Why Activism & Creating Affirming Spaces for Women Moves Me

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Black Womyn Rising (May 2016)

Ever since elementary school, I have stood up against any perceived injustice. Not on a picket line, more subtly I suppose, as my early protesting involved befriending kids others made fun of or ignored.

On the weekends, Dad told my brother and I stories about his life, the years he spent in Hounduras before coming to the U.S. We learned about his childhood, both the simple beauty and abject poverty. Those expressive eyes held a tinge of sadness as he told us about wearing shoes only on Sundays, as they walked to church; they traveled to school barefoot.

I sat there, all of 6 or 7, fully absorbed, unable to push the sentences about hardship back, tears and anger welled within me. Of course he said, “don’t cry,” “I’m fine now, Meldy” (his nickname for me), and yet, as he hugged me tenderly, smelling of cologne and peppermint, I couldn’t shake the heaviness of it all.

Why did I have shoes and clothes and other children didn’t? It felt absurd, cruel and unfair, and I wanted to change something, however small. I always felt a deep desire to transform the world in my own way, bringing light and beauty.

All these years later, I finally feel I am walking into my purpose as an activist, organizer, and cultivator of affirming spaces for women. Sometimes God must remove the noise, distractions and barriers which are hindering us from growth.

Rocking a shirt given to me by my good friend Kayla (includes names of Black womyn and girls murdered or assaulted by police)

And I suppose this is how I have come to work with Black Womyn Rising, an intergenerational organizing collective  I helped found with several other sistas based in Baltimore. Our work is intersectional (meaning we seek to understand how various forms of oppression operate and  impact black womyn and girls), and rooted in transformative love and global sistahood.

We are deeply concerned with resisting all forms of oppression and actively creating affirming spaces for womyn of color.  In the spirit of Nina Simone and so many other foremamas, we uplift the beauty, complexity and the rich layers of blackness.

While social justice and activism are a deep part of my soul, so, too, is creativity. Writing, photographing, sketching, these outlets are oxygen for me. Last year I founded Women Creatives Chat, a community that lives online for now (working on planning some events) whose mission is to inspire, empower (through tips, resources and regular Instachats), and connect my fellow creatives with one another.

Since launching on Instagram late last year, it’s growing daily. And I feel blessed to follow and connect with women from all around the world who are creating and trusting their unique visions. You and I truly can have the life we seek and dream about it. It begins with clarity, which I believe is rooted in prayer, a personal relationship with God and radical self love.

Graphic designed by Emelda De Coteau Founder, Women Creatives Chat

 

Anyway, enough about me! What sets your heart on fire? What do you feel called to give to the world?  I want to hear all about it in the comments below, sweet friends.

Beauty / Style Finds: Artist + Activist Ebony of Amorous Designs 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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I met Ebony a year or so ago through helping to organize a march for womyn and girls of color impacted by police violence. Her fierce energy and creative spirit impresssed me, and when I began this series highlighting eclectic small shops I thought of her.

I’m sure you will admire the wide range of her  work and appreciate Ebony’s unique artistic gifts – music artistry, activism / organizing, speaking and jewelry-making – it seems she does it all!

Ebony of Amorous Designs

Tell us about Amorous Designs. What materials do you work with? 

Amorous Designs offers beautiful handmade jewelry, faux septums, healing crystals, meditation oils, and headwraps. Amorous Designs uses wire, beads, brass, copper, and suede to create handmade earrings, necklaces, rings, faux septums and bracelets. I use herbs and 100% pure oils to create meditation oils.

 What lead you to start your business? 
Art is healing. I created jewelry to combat depression, anxiety, stress, and I [also] did not want to buy anything that everyone else was wearing. I was always interested in my own style and I did not want to support major corporations when I had the gift to create my own unique treasures.

After 2 years of creating my pieces, and numerous compliments about my wears, I decided to start, Amorous Designs. Starting Amorous Designs has been very in tact with my journey. Each design is handcrafted by me and I take special care of each piece during the creative process. I only want my customers to wear something I would wear and to love it just as much as I do.

What inspires you to keep creating?  

Growth. As I continue to grow as an artivist, (activist and artist), so does my business. I am constantly changing my hair, ideas, style and redefining who I am. It’s important for everything that I interact with to reflect this. I am inspired by the beauty of African women.  

The colors, style, original and tradition beauty that African women exude is both inspiring and intriguing. I create jewelry with many colors to compliment the infinite beauty of indigenous women from head wraps to traditional garments.

  

Stay Connected:
Shop at Amorous Designs – Plus, when blog readers enter LIC, you will receive 25% off your purchase.

Follow Amorous Designs on Instagram.

All photos courtesy of Ebony at Amorous Designs.