any mass at 3pm, the time when Good Friday services are performed. We were the only Black family in attendance. The stares where intense. Not the kind that is welcoming, but the kind prepared to annihilate. It didn’t help that this was baby’s second time in church so he screamed and cried and the stares grew louder if only they could speak.

I took the boys outside and spent a good portion of time outside. By the time service was ended, I promised myself never to be back. It’s for this reason I truly value my Black Catholic Church. Sometimes one needs to step outside their comfort zone to truly appreciate what one has and the black church is full of resources that will keep any minority child and their parent feel warmth. Maybe it’s the strong sense of identity. Everything evokes a black presence, down to the saints plastered around the church. Plus belonging and connection to a people, a place, one’s peers. Strong familial ties, generations, multiple ones, protect and provide stability and positive well-being, even mental health outcomes. And yes, the church service is only about 2 hours or so. It’s is all worth it considering the benefits. And the benefits are endless, so too are the possibilities. Which is why for minority youth, keep the Black church in mind. It’s has endless valuable resources that matter for their overall positive outcomes.

At our church, even our Nativity scene, evokes our presence, evokes our identity.

With Georgia quite literally on everyone’s mind this week, I spent the time reading about all the visionaries that made this blue season possible. Almost all of them are black, female and gifted. Like Nse Ufot of the New Georgia Project (here). Not only is Nse a proud naturalized citizen, but she was born in Nigeria and raised in Southwest Atlanta. In the middle of a global pandemic, Nse and her organization worked tirelessly to ensure that all Georgians knew that their voices mattered and that these voices needed to be heard through their vote. She used her voice for power, as a vital necessity for existence. And the result is quite simply sterling. Nse is sterling.

Nse Ufot.

Sterling in silence. Sterling in her ability to be silent, but plant seeds for over seven years, seeds that led to 800,000 Georgians registering and flourishing with their vote in 2020. Sterling in her ability to mobilize young people, people of color, women, all sorts of women in Georgia. Sterling with being a strong leading voice, drowning our misinformation that undermines democracies. Sterling in calling out the incompetence of failed leadership. Sterling in her passion for the pain inflicted by the ongoing global pandemic among the very Georgians who continue to bear its brunt. Sterling in her fight to end voter suppression for all.

But Nse is also sterling in survival. Sterling with surviving the election of 2020 that has Georgia quite literally on everyone’s mind. Sterling in working with other black female leaders (I will reflect on all of them this week) to do the unthinkable with making Georgia, a very red state, turn blue for the first time since 1992, during the most pivotal election of my lifetime. Sterling still, post-election in helping to cure votes since Tuesday night before the Friday deadline. Sterling in turning many Georgians singular vote, their hopes and dreams with it, toward survival and change.

Nse Ufot is sterling. She is also a great reminder of how hard black women work, behind the scenes, for years, to transform our silence into a language of survival. Audre Lorde and all the black female leaders who have gone before us (and the black men too) would be so proud of you Nse. Keep being sterling.

The past 24 hours has been exhausting, draining, but defiantly optimistic. We have all waited patiently for every vote to count. We all see how impossible it is to even engage in dialogue with those that still choose to divide us. But even these divisions are tiring. Americans desperately needed a change and millions of people casted their ballot, waited in long lines, just so out votes count. And now as the end seems close, I am extremely pleased with the outcome and the opportunity to say the words Vice President Kamala Harris. The sheer audacity of her victory is enormous and history must commend her for running a fine campaign with President Joe Biden. Because of her, any other girl or woman can aspire for that highest office and not survive but also triumph as a female leader this country desperately needed.

History must also commend every black woman who organized, who worked tirelessly, unprovoked but determined to ensure that a black woman leads this nations highest office. Her victory is very much ours. Just when they think we have nothing to offer, even when they think we are silent, or nasty, we plant, little seeds here, little seeds there, working hard, from one post to the other, always aspiring to the best we know we can achieve for ourselves and all those around us and we work hard. Every one underestimates how hard the black woman works behind the scenes, even when they seem silent. Until the time comes to survive and boy are we glorious when we survive. Today was a triumphant day for all black women and because of Vice President Kamala Harris, we can all defiantly flaunt and celebrate just who we are. The seriousness of all she accomplished in her lifetime warrants us, no commands, that we celebrate being black and female in America. I celebrate her today and forever for making me hopeful, for getting us out of this mess, for helping me to dream once again of the audacity of being me.