BOLD Journey to Durham: lessons on Black Love & Healing for Liberation

This November I celebrate my one year anniversary of organizing with Just Resisting! (Just Resisting is a black and brown community organization that focuses on social justice issues- primarily on injustices involving the local Buffalo Police Department/ Strike Force.) As I celebrate this accomplishment, I sit with the experience of attending BOLD,Black Organizing for Leadership and Dignity Amandla – Praxis. The combination of the timing of both events is not only emotional, but monumental.

For five days I had the privilege of being able to share space with beautiful black organizers and folks from all over this country. We endured twelve hours of intense somatic, embodied leadership training, political education and on the ground practice with the local organization, 10K for Durham. As I write this I’m still unpacking a wealth of emotions ranging from raw newness to frustration.

I was under the impression going into the training that I would be learning practices for my organizing and that some somatic would be practiced.( I still didn’t know or understand the premise of somatic and what it entailed beyond centering). I did not know the small exposure to somatic practice would affect me on the level that it did. As one of the co-director to JR said so perfectly “ it’s like constantly being ripped open layer by layer exposing yourself in your bare humanity” all while maintaining everyone’s dignity in the space- it was amazing. Each practice forced me to acknowledge pieces of my trauma that I tried to deny- things I had buried within myself, beliefs that I thought were long ago debunked.  I discovered the power in living in the truth of my story, living centered in purpose.

This painfully culminated during a practice on the fourth day, where we were instructed to write commitments that we would carry with us back home beyond this training.

My OG commitment went like:  “I am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to myself, my children, and my community for our liberation.”  When I shared this with my team that I had been working with for the past week, they all responded that they had seen me doing that – the way I cared for Zaire and Kelila, in the way I talked about folks back home. I said without a thought “yea, but not myself.”

It was then when one of the lead facilitators that was on our team challenged me to cross everyone else out leaving myself, then try reading it aloud. I did, read it, and burst into tears. I was forced to face the truth that I did not know how to care for myself or felt I was worthy of that.

This triggered memories of my mother- her telling me that I am so strong and have endured much in this life, her trying to reaffirm my worth. I understood that to mean that strength was resource- something I could draw from, tap into in moments of weakness- not gift. Until then I believed that my purpose was to give of myself as a sacrifice for still having life in this body.

I was able to see the life that mattered in my children, in Jose, in Meech, in Aj, in my community- but not mine. I cried because I felt like that suicidal sixteen year old girl I once was all over  again, plagued with PTSD from being sexual abuse that left me feeling worthless. The memory of waking up the day after my first suicide attempt in a hospital room came to mind vividly. I remember thinking that I was not physically supposed to be there but, also knowing this must’ve meant that I still had a purpose to fulfill on this earth. Since that moment, I was willing to live as a martyr for that purpose once I found it.

I first thought that Zaire was the fulfillment of that purpose once I met him and nurtured him as such, the same with Kelila, the same with my organizing work.

As I poured the love and strength in me into them and my projects I felt the pressure of life closing in around me, I felt depleted. In that moment when I acknowledged that my life mattered, and despite my traumas I will always have worth, a shift occurred within me. I spoke my commitment again; tears flowed as I said the words firmly. I️ am a commitment to being a source of love and strength in connection to my own liberation.I strive to live in that commitment since then by honoring myself slowly in small ways. Reaffirming that I do have worth and being gentle with myself has become a daily practice.

I allow myself to feel deeper in my interactions with folks: the boundaries that are born from it and the relationships I challenge to feel deeper in. I feel the frustration in my social media feeds seeing how much of society has feed us bullshit that has shrunk us down and isolated us as black folks.

When we collectively acknowledge our trauma and pain that healing process can begin. The acceptance of how our stories shift and shape us is the source of our power.

I understand the fear to go deeper. It’s not always safe to engage deeply in all interactions- it requires a level of trust in a time in our history where so much distrust has breed between all relationships. It’s also scary to face what lies in wait below the surface- what memories have been denied to revisit, what stories do we tell ourselves daily that are not true- things that sit in our depth that must be sorted through, and unpacked to heal in our full  dignity.

This movement for Black Liberation exceeds breaking systems that were created to oppress us but, it’s for our collective healing as black folks. It is for the moments of freedom we are rarely granted to be extended.

This liberation is for the empowerment that we will always have our dignity- Despite what the society we live in feeds us through media influence and experiences. Connecting from that place of healing will create a people that I can only imagine our ancestors dreamed we would become.

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The Phoenix Identity Group Noiz3 Vlog Series w/ Tiffany Winter [Coming Soon]!

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The Phoenix Company is blessing the community with Alcohol Industry insiders courtesy of Tiffany Winter. Winters, known as part of Black Ink Crew, is teaming up with The Phoenix Company to present all you need to begin or amp up your business. From new brands to market to tips from entrepreneurs and lifestyle ambassadors already in the game, the vlog will feature major keys to flourishing in the industry. They’re even sharing signature mixed cocktails! So if you love to drink, love to get people drunk, or want to get paid to do both be sure to check them out!

You can follow The Phoenix Company on IG to keep tabs on the vlog and be sure to follow Tiffany to see what other insiders she shares.

Last but never least… take a shot for the homies! ❤

BuffaLowe Wants to Know: Where the Haters At? [Opinion Piece]

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  In order for a candidate to become president they must have an overwhelming support of the citizens, right? They would at least need more people who want to see them in power than those who would rather they fail. I mean… isn’t that the whole reason why we’re urged to vote? Told our voices matter and all the other propaganda? The 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama (yes, girl I said President present tense because he’s still my President FOH) had an attendance record of more than 1.8 million according to CNN politics.

    So where are all the self-hating bigots who voted for Captain Cheezit? They have no problem sitting behind a camera and spewing messages of hate, or even attacking defenseless POC for no justifiable reason, but very few showed up to support the man THEY deemed fit to be in power. When listening to Trump’s inauguration speech the reason becomes a bit clearer. At least to me. His speech was littered with the uses of ‘i’ and ‘me’ as opposed to ‘us’ and ‘we’. ‘I can fix these problems’ and ‘I am the answer’.

    So maybe Trump’s followers didn’t show because their lazy asses felt their task was done. They screamed hate to the heavens and their Gods have responded. So all that’s left for them to do is sit back and let havoc wreck itself. Even so, We the People should see this as an opening. Our support of love is far greater than their message of hate. The power rests in our hands and it’s up to us to use it to rectify the problems that have plagued America since it’s founding. Let’s make it right one step at a time! This is our call to action.

    In the mean time in-between time, check out this article with more photos showing the recent inauguration’s lack of attendees.

#AroundBuffaLowe: Drea D’Nur – Spirit of Nina [FEB 24]

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Visual Artists. Jewelers. Sculptors. Illustrators. Now is your chance to showcase your talent. Drea Dnur is looking for new and possibly undiscovered artists to showcase their skills for the Spirit of Nina Art Exhibition at Burchfield Penney Art Center in Buffalo, New York. Don’t waste time doubting yourself and miss this opportunity. Show the world what you have to offer and make a change for the better. Let your creativity flow! Want in? E-mail Drea at DreaDnur@me.com for more information. And may the odds ever be in your favor.

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Join Drea D’Nur in celebrating Nina’s Birthday 2 days before the Kleinhans Show! She will have a special 1-day exhibit and Drea will be screening ‘The Spirit of Nina In Buffalo’ Mini-Documentary as well!  FREE and open to the public! Special thanks to Burchfield Penney Art Center and Buff State’s EOP for sponsoring this celebration!

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Flagrant City Spotlight: Convos w/ Friends by Produced By Girls [SHORT FILM]

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Nowadays it seems more and more people are discovering they suffer from depression. Though it may seem common, it doesn’t make the condition any easier to deal with and power through. Creatives, innovators and visionaries always seem to be victims of depression, and most use the void as a means of inspiration. This is precisely what Elyse Fox has done in her short film entitled ‘Convos with Friends’. In the film, Fox shows how friendship, music, and travel aide her in fighting her demons so she can continue to bring necessary art to her viewers.

You can watch the short film below.

Conversations with Friends. from Elyse Fox on Vimeo.

And read a few words from the creator herself below:

“New year, cooler tings! Thank you all for viewing/sharing #ConvosWithFriends. We’re so excited about the conversation the film has ignited. With the release of the film many amazing women have been reaching out for advice/answers regarding life, womanhood, depression (etc) We want to create a place where we can discuss freely and anonymously. PBG presents ‘Sad Girls Club’ email sgc@producedbygirls.com to chat with us XO<3″

Don’t forget to follow her on IG

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#AroundLA: More Juice- The LIT List [JAN 21st]

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Are you tired of doing the same shit every year? Been working at your craft tirelessly but feel like you’re still missing some key components? Or maybe you’re just looking to network and build your social circle? Meet people that share your mindset and passions.  No one makes it on their own. You need a team to succeed. So take a step towards finding your tribe and join us next Saturday for a Lit-uation you’re sure not to regret. Tell your friends! And let’s help each other progress. It’s only $10 to partake and juice will be flowing from 2-6pm!

More Juice; Because blessings come in connections

Get Your Tickets Here!

Stay up-to-date with More Juice’s events by following them on Instagram

#AroundBuffaLowe: Summer Scholars, Inc Presents The Back To School Skating Party! [10.9.16]

Kicking off the Summer Scholars final fundraiser of the summer, they are inviting all kids and adults to come out and skate their way back to school!!!

EARLY BIRD TICKETS ON SALE NOW FOR SUMMER SCHOLARS BACK TO SCHOOL SKATING PARTY!!!!! OCTOBER 9TH!!!

Ages 3 and up, must be accompanied by an adult!!!

Buy your advanced tickets here: Summer Scholars Back 2 School Skate Party

PREVIOUS: Around BuffaLowe: Summer Scholars, Inc presents Family Crafts & Fitness in the Park! [8.6.16]

ALSO: Around BuffaLowe: Summer Scholars, Inc hosts Adult Sip & Paint Fundraiser at the Pearl Street Brewery [7.28.16]