How do you define your "fly?" Name it, own it, explore it, reveal it. In a world with multiple narratives telling Black and brown girls who they are and who they are not, we've created space for these girls to name their own fly, explore what power means and to re-imagine sisterhood. Black folk are institution builders. The first institution is that of self — a self too often neglected when it comes to our girls.
Sisterhood is also an institution. Sisterhood is sacred space. It can be challenging, transforming, nurturing, life-saving. In our media driven world, sisterhoods of pain have become power, and our intimate relationship with violence is recognized and rewarded. Emotional Justice offers an alternative: sisterhoods of flygirls—where fly is defined as power, smarts, passion, beauty, emotionality. Into this space, we've created a campaign where girls can gather, breathe, become, be. They could be in Brooklyn, New York or Brixton, London, but through International Fly Girls Day, they can see, name and explore themselves.
Critiquing a media world where brokenness (think: so many of the "reality" shows with women who look like us) is elevated and considered brilliant is part of the work. Creating an alternative in which sisterhood for young girls is re-imagined, one in which emotionality exists, one that is rewarded for its strength and celebrated for its power—is the other part of the work. That is the space occupied by #intlFLYGIRLSday.
Sisterhood is also about our scars and our hurt. Emotional Justice creates a safe space for those scar stories. Why? Our Fly is about whole selves, not portions of ourselves. We can become addicts of the 'positive' vs 'negative' narrative. Our truths, our selves are just more complicated. So, instead of silencing and repressing parts of ourselves, Emotional Justice offers space for your totality. That doesn't mean saying hurting is fly. It means giving voice to neglected feelings about what hurts or has hurt through a safe space. Pain —often manifested as anger or rage—can otherwise become the defining thing that shapes our personal and professional relationships. As we get older, it can derail progress, paralyze possibility, interrupt our journeys.
But no more! Our tagline? #myFLYis. This year we are live and online. We're live in New York, in partnership with girls in Cali and Chicago, we will have a calendar of events throughout March for girls and young women to engage and enjoy.
To take part in the movement, if you are a girl or young woman between 13-25, email the answers to these questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Your #myFLYis will be uploaded to our Emotional Justice Tumblr theSWAGspot ! Feel free to just use your initials or a nickname, but be sure to give us your location and age!
What is your passion and how does it impact you?
What part of your body do you love and why?
When do you feel most powerful?
What quality in your character best describes your spirit?
Tell the story of a scar on your body, heart or spirit. All scars are not visible, that doesn't mean the wound is not real.
How old were you?
Who did you share this with?
How were you impacted?
Esther Armah is a radio host and activist whose vision launched the Emotional Justice movement. Learn more about her and her mission at theSWAGspot. Tweet her @estherarmah.