The Power of Cultural Identity: THRIVE

Participant Reflection

Black Female Project participants have defined thriving as:

having long term goals that can change along the way;
seeking opportunities;
asking questions to move forward;
putting one’s heart and soul into his or her existence;
being genuine or authentic;
following one’s passion and finding self in that;
possessing an appetite to learn more;
and never letting ‘no’ stop you from your pursuit.

1865 to 1964. Seldom do we inquire about this 100-year gap.

Baayan Bakari noted that during this period African Americans thrived and excelled. Beyond rudimentary mentions of Zora Neale Hurston, Josephine Baker, or Madame C.J. Walker, it is a time virtually erased from our history books.

Bakari pushed us to imagine lives greater than abolitionist ex-slaves and beyond lost identities following the passage of the Civil Rights Act.  

Bakari reminded us that during the 100-year gap we had dignity. It was expressed in what we wore to our interactions with each other. Our professional representation in various industries grew exponentially and we started our own schools and universities to expound upon our education. Music, art, and writing reflected our love of self and our people. We were strong in our identity and debunked the need to assimilate into white culture. Our faith and sense of family was impenetrable.

Bakari challenged us to revisit African American rituals and traditions. Many of us are self-educating beyond classroom textbooks. We’ve written innumerable love songs for us and by us about our community. We continue to enjoy Sunday dinners and family reunions. We see ourselves represented in all areas of entertainment from swimming to web series. Additionally, several people throughout the country are providing community spaces like BlackFemaleProject that work to change the narrative of our experience in this world. We maintain faiths and commiserate with the lives we want to live, increasing our health outcomes.

Prior to his workshop, I was concerned about how to continuously prove to people that we are more than the stereotypical narrative that mainstream white American media attempts to feed us.

We are NOT fashion trends, consumerism, and crime data.
We continue on, with the simplest act of resistance.
We continue to thrive.

Blog Contributor and BlackFemaleProject Participant Ché L. Abram attended The Power of Cultural Identity session and submitted her participant reflection with excitement documenting the event's personal impact and overall success.