A couple of weeks ago I walked into a restaurant for a Feminist Stokvel meeting. It was a tiny place, maybe 4 tables in total of which 2 were pushed together for our reservation. At one of the other 2 tables was a family sharing a meal. A mom, dad and a daughter of maybe 3 or 4 years old.
I noticed the little girl immediately. She had a beautiful head of curls – it was honestly hard not to notice her. And anyway, I notice hair everywhere I go. I can’t not. A’s regularly telling me not to stare when we’re out. So anyway, I was the first to arrive so I sat down, got water and got onto my phone to kill time as we do.
My meeting kicked off & maybe half an hour in the mom & little girl came over to our table of 8 saying something along the lines of that her daughter’s been staring at me ever since I walked in & insisted she bring her over so we can meet. I say “something the lines of” because it was such a joyous blur.
And I so Ysabelle & I hung out for the next 2 hours or so of my meeting, her on my lap. We talked about her school, her best friend, her parents (her mother is Indian & her father is Ethiopian) and her cats (she has two). Somewhere in the middle of it all she said: “my hair & your hair is the same hair”. And she touched her hair & then my hair. And then we got back to talking about our cats.
Work wise it was a very unproductive meeting (well for me & I felt bad for the team) but such an awesome day. Our having met was nothing less than extraordinary & left me with a mixed bag of emotions to think through. It reminded me in the very realest way that so many little Black girls (like the ones you & I were growing up) had/have nowhere to look to see an acceptable & normal version of themselves in the world. More than that is that they need it & that even at a really young age (I later found out Ysabelle was 3!) they can recognise it. And obviously being there for a Feminist Stokvel meeting showed me again how important the FS’s work and impact is.
This was my best day of 2015