Event Spotlight: Picking Up Harriet’s Rifle: Black Female Revolutionaries in Philadelphia

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Peace to all! In the last few months i’ve been struggling on finding motivation to write on my website. If I could sum it up I felt like I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go in with Young Black Female. Don’t get me wrong, Young Black Female has always been a place of random topics ranging from health to current topics but as I grow as an adult I felt I needed to add depth to my content. I found that content last night….

I had the pleasure of being in attendance at an event called “Picking Up Harriet’s Rifle: Black Female Revolutionaries in Philadelphia” which was organized by Iresha Picot. The event was a panel discussion with old school and new school revolutionaries and let me tell you all that it was simply AMAZINGGGGG! First, i’d like to list all of the guest speakers and their organizations so you can really see why the panel was so amazing and even if you aren’t familiar with these women you should definitely research them!

Pam Africa (ICFFMAJ/MOVE)

Regina Jennings (Black Panther Party)

Theresa Shoats (Human Rights Coalition for Prisoners)

Sacaree Rhodes (Daughters of Fine Lineage)

Basiymah Muhammad-Bey (United Negro Improvement Association)

Iresha Picot (Books through Bars/MOVE 9 Supporter)

Shesheena Bray (Askia Coalition/Sankofa Community Empowerment)

Patrice Armstead (Building Peoples Power)

Natasha Butler (International Democratic Uhuru Movement)

Lori Chambers (Finding Empowerment through Education)

The event was in commemoration of Harriet Tubman’s transition 100 years ago and it also brought how we relate to Harriet Tubman even in our current day struggle. The program started off with the new school revolutionaries introducing the old school revolutionaries. In my opinion the dialogue in that part of the program was the best part of the program because it gave each revolutionary a time to introduce themselves and to speak about their personal message for us all. After that the panel were asked questions and the program closed with everyone being awed at what they had just witnessed. I could literally feel the energy in my body after listening to all of these beautiful woman dropping knowledge that I am blessed to have heard.

rotunda1I’d love to highlight every single revolutionary but I’d end up writing a 10 page entry so I’m going to highlight three moments that stood out to me. Sister Sacaree Rhodes of Daughters of Fine Lineage told her story first and I really believe it opened my eyes to what the older Black generation has gone through. She spoke of being part of the Wilmington 10 era and constantly dealing with being spit in her face, called a nigger, and dealing with the Klu Klux Klan. The most insightful topic she spoke about was our “ancestral obligations”. I had never heard anyone use that phrase before but as she spoke it made complete sense to me. From the beginning of time our ancestors have gone through battles that we have not come even somewhat close to experiencing, just so that we could all have a relatively easier life. Sister Rhodes helped me to realize that we owe our ancestors and the way that we should show our respect is by being the best that we can be. It goes deeper than just doing things to bring ourselves up but also helping our community and paying forward the very things that was given to us. That lesson will definitely stick with me forever.

FETEMy second highlight will be going to Lori Chambers of Finding Empowerment through Education (FETE). She is a beautiful young woman with a mature outlook on life and a very giving spirit. During the panel a question was asked about how the mothers on the panel balance having children and their workload. Many of the panelist agreed that they bring their children to their meetings and events so that their children are aware of what is truly going on in our world. They were passing the mic around from mother to mother but then Lori grabbed the mic. Lori stated that she hasn’t given birth yet but that she sees all children as her children and how she felt that it is her responsibility to educate and nurture all the children that cross her path. Within that conversation it was also mentioned that FETE has started their own school for 2 to 9 year olds to learn and broaden their horizons outside of the public school system. It’s just getting started but I know that it will grow immensely and I hope to soon play even a minor part in such an amazing accomplishment!

rotunda3Lastly, I want to speak about Pam Africa of ICFFMAJ/MOVE. I can’t even fully express how much her words spoke to me and how she dropped so much truth that is STILL ringing in my ears. At one point she literally received a standing ovation because her words were so insightful. She spoke about how we can never back down or compromise on what we believe to be true. We can not let the government control how we see ourselves or allow ourselves to be limited in any way from a government that was not built for us to thrive. Through organizing, consistency and mental power we can accomplish things beyond our belief. Her messages went so deep and her voice was so strong but we could all feel the love that generated through everything she said. After the program was over I went up to her and just said “I love you.” and she gave me the warmest hug! We talked for a little while and I gave her my information because I definitely want to become more active in things I believe in. Pam Africa is truly an inspiration and if you ever have the chance to meet her, you will not be disappointed!

I wish I could speak about all the panelists because ALL of them spoke to my soul. Unfortunately we live in a time that the examples of Black women aren’t always the most positive and damn sure aren’t good examples for the youth. This event brought me back to the center of what Black women are. We are fighters, mothers, educators, wives, activist, the center of the universe and ,excuse my language but not really, we don’t take no one’s shit! This event reminded me of my own possibilities and my own strength and I thank everyone involved in this event for that. I was truly blessed to be at this event and I promise to use this inspiration to make some moves in my community.. That is my ancestral obligation.

Thank you all for reading. Don’t forget to research all of the wonderful panelist. I’ll also be adding new entries about the women and their organizations in the future!

Peace & Blessings!

Sabia

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