My Grandma Wasn’t Empowered but.....

Thursday, February 9, 2017
Slay Magazine

My grandma, Ruth James was a farm hand’s wife. She gave what little she had to family, neighbors and even the white family she worked for. That was her world. That was her reality.

She worked hard and made sure no one left from her hungry or in need of clothing. This is documented in the book Backward Glances by Margaret Poole Downing. She cleaned white people’s houses and took care of their children from can’t see to can’t see, because she had to. At the end of the night, she walked to her humble little home, only to continue working for her own husband and children.

My grandparents home on the OUTSIDE OF THE LAND that they worked on.

My grandma was not empowered. In the rural area she lived in, blacks were severely disenfranchised. They were immune to the Civil Rights Movement. They did the best they could with what they had.

That’s neither my reality nor the reality of my two daughters, ages 16 and 24 years old. We have access to everything, literally at the push of a button.

With this new president, #45, women like me have a target on our backs. However, I will fight back. I am empowered.

I will fight back for my grandma. I will fight back for my female ancestors who could not or were too afraid to do so. I will fight for my daughters and their offspring.

How will I do this? I will empower my daughters to own their own businesses. My youngest daughter owns Doni’s Desserts. My oldest daughter owns Painted To Filth. I want them to know that if there is no way, they can make a way!

Doni’s Desserts: Cookie Balls

Painted To Filth: Bald Headed Beauty

I will run for local office without fear. I “was going to” run in 2014, but was too afraid. I was not empowered to believe in myself and my capabilities. In the county I live in, most of the leadership are folks who do not look like me. Our school board does not represent the children who attend the schools. Our county commissioners do not represent their constituents.

Dear sister, I want you to truly reflect on whose blood is in your veins. What did they do? How can you empower the women and girls in your family? If you don’t run for anything, can you support a woman who does? You can write emails to your local senators and representatives. You can help with voter registration. There is so much we can do, and we must do something for our kids and their future.

We are empowered, ladies! It’s time to get to work!

Click here for your elected official’s contact information.

By: Tanya Barnett


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