Reframe the Past to Reimagine Your Future: Thoughts on Black History Month
Guest Post: Kimiya Factory
By Admin | Feb. 28, 2020, 9:48 p.m.
“I mean, how many of us in this room have colleagues and partners and friends from other races, sexes, religions? Show of hands.
Well, they want to break bread with you, right? They like you? Well, then this is their problem, too.
So when we’re marching and protesting and posting about the Michael Brown juniors and Atatiana Jeffersons of the World, tell your friends to pull up.” Rihanna, 2020 NAACP Image Awards
Intersectionality: where my being queer, black and a woman all intersect at an identity stop-sign - the crossroads of identities that I hated about myself for far too long. Intersectionality to me means that we understand others oppression and ‘pull up’ when our neighbor is forsaken in the eyes of human rights and justice.
It means that to “break bread” with others, like Rihanna said, you have to first recognize that oppression is connected, yet unique.
These socially-ascribed markers perpetually symbolizing a reminder in America that slavery was the beginning of my ancestry, while European royalty and conquest over dominion and people were the beginning of others.
And yet, I endure a whole month of socially-shaded questions like, “why do you get your own month?”
I can recall the deep, long sigh I take before having to remind myself that black history supersedes that of black suffering.
My history is Black Joy. My history pushes on in the future of black women who deserve more than a month of recognition and on-the-spot, racially-charged questions about our hair. My history lives on in the sit-ins and Stonewall riots organized by Black Trans Lives, who still have the lowest life expectancy in the United States of America.
My history survives the attempts of restrictive health care laws such as House Bill 2, which forced the closure of abortion clinics that provided critical health care to those in immediate need. Bills like HB 2 (ultimately struck down by the U.S. Supreme Court) only further marginalized communities of color and low-income families, and work against those who have a dream or a choice about their bodies.
My history believes that the single black mother, who has no health insurance, deserves access to a breast cancer screening which could potentially save her life.
My history knows that Black women deserve better than having to navigate access to prenatal care and a high maternal mortality rate.
This is why I support Planned Parenthood health centers, because they provide high-quality, affordable reproductive health care.
I fight for so much more than a designated month - I fight for the reproductive justice of generations to come.
My history, our history, is determined by little black girls with stars in their eyes, who are driven to study and confront the law as it pertains to reproductive justice.
I have always found it odd - these questions about a single month that is dedicated to my black struggle (like I make the rules). It is my right to pay respect to the history that taught me that my people were pillaged and shackled against our will just as much as it is my right to celebrate the future that reminds me of the fire of survival that runs through my veins - the same fire that ran through the veins of my ancestors who still silently root for me. Rooting for the fight. Rooting for us.
It never ends here, or there, or in between.
Because if there is one thing I have learned about history it is this: It continues to be written.
Kimiya Factory, is a former undergraduate student leader at UTSA with a B.A. in Political Science with a minor in legal studies where she Founded and lead the movement #ChangeRapeCulture. Kimiya is also a member of the PPTV Speaker Bureau, a group of advocate leaders from across the state speaking out for Planned Parenthood patients andhealth centers.