February 1 is National Freedom day and the first day of #BlackHistoryMonth. I've been thinking a lot lately about what inspires freedom for me. The headlines about work life of full of stories of harm, discrimination, and the ways people restrict freedom, particularly of Black women and other marginalized folks. Reading these stories has brought me grief. And the "anti-DEI" rhetoric has made me feel worse - it feels like more and more people are walking away from doing the work to change the work life of marginalized people.
But I know focusing on what harms us will not free us. We must look toward where we want to go.
I believe our path to freedom is inspired most by visions and dreams of liberation. One of my favorite books is Black Imagination by Natasha Marin. The book is a collection of stories from Black people responding to the prompt, "Imagine a world where you are loved, safe, and valued." I've been thinking a lot about what that world looks like for me, and I find inspiration by the work and lives of many Black women. So this year for #BlackHistoryMonth, I'm going to continue to celebrate and shine a light on Black women who help me imagine a world where I am loved, safe, and valued. This year my #29LoveLetterstoBlackWomen will focus on how expressions of resistance, joy, art, and wisdom have taught me lessons for my own liberation.
And once again, I'm starting with my mom, Anne Myatt. My mom wanted to be an artist when she was growing up but my grandparents encouraged my mom to become a nurse instead. Like many Black parents, my grandparents couldn't conceive of a world where my mom would thrive as an artist. They wanted my mom to have respectable job, making a good wage. My mom became a nurse, working in public health and as a lactation consultant. But she never gave up her dream of being an artist. My parent's home is filled with my mom's paintings, sculptures, and doll art. My mom's doll art has been featured in magazines and won awards. She hand sculpts and creates every element. This Christmas my mom gave me one of her dolls, and I absolutely love it.
It's been an inspiration to witness my mom find space for her art. In a world that told her she couldn't be an artist, my mom made a way. When she's making art, my mom seems to be in her flow space. It's like witnessing a bird flying free. I often wonder about what art and creations might exist in the world, if more people were free enough to create. My mom is the embodiment of what's possible if people have the space to create. My mom has taught me that art and expression are one of the ways to practice freedom. #29LoveLettersToBlackWomen #Day1