Before Time unveiled its designation of 2017 as the year of the Silence Breakers, we at Rewire pondered the long list of Black women’s achievements in the preceding months and wondered if this could be appropriately labeled the Year of the Black Woman. The recent election of Alabama’s newest U.S. senator, Doug Jones, helped clinch the argument, as no other group cast more votes for Roy Moore’s Democratic challenger than Black women in Alabama.
But one election in one state does not a year make. And neither do all the successes of Black women in public arenas negate that Black women—whether they be African American, Caribbean-born, immigrants from Africa, or with origins throughout this big, broad diaspora—are still at the bottom of too many health indicators and too many ladders to social and economic mobility. We are sometimes at the top, being more likely to read a book than any other college-educated person in the United States and more likely to start a business. But we also are more likely to die due to a pregnancy-related cause.