Truthfully, I have a very boring bucket list. Actually, I have a non-existent bucket list. There are only a few things that I want to accomplish before my death, and since these things are so few I never felt the need to list them. These wishes are more like pipe dreams – things I passionately want but would never expect to actually happen…until one actually did.
I have always been fascinated with African-American history in the US. My lullabies were negro spirituals. My cartoons were 90s sitcoms with all Black casts. My bedtime stories were newspaper articles about the Civil Rights Movement. I had the urge to march before I could walk. So when the opportunity arrived to meet Angela Davis, I stopped rushing to my Italian class and decided that I would be a little late.
It is hard for me to put into words how much the Black Femininity Series meant to me. To leave a city where I was surrounded by African-Americans on a daily basis and arrive on a campus where I can count the number of Black students on one hand was more than just a culture shock – it shook me. I felt isolated, stranded in a foreign land where finding someone that looked like me became a difficult task.The Black Femininity Series became an oasis when I needed one the most. Tuesdays became the highlight of my week, a time where, in the words of Nina Simone, “young, gifted, and black” women could get together and plan an event to showcase Black women in the positive light they deserved, but so rarely received. It was a time when everyone could contribute to the conversation and offer their individual expertise to create collective magic. I was even able to employ my passion for organization and efficiency to help bring awareness to our event through surveys and tabling sessions.
The evening of the Black Femininity Series was an evening I will cherish forever. Witnessing so many successful women of color, from all walks of life and nations, together in one room basking in “Black Girl Magic” was a reminder that it was a great time to be alive. It served as the best remedy to numb the pain of current events, even if only for one night. Opportunities like these only come once in a lifetime, had I not stopped that morning on the way to Italian class, I would have missed such a blessing – replacing my regret with gratitude. The Black Femininity Series student committee and panelists were able to have dinner with Angela Davis–circling back to my bucket list. The dinner in itself was very memorable. One moment we filmed Angela Davis’ first ever Mannequin Challenge and in the next we would shift to discuss women’s rights within a global context with film producer Rachel Wang. Though a week has passed since the event, the energy still lingers, giving me the strength I so desperately needed to finish my semester strong.
Looking forward, I hope to see the Black Femininity Series become an annual event. A continuous opportunity for the torch to be passed to young Black girls of the next generation, a baton passed from the accomplished Black women of today to the young women who will be making serious moves in the future. All in all, I am so grateful to have been apart of the series and to have met the people I did. Even when times seem dark, “Black Girl Magic” will always bring in the light.