Written By: Terrence A. Merkerson
There are two notes that I keep on the wall of my office. They are nothing fancy.. just some scribble in my reasonably legible handwriting, on blue sticky notes in black ink. The first note says, “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t.” My grandma used to always tell me that well before I ever knew what it actually meant. The second note, which I hold most dearly says, “It was always a Black woman who uplifted me when no one else knew how and when no one else cared.” That message has always been true in my life and now we are seeing this manifest in all of our lives. It is something that we all knew, but maybe ignored or just did not acknowledge. Black women have always uplifted ALL OF US (even when in the times that we did not know we needed it) and last night, in my home state of Alabama, they did it again.
I’m not going politicize this note by recanting all of the atrocities that Roy Moore, the Republican Party and the poor, mislead and manipulated white folks of the Deep South have committed against everything that most of us believe to be fair, equitable and decent. What I will do is praise the Black voters of Alabama, especially the Black women who continue to recognize, verbalize and mobilize shit for all of our betterment. As a native Alabamian, I still find myself in disbelief that in today’s political climate, a Democrat will hold a seat in the Senate representing a state that has always been the heart of everything that is White, Republican, religious, uber-conservative, and anti-progressive (sorry Mississippi). Even the state’s greatest export, The Alabama Crimson Tide Football Team, wears one of the deepest hues of red and has a mascot that is an Elephant. It really doesn’t get more Republican than that, but nevertheless, here we are.
Hope and change. These were the rallying cries of Barack Obama during his two terms as President and for many of us, 2008 and 2012 birth an awakening of pride, ownership and accountability for our country. It finally felt like America was ours too (bout time). The days of hope and change have since passed thanks to one of the most agressively regressive acts in American history, that was the 2016 Presidential election. But our collective indictment of that act has moved us beyond the days of hope and change and into a new era of accountability, action and being woke AF. This election was so vital, not only politically, but also emotionally and mentally to the spirit of marginalized folks in America. It affirms that #BlackVotesMatter. It affirims that #MinorityVotesMatter. It affirms that when we take accountability for our role in our oppression, we can change our reality. We can do this shit, y’all.
…and again, it was Black Women that shined their light, sprinkled their magic and led the way. They have always been the brightest light in a dark, dark world.
Thank you, ladies.
Terrence A. Merkerson is the Founder & Creator of Avenue Fifteen. Terrence earned Bachelor’s Degrees in both Political Science and Gender/Race Studies from the University of Alabama. Terrence also completed Graduate School at the University of Alabama, earning a Master’s Degree in Communication and is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at Louisiana State University.
He currently resides in Charlotte, NC.