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Healing Moments

Several years ago I gave a stellar presentation regarding African American female leadership styles to a room full of African Americanfemales.  The presentation would serve in demystifying and addres

sing some assumptions made about this population – assumptions purely based on the displays of behavior by African American woman, by the media and of course through common biases and stereotypes.  I went into this topic given the fact that I was interested in seeing how the display of leadership behavior of what I would perceive as strength and a valuable asset could be misconstrued to be something that is negative and unsocial when being delivered by the African American female.

At first, the presentation took on the customary formalities of introductions and presentation overview.Given the number of African American women in the room at the time, the charge for me I thought was to ensure that I covered all the bases, that I talked about the leadership in a positive manner and also justify and clarify any confusion to those who where not altogether sure about various professional and personal displays by African American females.  There was also other ethnic, racial group in the room that added to the tension and added to diversity of thought.  This was a good thing, right?  I mean, I wanted to have input and educate the “other” and a few brave souls came into the midst of African American women with the full knowledge that at anytime, this could become a room of “Angry Black Women”, in which I say; I could be at anytime given the circumstance.  I asked for this; to present my findings and educate the public so that there could be dialogue, engagement that would eventually move to understanding.  As I traveled through the presentation,[quote style=”boxed”] I soon noticed that the conversation turned from educating the “other” to speaking truths of hurt, disgust, disappointments, liberation, frustration, jubilation, and most of all “HEALING FROM”.[/quote]

Here we were, a group of educated, professional Black women, with a few of the “others” in the room, tearing up, crying and recalling our most difficult, courageous, rewarding times of our womanhood; our womanhood as Black women.  All of the conversation spoke to leadership experiences on the job and off.  Our “HEALING MOMENTS” in full effect. The need to bond and listen stood precedent over the reporting by others of Black women’s bad behavior.  The time to heal was now!

The moment spoke to the need for Black women to come together listen, respond, and reflect and most of all to HEAL.  It became obvious that these women, including myself, longed for a space to gather to talk about how others perceived them, but most of all to support each other and HEAL in spite of how others perceived us/them. What the public sees in the behavior of the African American woman is basically that she is strong, both physically and mentally, that some are boisterous, intimidating to the outside public and sometimes her intimate family.  She is controlling and oftentimes is a walking, ticking time bomb.  She is sensitive making her needs known above all.  She can be bossy, loud, and at best, a bitter mass of fireworks spewing in all directions hitting all that’s in her path.  Yet, these same attributes could be said about women of other racial backgrounds as well.

This analogy of the African American female is based again, on outward appearances and behaviors without factoring in the “Why” aspect.  It is the “WHY” factor that moves African American females their “HEALING FROM” moments.  As we are in our “HEALING FROM” moments the assistance that others can give is support in keeping a distance and respect that sacred space.   Within the “HEALING FROM” process a multitude of emotions, including anger, is felt and projected.  This anger is necessary to “HEAL FROM” and space is needed to let that emotion be true and be displayed.  Our “HEALING FROM” moments also include the emotions of loss, sorrow, and bountiful hope and persistence in spite of it all.  There are so much “HEALING” from both African American females and males to be experienced in order to grow together. When have you gathered with others to truly do a little healing?

Verona Mitchell, Blog Contributor —– Writing is just one of her passions. Verona Mitchell is founder & CEO of CulTives & Associates, a boutique consultancy focused culture, diversity, inclusion and global leadership. She is currently the producer & host of “myCultural Conversations” online BlogTalk Radio Series and “myCultural Conversations” Blog. Email: verona@myculturalconversations.com
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