EBCLC is proud to launch our second annual 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 the contributions of those who have done so much for EBCLC. As an organization that has been proudly Black women-led for most of our 34 years of existence, we pledge to put our gratitude into action as we continue to support Black women, trust Black women and celebrate Black women.
Black women organizers, activists, artists, reformers, and movement builders have shown us that we must stand at the intersection of Justice and Courage as we work to re-imagine systems that harm and exploit our most vulnerable communities. Constance Baker Motley taught us to look to the future when seeking reassurance in our fight to dismantle unjust systems, noting that, “Something which we think is impossible now is not impossible in another decade.” Black women have historically exemplified courage and integrity in the face of injustice- paving the way for a future in which Black people of all genders can dream, rest, thrive, and know freedom.
In honor of Black Women’s History Week, EBCLC community members have shared the words of Black women who inspire them. We hope you take the time to read their words of wisdom:
E. Venessa Henlon, EBCLC Board Member, Senior Counsel— Real Estate Law at Gap, Inc.
Stacey Abrams inspires me because she is an accomplished Black woman, attorney, scholar, entrepreneur, author, politician, activist and organizer, a daughter and a sister who used her loss of a hard-fought gubernatorial campaign as even more motivation to work relentlessly to defeat voter suppression efforts. She not only registered, organized and galvanized voters to change history in Georgia politics resulting in democratic wins in the 2020 Senate and Presidential races, but unwaveringly continues to educate, motivate and organize voters and potential voters nationwide to protect our constitutional right to vote.
Saxon Cropper-Sykes, EBCLC Board Member— Litigation Associate at Sidley Austin LLP
“When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision—then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid.” – Audre Lorde
While there are so many Black women whose contributions I would like to highlight, Audre Lorde and her writings are particularly powerful to me. Audre Lorde was a womanist, feminist, and civil-rights activist. Her writings inspire others to speak out and work against systemic inequalities, even when it feels difficult to do so.
Nina Thiebert, Individual Giving Manager
“All that you touch you change. All that you change changes you. The only lasting truth is Change.” ―
I am inspired by Octavia E. Butler, an author, a visionary, an Afro-Futurist. A multi-award-winning science fiction author, Octavia Butler paved the way and gave representation to Black girls and women who love science fiction. While I've always loved reading science fiction and fantasy, Octavia Butler's work was the first I'd read that featured Black women as the lead characters. Octavia's novels challenged the dominance of white men in these genres and showed me a vision of the future where Black women, not only belong, but are crucial to the forming of a better world.
Octavia Butler ensured that generations of Black Sci-Fi lovers could place themselves in a vision of the future that we have historically been written out of. She gifted us with warnings and lessons to help us find our way, and the wisdom we'll need to help us flourish when we get there.
Zoë Polk, Executive Director
EBCLC has a fortunate history of being Black women-led for most of our 34 years of existence. I uplift the leadership of staff members like Ms. Gracie Jones, who started working at EBCLC in 2003 as an admin in the housing clinic and continues to serve our community to this day. I recognize Tiffany R. Thomas who has made history as EBCLC’s first African American Board Chair in 2022. I am grateful to be part of this legacy.
Leilani Brown, Housing Program Coordinator
There are so many notable black figures I can cite that have influenced me in one way or another, but one figure that was especially influential is the late Audre Lorde. Audre was such a prolific poet and writer and as someone that has used poetry as a medium of expression, I truly admired her honesty. There were intersections of her identity being a black queer woman navigating this human experience that I really resonated with. Her voice is one of many black women that emboldened me to be honest about my own lived experiences and share them with others. She was someone that was an anchor for me when I was navigating my undergrad experience being the “minority “ in academia and in my day-to-day life in general. One of my favorite quotes from her is: “When I dare to be powerful—to use my strength in the service of my vision—then it becomes less and less important whether I am afraid." That is a philosophy I hope to carry with me wherever I go.