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The Release of the Black Feminist Manifesto – A Tool For Change

This is the cover of the Black Feminist Manifesto. The full Manifesto is not officially released yet. Hali Martin gave us permission to use this image.

Feminism is deemed to be a bad word. Terms such as ‘feminazi’ are associated with feminism. Simply put, if you identify as a feminist, you run the risk of being judged, bullied, or not accepted.

Merriam-Webster defines feminism as, “The theory of political, economic, and social equality of the sexes.”

However, feminism may not look the same for everyone. This is why a group of college-aged black feminist students came together to write a Black Feminist Manifesto.

The manifesto includes views regarding black feminism from the group. The piece was written from pain and converted into a resource of knowledge and empowerment.

One of the students, T’Hani Jenae said, “Black women suffer from racism and sexism. They’ve experienced an intense amount of hardship in the United States.”

These hardships inspired the manifesto. The lack of space for black women in places such as the classroom guided the students to write from the deepest parts of their souls.

However, it is also important to note that the manifesto was also inspired by former black feminists and multiracial feminists.

In a recent interview with CTV, students T’hani Jenae, Shayla Monteiro, and Zelle Moore explained the differences between white feminism and black feminism. “White feminism looks at one type of woman or one type of story, which is the usually the story of white women, and it does not include women of color, trans women, and it also doesn’t include men,” Moore said.

Through this manifesto, the group of students hope that there can be a change in the system, whether it be in the educational system or society at large.

“It’s important to be represented in our system. You need a piece of everybody at the table,” Jenae said.

The students worked on this manifesto for about five months. Finally, when the piece was ready to be unveiled, they decided to throw a release party.

The party was an intimate reception where the students were able to open up their hearts and honor their donors, their descent lines, and they were able to perform three pieces for the audience.

Through their hard work, the students hope people can read the manifesto, be inspired, and ultimately, engage in black feminism.

“This manifesto is a tool to create change for women of color and marginalized identities.”

Here is a glimpse of the Black Feminist Manifesto release party. The students invited other people of color and faculty members to attend. The release party celebrated the Manifesto and was a platform for the students to perform some pieces of poetry.

Black feminist Shayla Monteiro is one of the students that contributed to writing the Black Feminist Manifesto. During the release party, she performed a poem titled “That Girl” by Alysia Harris. You can find a full script of the poem here. Below is part of the moving piece.

Both videos were edited and filmed by Nicole Parra.

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6 comments

  1. I adore the poem. She is so passionate and powerful. The line especially about the blueprint was extremely moving.

  2. I’m very glad that the Black Feminist Manifesto could be introduced on campus. It’s very important to hear everyone’s voice, especially people of color. In today’s diverse U.S. society, it’s very important to embrace diversity and embed a range of cultures, to achieve this goal, everyone need to be culturally competent and brave. We all need to have a strong sense of ourselves and essential concepts of our cultures through voices being heard.

  3. I love how this article focuses on the bad and the good of the topic. By educating people on the negative aspects of feminism and racism that people deal with, I think the positive aspect becomes more understood. I also thought it was interesting how this group is starting small by spreading through schools. But, has the desire and passion to translate it all to society and hopefully make a big change someday.

  4. I never knew that there was a mix in racial issues as well as sexual issues, just shows the way marginalization has caused so many things to be mixed and people of different races and sexes differing on how a specific issue affects them and the ways in which the issue affects them. Very interesting article, nicely done.  

  5. Great job portraying the different dimensions of feminism. Your information is very useful and can be used as an eye opener and reference to a change in the way people see feminism as a whole, in terms of a concept. 

  6. It’s inspiring how passionate people can be about issues around the board. The manifesto part slam poetry is on a whole different level. You can hear the passion and care chiming in their voices. I hope to see more people joining in and advocating for racial issues, not only in the Unites States…Rather, around the globe.

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