In Spanish, It Means “Ser Fuerte”

by your spirited TBL Journal Administrator

Tenacity has a few official definitions, one of them being the character of a strong and/or determined person. And, in the context of women and marginalized voices, Tenacity means a person that has the courage to stand for issues that are passionate, to voice out opinions that are political at times and that affect a large group of people, and to hold to your convictions, your truths.

Ieshia Evans

Over the recent few months, we have seen images, heard stories, and read discourse on many important issues. These issues have resulted in conversations that have combined different voices and experiences, often telling of inspiring stories that could have easily been dismissed, hidden, or even forgotten.

One such story is from 14 year old Jerika Bolen—a beautiful human being who suffers from type 2 spinal muscular atrophy (atrophy means “to degenerate”). To date, spinal muscular atrophy is an incurable disease and kills a person when they reach their adolescence. Jerika Bolen plans to attend her prom, her “last dance”, before she has scheduled to die at the end of August by removal of her ventilator.

Jerika Bolen • © Courtesy of Jerika Bolen
Jerika Bolen • © Courtesy of Jerika Bolen
“I sat myself down and I thought, ‘Jerika, am I here for me or am I here for my family? I can’t even do anything besides lie in bed because I’m so sore.’”

Jerika’s voice and her decision is one of tenacity, strength. And her story and her image, powerful as they are, has remained in my mind since I first read it.

Upon reading about the many protests against brutal police violence and killings, the viral image of Ieshia Evans (first image above), taken by photographer Jonathan Bachman, has become one of many impacting images of the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement. Her presence represents stoic symbolism much attributed to Lady Liberty standing in Ellis Island since her official dedication on October 28, 1886.

In reference to Ieshia Evans’s image and her experience is a post by Feminewbie and her experience with racial profiling. What she went through, and her response, is not only memorable but disturbingly powerful.

Feminewbie

Disturbing because it is something that is seen and experienced by most people in these United States and around the world; powerful because Feminewbie has used her blogging platform to speak about the issue she personally dealt with while in Germany. Her story is worth a read.

“So to watch white men violate a Black man like this, in front of everyone, from a social place where the Black man can do nothing sent an eruption through my body and I…

screamed.

An aching, angry, hopeless, vengeful scream.

And once it came out, all respectability melted. I grabbed my phone, turned on the camera, and walked over.”

Three inspiring people, inspiring women, who had the courage to make their voice heard and to hold true to their convictions — I had to share their stories. TBL Journal is all about sharing and learning who people are and what they do. These three women are but a few examples of how tenacity is personified. I hope you agree too.

¡PSST! ©2016 The Black Lion Journal

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