How I Found My Own Garden

Photo Courtesy of Shontrice Carin Barnes By Shontrice Carin 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 … Continue reading How I Found My Own Garden

Who is Solidarity For: Intra-Racial Solidarity for True Black Liberation

Photo Courtesy of NewMobility.com By Kahlia Phillips •  “Who is solidarity for?” was a question posed by Ebony Donnley, the partner of Ericka Hart, in an IG live show and I’ve been pondering this question ever since. Our priorities around who we, as Black people, engage in solidarity with are not in order and it’s … Continue reading Who is Solidarity For: Intra-Racial Solidarity for True Black Liberation

Sista, Be Free

Photo Courtesy of Diana Simumpande/Unsplash By Tanya Barnett •  Come close so you can hear me.You’ve endured for too long. The time has finally come to shed the shackles. No more shrinking.No more hiding.No more playing safe.No more accepting abuse.No more lying to ourselves.No more ignoring the pain. It’s time for you to be free … Continue reading Sista, Be Free

Giving Birth While Black

Stockphoto Photocase By Joyce Angela Jellison 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. I was scared to give birth, (a co-worker had shared with me she had fallen off … Continue reading Giving Birth While Black

The Secret Language of Black Women

Stock Art By Joyce Angela Jellison Hounkanrin • What is embedded in the language of Black women? What belongs exclusively within our mouths? Briefly translated, there are secrets we have transported from the Middle Passage and kept secreted beneath our tongues; in the folds of our spirits; in the curves of our smiles; and in … Continue reading The Secret Language of Black Women

Analysis: The Movement that Cancelled R. Kelly

Photo Courtesy of Jufu Han/Detroit Free Press By Stephanie Younger • CW: This article has descriptions of sexual violence. Could a hashtag topple the career of a popular artist? Hashtags have the power to raise social consciousness about the exploitation of marginalized communities, to give them a platform that influences public discourse, and to ultimately … Continue reading Analysis: The Movement that Cancelled R. Kelly

6 Anti-Racist Steps White Liberals Need to Take

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger By Stephanie Younger • As a young Black female organizer, there have been times where white liberals have invited me to work with them. Each time this happened, and as time passed, I realized that I was experiencing tokenism, that I was consistently being spoken over and stereotyped. So, I … Continue reading 6 Anti-Racist Steps White Liberals Need to Take

Remembering my Father

Teresa Younger as a toddler with her father Robert "Bob" Leon Wilmer. Photo courtesy unknown. 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 … Continue reading Remembering my Father

Analysis: The Ways we Talk About Gender Stereotypes Do not Represent the Struggles we All Go Through

Photo Courtesy of Phuong Tran/ACLU of VirginiaPhoto Courtesy of Teresa Younger By Stephanie Younger •  Do the ways we talk about gender stereotypes represent the struggles we all go through? In Katherine Toland Frith and Barbara Mueller’s article entitled, “Advertisements Stereotype Women” written for the book, “Advertising and Societies: Global Issues,” they write about how … Continue reading Analysis: The Ways we Talk About Gender Stereotypes Do not Represent the Struggles we All Go Through

Is it Open Season on Natural Hair?

Teresa Younger's then-5-year-old Stephanie Younger in Summer 2007. Photo Courtesy of Teresa Younger. 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 … Continue reading Is it Open Season on Natural Hair?

Queer Windows in Dembow Music

Portrait of La Shakata Astoa. Photo Courtesy of Carlos Rodriguez By Princess Jiménez •  Promo of Mango Podcast In the Dominican Republic, where supposedly moral society and the Church often espouse virulent homophobia and transphobia, an unusual alliance has appeared among the very poorest: singers and producers of popular music genre Dembow are working with … Continue reading Queer Windows in Dembow Music

Nine Phases: Black Women Crying in the Bathroom

Words by Joshua Redd. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Krystal Tang •  Take initiative - Okay here I go! I did it. Oh I did it slightly wrong...a different way? I didn’t do it right? Oops. Let me learn. Give me another chance? Teach me so I can grow.... “No”.  Gets belittled, screamed at, no … Continue reading Nine Phases: Black Women Crying in the Bathroom

Op-Ed: The Role of Black Women in the Fight to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

Photo Courtesy of The Economist By Belan Yeshigeta •  Women have often been given the short end of the stick when it comes to equal rights, and it is no secret that African Americans are still prejudiced against to this day. The unique experience of being apart of both of these marginalized communities is one … Continue reading Op-Ed: The Role of Black Women in the Fight to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

Oppression Expression: Answering Zora Neale and Mother Lorde

Photo Courtesy of Carl Van VechtenPhoto Courtesy of Jack Mitchell/Getty Images By Kristin Couch •  Reading Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde led me to question myself about the stance I take on activism. These writers represent two polar ideals of being that I have struggled to find identification with. Zora Neale, my humanist hero … Continue reading Oppression Expression: Answering Zora Neale and Mother Lorde

My Name Resides in Shabby Conformation

Words by Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba •  My name resides in shabby conformation I take a few steps but then Fail to find the strength to face them Spank! I feel a hand on my bum I turn to shriek but words do not come … Continue reading My Name Resides in Shabby Conformation

To All the Men Who Have Fetishized Me Before

Words by Kimberly Davis. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. 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 … Continue reading To All the Men Who Have Fetishized Me Before

Crown Her With Many Crowns

Iesha Evans being arrested peacefully protesting in Baton Rouge, Louisiana on July 9th 2016. Courtesy of Jonathan Bachman/Reuters. By Ryan Edward Perry •  I did not always appreciate my Blackness. I used to be one of those “I’m not Black, I’m O.J.” types that purposefully eschewed the culture in favor of a more centrist approach … Continue reading Crown Her With Many Crowns

Black Music

Words by Baletica Genous. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Baletica Genous •  The nerve of white men To read my email To read my email To read my email And still misspell my name He giggles and shrugs and says "its just so different" He’s never heard it before "Just where does that name … Continue reading Black Music

Stage 2

Words by Nelle Jones. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Nelle Jones •  angry black girls clenching desks with tight fists holding their breath a breeze passing through their hair the pale hand of yet another ghost angry black girls the blacker the berry, sweet blood from biting lips holding one's tongue angry black girls … Continue reading Stage 2

Mightier

Photo Courtesy of Victoria N. McGovern By Tene'sha Crews •  “The pen is mightier than the sword” A sword that has grown from hate and drawn blood, Blood spilled onto books and the hearts of families Has sunk deeper into human veins than into a land’s mud. The girl is mightier than the hate, The … Continue reading Mightier

My Name is Pronounced ‘Revolution’

Photo Courtesy of Robert Alexander/Getty Images By Simonne Elease Willis •  i trace america's outline on a map, flinch when i reach the thirteen. a single prick on my fingertip. a single drop of blood falls. (the shape of a dog bares its teeth) another drop of blood falls. (the shape of a crow tilting … Continue reading My Name is Pronounced ‘Revolution’

Beauty is A State of Mind

Words by Graciela Barada. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Graciela Barada •  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 … Continue reading Beauty is A State of Mind

Perpetual Home

Words by Tene'sha Crews. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Tene’sha Crews •  I was once told, that my body is my only perpetual home One that I rightfully and eternally supposedly own. A home in which I paint the walls whatever colors I want And plant whatever flowers I choose to display up front. … Continue reading Perpetual Home

Uterus Support: A Letter to Some of My Dudes

Photo Courtesy of Planned Parenthood of New York City Action Fund By Mia Birdsong •  I sent this to many of the cis-het men I know. One of them (thanks, Mordecai!) asked me to make it a Medium post so he could share it. Thank you, Sharon Dolan for the inspiration. Hi, my cis-het dude … Continue reading Uterus Support: A Letter to Some of My Dudes

Trigger Warning

Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger By Quincy Evans •  At 13, she is already held responsible if her shoulders are showing in school, she is sent home on behalf of the boys who are distracted. She grew up like this. By 16, it’s supposedly her fault if she wore the wrong skirt, drank too much, … Continue reading Trigger Warning

An Affirmation to Black Girls

Photo Courtesy of Peathegee Inc/Getty Images By NaVosha Copeland •  Hello, mother, Hello, friend, Hello, sister, How you been? I love you so much. You’re so strong and so kind and so sweet. Your melanin mixes so well with your bright white teeth. Your high cheekbones And chocolate brown skin Greets me, warms me, and … Continue reading An Affirmation to Black Girls

The Mandate for Black Men

Anonymous •  Peace and love, how y'all feel? Sisters, how y'all feel? Brothers, y'all alright?-Erykah Badu Black men have to grow a politic around gender based violence. Y'all need to know how to talk about this. Black men, you have a responsibility to grow your understanding of gender based violence because Black women need you … Continue reading The Mandate for Black Men

A Poem About Hair

Photo Courtesy of YouTube.com/SolangeKnowlesMusic By Tene'sha Crews •  Had Her Hate for Her Hair been cultivated or passed down? Passed through words like “nappy” and “needing of a perm Ignoring the monthly visits of that scalp stinging burn Like first it was grandmother, then mother, now it’s your turn To gradually detest your natural strands … Continue reading A Poem About Hair

Living at the Intersections of Anti-Black Racism and Queerphobia

Words by Anonymous. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. 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, … Continue reading Living at the Intersections of Anti-Black Racism and Queerphobia

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

Photo Courtesy of Black Minds Matter Project 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 … Continue reading For Black Girls Who Are Tired, but Rest Isn’t Enough

An Open Essay About My Experiences with the White Moderate

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Qqve74iKW4 By Stephanie Younger •  In Dr. Martin Luther King's "Letter From a Birmingham Jail" (1963), he wrote, "...I have been gravely disappointed with the white moderate. I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro's great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler, or the Ku Klux … Continue reading An Open Essay About My Experiences with the White Moderate

Reconstruction Over Reformation: The Argument Against Liberal Feminism’s Relevance in 2019

Words by Roshaé M. Lowe. Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. By Roshaé M. Lowe •  Liberal feminism (often interchangeable with humanist feminism1) has very little relevance today. Times have changed and gender is no longer regarded as the lone oppressive factor for women. With the rise of the theory of intersectionality, feminism has broadened its scope to allow … Continue reading Reconstruction Over Reformation: The Argument Against Liberal Feminism’s Relevance in 2019

Masculinity Over Everything

Photo Courtesy of Erin Edgerton By Chelsea Higgs Wise •  It’s been a few days since the Women’s March RVA and as motivated as I am to build; my passion is to amplify narratives of persistence for Black women. I understand that dismantling the patriarchy will take bulldozers of disruption as well as barriers of … Continue reading Masculinity Over Everything

What You Need: My Experience Being Dismissed by my Doctor

Illustration Courtesy of Mary Syloria 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 … Continue reading What You Need: My Experience Being Dismissed by my Doctor

Why I Am More Included in the Womanist Movement

Photo Courtesy of Victoria N. McGovern By Stephanie Younger • “Womanist is to feminist as purple is to lavender.” - Alice Walker At age 13, the fact that adults would teach me to value my appearance over everything else, especially at an age where I was extremely self-conscious about the way I looked as a … Continue reading Why I Am More Included in the Womanist Movement

How Policies Around Gender Binaries Affect the Representation of The Black Womxn’s Olive Within Family Planning Commercials

Courtesy of Shepard Fairey/Amplifier Art By Jameelah Lewis •  "Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me," these are just a few that every person bullied followed by to stay strong, but the question in play here is, how do you stop a bully? It seems that African-Americans are picked … Continue reading How Policies Around Gender Binaries Affect the Representation of The Black Womxn’s Olive Within Family Planning Commercials

A Look into the Women Behind Intersectional Feminism

Photo Courtesy of Liza Donovan/Amplifer Art By Sharayah Alkire •  By Black mothers, in many forms, are a large part of our literature, movies and society in general. They are the women standing at the forefront of the civil rights movement, they are the mammys, the house negroes, the women who fought, struggled and clawed … Continue reading A Look into the Women Behind Intersectional Feminism

Why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is Problematic

Photo Courtesy of Hulu By Kiarran T.L. Diaz •  In the age of "wokeness," TV shows, and media alike are rushing to find a way to sell their ideas to people who are tired of the nonsense. Different shows, movies, and books try to align themselves with diversity by trying to take shortcuts left and … Continue reading Why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is Problematic

Havana Chapman-Edwards on Activism and Girl Power

Photo Courtesy of Jessica Holmes and Megan Landmeier Photography/Teen Vogue BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  7-year-old student activist Havana Chapman-Edwards (@TheTinyDiplomat) was the only student at her school to participate in the national school walkout to honor the victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Her story went viral and captured the attention of CNN, Refinery29, … Continue reading Havana Chapman-Edwards on Activism and Girl Power

When Black Girls are Robbed of their Innocence

Illustration and Photo Courtesy of Stephanie Younger. BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  I'd like to start this article thanking Art 180 for giving me a platform to share my story with racism and online harassment through this painting at their gallery "Everything is Connected." My painting embodies both the fact that Black youth have been rallying … Continue reading When Black Girls are Robbed of their Innocence

Black Lives Matter Activist Nupol Kiazolu on Womanism

Photo Courtesy of Agaton Strom Photography BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  The murder of Trayvon Martin ignited a fire within a then 12-year-old Nupol Kiazolu "that [she's] never felt before." "I couldn’t fully articulate how I felt at the time, but I knew I was angry," she wrote in a post on Instagram. "A few days … Continue reading Black Lives Matter Activist Nupol Kiazolu on Womanism

Why I Didn’t Participate in the National School Walkout

Mural by Hamilton Glass. Photo Courtesy of Teresa Younger. BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  I am writing this as a Black student activist who was turned away and excluded from speaking by the student organizers of the Virginia National School Walkout Protest, that took place at Brown's Island in Richmond, Virginia yesterday; on the 19th anniversary … Continue reading Why I Didn’t Participate in the National School Walkout

20 Things Black Girls Should Never Have to Hear or Experience

Photo Courtesy and Art by Stephanie Younger BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  The following list is based on real micro-aggressions and instances of racism I've experienced, written on the mixed-media piece I created in a VCU Future Studio program at the VCU Arts' Department of Sculpture + Extended Media, and exhibited at Art 180. It symbolizes … Continue reading 20 Things Black Girls Should Never Have to Hear or Experience

It’s Important to Listen to Black Girls in the Fight Against Gun Violence

Photo Courtesy of Church Hill Peoples' News BY STEPHANIE YOUNGER •  Today, I had the opportunity to speak at a March For Our Lives demonstration in Richmond addressing the fatal school shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida. My speech shed some light onto how gun violence disproportionately affects women, queer and … Continue reading It’s Important to Listen to Black Girls in the Fight Against Gun Violence

14 Black Girls, Women & Non-Binary People Every Womanist Should Know About

By Stephanie Younger •  Many institutions fail to educate Black History and Women's History from the most marginalized voices in the Black community. Black women, girls and non-binary people are often discredited for our contributions to the feminist movement and the civil rights movement. Civil Rights is often centered around cisgender and heterosexual Black men, … Continue reading 14 Black Girls, Women & Non-Binary People Every Womanist Should Know About