Being a young Black women in Germany isn’t easy. In fact, being a Black woman in this world contains many obstacles. One isn’t just confronted with sexism but also with racism or if you want to put it the other way around: One is not only confronted with racism but with sexism, too. These debates that concern us, around the issues of racism don’t happen in Germany and they certainly don’t happen regarding sexism towards Black women. Have you lately seen a Black women in Germany in power. A CEO of a DAX company? A politician in power? A board member of an international NGO? This is no surprise, we are here hidden behind closed doors. As a Black young educated women it seems you have three choices, which either are staying and working in a position that you are totally over qualified for, secondly leaving and working in a country where the conditions are better for Black people in general or the third option is fighting, fighting for political representation and the change of the situation.
One could limit this fight to the German context but we, Lioba Hirsch, Miriam Ajayi, Madina Mohamed and Jamie Schearer, thought why limit ourselves to the national context, when we live in a more and more globalized world that is shaping our realities.
We decided to join forces in our struggles with Black activists from all over Europe and for that purpose we organized a Network Meeting for People of African Descent from February 13 - 16, 2014 in Berlin. We think that a network is mandatory, that empowers us marginalized communities to demand change everywhere in the Europe. Hence, all Black representatives from advocacy groups that participated in the meeting were asked in advance to bring 5 demands for the improvement of Black communities in their counties. These demands were the basis for the working group sessions during the Network Meeting.The groups were set up to work in 5 categories: Asylum, Employment, Justice, Civic Education and Institutional Education.
The results will be put together in a demand catalogue sent to the Members of the European Parliament prior to the elections in May 2014. From the catalogue we will also draw questions to send to the European parties to answer. They will allow us to see what the parties in the European parliament are planning to do to tackle the issues that Black people in Europe are facing.
In the course of the Network Meeting the South African Embassy Berlin, holding the 6. Region mandate for the African Diaspora, hosted the event on Friday. On Saturday the Heinrich Böll Foundation opened their doors, where further activists of African Descent joined us to focus on the asylum demands. On Sunday the network meeting took its end at a late brunch at the Black owned Aicy & Mimy’s at the Werkstatt der Kulturen.
Why are we telling you this? We think it is important to build on the legacy of Black People in Europe, tomake the African Diaspora visible and stand up for recognition. The history of Black people in Europe is a truth that goes back many hundred years and our aim is to change and fight for the unacceptable conditions, we are still confronted with today.
We, Black Women, are part of this change. We can be leaders, speakers, lobbyist of our self-defined, self - fought change. Recently I read an inspiring quote:
“The Black woman is the most unprotected, unloved woman on earth…she is the only flower on earth…that grows unwatered." We may grow unwatered, yet we grow fast.
(Initiative Schwarze Menschen in Deutschland Bund e.V.)