There is one overarching theme to my writing, it is that no one else will rescue Black people from racism. We are the ones we have been waiting for. You will see there are no white saviors in my stories. We will have to figure this out for ourselves, and no one person will be able to do it alone.
Indeed, we will have allies and accomplices, but Black people will have to lead the struggle for Black liberation. We walk in the footsteps of our ancestors, and we learn from the struggles of history. My role is to shine a light on racism through my fiction and academic writing.
For the past several years, I have been writing about racism as an academic, and I think it's good stuff. My SHARP Framework offers an anti-oppression perspective for service providers working with people who have experienced oppression and
James Baldwin said you write to change the world, and that if you can alter, even by a millimeter, the way people look at reality, you can change it.
I began writing Fiction because I feel that, as Black people, there is a lot of work for us to do. I think we have lost the type of commitment to change we had during the Civil Rights era. While there are pockets of people working hard to end racism, many of us are still sitting on the sidelines thinking: 1) We have arrived and that there's no work left to do; 2) There is work to be done, but someone else will do it (we keep waiting for that leader), or 3) We can't do anything about racism so why even try? Or some combination of the three. Do we now have the kind of commitment to change we once had Are we able to get beyond the street marches and other symbolic forms of protest to engage in organizing that has a significant impact on white America?
As I dreamed about our communities coming together to organize for Black liberation, I came up with the Black Cell. It is a reminder of the Black Panthers' work and their support and protection of Black communities. It is a dream of Black people working together to care for our own and, at the same time, to recognize our power.
As I work to get The Black Cell published, I am using short stories to dive into the background of my characters. Every character in my stories is a composite of multiple people I have encountered. Most of the characters in The Black Cell are archetypes of Black people I have met: the woman who thinks she is immune to racism because she has economic power, the young man experiencing police brutality, the immigrant man who wants to assimilate at all costs, and the historical freedom fighter who organizes Black people to fight for liberation. Many people will recognize some part of themselves in one or more of the characters and reject other parts. The point is for the reader to identify familiar stories, recognize their role in the struggle, and take action.
In the Conversations section of this website, I will open up spaces where we can talk about a number of issues related to Black liberation. I invite readers to add their own thoughts and experiences to build our collective knowledge. I hope my stories will inspire thoughts about how you can engage in the struggle.
poverty. But at the same time, I feel that academic writing is inaccessible to the general public, physically (because of where it is published), financially (because it often exists behind paywalls), and cognitively (because it is written only for others in the same field). Academics write for other scholars, not for everyday people. Ultimately, academics are not the people who will change our society; it is regular people who will make that change.