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It is difficult to use the title that this commentary bears, but upon reflection, it must be so, for the truth supports it. For the truth is, this nation was born in rape. The rape of indigenous women (so called “Indians”) was considered but a spoil of war. African women were ravished aboard slave ships, clad in rags and chains. Many women leaped into the dark, roiling sea, preferring death to how they were treated onboard by seamen.
It’s International Women’s History Month and in director Abderrahmane Sissako’s film “Timbuktu” (2014) we meet fierce African women who stand their ground when faced with lashings, stonings and bullets. The setting is Timbuktu, Africa’s Mecca, a sacred historic seat of knowledge and wisdom, which has been ravaged recently by warfare and plunder. Peoples’ lives, antiquities, books, Quranic texts, landmarks and buildings have been destroyed.
African and African American women face an infant and maternal mortality crisis in America! Infants and maternal mortality rates in these communities are twice as high as the rates for white women in the U.S. The African Women’s Development Fund USA (AWDF USA) has launched an awareness campaign, Saving Our Future, to educate community members and organize the leadership in hopes of changing the pattern.
“The Black Woman Is God” exhibit examines and questions the idea of seeing the Black woman as a God figure. Artists use materials, forms and iconography that challenge the belief that the image of God is white and male. The exhibit can be seen at the African American Art and Culture Complex at 762 Fulton St. in San Francisco until May 30, Tuesdays through Saturdays from noon to 5 p.m.