Research suggests that Black women are more likely than any other racial or gender group to go unrecognized and unheard because they live at the intersection between two marginalized groups. When our society challenges sexism, it typically centers white women’s experiences, and when race is on the table, the discussion is frequently centered around Black men. In effect, Black women’s multiple subordinate identities within broader systems of oppression effectively renders them invisible.
This is why discussions like the one led by Lauren Wilson, are so important. VASHTI is a value-driven, faith-based communication and leadership enhancement initiative of PFAW Foundation’s African American Religious Affairs (AARA) program. As a keynote speaker at the 2019 Spring VASHTI Convocation, Wilson began her remarks with the question “What is Black girl magic?” and challenged the faith leaders in the room to think about why Black women are the most neglected in our society.
Lauren recounted her experiences as a Black woman seeking health care and spoke about the challenges she faced finding a doctor that respected her voice and understanding of her own body. She explained that Black woman experience numerous barriers when accessing quality care and that Black women in the United States experience higher rates of many preventable health conditions. Lauren also raised the scary reality that Black women are about three to four times more likely to die during pregnancy or from complications resulting from childbirth than any other racial group.
Throughout the discussion, Lauren stressed that Black women cannot afford to stay invisible anymore. “Being invisible is not an option,” she declared as she urged the Black women in the room to use their innate power and #BlackGirlMagic to uplift the voices and experiences of their communities and congregations.