We are from all the places where we circled up to step back: a dim Harlem apartment, Haley Farm in Tennessee, Viveka Chen’s fruit and flower-filled backyard in San Francisco, a community center in Tucson, AZ, the balcony of Trish Tchume’s old apartment in Takoma Park, the sand dunes in Death Valley, countless airport and Amtrak terminals, river walks in Colorado, and the vestibules of old Black churches in the South.
We bring with us our questions, our curiosities, our superpowers, our multiple ways of knowing, and humor to spread joy. In our big red suitcase, we carry charms that make whatever space we are in feel like ours—lavender to bring peace, palo santo for the spirit, homemade shea butter to keep us soft yet protected, and Aida’s abuela’s handkerchiefs to wipe off the bullshit.
We hear sometimes soft, sometimes bold voices singing along to Spotify playlists of Ana Tijoux, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, Bomba Estereo, and Beyonce as women move into the circle. We hear sighing and snapping and yes-girl-yessing affirmations once in the circle, gentle weeping followed by deep belly laughs.
We know we are the ones who will build a world worthy of our nieces—a world in which they are free.
We are the holders and facilitators of sacred Women of Color spaces, she/her/they/them/us.
Creating an “I am” poem: This activity creatively brings the women and facilitators into community. Because the poems bring out unobservable characteristics, they reveal aspects of each person’s unique story without focusing on economic, educational or professional status.