My friend Melissa has been doing a 30 days of Thanks journey in which she shares her reflections on her life. It is with her permission that I have created this blog post. Her writing is powerful. Be prepared to cry, laugh, be confused, get frustrated, and be caught up in deep hopefulness. Melissa wrote the following preface before beginning her sharing:
“If you are receiving this email, i have decided to include you in my journey for the next 30 days of giving thanks for anything and everything for which I am grateful.
During this time, I will be sharing reflections, short stories and anecdotes about my “interesting” life experiences associated to the theme of my thanks. I realize that some of my sharing will expose me at my core and make me considerably vulnerable to your thoughts, opinions, and attitudes. However, I am willing to do that. If my experiences bless you enough to deal with and confront yourselves and your issues and set you free from the bondage of suffering in silence, then we are right on track to doing some great things together.
My hope is to bless and inspire you to be thankful as well. But, ultimately my goal is for you and I to put that gratefulness into action. Each day, i’ll try to highlight great people and organizations that are doing the work to make our world a better place. Consider giving your time and/or financial contributions. No gift is too small or too large! Stretch yourself and don’t be selfish with your time, your love or your affection. Someone else needs you! Give what is in your heart knowing that the blessing is in your giving and will always come back to you (pressed down, shaken together and running over).
If you know someone who you think would benefit from the journey as well, please share these reflections with them too. I can’t wait to hear about and see what you have all done over the next 30 days an how you have grown!
What follows is Melissa’s thirty day journey. For ease I will post her emails in 5-day segments, without edits. The only thing I have omitted are photos.
First installment, days 1 – 5.
Some people’s work inspire movements, some save lives, some remind us that we are essential and provide balm to our wounded spirit, and some make us strong and fierce, Womanist scholar Rev. Dr. Katie Geneva Cannon‘s life and work did all this and more!!! Rest In Peace!!!
(Rev. Dr. Katie G. Cannon, the Rev. Dr. Eboni Marshall Turman, The Rev. Dr. JoAnne Terrell, moderated by Rev. Kymberly McNair)
There is a Black Arts Movement on the way in Antwerp, Belgium at Zomerfabriek Mama’s Open Mic. Recently I had the opportunity to witness young Black Belgians women read poetry and prose from their toolbox for survival and flourishing in a sexist and racist society. Although my digital notepad failed and I no longer have their names I want to send out good vibes to this community of poets and musicians.
Halifu Osumare speaks with graduate students and dance educators at The JODY -the Arnhold Graduate Dance Education Program at Hunter College of the City of New York.
In early March, I took on the task of organizing the NYC tour and launch of Professor Halifu Osumare’s newest book, Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir. It is now two week to the opening event on May 17th, 2018 from 3:00 – 5:00 at the Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute at Hunter , where Halifu Osumare will be join by her lifelong friend Ntozake Shange.
The authors will read from their newest publications, Shange released Wild Beauty: New and Selected Poem in late 2017, and enter into conversation about the intersections of their lives and careers, highlighting ways in which dance nurture and fortify them as artist, activists, and educators. Come join Osumare and Shange on this first stop of Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir book tour! Reservations are highly recommended. Click HERE to make your reservation.
But if you cannot make it…
Join Osumare on May 18, 2018 at 6:30 at Gavin Brown’s Enterprise, Harlem location – 439 west 127 Street. Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir surrounded by Arthur Jaffe”s exhibit AIR ABOVE MOUNTAINS, UNKNOWN PLEASURES –
in which Jaffe “expansively extends his exploration of ontological Blacknuss* as a generative and pluripontantial phenomenon—one capable of addressing the social stresses weight, fissures and breaks of being Black—and concomitantly, Black Being and Thingification—in the world” Greg Tate, 2017.
Osumare’s Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir reading will engage visual arts and dance as co-collaborators in the making and deployment of blackness as an audacious response to experiences of living-while-black in contemporary western spaces. Make your reservation at RSVP@GavinBrown.Biz, or call 212/627-5258
But, if you cannot make it to this event …
Join Osumare on May 21, 2018 in Brooklyn at Greenlight Bookstore, 632 Flatbush AveBrooklyn, NY 11225 location. Co-hosted by Urban Bush Women, Osumare will read from Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir and enter into conversation with Jawole Willa Jo Zollar, Founding Artistic Director and Chief Visioning Officer of Urban Bush Women. Osumare and Zollar’s conversaton will highlight dance as a tool for community building and social justice. Reserve your seat through the following Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/events/2476394135919639/
Reward yourself... Make it to one of more stops on Dancing in Blackness, A Memoir NYC Book Tour!! You will get sustainable fuel for living a dance inspired life, and tools to build the better world many persons of goodwill truly seek.
My interest is in the lives and life stories of African Diaspora women, with particular attention to expressions/articulations of identity and belonging. Michaela DePrince is an extraordinary artist and survivor of war. Please share your thoughts on the May 2017 interview.
What can southern trees tell about the life and histories of African Americans in the United States? What dangerous happenings took place in the whisper of darkness under these trees, on their branches, against their trunks? What made their leaves on shiver and shake as blood watered their roots? As U.S. Black History Month begins, I am compelled to reflect on the recent loss of lives, livelihood, and dreams at the altar of isms. If the trees could talk, would they too stand in silent protest against the atrocities perpetrated against the Black bodies? Or, would they violently uproot themselves unleashing the sanctified blood of Black ancestors?