Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell

Over the past few months, we have gone through an endless pandemic, elected a new president, attended protests to recognize black humanity, and witnessed an insurgency in an attempt to dismantle all notions of that humanity. Finding positivity in those moments as a black woman and as a black writer has proven to be nearly impossible.

After a year like 2020, it can be tempting to see this turmoil as a necessary part of our American history, to pick President Biden as our Superman, and move on. After all, superhero stories are American style. But I have come to the conclusion that if we are to glean any money from this storm, it has to be the truth. And the truth is, Americans have never been united behind one savior. Our nation survives on the shoulders of marginalized heroes who are only superficially recognized by history. These are the people who step in, fueled by their own moral strength, even when so little in this country seems to benefit them.

And all too often, these heroes are black women, who take on responsibilities that are not theirs in the service of the collective good, even when they are ultimately excluded from the story of redemption.

Coretta Scott King once said, “I’m made to look like an attachment to a vacuum cleaner. Martin’s wife, then Martin’s widow, which I was proud to be. But I was never just a wife, nor a widow. I have always been more than a label. ”

If there is anything positive to be learned from this moment in history is the opportunity to do something differently. It means honoring black women who, like Coretta Scott King, are dedicated and resilient, radical and pioneering, tough and intelligent, and deserve our full attention.

This Black history month, HelloGiggles honors five black women who have made crucial and lasting changes in their respective fields, from Sugar queen star Bianca Lawson, who has been a beacon of visibility for black audiences for decades, to Dr Joy Harden Bradford, a therapist who has created a community to promote the mental health of black women. We spoke to Teresa C. Younger, an activist and activist who is the CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women; Nafessa Williams, the revolutionary actor who saves the world on television Black Lightning; and Lauren Ash, founder and CEO of the Black Girl in OM meditation collective, focused on the mental well-being of black women.

For us, recognizing the value of the actions of these women is a positive small step in the path of correction. Once we start to tell the story of a nation with a lot hero, not just one, maybe this nation will start to change for the better.

“Women of color, we are not monolithic. We are all kinds of variations.”

Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell; Photo courtesy of JD Barnes

“My hope is that black women start to prioritize themselves more.”

Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell; Photo courtesy of Dr Joy Harden Bradford

“The payoff is seeing how brunette women and girls relate to the character, be it her hair, her demeanor, her fearlessness.”

Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell; Photo courtesy of Mark Hill / The CW

“Let’s be honest, this country has yet to fully invest in and support women and girls of color.”

Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell; Photo courtesy of the Ms. Foundation for Women

“Black women … needed a safe space to be able to come together and have a dialogue about what it meant, and what it continues to mean, to be good.”

Credit: Illustrations by Aleea Rae Campbell; Photo courtesy of Lauren Ash

Visuals

Photo editor: Jasmine purdie
Artistic director: Jenna Brillhart
Designers: Sarah Maiden & Emily Lundin
Illustrator: Aleea rae campbell



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