BLACK WOMEN BEIJING
Over the years, more and more women from all around the world have made courageous voyages out of their homelands and found home in foreign lands. One of the world’s most famous and largest cities, Beijing has of late become a famous destination and home to many foreigners [wai guo ren]. In a place that has become a mixed bag, there is need for identity preservation lest one gets drowned in the mix.
Being in a foreign country can create its own challenges. It gets lonely sometimes, frustrating and stressful and China is no easy place considering its history of being enclosed.
Women like Ayesha Wharton who have stayed in Beijing for a couple of years relate to the challenges faced by women, black women in particular, when they step on foreign land, hence the conception and birth of Black Women Beijing (BWB) in March 2015 as a networking platform whose objective is to unite black women and educate each other on various life issues. BWB was created to revive black women in Beijing so they can connect to other women and have a sister’s shoulder to lean on in times of sorrow and happiness. BWB is mainly for black women, a safe and comfort zone for them to discuss issues peculiar to them, however, other women can take part in various other projects related to BWB.
BWB recently held a get together event on the 8th of September and was a ‘sold out’ event. Contrary to what some circles insinuate that women don’t support each other, BWB event proved it all hogwash as tickets were sold out way before the event. Responding to this assumption about women, Ms Lauren Forrest said, "I disagree that women can’t work together. All it requires are level-headed people with a common goal who are willing to communicate and work as a team towards that goal. Women have to be courteous, if you are mature and level headed and looking at the goal instead of personal issues, then working together is easy.”
Women are by nature more social, more community focused and collaborative. When women work together, the force is uncontested. Tiffany who attended the event had this to say,”…I love being part of BWB community as I have not only gotten assistance with resources and find answers to basic life in China but also been able to have discussions about issues and experiences that happen here with the support of other women…” She went on to say that she wishes BWB grows into a big entity and continue supporting black women which is the ultimate goal of BWB .
“The speech by Caneisha Berry was empowering as she encouraged us not to let time pass us by here in Beijing but get the experience and lessons we came to learn,” said Yolanda Ajak who also had a priviledge to attend the event. Many women spoken to echoed the same sentiments that the event was more than expected.
Women and empowerment always go hand in glove hence this event wasn’t going to be complete without promotion of businesses. Vendors also got the opportunity to showcase their products and one such company is VSP Skin Care who praised BWB vending platform for creating marketing space ,support, exposure and cooperation not only for black-owned businesses but all inclusive.
Black Women Beijing also launched its line of BWB T’shirts which many BWB community members were wearing at the event. There is no stopping when a woman wills it.
The morale was just high as many took to social media expressing their joys and satisfaction with the outcome of the event. In conclusion we can just say in isiZulu, "Umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu".[in simple terms a person is person through other persons]
Photos by BWB Community.