My Sister, You’re Beautiful

root - Posted on 20 July 2003

Disabled Women of Color celebrated in Women’s History Month

by Leroy Moore Jr. /Illin and Chillin

In this month, Women History Month of 2003, my disabled sisters of color voices are once again muddled or is it nobody’s listening to their beautiful voice, art and activism in this critical time. Early this month Gov. Gray Davis apology on the history of California in sterilization era that included an overwhelming number of Black women but the article goes on to say that there is a lack of information connecting California Gov. to the large number of force sterilization cases. I wonder have our state government ever read Killing the Black Body by Dorothy Roberts, who researched and wrote on this topic of force sterilization on Black women. According to KPFA, after the first day of the so called war on Iraq, women and elderly has filled up hospitals, some will have to live with war inflicted disabilities.

What about disabled women of color artists, writers and advocates? Oh, they are out there in full force but once again their voices are muddled but growing strong daily. Locally Patty Bern, Noemi Sohn and Mariana Ruybalid are putting their beautiful and strong voices out there in their own way. On February 13, 2003, San Francisco Women Against Rap in conjunction with Fearless Words held a showcase of digital stories of survivors of sexual assault. Patty Bern, a revolutionary disabled woman of color put together a digital story in which disability, sexuality, dehumanization\violence, transformation and healing are understood as social and political phenomena as well as an individual process. I felt proud to see my disabled sister of color artwork in the mix of other women of color stories. This proud feeling continued to grow when my friend, a disabled Filipino, poet, activist Noemi Sohn told me that she is working on her first chapbook of poetry due out soon. I am blown away by the focus, determination and the words of Mariana Ruybalid, a spiritual, beautiful soul that forms this disabled Latina who will be coming out with her first full length novel in July of this year and found a publisher on her own.

From my research, the mother of the Black Disabled movement, is Mildertte Hill of London England. Hill helped start The Black Disabled Movement in the UK and is the co-founder and has been the chair of the Black Disabled People Group in 1990. In 1993 Hill formed the Black Disabled Women’s Collective and help edited the first book I found on Black disabled people entitled Reflection: Views of black disabled people on their lives and community care . We can’t forget the mother & daughter team, the Dunhamns, in New Jersey that started the New Jersey Minorities with Disabilities Coalition. Last but not least our own San Francisco Bayview Columnist and Black Panther, Kiilu Nyasha who reminds us the injustice in the prison system and this racist country we live in. When I see Kiilu roll up to the mike in her stylist wheelchair, at rallies I feel like I’m not alone. Kiilu, one day I want to sit down with you, listen, learn, take notes on how to organize people of color with and without disabilities. You are something else! Please teach me! So to honor my gorgeous disabled sisters of color in Women History Month of 2003 I dedicate this poem to you. Black in this poem means all women of color.

I'm Beautiful

(For Black disabled women)

I am fucking gorgeous

with my brown smooth skin and my shaved head!

Oh yeah my body is slammin

with my long thin legs, firm tight butt and young breast!

Mmm mmm mmm I know I'm fine!

My green eyes stop traffic.

Mick Jaguar wish he had my lips.

High check bones, dimples and my thin eyebrows.

Yheap, I kissed myself in the mirror!

Although I'm the finest thing on this earth,

many people think I look like a freak.

I'm shock!

They don't see my beauty!

My legs are twisted inward.

My speech is slow.

How can any man or woman pass

me without noticing how hot I am?

I should have a date every day of the week.

You don't know what you're passing up!

Mondona, Janet Jackson, En Vogue & The Spice Girls

stand in line behind me!

My beauty goes deeper than what you see.

My mind is beautiful!

College and street graduate.

I'm dying for a stimulate conversation.

You can't ask for anything better!

Strong, intelligent, beautiful, independent,

Black disabled young woman.

But you can't deal with me!

You'd pass me by for what?

It's too bad you can't handle me.

Am I too much for you?

If you can't say it than you

need to stop starring at me!

I know what you're thinking!

"She is fine but............
If only..............."

But I don't need you to tell me

what I already know.

I'm beautiful from the inside out and outside in!

I'm beautiful when I drag my feet

across the street!

Everything about me is beautiful!

God damn I'm drop dead gorgeous

and you're ugly, stupid, and narrow-minded

and a waste of my time!!

This poem is dedicated to all the Black disabled women who have been over looked by the Women Movement, the Black Feminist Movement, the Black Gay Movement and the Disability Rights Movement. You're BEAUTIFUL. Fuck that you're Fucking Gorgeous!


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