Freedom for All, Not Just a Few

“I love America more than any other country in this world, and, exactly for this reason, I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.”

– James Baldwin

How can I celebrate freedom if I know you are bound? My liberation is tied to yours, our spirits joined.

I hear the insistent and unwavering words of the poet Langston Hughes, “I, too, am America,” or Fredrick Douglass’ brilliant speech in 1852, “What to the Slave is the Fourth of July?” and the revolutionary Assata Shakur saying:

“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.

It is our duty to win.

We must love each other and support each other.

We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

I see the willful neglect of immigrants (aren’t we all) in camps across America, Mamas drinking from toilet bowls for water, babies crying across walls, holding on to visions of parents, their sole act of defiance in these desolate spaces.

I feel the stifling and myopic stereotypes of women whose brown skin matches mine… We remain unseen.

I hear the chains of countless brothers and sisters shackled in the prison industrial complex (over 2 million) and a suffocating economic system; then I turn to children whose cocoa brown eyes hold a sadness they cannot name, caught up in America’s school to prison pipeline, told over and over again in numerous ways they are less than…

And so happiness is not what comes to mind, y’all.

What I feel is commitment to challenging America to be what she must, and to hold space for the voices of those standing outside its gates with me.

I am them. They are me. Each of us linked in the eternal struggle for freedom.

This is the work, beloveds.

And it is urgent.

Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: From Lauren Daigle’s Inspiring Music to Victory Over Struggle

With everything going on in the world, taping into inspiration is more important than ever. It’s awesome to get back to sharing this weekly series with you all – Inspiration  for Your Ears & Soul, I really believe we have to cultivate gratitude and celebration of those miracles we overlook everyday.

Here’s a weekly round up of positivity and light for you all –

Lauren Daigle’s voice has lifted me out of some dark times; her latest album is on Spotify and it is a gem.

Pastor Sarah Jakes-Roberts – Girl Get Up
Chills listening to her encourage women to step into faith, believing that with God’s help, they can get back up again.

Thank you, friend so much, friend – Jada S. (Writer / Mama / Storyteller and more) for sharing on Instagram earlier this week.

Our guest for Woke Wednesdays (on IG Live) this coming week, Alex (@bridgerofgaps) has an amazing post about understanding white privilege, how this shows up in daily life and some of the inner work he is doing to break free. Go read it!

This quote from Audre Lorde on @wellreadblackgirl always gives life!

Don’t Keep Your Day Job: Making a Living Doing What You Love, is such a dynamic podcast encouraging us all to move from disillusionment to hope…

Every week I’m blessed by Cathy’s words and the guests she features. I absolutely loved the episode with Melissa Camilleri, founder of Shop Compliment (an inspirational and empowering lifestyle co.)

Healing. Growth. Understanding it’s all a process, such powerful words from Jada Pickett-Smith via @blackgirlflymag:

Blogging Again – Staying Woke & In Faith

Life comes at you fast.  Taking time for your art is tough, especially when you’re a creative mama juggling tons of ideas, building community (Pray with our Feet – the new website is coming soon + Women Creatives Chat, founded for women of all artistic disciplines, centering wellness and empowerment and authentic connections),  and still deeply disturbed about the state of the world. Being woke, y’all, can exhaust us; staying in faith when the logical part of your brain is screaming give up – even tougher.

And yet, here I am, back to blogging, asking God to give me grace and the words to continue lifting up the importance of faith and activism – one word, social media post, and blog at a time.  Because everyday, it seems, there is a new crisis – catastrophic storms (climate change), hatred propagated by the alt right movement, problematic rhetoric and actions from the Trump administration, the prison industrial complex’s growth and xenophobia disguised as immigration policies and on and on…

Feeling overwhelmed is totally natural, but we cannot stay mired in it. God is calling us to show up, serve and offer the light of faith (“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. James 1:17).

And I believe, now, more than ever, we must cultivate community – it’s what’s driving me to create a new discussion series on Instagram @praywithourfeet – Woke Wednesdays (live on Instagram),  where we center conversations as a way to spark change within ourselves and the community. I’m super excited to vibe with our first guest, next Wed., Oct. 24, 7pm EST –  Alex Ambridge (@bridgerofgaps), a beautiful soul, yoga instructor, lover of life and self-described “open heart warrior”; he is on a continuous quest to raise his consciousness.

Alex served with the Peace Corps (2012 – 2014) and lived in Ghana which changed my life. He’s passionate about bringing people together from different backgrounds, holding space for personal healing and social change. He currently teaches in the studio YogaWorks in Fed Hill, and also volunteers teaching yoga and mindfulness to kids as part of the Food Project in West Baltimore.

Yoga ties everything together for me,” Alex says. “I am in therapy and regularly see an acupuncturist and also have a bachelors degree in philosophy. All of these things are reaffirmed through my yoga practice. I truly believe that everything within the universe is One vibrating on various frequencies of awareness.

Our minds are programmed to perceive the universe in terms of differences like me and you. Yoga helps me to get out of my head and into the body where the experience of oneness comes through.

Alex and I are delving into toxic masculinity (Why acknowledging this is critical for us all, and how men can learn to recognize the patterns within themselves and others), white privilege (mythology around whiteness, and the necessity for white folks to become honest about how they benefit from this daily), and finally, we’ll tackle breaking free from internalized oppressions (what does the daily work look like).

I hope you’ll join us and share with others – sparking change through conversation…