As the nation turns its thoughts to our mothers, we recall that women in the 21st century face extraordinary challenges. Women of color occupy the lowest rung of the economic ladder. Skyrocketing inflation, grocery bills, gas prices, and essential medical services are spiraling out of control. Add to that, rising costs of housing and childcare, and we witness the grim picture of what women experience at this moment in history.
What we celebrate on this Mother’s Day is the remarkable resilience of Black women. In the horrible days of slavery, Black women were whipped and brutalized alongside men. In the 19th century, when white women were placed on pedestals by a society that considered them too delicate and fragile for work, Black women worked the fields. If they were pregnant, they gave birth and were expected to return to the fields and resume their work the same day. When we consider all these factors, it is clear why Langston Hughes, in his poem, “Mother to a Son”: “Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair. It’s had tacks in it, and splinters, and boards torn up, and places with no carpet on the floor.”
For what our women endured and have accomplished, on this day, we say thank you to Black women everywhere.