Beloved Children of mine:
Be like Serena,
goddess among humans.
She dares to stand up to an umpire.
She dares wear a tutu.
She dares to be her true herself.
She dares defy all the voices and rules that tried to tame her.
She dares to be excellent and glorious.
She dares to be a goddess among humans.
Do not cower in the face of unfairness.
Stand up to it.
Use your voice.
Raise your words to stand up for yourself.
If the world calls you shaming names,
so be it.
They can call you whatever but you already know who you are.
Stand – courageous – true to your name – in your truths.
Be a goddess among humans.
You have the powers and strengths of ancestral goddesses in you.
You are a descendent of Kali. Shakti.
You are a descendent of Oshun, Inna and Ala.
Be like Kali, the goddess representing our fears.
Be like Kali, fierce and fearless.
Be like Kali, destroying the oppressions.
They will call you kali for your skin tone and blackness.
They might try to shame you into subservience.
They might try to discipline you into obedience.
They might frustrate you into rageful tears.
Be like Serena who is the embodiment of Ala.
Earth goddess to the Igbo.
For whom candles are lit
Altars are dusted off
and yam feasts and festivals are held,
dances are danced
to cleanse away
Of racism and sexism.
Be like Serena Ala.
Goddess among humans
Goddess of morality in charge of laws and rules
Who will punish your taboos and violations
with nightmares and ant army attacks
until you rectify your injustices and oppressions.
Serena is Ala as she brandishes a racket
As if it were a sword
while balancing a child on her knees.
We better take a knee to venerate
this goddess among humans
and build Mbari shrines everywhere
to honor the ground
she walks for
she is after all the Mother of All Things.
She revives us
And leads us to release
the old ways and energies
of sexism and racism.
Child, in this world hell bent on stripping brown and Black girls of humanity,
forget demands to conform.
Speak. Take space. Be you.
Raise your words if you have to.
Claim your dignity
as a deity.
Remember to be more like Serena,
goddess among humans.
Embodiment of Ala
Mother of all Things.
Gayatri Sethi is an educator, mother and aspiring poet. She is of Indian descent and was born in Tanzania and raised in Botswana. She currently resides in the Atlanta area and is raising (biracial) Black children who respect their African-American, Indian and African heritages and cultures.