Turning Pain Into Laughter Since 2011
Over the weekend I had the opportunity to take Marchelle Tignor’s Women’s Handgun 101 class in Woodbury, TN. If you’ve never been to a gun range, shot a gun, or even held a gun in your hands, the sound of gunshots going off all around you can be a little scary and overwhelming. Especially at an outdoor range and you can’t see where those gunshots are coming from and where those bullets are flying. But Marchelle and her husband did an excellent job of easing everyone’s nerves. This class covered the basic fundamentals of shooting, myths regarding women and firearms, and handgun safety. Everything you need is provided by Marchelle and her team: firearm rental, ammo, target, ear/eye protection and range time.
Marchelle is a domestic abuse and sexual assault survivor, who saw the need for a larger representation of Black women when it comes to firearms and shooting instruction. In her own words, “Survival is a choice, and it’s important that women feel like they’re in control of their safety.” With plans to open her own range, her mission is to empower women and make sure that none of her students become a victim. Undoubtedly, Marchelle encounters a lot of opposition while traveling state to state to teach these classes. Finding a gun range that will allow her to teach can be a daunting task. Imagine being a Black woman walking into a range that it is, most likely, white-male owned and asking to use their facility to teach a handgun class to a group of Black women. You can guess that she’s been turned away just for being a woman, but even more so for being a young Black woman equipping other Black women with the skills they need to defend and protect themselves from likes of people, men, that look like them. How DARE she even ask?! Fortunately for us, Marchelle realizes that this is much bigger than her and the motivation of empowering women and destroying the victim mentality keeps her going…despite the negative and sometimes racist feedback she’s met with. If you’ve ever had to opportunity to meet Marchelle, you quickly learned that she is not easily intimidated and as she jokingly told us, no one can hurt her feelings…except her husband. 🙂
If you ever needed a reason to be proactive about your safety, just turn on your tv or log into social media. From the recent race riots in Charlottesville, VA to the numerous videos and stories of white men publicly and unapologetically verbally and physically attacking Black women, it is more important now than ever to take control of our survival and learn to fight back. While I am grateful for the Black men that have stepped up in defense of Black women, it is up to us to make sure we do not become victims. Still need convincing? Here are a few alarming statistics and incidents (numbers don’t lie):
- Homicide at the hands of an intimate partner or ex-partner is the number one killer of African-American females ages 15 to 34
- Black women make up 8% of the U.S. population, but account for 20% of the intimate partner homicide victims
- Racists government officials publicly attack their Black female counterparts, setting a precedence for the lack of respect white men have for us. Basically normalizing the disrespect of all Black women everywhere.
- In Chicago, a Black female security guard had a bottle of water thrown on her and was then punched in the face by a white man because she asked him to move away from the building where she was working. Police was called but never showed up, and there were bystanders who witnessed the entire incident and did NOTHING!
Marchelle travels almost every weekend to bring gun safety to as many women as she can. If she comes to your city I encourage you to sign up for one of her very affordable classes. It’s time for us [Black women] to take charge of our lives and refuse to become a victim. As I always say, no one is coming to save us…we have to save ourselves.
Until next time,