March is Women’s History Month
As we commemorate Women’s History Month this March, it’s an ideal time to celebrate the beauty, brilliance, and boldness of us. It’s also a time that serves as a poignant reminder that as women—but particularly as African American women—we often are marginalized and minimized and put in situations of having to prove our worth and that we can carry our weight no matter the who, what, where, when and why.
Don’t let others try to define us based on stereotypes and speculation rather than on the strength of our successes and on the shoulders of the sheroes on which we solidly stand. So during this month and always, let us loudly proclaim “You Can’t” to those who seek to refuse us our rights, resist our resolve, and reshape our reality.
You can’t say you’re inclusive if you leave people out.
You can’t invite me to the table and then have your doubts.
You can’t use me as a token to be seen and not heard.
You can’t disrespect me and then think I won’t say a word.
You can’t put me in a square because I think outside the box.
You can’t encircle my mind because I have freedom of thought.
You can’t “Skip to my Lou” and then skip over me.
You can’t halt hate with hypocrisy.
You can’t tell me to pull up my bootstraps when you put shackles on my feet.
You can’t understand my struggles when you live on easy street.
You can’t see me even though my presence is right here.
You can’t really know me when your vision is colored by fear.
You can’t tell me that what I’m feeling is not very real.
You can’t define who I am and my joy you can’t steal.
© 2017 Tamera Wells-Lee