East Bay Community Law Center (EBCLC) is a Black-woman-led organization working towards a future of liberation for all of our communities. As a legal organization fighting to forge justice out of unjust systems, we are indebted to the leadership of Black women organizers, activists, reformers, and movement builders. As crisis advocates serving the people most impacted by COVID-19, we proudly prioritize the needs of Black women clients as they form small businesses, demand safe schools, and keep their families housed. As deep believers of Black Futurism’s vision for Black liberation, we are dedicated to dismantling white supremacy and building a world in which Black people of all genders can dream, rest, and thrive.
Today, we celebrate the start of EBCLC’s Inaugural Black Women’s History Week. Falling at the intersection of Black History Month and Women’s History Month, this week celebrates the lives, strength, and stories of all Black women, and specifically lifts up the contributions of those who have done so much for EBCLC. We pledge to put our gratitude into action every day through our stalwart commitment to impacting lasting change.
In honor of Black Women’s History Week, we asked our fellow EBCLC community members who so inspire us to share the words of the Black women who inspire them. We hope you take time to read their words of wisdom. Click to learn more about the women who inspire them:
Deltrina Anderson, Office Manager
I admire all Black women who came before me, not just famous black women, not just celebrities, or entertainers.
I admire my grandmother who raised ten kids, my mom being the seventh kid.
I admire my Mom and Mother in Law for being able to make it in the world with all the unfair and unjust treatment and still find a way to laugh and smile every day.
I admire all women of color who have come before me and paved the way for me to be able to be me.
Those who paved the way for this young Black women to wear her hair naturally, naps, and kinks and all and still feel beautiful.
I admire the Black women who don’t give up, the ones who keep trying even when the goal seems so far away.
I admire those Black women who will not apologize for who they are just to make society feel comfortable.
Because of those who came before me I am free to live the life I want, and deserve, I am feel to learn and explore the world, I am free to love who I choose, I am free to speak up for myself and others.
Now my generation and the younger generation will continue this legacy and show the world who we are as Black women, and what we are capable of.
As a Black women I feel pride of who I am, I know I am resilient, I know I am capable, I know I am a Queen, now that is Black Girl Magic!”
Sandra Johnson, EBCLC Board Member, In-Prison Programs Coordinator
“I have been in the proximity of, and threatened by, the Klan; I have been called everything people of color are called; I have been denied admission because of a quota. I've had all of that, but I've also learned that getting bitter is not the way.”
Gracie Jones, Housing Practice Project Manager
“I have assisted so many Black women clients, for many years now here at the East Bay Community Law Center, and I have helped to change lives, and save their housing. I'm honored to be on the best housing team in the bay and still be happy doing this work.
A Black woman in history that I admire is Cicely Tyson. I have a quote from her that really means a lot to me: ‘Challenges make you discover things about yourself that you never really knew. They're what makes the instrument stretch -- what make you go beyond the norm.’”
Jael Myrick, Clean Slate Practice Interim Director
"To me, these two quotes from Fannie Lou Hamer complement each other in a way that’s powerful:
‘When I liberate myself, I liberate others. If you don’t speak out ain’t nobody going to speak out for you,’ and ‘Nobody’s free until everybody’s free.’”
Tamura Rosby, HR/Finance Coordinator
“The quote that inspires me is by Zora Neale Hurston-‘Sometimes I feel discriminated against, but it does not make me angry. It merely astonishes me. How can any deny themselves the pleasure of my company? It's beyond me.”
Hewot Shankute, Community Economic Justice Staff Attorney and Clinical Supervisor
"I honor Amanda Gorman and her words that instill promise and hope for me about the future as a Black woman in America:
'Sometimes we weathered and witnessed a nation that isn't broken but simply unfinished. There is always a light if only we're brave enough to see it. If only we're brave enough to be it.'"
Angela Smith, Director of Operations
“I would like to lift up and honor the women from African nations brought to this country as slaves. To them I give my deepest gratitude for teaching their long standing tradition of the village raising the young, despite their own being sold away from them. I thank them for modeling strength, perseverance, and nurturing love, that had spanned many generations. In their memory, I take this space and time to lift up ALL who walk in their tradition and give of themselves to nurture, encourage and 'mother' to those in need.”
Tiffany Renee Thomas, EBCLC Board Member, Senior Counsel – Employment Law & Benefits at Genentech
"I am an admirer of Ericka Huggins, an activist, educator, and visionary. As the longest tenured female leader in the male-dominated Black Panther Party, she was forced to navigate an organization and a society that did not always value her intellect, outspoken nature, and passion for her people. Yet her triumphs, including her years as the director of the Oakland Community School, a community-based and culturally competent elementary school, are reminders that we can persevere and succeed against any and all odds. Her life’s story is that of many Black women in America– struggle, sacrifice, service, soulfulness, strength, and sisterhood, and her work continues to inspire me to this day."