I've absolutely loved collecting the stories of sistas about how we protect our Black girl magic. This one right here, Andrea Walker, is special because she probably doesn't even know how much of a shero she is, to me. I met Andrea a few years ago when the homie Sandria Washington and I did a summer series of "adult fieldtrips." I came up with this idea and as per usual I put it out there and I knew my Sandi would be down with doing this. Andrea was one of the sistas who went on this summer journey with us. We met on her first trip, to Dusable, and her spirit was so authentic. At first I didn't know she was clergy, and if you know me, you know I have a potty mouth. Once I found out I was like, "Oh crap I can't remember e'rything I've said, but I know I've cussed." Andrea was so cool with it, not condoning my cussing, but also not condemning. I also love that her role in the Evangelical Lutheran church takes her all over Africa, and I think that's sooooooo amazing. She is the epitome of having a Living relationship with a Living God. So yeah, though I rarely see this sista in person, I know she's actively doing the work that aligns Black liberation and spirituality. Bloomfully yours, nicole jhan'rea
How does Andrea protect her Black girl magic? She shared:
How do I protect my black girl magic? I never thought about it until asked the question. As I reflect I must say that I do three things: remember whose I am, celebrate my sisters, and practice selfcare.
As a child of the seventies, I would have to say that I grew up not knowing my value, participating in a lot of unhealthy behavior, and putting everyone’s wishes, ideas and dreams before my own. I squandered, did damage to my magic or let others do damage. It wasn’t until I internalized God’s love that I could see my own gifts and values. It wasn’t until I could internalize that I am a child of God, loved by God and created in God’s image could I even think that I had any magic. Now I stand firmly in the faith that I am God’s beloved, despite what society might say and display my black girl magic proudly.
Not only have I learned to value myself, but I have come to see God’s likeness in my sisters and I celebrate their gifts and all the magic of the women around me. I celebrate the bold sassiness of my younger sisters that know that they can do anything and are doing it. I celebrate the confidence of the women in my circle as they exhibit by setting their own paths and doing life changing work that affects the world. I cheer my sisters on, encourage them, give advice when asked and pray for all the fabulous women around me. I buy books in support; I donate to charities and work hard in uplifting my sisters so that their black girl magic is not stifled or torn down. Seeing, experiencing and delighting in their energy and black girl magic, helps me continue to walk in my own. Although that walking can be difficult at times.
As an ordained clergy person that works globally, I not only have to deal with the patriarchy and misogyny in the good old U.S. of A.; I not only have to deal with those who would squash my black girl magic in my own country, I also deal with those on the continent of Africa who think I am not staying in a woman’s place, that I have no business with a clergy collar around my neck and should remain silent. I have endured the questions of: “how does your husband help you in your work? How does he feel about you traveling so much?” I want to snap my fingers and shake my head to give the questioner attitude, but I usually smile and ask, “do you see my husband? I respond with all the confidence I can gather, “God has called me to do this work!” I then keep on keeping on.
Some of this can take a toll. So, I have learned to spend time by myself. After three weeks on the road, working 24/7 you can find me, for at least 48 hours at home in sweats and a tee shirt, relaxing. That relaxing includes coloring, binge watching Netflix, reading good books, lighting candles, and taking long luxurious baths. I deserve it, because life. . . sigh. . . can be a little hectic. I’ve learned to keep boundaries and to say “no.” I now know that my black girl magic does need protecting and preserving and I know I must be the first one in line to take care of said magic.
I do all this because I want my black girl magic to be apparent when I do what I do and I want all my baby girls, my little sisters and my peers to be emboldened and empowered to see someone who has learned to live in celebration of her black girl magic.
Rev. Dr. Andrea L Walker works for the Global Mission unit of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) She is the Area Director for Madagascar, West and Central Africa. In this role she has responsibility for the ELCA’s mission in nine countries on the continent of Africa: Cameroon, Central African Republic, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and the island nation of Madagascar. These responsibilities include traveling to oversee the relationship with Lutheran Churches in these countries, which include projects, programs and missionary personnel.
Before taking on this position she served two different Lutheran parishes in Bronx, New York and Summit. New Jersey.
Andrea has a thirty-eight-year old son, and a ten year old grandson.