This weekend, we participated in the Twin Ports Women’s March 2018 supporting the work of amazing folks fighting for equity. We were glad to see so many of our community members marching in solidarity for change in our communities.

Among many of the amazing speakers, our Creative Director, Terri, was featured. We are very proud of her for passionately speaking her truth.

The transcript of her full speech is as follows:

When I first considered moving to Duluth, I had no idea what to expect. With only 1.9% of the population being Black, I didn’t know if I would find a community that accepted my identities. But, I didn’t really have much of a choice, see, my move wasn’t because I “just had the liberty to do so” but rather because I was seeking liberation. Freedom from an ex-husband, a liar, a manipulator, and physical and emotional abuser of five and a half years. This experience was a pivotal moment in my life because I found out just how much of a badass I really am. How much strength it takes to become a survivor of domestic violence while living in a system that blames the victim.

And while my story has much to do with the power dynamics made comfortable through patriarchy and sexism, my story is rooted in White supremacy. My ex’s actions were a direct result of him being socialized in an environment that values White supremacy. This plague is deeply embedded and affects all of our communities with its domination and control, its elimination of opportunities, and its White-washed selective memory.

During my experience, I was forced into silence. I passed up opportunities so that my partner wouldn’t feel intimidated by my success. Because of the plague of White supremacy, I forgot my identity. I forgot what I was capable of and that I had a history of Black women who had survived, and will continue to survive in the fight for representation and liberation.

So excuse me if I side-eye your White feminism, or back-hand your White privilege to touch my hair, or reject your Christianity that discriminates against non-binary genders and trans folks, or roll my eyes at your ability to say thank you without investing in what I do, or call you out for expecting me to know everything about Blackness while sitting in the same ill-informed history classrooms as you.

I refuse to be silenced or censored. I refuse to be controlled. I refuse to be accepted as a woman (even in this space) without the acknowledgment of my Blackness. And I refuse to accept that you don’t have the ability to change your actions, your thoughts, your words, your spending habits, and your dedication in this fight against a system that affects all of us.

She is also mentioned in an article from the DNT.

Photo credit by Ivy Vainio.