How Locs Healed my Hair Trauma

By Yasmeen Jaaber • Originally published on Medium • In March 2020, when my Junior year ended, there was little I had control over. I thought of the future and saw either fire and dying or nothing at all. I struggled with feeling any difference in the days and I needed something to give the calendar on my wall meaning.

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Reflections on Black Motherhood

By Teresa Younger • To me, motherhood is a critical aspect of Black feminism. A critical understanding of our experiences allows Black women to contribute to each other, and the liberation movements in significant ways.

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Reflections on Activism in 2020

By Teresa Younger • During a conversation about the Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia From Women’s Suffrage to Today, which featured a panel about my daughter and her artwork in March of this year, I was asked, “Is your child happy doing this work?”

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SSD: A Timeline of Dealing with Single Sided Deafness

By Riss • Riss reflects on her experiences as from a child perspective to an adult perspective living with Single- Sided Deafness. She wants the reader to understand that there are so many incidents and not enough time. (October 2020) 

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How I Found My Own Garden

By Shontrice Barnes • Ever since I could remember, writing has been a huge part of my life. All throughout my childhood, I had kept journals of random things that I would write. Stories, poems, songs, random thoughts… words were some of the only ways I knew how to express myself. 
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Giving Birth While Black

By Joyce Hounkanrin • “Do you want her?” The white nurse’s name was Millie and she proposed this question with regard to the impending birth of my daughter. I had voiced one fear.

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Remembering my Father

By Teresa Younger • Given the deep divides apparent in society today, it is refreshing to re-read Poet Laurent Maya Angelou’s “Human Family” poem as a reminder of our endless similarities. “Human Family” was featured in an Apple ad during the 2016 Summer Olympics, a world event that draws spectators by the million.

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Is it Open Season on Natural Hair?

By Teresa Younger • Complete with unsolicited comments, touching attempts from strangers, and pressure to do away with your coils right now, or you risk the shame of being prevented from attending your graduation or losing gainful employment? Is natural hair controversy a real thing? How have generations dealt with this constant problem? 

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The Terrifying Future of Autonomy

By Jourdan Lobban • “Defiant!” “Fresh!” “Rude!” Those titles followed me all through my childhood and into my teen years. Anytime I did something bad, I knew what was coming.

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Why We Skip the Middle

By Jourdan Lobban • After becoming frustratingly bored reading my latest book, my commitment was no more. Instead of powering through the dry spell, my fingers practiced the ultimate sin, which skipping through the book. 

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Song of Harvest

By Shelby Moring • She’s so relaxed. That hazy daydream of myself that I conjure, praying on her to materialize any day now. She doesn’t exist apart from me, but she’s so far in the future, that it almost seems impossible to reach her sometimes. What does she have that I don’t? Where I long for excess, she is content in abundance of her own kind.

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To All the Men Who Have Fetishized Me Before

By Kimberly Davis • “I’m a gentleman lives in _____________ looking for a long term relationship dating also hanging out. I believe in treating a woman with respect and honor I am 5”11 prefer African American and Hispanic types of women no offense at all just my preference” …

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Beauty is A State of Mind

By Graciela Barada • Originally published on Cuatro Meses en Barbados • When I was about ten or eleven years old, I became overly conscious of my body and the lens through which the world saw it. Arguably, everyone deals with fluctuations in their self-esteem, particularly in regards to body image and especially during puberty, a confusing time of uncertainty and change.

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Living at the Intersections of Anti-Black Racism and Queerphobia

Anonymous • In the third grade, I remember standing in the lunch line waiting for cheap spaghetti and old milk. I would look at the other girls in line and think about how pretty they were. And then I’d tell myself to stop being gay. “Stop it, stop it, stop it.”

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For Black Girls Who Are Tired, but Rest Isn’t Enough

By Atari Gems • I’m exhausted. My mother tells me to slow down. Drink more water. Cut back on the things. Limit time on social media. Go to the gym I’m passionate about. However seems like the work keeps stacking and stacking. I step back and scale it back then feel guilty.

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What You Need: My Experience Being Dismissed by my Doctor

By Fallen Matthew • Life just keeps getting better and better for me. I have been afflicted with inexplicable symptoms and anxiety surrounding them for the past decade—all of which were either downplayed or dismissed by my MD, an upper-middle class white man generations removed from mine, despite a CT scan that showed “basal ganglial calcification.”

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When Black Girls are Robbed of their Innocence

By Stephanie Younger • My painting in Art 180’s gallery, “Everything is Connected,” is about both the racism I experienced within the gun violence prevention community. The different colors represent the emotions I felt throughout the time I faced online harassment, and this piece has allowed me to express my frustration with my voice being marginalized in this movement.
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20 Things Black Girls Should Never Have to Hear or Experience

By Stephanie Younger • The following list is based on my real experiences with misogyny, ableism and anti-Black racism, that I’ve written on a mixed-media piece I created in a VCU Future Studio program at the VCU Arts’ Department of Sculpture + Extended Media.

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