A Message to My Sistas
by Assata Shakur
At this time I'd like to say a few words especially
to my sisters: SISTERS. BLACK PEOPLE WILL
NEVER BE FREE UNLESS BLACK WOMEN PARTICIPATE IN
EVERY ASPECT OF OUR STRUGGLE, ON EVERY LEVEL OF OUR STRUGGLE. I
think that Black women, more than anybody on the face of the earth,
recognize the urgency of our situation. Because it is We who come
face to face daily with the institutions of our oppression. And
because it is We who have borne the major responsibility of raising
our children. And it is We who have to deal with the welfare systems
that do not care about the welfare of our children. And it is We
who have to deal with the school systems that do not educate our
children. It is We who have to deal with the racist teachers who
teach our children to hate themselves. It is We who have seen the
terrible effects of racism on our children. I JUST WANT TO TAKE
A MOMENT OUT TO EXPRESS MY LOVE TO ALL OF YOU WHO RISK YOUR
LIVES DAILY STRUGGLING OUT HERE ON THE FRONT LINES. We who
have watched our young grow too old, too soon. We who have watched
our children come home angry and frustrated and seen them grow more
bitter, more disillusioned with the passing of each day. And We
who have seen the sick, trapped look on the faces of our children
when they come to fully realize what it means to be Black in Amerikkka.
And we know what deprivation is. How many times have We run out
of bus fare, rent money, food money and how many times have our
children gone to school in hand-me-down clothes, with holes in their
shoes. We know what a hell-hole Amerikkka is. We're afraid to let
our children go out and play. We're afraid to walk the streets at
night. We sisters, We have seen our young, the babies that We brought
into this world with such great hopes for, We have seen their bodies
bloated and aching from drugs, scarred and deformed by bullet holes.
We know what oppression is. We have been abused in every way imaginable.
We have been abused economically, politically. We have been abused
physically, and We have been abused sexually. And sisters, We have
a long and glorious history of struggle on this land/planet. Afrikan
women were strong and courageous warriors long before We came to
this country in chains. And here in Amerikkka, our sisters have
been on the front lines. Sister Harriet Tubman led the underground
railroad. And sisters like Rosa Parks, Fannie Lou Hammer, Sandra
Pratt and our Queen Mother Moore have carried it on. Sisters, We
have been the backbone of our communities, and We have got to be
the backbone of our nation. We have got to build strong family units,
based on love and struggle. We don't have no time to play around.
A REVOLUTIONARY WOMAN CAN'T HAVE NO REACTIONARY
If he's not about liberation, if he's not about
struggle, if he ain't about building a strong Black nation then
he ain't about nothing. We know how to struggle. We know how to
struggle and finagle to survive. We know what it means, sisters,
to struggle tooth and nail. We know what it means to struggle with
love. We know what unity is. We know what sisterhood is. We have
always been kind to each other, brought each other hot soup and
biscuits. We have always helped each other through the hard times.
Sisters, We must celebrate Afrikan womanhood. We don't want to be
like Miss Ann. She can keep her false eyelashes and her false, despoiled
image of womanhood. She can keep her mink stole and her French provincial
furniture. We will define for ourselves what womanhood is. And We
will create our own style and our own ways of dress. We can't have
no white man in France telling Afrikan women what to look like.
We will create our own New Afrikan way of living. We will create
our own way of being and living our own New Afrikan culture, taking
the best of the old and mixing it with the new.
SISTERS WE HAVE GOT TO TAKE CONTROL OF OUR LIVES
AND OUR FUTURE WHEREVER WE ARE. AND WE HAVE GOT TO ORGANIZE OURSELVES
INTO A STRONG BODY OF AFRIKAN WOMEN.