March For Black Women is convening this weekend for black women and their allies in Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
The march, in its second year, was created to highlight the specific issues black women face in South Florida—and to create a community of sisterhood.
The event will take place simultaneously in Miami-Dade and Broward on Saturday. The marches will be supported by nonprofits including the Miami Worker's Center, Florida New Majority and Black Lives Matter Alliance Broward.
Organizers say "March for Black Women" centers the different experiences of what it means to be a black woman in this political climate. Among issues of concern are disabilities, mental health, surviving violence and how public policies shape the quality of life for black women and girls.
WLRN reporter Nadege Green spoke to Krystina Francois, one of the organizers.
WLRN: What is the March for Black Women about?
Francois: In 2017 we really focused on developing an agenda. We called it the "Femme Agenda" that addresses poverty [and] that uplifts marginalized groups of women that are traditionally left out of the conversation around women's rights.
We decided to take the bullhorn and make sure that the issues that black women are facing are front and center.
This is also about black girls. A national study by the Women's Law Center found black girls were more likely to be suspended and disciplined harsher in school than white girls. You're working with teens and youth in this march.
What are some of their concerns as young black girls?
There was a session this weekend called "Radical Softness," and it was literally a space for the youth to say that, "Hey, we're here and we're not mean, we're not angry. We have a mix of emotions like everybody else but we're seen in a different way."
They were saying that they're scared to call out their peers when they're getting bullied or they're getting teased— that they are scared to go to administrators and teachers to report things because then they're seen as the problem, they're seen as aggressive.
So we do have a whole contingent of youth that have been a part of the planning. Youth speakers—trans youth, queer youth and black indigenous youth talking at the march on Saturday. We are definitely making sure they take up the space they deserve.
Race and gender have come in sharp focus over the past few years. We're confronting this country's past and present with racism and sexism. Can you talk about what it means when those two things intersect. What it means to be a black woman right now?
I think that when we look at equal pay—for black women that's even lower. And so one of the reasons why we decided to create this space [is] to particularly address all of the different economic issues and political issues that our communities faces.
You know, equal pay for black women [and] workplace discrimination. There's a lot of conversation around black women's hair in the workplace. Certain workplaces saying that having dreadlocks is not acceptable or having braids is not acceptable. And that trickles down to our girls in our schools saying that their hair is messy or inappropriate and them not being able to go to school.
The March for Black Women is happening both in Fort Lauderdale and in Miami. What can people expect if they show up?
We're going to begin the march by having a brief overview of everything that's on your ballot [and] share some resources. There are tons of voter guides out there.
Then we're going to have speakers from all different facets of the black community, so we have black indigenous folks, queer folks, we're going to have immigrant folks and really highlight that all of these other issues are black issues.
And then come back and celebrate over food and music and kinship.