This article was originally published on Threads of Solidarity and was republished here with the author’s permission.
White people believe slavery ended over 150 years ago. Black people know better. Slavery has merely evolved into more insidious (albeit socially acceptable) oppression. What definitely hasn’t changed? Black women today still aren’t being paid for much of their work.
We’re not only paid less in every type of employment, but a Black woman with an advanced degree earns less than a white man with a bachelor’s degree — despite working more hours. Black women working as artists, consultants, and in other creative outlets often have their work stolen by white-run companies. Many white folks just flat out expect our free labor.
Outside the workplace, we expend a disproportionate amount of unpaid time and energy on emotional labor as well. Black women on social media routinely spend hours educating white folks on the disparities people of color suffer in medical treatment, education, criminal justice, environmental justice, and so on. You know what kind of payment we get for this exhausting emotional labor? Racism. Harassment. Death threats. Yet we can’t give up. Our physical survival depends on white people recognizing that there’s a boot on our necks — one that belongs to them. Our emotional well-being depends on taking a stand and carving out space. We can’t not give, but the battle against white supremacy takes a massive toll.
Now the bill has come due. The US owes its very existence to the Black women whose unpaid labor built this nation and whose political activism has rescued it from fascism repeatedly. This country will never be able to repay that debt. But those benefiting from the work and wisdom of Black women teachers today should honor these women by paying up — today. Here’s how:
1. Black women: You can’t give from an empty cup
- Get paid. If you’re an online activist, blogger, organizer, etc. actively engaged in anti-oppression and liberation work, your expertise is worth more than a deposit of white liberal guilt. Set up PayPal, Venmo, Square Cash, and Patreon accounts to get compensated for teaching white folks how not to be racist.
- Refill your cup by following our self-care guide here. Women of color have been asked to give from empty cups in this country for generations. However, we need to remember that as strong, as brilliant, as loving, and as powerful as we may be, we weren’t built to be superheroes — we were built to be human. Prioritizing self-care and mental health are both radical acts of resistance and self-love.
- Take regular breaks from whiteness for self-preservation and, instead, focus on being in solidarity with each other as Black femmes, cis, trans, and queer women. Watch this TED Talk on the urgency of intersectionality by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, a prominent civil rights advocate and pioneer in critical race theory. Because “without Black women, there is no future.”
2. White women: Don’t just pay lip service
Those Black women you already follow on Twitter, Facebook, and Medium? Show your appreciation for their work by checking out their websites/social media and dropping some cash in their PayPal accounts today. If they don’t have one, leave a message or comment asking how you can compensate them for their teaching.
Author and activist DiDi Delgado has provided this excellent Facebook post listing numerous Black women teachers, bloggers, and activists — some of whom appear below — that need to be amplified, supported, and paid. Go through and find ways to support some of your favorites and discover new voices to uplift.
- Cash poor? Donate time or skills. DiDi Delgado coordinates DIRECT philanthropy and reparations for Black women, femmes, and non-cis males.
- Buy from Black women, including books written by Black female authors, products, and services. Hire Black women. These are just a few suggestions from this list of 15 Real Ways to Thank Black Women for Carrying the Country on Their Backs.
- Subscribe to Safety Pin Box, “a monthly subscription box for white people striving to be allies in the fight for Black Liberation.” Learn how to dismantle white supremacy by completing monthly tasks and engaging with other allies in an online community. Safety Pin Box was co-created by “Black femme freedom fighters” Leslie Mac (founder of the Ferguson Response Network) and writer and organizer Marissa Jenae Johnson.
- Let go of the spotlight and keep your white tears in check. Uplift and center those most affected by oppression instead, and most importantly, follow their lead.
3. Pay your teachers
Black women and femmes are pointing out their unpaid labor and setting up accounts on payment apps and crowdfunding sites to support their anti-racism work and teaching. And we should honor these Black women teachers by paying them — with actual money, not just heart emojis. Because those “likes” and “shares” alone don’t pay for the Wi-Fi and the laptop, let alone the work and sleep hours lost while supplying links and logic to Miss Boo-hoo Becky in Boise.
Here is our shortlist of online activists and bloggers with their payment app links and social media pages. If you would like to be added, please message TOS via our Facebook page.
- Alexis P. Morgan, the Abbess of the Church of St. Felicia, is a writer, artist, and activist creating “trouble, art, and magic.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work by becoming a patron or by buying her a coffee.
- Alicia Garza is one of the founders of Black Lives Matter. She is an organizer, writer, and (in her own words) “freedom dreamer.” She currently serves as the Special Projects Director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance (NDWA). Follow her work on Twitter and Facebook. Support her work with a donation to Black Lives Matter and the NDWA.
- Amber McZeal, the Racism and the Soul: An in-depth look administrator, uses the platform to examine intersectional oppression, how it is housed in the psyche (or soul), and leads to implicit biases and wounds. She also created The Truth Telling Project, dedicated to anti-racism, activism, and coalition-building education. Contact the project here to book your workshop
- Black Youth Leadership Project (BYLP), with anonymity-protected director names, is a nonprofit educational program empowering youth for a voice at the table. They are committed to ensuring youth leadership and building solidarity coalitions. Follow their work on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use this email on PayPal to donate: [email protected]
- Blackstar Flower is the political director for the late Erica Garner’s activism. Blackstar Flower was a friend and advisor to Garner, who dedicated her life to fighting for justice for her father’s murder, as well as an end to structural racism. Now, Blackstar Flower carries on Garner’s work, as well as engaging in her own activism and acts of resistance. Follow her on Twitter. Stay tuned for next projects.
- Brittany Packnett is a writer and activist who also serves as Vice President of National Community Alliances for Teach for America. She is on the planning team of Campaign Zero. Follow her work on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work with a purchase at her shop.
- Catina Cole, “Flawed Perfection,” has dedicated her life and work as a survivor to empower other survivors. Follow their Kitchen Table Radio Show-WOC and Allies podcasts and on Facebook. Support Mpower Theater, theater for survivors of sexual and domestic abuse advocacy and other projects via GoFundMe.
- Catrice M. Jackson, is a racial justice speaker, author, educator, and activist. As the CEO of Catriceology Enterprises, she is doing important work fostering racial and social justice. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You can support her work by hiring her as an educator or making a purchase in her shop.
- Chanelle Helm is an organizer with Black Lives Matter Louisville in Kentucky. She is also a writer and social media activist. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. You can support her work with a donation via PayPal, Facebook messenger, or Cash.me.
- Chanin Kelly-Rae manages Chanin Kelly-Rae Consulting, which seeks to help build better organizations and institutions through “the deliberate and intentional act of bringing diverse perspectives to the table.” Hire her for assessments, consulting, and training. Follow her personal page and the firm’s page on Facebook and Twitter.
- Charlene A. Carruthers is a queer Black feminist writer and activist working to help the next generation of young Black leaders empower themselves to make change. She is the president of the Black Youth Project 100 (BYP100). Support by donating to BYP100 here or here and order her book, Unapologetic: A Black, Queer and Feminist Mandate for Our Movement.
- Daana Townsend is a teacher with a deep commitment to social justice. She was selected out of hundreds of applicants to “to teach incarcerated individuals through a new collaboration between Milwaukee Area Technical College, the U.S. Department of Education, and the Department of Corrections.” Get more information on her work and support her through GoFundMe.
- Desiree Lynn Adaway is a writer, speaker, and coach dedicated to “leading difficult conversations on race, class, and gender.” Through her organization, The Adaway Group, she seeks to “build resilient, equitable, and inclusive organizations.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work by hiring her to work with your organization or to do individual coaching with you.
- DiDi Delgado is a writer, poet, and activist. She’s been on the frontlines of calling out Facebook for censorship of Black voices. She is currently the head of operations at the Society of Urban Poetry (S.O.U.P.). Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work by becoming a patron.
- Ebony Milton Washington is the Communications Director for the Women’s March, co-founder of Indivisible Alabama, and founder of Sisters In Synergy. Support her work by becoming a patron, making a donation via PayPal, or making a purchase through the Sisters in Synergy store.
- Eva Maria Lewis describes herself as a “teenage black superwoman.” She is founder of The I Project, which “is an initiative to humanize youth affected by intersectionality from an activism through arts approach.” Follow her Twitter. Support her work with a purchase from The I Project Store.
- Farah G Griffin, a writer, teacher and scholar, centers Black women in her work and amplifies them on Twitter. Support with a purchase of her co-edited book, Toward an Intellectual History of Black Women.
- Farah Tanis is one of the founders of Black Women’s Blueprint. She launched and chairs the first Truth and Reconciliation Commission in the US and both founded and serves as curator of the Women’s Museum of Resistance. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work with donations to Black Women’s Blueprint.
- Felicia Heywood is a social media activist “working every day to human better.” Follow her on Facebook. Support her work through a donation via PayPal.
- Hannah Drake is a poet, writer, and storyteller working to use art to catalyze social change. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter, as well as at Write Some Shit. Support her by purchasing her poetry and novels.
- Ijeoma Oluo is a writer, activist, speaker, and “Internet Yeller” (by her own description). Her newest book, So You Want to Talk About Race, is a bestseller. She’s active on Facebook and Twitter, as well as her own website. Support her work with a donation via PayPal at [email protected] and by becoming a patron.
- Killing Georgina is dedicated to “dismantling white supremacy from the inside out” with poetry and prose. Follow her work on Facebook, Twitter, and Medium. Support her work by becoming a patron or making a donation via PayPal.
- Kimberly Foster is founder and editor-in-chief of For Harriet, an online community dedicated to sharing the stories of Black women. Through a mix of journalism and personal narratives, For Harriet is dedicated to “candid, revelatory dialogue about the beauty and complexity of Black womanhood.” Follow them on Facebook and Twitter. Support their work by making a purchase in their Spreadshirt store.
- Kinfolk Kollective, whose tagline is “Blogging While Black!,” is covering key topics from pop culture to politics to historical erasure and beyond. Follow their work on Facebook and Twitter and support their work by making a one-time donation or becoming a patron.
- Layla Saad is creating spaces that center “the stories, art and magick of women of color.” Follow her on Facebook. Support her work by becoming a patron or with a donation via PayPal.
- Leesa Renee Hall is helping women use the art of writing to find health and liberation. Follow her work on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work by becoming a patron.
- Leslie Mac is the founder of Ferguson Response Network and co-founder of Safety Pin Box. Follow her work on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work with a donation via PayPal.
- Monica Cannon Grant ran for State Representative in the 7th District of Massachusetts earlier this year. Follow and support her on Twitter and by donating to her organization, Violence in Boston Social Impact.
- Opal Tometi, a Nigerian-American writer based in New York, is one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement. In addition to her work with BLM, she is the leader of the nation’s largest Black organization for immigrant rights, the Black Alliance for Just Immigration (BAJI). Find her writings on her website and follow her on Twitter. Support her work by hiring her as a speaker or donating to BLM or BAJI.
- Raquel Willis is a writer and advocate for equal rights for transgender people, particularly trans women of color. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter and her writings and podcasts on her website. Support her work with a donation here.
- Robyn C. Spencer, co-founder of the Intersectional Black Panther Party History Project, is an activist and professional historian. Buy her book, The Revolution has Come: Black Power, Gender and the Black Panther Party in Oakland, and follow her on Twitter.
- Shay Stewart Bouley, “Writer/Blogger, Race warrior, Wild woman, Yogi and Raconteur,” is blogging about race and oppression from one of the whitest states in the country as Black Girl in Maine. Support her work with a donation and by becoming a patron.
- Talia Buford is a ProPublica journalist reporting on the environment and human rights. She is courageously reporting on the impact of environmental disparity and the rollbacks on regulations by the Trump administration, among other vital topics. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter. Support her work by noting her contributions when you donate to ProPublica’s fearless journalism.
- Tarana Burke is a social media activist, writer, and founder of the #MeToo movement. She is also the Senior Director of Girls for Gender Equality. She’s doing incredible work on Twitter, among other places. Support her work with a donation to the Me Too Movement.
- Tiffany Foster is a writer offering hard truths and fearless content. She’s done amazing work during Black History Month — and Facebook has punished her for it. Support her work by becoming a patron.
- Youth for Black Lives is a collective of Black teenage girls (Amaya Lorick, Eva Lewis, Kanyinsola Anifowoshe, Maxine Aguilar, Maxine Wint, and Yahaira Tarr) amplifying voices of youth through activism, teach-ins, collaboration, and the arts. Follow them on Facebook and donate via PayPal: [email protected]
Threads of Solidarity is a collective voice for women of color solidarity and liberation. Our goal is to strengthen the voices of women of color in the anti-oppression fight and provide resources as well as action items to continue working towards racial justice.