Photo: Olushola Bashorun
By Lenora Houseworth

The year of 2017 has been a doozy, no doubt. From the ever-exhausting, ridiculous excuse for a President, rampant sexual assault scandals, to the numerous crimes against humanity, Black women have been the silent bright spot in an otherwise dark socio-political landscape. 


Recently an article published on ABCNews.com asserted black women have a newfound “hope” after the news of Meghan Markle’s engagement to Prince Harry. Now I won’t go into here why that is an extremely flawed (Read: wack) argument, but I will say personally my only real takeaway from the article was that the struggling, desperate, unloveable black woman narrative is tired, overdone and quite frankly FALSE. 
Do we still get paid 64 cents to every dollar a white male gets? Yep.
Do we still hold less than 2% of senior leadership positions in major corporations? Yep.
Do we still have to work twice as hard as a double minority for the same recognition and success compared to our white counterparts? Yep.
Yet, and still we thrive.

This year more than ever before, proved the power, resilience and brilliance of black women in every area of society, and I loved watching every minute of it. Both in my inner circle and beyond, black women are creating, flourishing and fighting like only we know how despite all of the societal and institutional roadblocks, all while staying moisturized and melanated. 

To that, I have compiled a list showcasing that indeed #BlackGirlMagic is real and dispelling a few myths about the current condition of African-American women. 

Photo via daremebeautiful
1. For the first time in American history, Black women are the most educated group in the country according to the National Center for Education Statistics despite major wage gap inequalities. 




2. We continuously fight against injustice using our vote. With more than 95% voting against morally corrupt talking heads likes Donald Trump and Roy Moore, black women prove repeatedly we are a political force. 


Vi Lyles
3. Along with that, we are breaking political ceilings. From Charlotte North Carolina's first Black woman mayor, Vi Lyles, to New Jersey’s first Black Lieutenant mayor Sheila Oliver, black women are changing history.



4. Black women are the fastest-growing group of entrepreneurs adding an estimated 340,000 jobs to the U.S. economy since 2007 thus helping revive a struggling American economy.




5. We start movements that dispel the stigma of sexual violence. A decade before hashtags and celebrity support, Tarana Burke created the Me Too movement to tackle sexual predators head on.


Letoya Luckett & husband Tommicus Walker
6. Black woman are in love and getting married. According to census data, 75% of Black women are getting married before 35 with more than 80% of educated, established black men marrying black women. 




Founders of the Black Lives Matter movement- From left: Patrisse Cullors, Alicia Garza, Opal Tometi. | Ben Baker for Politico Magazine/Redux Pictures

7. Black women fight and protest relentlessly for human rights and the disenfranchised.

What moment in 2017 made you most proud of African-American women? Tell us below! 

Lenora Houseworth-Weston is a social media strategist and writer based in Jersey City, NJ by way of the Windy City. Her work has been seen in places such as Yahoo.com, Glaad.org and BlackEnterprise.com. Jay-Z lyrics and avocados are her life. Follow her adventures on Instagram @LenoraSheWrote!
Tamika D. Mallory speaking at the Women's March on Washington
There is nothing sexier than impacting positive change. And when we say sexy, we're talking about fearlessly walking in your purpose in such a way that everyone can't help but take notice of and appreciate how truly badass you are. We're talking #humanitygoals, #growuptobelikeyou, #pleaseupdatehistorybooks sexy. And for this reason, it's important to pay homage to women currently living and working among us who are taking social activism to the next level, inspiring the rest of us to ask ourselves,  'What am I doing to bring about change?' While there are countless powerful sistah's out there leading in communities across the country, we decided to highlight seven women giving us #activismgoals!

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Tamika D. Mallory

Chances are, you've seen Tamika D. Mallory, the outspoken champion for social justice who helped organize the Women's March on Washington, attended by over 300,000 here, and sparked duplicate marches across the globe. The 36 yr old New York native has been applauded as an advocate for civil rights issues, equal rights for women, health care, gun violence, and police misconduct. Valerie B. Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama called her “a leader of tomorrow” and she was selected to serve on the transition committee of New York City Mayor-Elect Bill de Blasio. 


 
Johnetta Elzie Image via Getty/Jason LaVeris
Moved to action by the death of Michael Brown, Johnetta Elzie made a splash among Ferguson protesters by aiding with volunteer coordination and live tweeting surrounding events effectively becoming a leading citizen journalist on the protests. Later, she went on to co-create the website and database MappingPoliceViolence.org which tracks all people killed by police. Elzie currently leads We The Protesters, an organization which supports nationwide protest groups in combatting police violence and systemic racism through policy change.




Dr. Moya Bailey
If you’ve ever used the word “misogynoir,” you can thank Dr. Moya Bailey for its existence. Her devotion to examining the way Black women are represented in pop culture led her to coin the term as well as pursue Women’s Studies and activism. An assistant professor at Northeastern University, Dr. Bailey co-created Quirky Black Girls (a network that celebrates Black girls who exist outside of social norms) and the Crunk Feminist Collective (a supportive space for queer and straight hip hop gen feminists of color). She also is the digital alchemist for the Octavia E. Butler Legacy Network.





Monica Raye Simpson

Before Monica Raye Simpson relocated to Georgia to work with and eventually lead the Atlanta-based SisterSong, the queer Black North Carolina native rallied against racism, human rights abuses, prison industry and violence against Black women and LGBTQ people. The facilitator/speaker/organizer/singer is also a certified doula. Now the executive director of SisterSong, Simpson created the organization’s Artists United for Reproductive Justice project which supports artistic collaborations on replicable artwork to further SisterSong’s cause of women’s reproductive health rights.




Patrice Cullors
In the wake of Trayvon Martin's tragic death, Los Angeleno organizer, artist and freedom fighter Patrisse Cullors' co-founded hashtag #BlackLivesMatter jumpstarted the civil rights fight of our time. Her activism, however didn't begin or end with the multi-issue global, Black queer femme-led intersectional movement. Before that, Cullors led a crusade against inmate abuse as the executive director of End Sheriff Violence in L.A. Jails and has since confounded prison activist organization Dignity and Power Now. She also serves as board member of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights





Ciara Taylor 
Having built a reputation for taking on the causes of living wages for Florida A&M campus workers and combatting K-20 budgets cuts, Ciara Taylor was in prime activist form to take to the streets following Trayvon Martin's shooting. Her response to the tragic killing was co-founding Dream Defenders which works on human rights issues, ending police brutality and shutting down the school-to-prison pipeline. She currently serves the organization as the director of political consciousness and develops and executes statewide political, educational and leadership development programming.




Tanya Fields
Having experienced the challenges of gaining access to healthy and affordable food in the Bronx, Tanya became active with South Bronx-Mothers on the Move, the Majora Carter Group and Sustainable South Bronx.  The community activist and public speaker founded the BLK ProjeK in 2009 to further combat wealth inequality, the cycle of poverty and institutionalized sexism. The BLK ProjeK creates economic growth opportunities for women and youth of color through education, urban gardening, public space beautification, and community programming. She also created and stars in a web-based cooking and lifestyle show Mama Tanya’s Kitchen where she teaches how to prepare affordable gourmet meals.


Who are your favorite activists right now?

Nikki Igbo is an Atlanta-based freelance writer and political junkie. She holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Political Science from California State University at Fullerton and a Masters in Fine Arts of Writing at Savannah College of Art and Design. When not staring in disbelief at the antics unfolding on CSPAN, she enjoys philosophical arguments with her husband, 70's era music and any excuse to craft with glitter. Feel free to check out her freelance services at nikigbo.com and stalk her on twitter @nikigbo or Instagram at @nikigbo.