I’m a Black girl from the east side of Columbus, Ohio. Before graduating from high school, Columbus was all I knew, and more importantly it was my home.
But Black girls building home together is a threat to white supremacy. That’s why in schools Black girls are being suspended at 5 times the rate of White girls for exhibiting leadership qualities like attitude, confidence, and assertiveness. It’s why Black girls are continuously told that we must leave our communities in order to be successful. And it’s why we are encouraged to achieve the dreams that our families have dreamt for us by not only leaving our homes, but by creating distance between ourselves and the Black women–led communities that gave us space to be leaders.
I embodied these messages that were fed to me about the power, and the danger, of my intelligence and leadership qualities and I left. I went to college in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. I studied abroad in Istanbul, Turkey. I took my first political organizing fellowship opportunity in Portland, Oregon. And I landed my first big girl job in Washington, DC, where I have stayed. I’ve made it around the world on my own, using my energy and know-how to make positive change for others.
However, my need for community, home and Black-only spaces never left me.