Note: This post is a list of doers, makers, gardeners, bloggers, instagrammers, all people of color. It is forwarded by a slightly self-indulgent introduction, so if you would like to skip straight to the list, no judgement, just click here.
I think everyone in the world can agree that 2020 has been rough.
The pandemic, lockdown, quarantine, loss of jobs, more death tolls in the ongoing systemic racism problem, police corruption and brutality, looting, riots…things have started looking like The Walking Dead.
As much as I love a good post-apocalyptic action drama (or comedy; honestly Zombieland is one of my favorite movies), things start feeling very different when life starts imitating art.
You may have noticed I didn’t post last week. I had been working on a post about another DIY baby activity, but it seemed…wrong and inconsiderate to post when my instagram feed is full of #blackouttuesday and horrific videos of riots and protests.
I could have joined in the blackout, or reposted an evocative meme summarizing my feelings on the matter (sorrow? outrage? fear? all of the above?). Every time I read something about silence = compliance, I felt a pang of guilt and shame, because I was being silent.
But please understand, my dear fellow humans, my silence is not compliance, it is listening. It is learning. I try to respond and not react, and I fully believe in the power of authenticity. I love the passion and the verve that goes into the memes and posts that I’ve read, but re-posting them wouldn’t feel right for me, because they are not my words. I am inspired and moved by my mother, and sister-in-law, and those like them who are out on the streets, marching and protesting (though, caveat, I do not condone violence or looting), but joining them wouldn’t feel right to me, because they are not my actions.
I am incredibly sensitive and empathetic by nature, and I used to consider this my greatest fault. I turned away from the horrible things happening in the world, because I didn’t know how to process them. I would internalize the negativity from those events and the feelings of helplessness paralyzed me in despair. Because the overall picture was too big, I couldn’t see where to start, and thus I took no action, and felt great amounts of guilt about that.
But through meditation and contemplation, I delved into these feelings and realized that for me, personally, the only way to respond to these huge acts of hatred, prejudice, and overall negativity, is through my own little acts of kindness, love, and inclusion. Taking a horrific event and responding to it through small, related, physical acts is how I know how to process.
With the pandemic, this response is sewing masks. I am not a doctor, researcher, or medical professional, so I do not have the knowledge to work towards a vaccine. I am not a (large-scale) farmer or gardener, so I do not have the means to donate my homegrown food to those effected by food shortages. But I do know how to sew, and can use that skill to make masks to protect those working on grander cures.
Now with the continuous reminders of systemic racism and inequality in my home country, I can use my privilege and whatever small influence I have online to share with you some of my favorite Bloggers, Instagrammers, and Youtubers who are also People of Color, in order to lift up their voices. POC are largely misrepresented in a lot of the circles I roll in: Gardeners/homesteaders, sewists/seamstresses, and yogis all have a very “white” presence online. By sharing these lesser-heard voices, it helps lifts us all up.
- Ashlie Thomas @the.mocha.gardener (The Mocha Gardener Youtube) and her husband have an organic, urban garden where they apparently have naturally occurring giant genes in the soil because their produce is huge! She has quickly become one of my favorite instagrammers. Her photos are stunning, and she uses a lot of her harvest for medicinal tinctures and tonics. Plus, she’s a fellow North Carolinian (yay zone 7b)! Ashlie just recently started a YouTube channel, so I look forward to seeing more from her.
- Mike Dickson @the_fit_farmer (The Fit Farmer Youtube) is a former bodybuilder turned full-time farmer. He and his wife left their home in the city to live in a yurt and start their own homestead (@bigpondfarm), also in North Carolina. His videos are informative, inspiring, and FUNNY! Plus his kids feature prominently in the instagram, and they are ridiculously cute.
- Marcy Harriell @marcyharriell (Marcy Harriell OonaBalloona Youtube) is a NYC-based actress, singer, and seamstress with a passion for bright prints and colors. I LOVE her creations, and her YouTube videos are so much fun. She has a series of Re:Fashion where she rethinks out of style clothing into fun, quirky pieces. Also check out her website at http://www.oonaballoona.com.
- Jessamyn Stanley @mynameisjessamyn (Youtube) is an amazing yogi and an instructor of my own heart (read: talkative!). She has a clear and direct method of explaining poses and movements that is great for the beginner and the more advanced yogi alike. She has so much knowledge of the poses, it is easy to see that she embodies each and everyone. Plus, she is, as she puts it, “fat femme”, and thus a wonderful reminder that yoga is available to everybody and every body. (Bonus…Jessamyn also calls NC home!)
- Laura Scott @laurascottandco (A Little Bit of Lacquer Blog) and her husband are both doctors, entrepreneurs, and parents to three (soon-to-be four!) young children. She’s also a fashionista with impeccable style. The blog is about how to balance it all!
- Love Anderson (Breastfeed Durham Website) is a former high school math teacher, breastfeeding advocate, and mother of two boys. She also happens to be my sister-in-law (I saved the best for last!). Her work with breastfeeding advocacy, and her frustration with in inequalities faced by Women of Color in birth and postpartum led her to co-found Breastfeed Durham: an NC-based organization dedicated to give current support to breastfeeding mothers, as well as creating information that is helpful to Mamas of Color. Her website is great: chock full of information about basically any questions or concerns you might have about pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding your little one. With the rise of Covid-19, she has even included pertinent information about breastfeeding and coronavirus.
I am not a fighter, but I am in awe of those that show up with peaceful force for what is right. I am not an organizer, but I salute those that can lead an advocacy petition to get the word out, get the knowledge out. I AM a grower, a maker, a mom, and my privilege is best used by lifting up those whose voice may not get the chance mine does, but is just as valid. #CreateDontHate.