Toronto Metropolitan University

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Cornbread, Collard Greens, and a Side of Liberation: Black Feminist Leadership and AIDS Advocacy

journal contribution
posted on 2024-03-07, 20:09 authored by Denise McLane-DavisonDenise McLane-Davison

Black feminist epistemology and phenomenological inquiry frame a recently published research study (McLane-Davison, 2016) that offers an intimate snapshot of the lives of ten pioneering community health leaders fighting for health justice. The leadership characteristics of these women embodies a similar commitment to community and human rights as the nineteenth century, Black Women’s Club movement (Gilkes, 2001), as well as, the nineteen sixties Civil Rights (Abdullah, 2007), and Black Power (Hill-Collins, 2006) movements. When HIV/AIDS emerged, it was yet another reason to advocate for the survival of their communities. As an organic space of safety, the family kitchen is cohere intergenerational knowledge and collective identity(Beoku-Betts, 1995) provide valuable key ingredients for developing an “advocacy spirit” of Black feminist leadership (Abdullah, 2007; Hill-Collins, 2007; McLane-Davison, 2016). Being “at the table,” where decisions were made, was both necessary and obligatory for addressing the inequities of resources and health outcomes. The findings of this phenomenological study revealed the characteristics of Black feminist leadership in HIV/AIDS community work (McLane-Davison, 2013; 2016). This article answers one of the key research questions: “What value, if any, do Black women bring to the fight against HIV/AIDS?” Black feminist leadership posits that liberation is always a topic when Black women gather. Their intergenerational strategy of “stirring the pot of justice” offers innovative and liberating approaches for sustaining healthier communities.





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