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A Black Woman's Struggles - Episode 2: Join My Protest

Uriel is an intellectual property lawyer, a fiction writer, and a language enthusiast.

Author's Note

As mentioned in the first episode of A Black Woman's Struggles, this flash fiction series is designed to explore societal and professional stereotypes, expectations, and (mis)conceptions about Black ladies. Though they may be based on real-life experiences, they are first and foremost fiction stories that are meant to appeal to the reader's creativity. Don't forget to participate in the poll at the end!

“Hey, sis!”

Angela was walking hurriedly on Cross-Crowd Street while a group of youngsters holding signs in their hands, were marching and chanting in front of the “Power to The Rich” real estate building. When the leader of the group saw Angela coming towards them, she did not miss the opportunity to call the young woman’s attention.

“Do you wanna join us?” She asked Angela, with a compelling tone.

The “Power to The Rich” company had recently acquired a large parcel of land in Grapefruit Neighborhood, which included the Grapefield Park, the only open space in the area. They intended to build modern condos on the newly acquired parcel, thereby depriving the people of Grapefruit of their favorite outdoor area. Stephanie, the girl who had just approached Angela, was born and bred in that neighborhood. She had seen friendships being formed, relationships being built and families being reunited in Grapefield Park. She had witnessed young people getting out of delinquency by joining the arts and dance club that was meeting twice a week in the square. To all the inhabitants of Grapefruit Neighborhood, it was not just a playground, it was a place of social gathering. That was why, led by Stephanie, the youth of Grapefruit had decided to protest against the company’s development plan.

Stephanie handed a flyer to Angela. On the piece of paper, was written the sentence “NO TO THE DESTRUCTION OF GRAPEFIELD PARK!” with a fancy font. Even though the youngsters’ actions looked somewhat childish, Angela was stunned by their boldness.

“They know that Grapefruit Neighborhood is majorly made up of Black families, so they think we won’t do anything and watch them disfigure the area for their capitalistic interests!” Stephanie said vehemently.

Almost immediately, she handed a protest sign to Angela and pointed toward the group that was chanting and marching in circles. In as much as Angela respected their bravery and praised their willingness to defend a cause that was dear to them, she could not afford to spend any more minute there. It was already 8.45 a.m.; it would take her more than ten minutes to reach her workplace, and she was expected to be there before 9 a.m.

“I’m sorry, I cannot join you. But may I suggest…”

Stephanie mimicked an expression of utter displeasure when she heard Angela’s refusal. She spotted what looked like a company badge on Angela’s shirt, bearing the young lady’s name and position.

“So, you think you’re too good to associate with us? Does your white-collar job make you better than the rest of us? I bet you prefer to sit in your comfortable office and watch these capitalists destroy our area!”

Shocked, Angela was not willing to listen to more insults and insinuations from someone she had never met. She behaved as if nothing had just happened and walked the 0.7 mile that separated her from her office.

“Miss Angela, the editor-in-chief would like to see you.” The secretary told her, barely five minutes after she had arrived.

Nervous, she took the stairs to the next floor, knocked at her boss’ door, then entered. Surprisingly, he welcomed her with a smile. In the two months that she had worked at Rock Magazine, she had hardly seen a joyous expression on Mr. Sanders’ face.

“Editor-in-chief Sanders.” She greeted respectfully.

“Job well done for last week's edition!” He complimented her. "Your team's article on capital markets was impressive."

Sanders, who was initially skeptical about giving Angela the assistant editor’s position, was now in admiration of how well she managed all the tasks under her care.

“For our next edition, your team will handle the front page and the big interview.”

He handed a blue folder to Angela and told her she could find additional information in there.

“You know our policy for the ‘big interview.’ No scandal, no engaged journalism. It’s all about the guest! Remember you are responsible for the articles published by the writers in your team. I’m expecting the final output in three days.”

After thanking her boss for trusting in her team’s ability, Angela quickly went back to the twenty-second floor and gathered the writers under her supervision in the meeting room.

“Guys, we have the front page and the big interview!” The young woman announced cheerfully.

She opened the blue folder to brief them as she was reading.

- Next week’s guest is J. LePage, C.E.O of the real estate company “Power to the Rich.” From all indications, their business is booming lately…

- How will they not be? They acquire parcels at the cheapest price possible, barely pay their workers and build high-priced condos, Karl reacted, clearly dissatisfied.

Upon hearing Karl’s words, Angela recalled that the young people she had seen earlier were protesting in front of “Power to the Rich.” Stephanie’s words came back to her mind and a feeling of uneasiness overwhelmed her. She sighed and continued.

- You know the policy for the big interview. Stick to basic questions about their company and their prospects. No need to mention the controversies around their business. Gregory and Laetitia will conduct the interview tomorrow morning, we already have an appointment. I will send you more details later via email. You can all go back to work.

“I bet you prefer to sit in your comfortable office and watch these capitalists destroy our area!”

As the sentence kept ringing in Angela’s ears, she was, however, fully aware that a policy breach was not just a ground for her dismissal, but for suspension by the National Communication Committee, if reported…

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© 2020 Uriel Eliane

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