Three Black Women Who Inspire Me
Black History Month is not only a month of reflection, but a month of appreciation, where we should take time to discuss and celebrate the incredible achievements of the Black community, both past and present. We celebrate the people, places, culture, events, and legacies of Black history—not only this month, but every month. As a Black woman, and one of few people of color in my chapter, I think it is vital to illustrate that we, at Pi Beta Phi, value all perspectives and are committed to recruiting a diverse sisterhood. The following three Black women are among the many who have inspired me personally.
1. Angela Davis
Civil rights activist, feminist, author, and professor, Angela Davis, is one of the most prominent Black women who has stood up for Black voices. Best known for her involvement in Black liberation movements, Davis has shown the world that real power lies in standing up for what’s right and creating a better world for ourselves and future generations. Not only is she inspiring in this way, but she continues to inspire countless individuals through her writing as well.
Throughout her books, she speaks on topics of freedom, feminism, incarceration, and what led to her commitment as a civil rights activist. One of the many things that inspires me about Angela Davis is her courage. Her courage to not only make herself heard, but her courage to advocate for the voices of those who often go silenced. As Martin Luther King Jr. once said, “our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.” Angela Davis lives and breathes this ideal. She’s made it her life’s work to speak up and demand freedom and is still doing just that.
Lawyer, author, and former First Lady of the United States, Michelle Obama, is known for her unwavering determination in creating a more fair and equal country. As the first African American woman to serve as First Lady, it is evident that she has had insurmountable levels of success in being a voice and an influence on the life of U.S. citizens and those across the globe. One of her main focuses as the First Lady was the empowerment of women. As a feminist, and a firm believer in the power of a good education, Michelle (and former President Barack) Obama launched a government initiative entitled, “Let Girls Learn.”
2. Michelle Obama
Let Girls Learn focuses on educating young girls around the world who don’t have proper access to education. The goal is that through the first step of education, young women everywhere will be better prepared to tackle the world and help create a brighter future for us all. Michelle Obama inspires me and many others because she is a true testament to the fact that learning leads you down a path of success. The more you learn, the greater your perspective, and the more wisdom you are able to share with others.
In 2022, award-winning actress Zendaya was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. As someone who hopes to write and direct films in the future, I am inspired every day by women like Zendaya. Growing up, it was uncommon to see a young actress on screen who wasn’t white, a young actress who looked like me. Zendaya, having begun her career on Disney Channel, became that representation. She became a symbol of hope for many young Black women like myself; an illustration for Black girls who fell in love with films that they too could succeed and achieve their dreams, regardless of the color of their skin.
3. Zendaya Coleman
Zendaya has also stayed true to herself throughout her career and used her platform to speak up about what matters most—including advocating for and bringing attention to the Black Lives Matter movement. She has shown that women—Black women—can do anything that white men and women can do… and that Black lives do in fact matter just as much as any other life. She also symbolizes the freedom that exists when you dare to be your authentic self, and has shown the courage it takes to go against the grain.
Black History Month is about recognition and celebration. It’s about celebrating the Black civil rights activists who fought for our rights; celebrating the Black politicians who have driven our country closer to equality; celebrating the Black artists who use their medium to inspire, to say something important, and to represent the fact that anyone can accomplish their dreams… no matter the color of their skin. Black History Month celebrates the aforementioned, along with the doctors, lawyers, journalists, and every other Black person whose contributions and achievements have permanently altered the fabric of our society. As you walk through this February, I encourage you to reflect on all of the Black men and women who have inspired you personally. Wishing you all a happy Black History Month from Pi Beta Phi.
Published February 26, 2023