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.

Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: Corrine Bailey Rae, Solange and Overcoming Fear with Gabourey Sidibe 

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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Image from Solange’s music video, Cranes in the Sky

Well, it’s been a while since I shared my fav. inspiration from around the web. It feels great to bring this round up of what is resonating with me lately – lots of music, podcasts and informative articles / books. Dig in, enjoy and please do tell a friend.  In all the madness and chaos of the world, we could all certainly use inspiration!
Corrine Bailey Rae has remained a fav. Her recent concert on NPR Tiny Desk concert is such an awesome way to kick off your day!

Corrine Bailey Rae, Image via NPR Tiny Desk concert series

I’m still rocking out to Solange’s phenomenal album which wrestles with the complexities of blackness and womanhood in such innovative ways.
These dope tracks have my heart: “Cranes in the Sky,” “Don’t Touch my Hair,”  and “Mad.”  The new Alicia Keys song “More Than We Know” about how our abilities far surpass anything we can imagine. Yasss! Life, y’all!

Alicia Keys Photo via album

Are you following Tiffany Huff on Instagram? If not, please fix that ASAP. This sista is an awesome writer / coach.  Her page always lifts me up.

And talking about encouraging IG pages, head on over to Jen’s page of with.giggles.and.gracefellow blogger Drea, her space is full of quotes, faith,  and glam tips!

Taking money out of politics in Maine… Check out this piece in YES magazine.

I discovered this empowering video of Gabourey Sidibe from my girl Kayla, the powerhouse behind the digital marketing and branding agency, I Feel Pretty, Inc. It’s such a poignant message about accepting yourself, and declaring that there is no limit to what can be achieved.

Inspiration For Your Ears & Soul: From Emeli Sande to Online Communities for Creatives & Entrepreneurs

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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We are living in times of intense emotions – fear, hatred, passion and growing divisions. One of the ways I practice self care is by reading and listening to everything from podcasts to music as a way to both uplift and nurture my soul.

Here is my latest round up of those pieces which bring joy and inspiration:

Emeli Sandé’s music is full of such overwhelming beauty, it nearly aches to listen. Her latest album, “Long Live the Angels,” touches me in ways I cannot explain. “Selah” and “Breathing Underwater” meet me where I am in this moment.

More than ever, we need hope. Our country is torn apart by divisions. This heartfelt song, “Free The Dream,” performed by Kathryn Riggins & Cecilia Duarte and written by Fred Stawiz, reminds us there is beauty in cultivating a diverse community.

Drawing inspiration from the work of Dr. Martin Luther King, César Chávez  and the  Native American community’s commitment to “live in peace and harmony with the land, “Free the Dream” reminds us all to continue working for a just world.

Looking for an amazing community to connect with other women entrepreneurs? Check out Pretty Entrepreneur, “a network for passionate, focused, resilient, and dope women who will never stop creating their own opportunity,” founded by my good friend Kayla of I Feel Pretty Inc. I join other amazing women who are representing the brand and uplifting the message of empowerment on the blog. Get your Pretty Entrpreneur gear here.

Love these mindset hacks from Nicaila Matthews, the amazing host of Side Hustle Pro, a podcast for the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S. –  women of color.

Last month, I co-founded an online community for women creatives, #WomenCreativesChat, with my blogging friend Monica (afrotasticlady), and I am loving connecting with so many amazing souls each day. Join us!