Belonging while Black

Uncategorized Oct 08, 2018

 When Franklin and Marshall College asked me to address the entire college join at their common hour I was terrified. Seriously, every time I thought about it I would get sick to my stomach. After I said yes, I avoided emails about the engagement. This started to shift one week before the event  when I moved from terrified to merely scared. It helped when my husband Michael agreed to accompany me. But the biggest shift came when I heard a speaker the day before I gave my presentation. Theater artist and teacher Nilaja Sun Gordon concluded her remarks by having each person put their hands on their chest and repeat silently “I belong. I belong here.”  Then she invited us to say it to the person sitting next to us.

That is when I saw once again how the default experience for me in predominantly white elite spaces is to feel like I don’t belong, to feel like I don’t belong here. It’s ironic that the piece  Michael and I had decided to perform is called walking while black because it points to feeling like I don’t belong while walking on the street in a predominately white neighborhood in Connecticut. In that piece I say I feel fear. 

I’m grateful to Nilaja Sun Gordon for reminding me that I belong, that I belong here. 

Now I’m sharing that message with you. Below please check out the video of our presentation.  You’ll see that Michael and I use art to create belonging, common vision, and connection with the divine.

You belong.  

I belong.  

We belong here. 

(please fast forward to minute 10 to view performance or click here)

 

Stay connected with news and updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.
Don't worry, your information will not be shared.

Subscribe
Close

50% Complete

Dr. Amanda's Blog

Signup with your email address to receive insights, updates & Events
We won't send you spam. Unsubscribe at any time.