As we continue to celebrate Black History, we wanted to shine a spotlight on Queen Nzinga of Ndongo and Matamba, a powerful ruler and diplomat from Angola who stood up against Portuguese colonialism in the 17th century.

But beyond her impressive political achievements, Queen Nzinga’s life was also marked by significant childhood trauma. As a young girl, she was forced to witness the execution of her brother by the ruling Ngola, who feared he posed a threat to his own power. This traumatic event undoubtedly had a profound impact on Nzinga’s life and may have contributed to her later commitment to resisting colonialism and fighting for her people’s rights.

Despite the adversity she faced, Queen Nzinga rose to become a fierce leader, renowned for her intelligence, strategic prowess, and unwavering determination to defend her people’s freedom. She remains an inspiring figure to this day, and her legacy serves as a reminder of the strength and resilience of Black women throughout history.

There are many people whose trauma stems from losing a loved one, particularly in a violent manner. In many of our communities, this is an experience of many. 

Know this, our ancestors from long ago also endured some of the most unthinkable events. When we have these powerful people of our past who have a life that continues to echo throughout our lifetime, it is a testament to what we come from and our ability to, not just overcome, but to thrive and make an impact. 

This week, let’s honor the memory of Queen Nzinga and her spirit to inspire us to what is possible in the realm of perseverance. We acknowledge her and all the Black women who have made significant contributions to the world despite the challenges they faced. 

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