This was an uplifting month. Hanging out in Harlem with two of my favorite people in the world was priceless. Paola, Lidice and I walked around and took it all the black love in the space. We spent time at the Schoomburg Library and had a delicious southern meal for lunch. We were in NY for the 63rd Session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
This would be another collaborating year with Sistren Imani who always includes the voice of black women from Latin America and the Caribbean. Our panel was called, Reckoning: The Visible Invisibility of Global African Women.
This year we had our new RMAAD General Coordinator my dear hermana Paola, our Central American coordinator, my dear hermana Lidice and our fearless Brazilian coordinator who on the main floor the day before called out the Brazilian government for having a role in the murder of Marielle Franco. It was powerful! We shared our truth which left folks in awe of a truth they did not know of.
March also placed in my space that always confirms the importance of our work. For the past few years I do an ‘Unmasking identity’ training with the young women of the CHICA project. We always laugh, cry and leave grounded in the freedom to embrace our full identity. It keeps getting better! Looking forward to next year.
April was a month of balance. The first event of the month was about love and arts. Bunker Hill Community College had an event celebrating my poetic mentor, Baba Askia Toure.
I have been blessed to follow Baba Askia around, sit with him and learn about his scholar activist and poetic journey. He has shaped the way I approach poetry. I was honored to share this out loud with others as we celebrated him. It was truly a treat to read to him and to share the impact he has had on me that goes beyond poetry.
Thank you Baba Askia for all that you do and for taking the time to share your wisdom with me.
The month ended with what I am calling, ‘Renaming the Narrative’ moment. I was invited to be the Keynote speaker at Harvard University’s Afro Dominican Association Inaugural event, “Afro-Latinidad: Exploring African Heritage in Latinx Cultures.”
For the first time with great intention I spoke publicly or distancing myself from using the term, Afro-Latina. I have arrived at this place after many years wanting to be seen in a space that would never see me because it leans on whiteness and highlights white supremacy. I know why I will use it politically and when I will use it but it is not the term that best describes my journey or who I am as an individual. I posed it as a question and a challenge to other speakers, How many of you can say, Black, Negro, African and not hyphenate it? Many had to pause and reflect on the question. By posing the question and thinking about it, then you can move closer to answering the question, what table am I working to be invited to and why?
It was wonderful to share the space with many of the younger voices of the movement. I left grounded in my ‘unapologetically black’ light and hopeful for the future of the movement.
Here is a wonderful piece written by one of the presenters at the conference and one of the reasons I am very hopeful that our truth will be told. Gracias Janel! Much admiration!