Let me tell you how. 

As I was setting up for the first Sankofa Learning Center event titled, Listening and Learning Circle, I was anticipating all my day ones coming through and supporting with other folx from the community that I want to build relationships. I never would have imagined what happened next. Every single person that stepped into the Ochrid Cafe(Black owned AF) that night was people of the global majority. We use this term to amplify the truth that BIPOC are the majority contrary to our socialized understanding of us as a minority group. With the exception of one white woman who left early, it was a room filled with Black elders, Black mothers and fathers, Black queer womxm, and Black children running around. It was the vision realized and I couldn’t have been more stunned that my own internalized racial oppression betrayed me for all the right reasons. 

See, even as a Pan-African Black educator cultivating and seeding an intentional space for Black children, I still feel the need to get validation from white folx. For some reason, I felt like I needed to say, “See! Look at me! I can save my own without your help and applaud me for it.” mimicking that same white supremacy/savior mentality. I was so upset that known of them showed up until a co-worker came up to me the next day and explained herself. She said, “There will be other ways to support you, but I felt like that space was not meant for me.”  There it was. My own IRO betrayed me and transformed itself into a massive ass self-sufficient butterfly ready to go back and get it. 

Sankofa is a metaphorical bird derived from the Akan language that means go back and get what your ancestors stowed away for you. If you listen to your ancestors, they will give you the secrets of how they not only survived, but also lived in liberation in spite of their oppression. I am holding onto that secret as I continue this journey. I am depriving my IRO and reinvesting in my own independence outside of white institutions. This feels like new territory, but I am ready for the unfamiliar terrain. I am ready to water the dreams and visions that have been tucked away and in order to live outside of the white gaze, I have to declutter my own IROs. They will always be with me and I know now that my new #BlackGirlMagic power is to transmute them into internalized racial affirmations! 

Some affirmations that I am holding onto:

Black women deserve to be soft & hard. We can hold both.

We can take care of our own. Where the Black funders at?

Decolonize your dreams. 

Breathe in Black excellence. Breathe out anti-Blackness and the lies they told you.

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