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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#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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#AroundLA: Trap Karaoke – Los Angeles [JAN 20]

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Has it always been your dream to be a rap star?

Spent hours envisioning your crew on stage entertaining a full house? Maybe you’re looking for a new activity for your drunken alter-ego to conquer? If you’re in the mood for a fresh, fun, experience then check out Trap Karaoke, where members of the audience get to set the pace.

Wanna let your friends know? Share the event to your Facebook and get the word out! Bring your squad and show the city how you have a good time!

Get Tickets Here!

Stay in the known by following Trap Karaoke on IG

#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

Introducing Charlotte Tobias, the Mad Princess

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What is up Flagrant City Fam? Allow me to introduce myself.  My name is Charlotte but you can call me Lotti aka the Mad Princess.  I come to you all from the East Coast, starting in New York and making my way through the South until I finally ventured out to California.  My mother’s love of traveling when I was younger has stuck with me, and is probably the reason why I moved to LA. There’s so much to do in this city!  In addition to a variety of experiences, LA also hosts an assortment of flavors and ideas making their way into the world every day.  But a lot of happening scenes can get lost in the flood of social media.  So it’s my hope that I can bring you all some great events where you can experience amazing art and better company.  I hope you’ll join me as I assist Lowe down the path less traveled, and when you’re not listening to our fire tunes be sure to check out my blog!

Spread love, it’s the Brooklyn way.

The Mad Princess

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