At the Intersection- by Kortni Blackmon

Today, I don’t plan to share an experience of racism with you.

Instead, I’m going to attempt sharing something more:

My existence. Rather, the experience of racism as an existence.

You see, …I reside at the intersection of black and woman…

And, here, we have set up camp.

Here, we care for one another. Here, we heal one another… with oil and herbs, lemonade and such things.

Right here… we praise Gxd because we know that She placed the sun in the sky with the ~i n t e n t i o n~ of creating us. And we know that She looks favorably upon us and is especially proud of this womanly brigade.

And we are here for it, baby… yes. we. are.

Here, we have birthed a pack of lone warriors fighting a war comprised of many battles that you. don’t. even. see …here.

Here, we dip our hands in history and wear it as warpaint.

Here, our grandmothers whisper into mamma’s ear and she then braids those whispers into our hair.

Here, we pour libations from the drinking well

And our ancestors gather the children and instruct them on enemy encounters:

Stand squarely, shake its hand firmly and look it dead in the eye.

Stand squarely, shake its hand firmly and look it dead in the eye.

Stand squarely...

Square up.

Here, we teach our children that THEY HAVE ENEMIES.

There are whole nations, systems and ideologies at WAR with your magic.

Here, we set up registries where we enlist our daughters… and our sons, until the moment that they forget the women that dwell within them…

Here, their heads are counted and crowned for war.

Here, we teach them to p i m p the s y s t e m. Here, I teach them to infultrate. Here, I teach them to TEAR. IT. DOWN.

Here, we learn, we laugh, we sing.

Here, we cry. Here, we scream.

Here, we preach, we intellectualize,

and —we twerk.

Here, we are all of who we were born to become. Here, we are ourselves fully.

Here, we may go unseen, but we will not go unheard.

Here, my tribe can feel you. — Here, your violence does not go unchecked.

I said...

Here, I*will*check*you, boo.

Here, at the intersection, I don’t have an experience of how racism has impacted me… I have an entire existence of one. What I open my eyes to each morning, what rocks me to sleep at night. The way I eat, work, laugh and play, … the way I love… c a r e f u l l y… the way I raise my children, the way momma raised me, the way I look after my brothers… calling them in midnight hours prompted either by the news or by my weary spirit. The words I speak and the places I cannot go.

Racism isn’t an anecdote; it is a life lived on the defense. It is children birthed on the offense.

It is Combat.

Welcome.

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 Kortni Blackmon works for the Live Free Campaign, which is a countrywide movement of the PICO National Network (People Improving Communities Through Organizing) of faith-based organizations and congregations. This campaign is committed to dismantling the mass-criminalization of people of color and building electoral and economic power for the people.

Kortni was raised in Saint Louis, Missouri (more specifically, the Ferguson/Florissant area). She also attended Loyola University of New Orleans— experiencing the devastation of Hurricane Katrina during her first semester in the fall of 2005. Among many other things, she is also a survivor of domestic and sexual violence. Having lived in locales directly impacted by the fatal violence of police injustice, where the struggle to rebuild in times of disaster and hardship is visibly disproportionate in particular communities of color, and where she was called upon to mentor young women through their own personal experiences of abuse, Kortni was moved to begin a hotline dedicated to addressing the trauma of being black in America. Through this invaluable resource, black people of all backgrounds, ages, faiths, genders and sexualities come together to build one-another up and support each other mentally and spiritually through love and open dialogue.

Major thanks to Kortni for her extremely important work and for sharing this incredibly powerful piece!