- July 29, 2020
Meet your Community Figure is a campaign that aims to celebrate black creators, artist, entrepreneurs, authors, educators and influencers. We have so many amazing people doing great things in our community, but we just don’t hear about them. Each week, we will introduce you to a community figure and their work.
Meet your Community Figure, Lesley-Ann Brown
Lesley-Ann Brown is a mother, TEDx speaker and author originally from Brooklyn, New York, who feels passionately that in order to create a better world we have to understand the various histories that got us here. Her work is intersectional, as her being stands on the very crossroads of race, gender and class. In 2007, she created the blog blackgirlonmars, forging a space for herself in otherwise alien-terrain and inspiring others to do the same. Her book “Decolonial Daughter: Letters from a Black Woman to her European Son” (2017) explores, through the lens of motherhood, issues such as migration, identity, gender, nationhood and how it relates to land, forced migrations, imprisonment and genocide. Her upcoming project “From 1492 to Black Lives Matter” is a combination of a talk and/or workshop that will not only facilitate a more comprehensive understanding of race and how it impacts us today, in our world, but also how we can co-create a better future for ourselves and loved ones.
- Which norms do you see yourself breaking or would you like to see yourself breaking? The word “norm” has always irked me! So much so, I even went hunting for its roots and found it was related to an instrument that was used to measure 90 degrees, which is, as we all know, a SQUARE! Who wants to be a square? There is no “norm” in nature; there is a plurality to her that I feel is “abnormal” to go against! A culture that gives space for other facets of life to shine; without feeling insecure, is a strong, robust one – one that is living, dynamic and changing with the times. I think that everthing that is considered the “norm” in our culture ought to be interrogated vigorously. The status quo is not always on our side.
- What inspires you to be and do what you do today? I’m inspired by Nature – which we are a part of. I’m inspired by finding ways back to her – and how the further away we as a culture attempt to remove ourselves from the natural rhythms of life, how much more in trouble we seem to be. Although I’m a city girl, born in Brooklyn, it has always been the natural world that has been there, calling to me, despite the many man-made distractions that keep us alienated from our true power. My life and work is, in the end, the metaphor of the dandelion cracking through the concrete – the material, that which we make, is inconsequential in the grand schemes of things. There is not much more to life than marveling at the perfection of the universe, and how we are a part of this infinite, perfect plan.
- How do you see the reshaping of the black future? It’s about land. It’s about getting back to her. It’s about listening to her. We have always lived in balance with nature – until colonialism. If we can’t feed ourselves we are not free. And will never be.
You can buy Lesley’s book Decolonial Daughter at any book store or from Amazon and Saxo.
Meet your Community Figure, Garba Diallo
Garba Diallo is the Founding Director of the non-profit NGO Cross Borders and head of Crossing Borders Global Studies, in Denmark.
Born in Mauritania, Garba has lived, studied and worked for many years in Qatar, Norway and Denmark. He is a true citizen of the world with deep roots in Africa and branches spanning the globe and is the founding director of Crossing Borders and its Global Studies program. His regional focuses are Africa and the Middle East. Garba is an international lecturer on African, Middle East and global issues of current concerns. His lecture tours have taken him to many countries in Africa, Europe, the Middle East, Asia and South America.
- Which norms do you see yourself breaking or would you like to see yourself breaking? teaching and speaking to my children in my mother tongue.
- What inspires you to be and do what you do today? Self reliance.
- How do you see the reshaping of the black future? Insisting on equality in diversity.
To connect with Garba: