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10 Matriarchs Over The Age Of 60 Give Their Best Life & Love Advice

Love & Relationships

Since being a little girl, we've all heard the saying that "With age, comes wisdom."


However, it's only recently that I've begun to see this wisdom unravel within myself in regards to my romantic relationships.

In finally gaining the perspective it takes to someday claim wisdom, I've found the "aha" moments to be the most thrilling part of the experience because in the most eloquent way, it screams: "Not with the shit. Not today."

It's indicative of me finding, nurturing, and centering in on my grown woman because, as my parents tried to tell me time and time again, "I don't care how old you are. You're not grown. 18 is not grown." And although this speech normally served as a friendly reminder that I'm not too old to catch a beat down, it can seamlessly be applied to here too.

Being grown is a mindset, not a number and it means embracing my readiness to be a reflection of that in my dating life and those who I attract.

Nonetheless, I'm able to recognize that my seedlings of wisdom are still so newly planted within that it doesn't have many petals to pluck from. Have I learned a little something? Of course. But I'm still too young and yet old enough to know that any knowledge gained during year 25 cannot begin to compare to that of the women who have come before me. The real gritty and honest wisdom lies amongst the matriarchs in my life and likely yours too.

If you talk to most matriarchal figures, they have found a certain peace with the events that take place in their lives -- good, bad, and ugly. They can sit and talk to you with just enough bias to impart big wisdom upon you, knowledge that your young years could never touch without guidance. It's as comforting as it is insightful.

I asked 10 black matriarchal figures, who have likely experienced love, heartache, and healing to pass down a solid piece of advice for us younger women. Here's what they had to say.

Jeanie, 72

"Make sure who you want and what you want is right there from the beginning. If you meet someone that you have to remake, then keep walking. Be picky. How you start out with a man is how you end up; If you start out allowing a man to take advantage of you and walk all over you, then that's how the course of your relationship will go. So, I've made sure I was the dominant force in all of my relationships."

Sandra, 75

"Always listen to your inner self. Seek someone who has the same core values and expectations in life that you do. No one will be perfect, so identify anything that really bothers you and ask yourself if this is something you can really live with without compromising your values. Never think that you can change someone's behavior."

"Select someone who enhances your life and is able to extend your knowledge base and makes you feel beautiful and important."

Vicki, 67

"Don't allow any man nor woman to lower your self-esteem. At all times, know your self-worth and don't lose yourself to the first man who says those three charming words. Education and knowledge are the key to becoming a strong black woman. But, most of all love yourself first."

Willie Mae, 91

"Know who you are and find out who they are. Meaning, you know yourself before meeting someone, but do all that you can to find out who they are before moving forward."

Gertrude, 78

"Always be open and honest with each other. Make sure that in the beginning you tell one another what you're willing and not willing to do. Never allow a man to tell you what you can and cannot do. Never let him have that power. Regardless of if you're married or dating, always have something in your name..."

"Be sure that should anything happens, you can stand on your own – never depend on no man."

Yvonne, 63

"Falling and being in love is absolutely wonderful. Sharing your love with someone else can add another dimension to your life. But, we must be careful not to lose our sense of self, our self-respect and a sense of balance in the relationship. Above all, however, we must never feel incomplete without a significant other. Independence is a wonderful thing!"

Izola, 76

"Don't just run after someone you're so in love with, make sure they love you too. That means they take care of you, comfort you, and protect you. Always be willing to ask for forgiveness, be humble, sweet, and kind. Speak softly and think about what you're going to say before you say it, because once you say it you can't take it back."

Mildred, 93

"It's three places to find a good husband -- at work, at church, or at school."

"They say that because if you find a husband in one of those three places, you'll usually know someone who knows something about them, whereas if you meet someone in the street you may not know anything about them."

Beverly, 77

"Make it last by not stepping on each other's toes, we both have our own activities we enjoy doing and support each other."

Peaches, 78

"Be friends first. Don't fall in love too fast."

Featured image by Eye for Ebony on Unsplash

ACLU By ACLUSponsored

Over the past four years, we grew accustomed to a regular barrage of blatant, segregationist-style racism from the White House. Donald Trump tweeted that “the Squad," four Democratic Congresswomen who are Black, Latinx, and South Asian, should “go back" to the “corrupt" countries they came from; that same year, he called Elizabeth Warren “Pocahontas," mocking her belief that she might be descended from Native American ancestors.

But as outrageous as the racist comments Trump regularly spewed were, the racially unjust governmental actions his administration took and, in the case of COVID-19, didn't take, impacted millions more — especially Black and Brown people.

To begin to heal and move toward real racial justice, we must address not only the harms of the past four years, but also the harms tracing back to this country's origins. Racism has played an active role in the creation of our systems of education, health care, ownership, and employment, and virtually every other facet of life since this nation's founding.

Our history has shown us that it's not enough to take racist policies off the books if we are going to achieve true justice. Those past policies have structured our society and created deeply-rooted patterns and practices that can only be disrupted and reformed with new policies of similar strength and efficacy. In short, a systemic problem requires a systemic solution. To combat systemic racism, we must pursue systemic equality.

What is Systemic Racism?

A system is a collection of elements that are organized for a common purpose. Racism in America is a system that combines economic, political, and social components. That system specifically disempowers and disenfranchises Black people, while maintaining and expanding implicit and explicit advantages for white people, leading to better opportunities in jobs, education, and housing, and discrimination in the criminal legal system. For example, the country's voting systems empower white voters at the expense of voters of color, resulting in an unequal system of governance in which those communities have little voice and representation, even in policies that directly impact them.

Systemic Equality is a Systemic Solution

In the years ahead, the ACLU will pursue administrative and legislative campaigns targeting the Biden-Harris administration and Congress. We will leverage legal advocacy to dismantle systemic barriers, and will work with our affiliates to change policies nearer to the communities most harmed by these legacies. The goal is to build a nation where every person can achieve their highest potential, unhampered by structural and institutional racism.

To begin, in 2021, we believe the Biden administration and Congress should take the following crucial steps to advance systemic equality:

Voting Rights

The administration must issue an executive order creating a Justice Department lead staff position on voting rights violations in every U.S. Attorney office. We are seeing a flood of unlawful restrictions on voting across the country, and at every level of state and local government. This nationwide problem requires nationwide investigatory and enforcement resources. Even if it requires new training and approval protocols, a new voting rights enforcement program with the participation of all 93 U.S. Attorney offices is the best way to help ensure nationwide enforcement of voting rights laws.

These assistant U.S. attorneys should begin by ensuring that every American in the custody of the Bureau of Prisons who is eligible to vote can vote, and monitor the Census and redistricting process to fight the dilution of voting power in communities of color.

We are also calling on Congress to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act to finally create a fair and equal national voting system, the cause for which John Lewis devoted his life.

Student Debt

Black borrowers pay more than other students for the same degrees, and graduate with an average of $7,400 more in debt than their white peers. In the years following graduation, the debt gap more than triples. Nearly half of Black borrowers will default within 12 years. In other words, for Black Americans, the American dream costs more. Last week, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, along with House Reps. Ayanna Pressley, Maxine Waters, and others, called on President Biden to cancel up to $50,000 in federal student loan debt per borrower.

We couldn't agree more. By forgiving $50,000 of student debt, President Biden can unleash pent up economic potential in Black communities, while relieving them of a burden that forestalls so many hopes and dreams. Black women in particular will benefit from this executive action, as they are proportionately the most indebted group of all Americans.

Postal Banking

In both low and high income majority-Black communities, traditional bank branches are 50 percent more likely to close than in white communities. The result is that nearly 50 percent of Black Americans are unbanked or underbanked, and many pay more than $2,000 in fees associated with subprime financial institutions. Over their lifetime, those fees can add up to as much as two years of annual income for the average Black family.

The U.S. Postal Service can and should meet this crisis by providing competitive, low-cost financial services to help advance economic equality. We call on President Biden to appoint new members to the Postal Board of Governors so that the Post Office can do the work of providing essential services to every American.

Fair Housing

Across the country, millions of people are living in communities of concentrated poverty, including 26 percent of all Black children. The Biden administration should again implement the 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing rule, which required localities that receive federal funds for housing to investigate and address barriers to fair housing and patterns or practices that promote bias. In 1980, the average Black person lived in a neighborhood that was 62 percent Black and 31 percent white. By 2010, the average Black person's neighborhood was 48 percent Black and 34 percent white. Reinstating the Obama-era Fair Housing Rule will combat this ongoing segregation and set us on a path to true integration.

Congress should also pass the American Housing and Economic Mobility Act, or a similar measure, to finally redress the legacy of redlining and break down the walls of segregation once and for all.

Broadband Access

To realize broadband's potential to benefit our democracy and connect us to one another, all people in the United States must have equal access and broadband must be made affordable for the most vulnerable. Yet today, 15 percent of American households with school-age children do not have subscriptions to any form of broadband, including one-quarter of Black households (an additional 23 percent of African Americans are “smartphone-only" internet users, meaning they lack traditional home broadband service but do own a smartphone, which is insufficient to attend class, do homework, or apply for a job). The Biden administration, Federal Communications Commission, and Congress must develop and implement plans to increase funding for broadband to expand universal access.

Enhanced, Refundable Child Tax Credits

The United States faces a crisis of child poverty. Seventeen percent of all American children are impoverished — a rate higher than not just peer nations like Canada and the U.K., but Mexico and Russia as well. Currently, more than 50 percent of Black and Latinx children in the U.S. do not qualify for the full benefit, compared to 23 percent of white children, and nearly one in five Black children do not receive any credit at all.

To combat this crisis, President Biden and Congress should enhance the child tax credit and make it fully refundable. If we enhance the child tax credit, we can cut child poverty by 40 percent and instantly lift over 50 percent of Black children out of poverty.

Reparations

We cannot repair harms that we have not fully diagnosed. We must commit to a thorough examination of the impact of the legacy of chattel slavery on racial inequality today. In 2021, Congress must pass H.R. 40, which would establish a commission to study reparations and make recommendations for Black Americans.

The Long View

For the past century, the ACLU has fought for racial justice in legislatures and in courts, including through several landmark Supreme Court cases. While the court has not always ruled in favor of racial justice, incremental wins throughout history have helped to chip away at different forms of racism such as school segregation ( Brown v. Board), racial bias in the criminal legal system (Powell v. Alabama, i.e. the Scottsboro Boys), and marriage inequality (Loving v. Virginia). While these landmark victories initiated necessary reforms, they were only a starting point.

Systemic racism continues to pervade the lives of Black people through voter suppression, lack of financial services, housing discrimination, and other areas. More than anything, doing this work has taught the ACLU that we must fight on every front in order to overcome our country's legacies of racism. That is what our Systemic Equality agenda is all about.

In the weeks ahead, we will both expand on our views of why these campaigns are crucial to systemic equality and signal the path this country must take. We will also dive into our work to build organizing, advocacy, and legal power in the South — a region with a unique history of racial oppression and violence alongside a rich history of antiracist organizing and advocacy. We are committed to four principles throughout this campaign: reconciliation, access, prosperity, and empowerment. We hope that our actions can meet our ambition to, as Dr. King said, lead this nation to live out the true meaning of its creed.

What you can do:
Take the pledge: Systemic Equality Agenda
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Featured image by Shutterstock

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