By Christina Greer
March is Women’s History Month. I don’t know about anyone else who is reading this column, but this past Black History Month was a doozy. I felt like, in the words of my late grandmother, “People really showed their tails!” I’m hoping March will be filled with less nonsense and more focus on inclusivity and the myriad of ways women have been trailblazers in almost every facet of our lives.
I often think about the link between February and Black History Month with March and Women’s History Month. I like to make a concerted effort to recognize the multitudes of Black women, past and present, who have changed my life and the world for the better. Making this list is so easy because I am blessed to be able to start with my mother, Gloria McCray Greer.
My mother has been, and luckily for me continues to be, the embodiment of a trailblazer and innovator. I think of her humble beginnings in Florida, which instilled in me the foundation of hard work and a love of nature. I think of her still sewing on the sewing machine she received for her Sweet 16 to make everything from prom dresses to curtains to now making sanitary goods for girls on the continent of Africa, which has instilled in me a creative spirit and a desire to make things with my hands and share my creative talents with others.
Most importantly, my mother is a connector and a friend. When I think of the power of women, I think of a collective. I think of deep bonds that withstand circumstance and time. I think of women coming together to lift one another up in the face of tremendous odds. I think of women sharing secrets, telling their stories, and living their truths, knowing they are surrounded by their sisters who will accept them and help serve as a foundation for them, through good times and bad. My mother has modeled the gift of friendship to me and my sister through the years and because of that, I have a collection of “aunties” who have served as an additional source of strength, guidance, mentorship, and love.
As we learn more about the amazing women who have run for office or started businesses or helped their communities, let’s not forget to look closely at the amazing women who may be in our own homes…or cleaning our homes. I am so blessed to be surrounded by incredible Black women in my life, and I know it is because that sense of pride and comfort with talented and caring women began in my home. Happy Women’s History Month. May you see the women in your life in the light they deserve.
Christina Greer, Ph.D., is an Associate professor at Fordham University, the author of “Black Ethnics: Race, Immigration, and the Pursuit of the American Dream”, and the co-host of the podcast FAQ-NYC and host of The Blackest Questions podcast at TheGrio.