As African-American women, we can take great pride in the strength and solidarity that have sustained us and our community over many years. As Maya Angelou has so movingly described the African-American diaspora:
Although separated from our languages, our families and customs, we had dared to live. We had crossed the unknowable oceans in chains and had written its mystery into "Deep river, my home is over Jordan." Through the centuries of despair and dislocation, we had been creative, because we faced down death by daring to hope. 1
Today, as the African-American community is threatened by disparate conditions that adversely affect our health and well-being, more than ever before, African-American women must draw upon the strength and character of their ancestors in facing down death by daring to hope--and by taking action to prevent the perpetuation of inequities and self-defeating behaviors.
Fortunately, our history from the time of Imhotep to the present is an impressive one and provides many guideposts for meeting the challenges that face us and our community. The same strength and solidarity that