I was thrilled to share these remarks at the Higher Heights Black Women Lead Bootcamp on MLK Day. I hope you will find inspiration in them as well. The remarks in the chat are wind at our back. Thank you, Brave Sis Nation! Let's be this!
I invite you all to check out Higher Heights and get involved, or at least support their impressive work!
I’m so glad to be with you all today and share a little about the Brave Sis Journey-Journal you’re going to get in your goodie bags.
Here’s the origin story.
A little over a year ago, I was coming out of a period of personal transformation and looking for a nondigital way to promote my own centering and growth. There was nothing right in the market: everything was too white, too girly, or God help me, too masculine and honestly hard-edged in a way I did not want adjacent to my personal space.
So I decided to build my own.
On Christmas morning, 2019, I had a visitation from a foremother spirit saying “Tell My Story” – and it was like a fire!
I started researching, writing, found an illustrator, designed the book in InDesign, built the biz backend, launched a 300% funded Kickstarter – all while switching careers and starting an amazing and very demanding day job!
(At the time I was an empty nester, so I could sort of make it all work!)
Finally in the fall, we had the books in hand and I let it loose into the world to see where it wanted to go.
So let me tell you what you’re gonna get.
You will see first and foremost, it’s a day planner, very open-ended so you can be in charge of your own self-care journey. There are quotes and prompts and sentence starters and space for both gratitude and attitude.
But the best part by far is the Brave Sis Birthday Party.
Every two weeks, there’s a set of biographical and illustrated portraits of amazing (and for the most part, little-known) Black women and other Women of Color throughout US history, with a prompt and space for personal, meditative reflection, self-care, self-accountability, and growth.
It’s also a coloring book!!!
It’s really awesome to actually do this on paper, so you can look back over time. Hence, the “Journey” journal.
So I hope you will use it any way you want: as a journal, a place to keep to do lists, a food or exercise tracker, whatever—it was originally called “the Planner without the pressure” for a reason.
Who did I create this for?
First of all, Brave Sis is for us Black Women: this journal is a place to uplift our history and legacy, and a reminder we stand on the shoulders of giants.
And I wanted something that wasn’t superficial, with a beautiful “you go girl” cover and then generic-old nothing inside pages. We deserve better than that!
Second, it’s for other Women of Color and us in dialogue with each other. I knew this all along from my lived experience, but the intersection of sisterhood piece is really revealed as you look at US history.
Thinking about having been othered, commodified, discriminated against, and held down, it’s really revealing and can hopefully provide courage to feel united. (Hence the title of the project, Brave Sis!) I’ve tried to create an offering to foster more unity and sisterhood.
And finally, it’s for White Women, too. As I looked at the market, the wellness industry and basically all dominant generic narratives (as we know) center white women—especially skinny blondes in bamboo yoga pants on the beach(!!!)
For our white allies, I say this: When you take yourself out of the narrative, you can see Black and Brown women more fully, and become an authentic ally and not a performative one.
I have a friend in San Francisco who shores up an interracial women’s justice & empowerment group and they are using Brave Sis as their textbook this year, to make their monthly commitments to anti-racist learning and action, and then checking in for shared accountability.
Which leads to the wonderful surprise about this, it’s turning into a social venture, which makes sense given that I’ve worked in nonprofits almost all my life.
Thanks to some wonderful philanthropic support, I’ve been able to send free copies of the journal to organizations serving women and girls, including MISSSEY here in Oakland which works to help girls and adolescents getting out of the horrific sex trafficking trade, also, a cultural and social justice group for Black people in Honolulu, another org in Arizona serving women coming out of the carceral system, and even the United Way of Ames, Iowa.
I love that it’s taking on a social justice and impact mission alongside the very personal wellness journey. I’m so grateful to Glynda and the Higher Heights team for letting me share it with all of you!
The last thing I’ll say is: there is magic in manifestation. This time last year I was just looking at a spreadsheet of names and today I’m not only speaking with all of you, I’m actually working on the 2022 journal as well as a 2022 Brave Sis Adult Activity book for Workman Press, for which I received my contract on this Christmas Eve!
So, a lot can happen in a year!
I hope you will love it, and join us on Instagram at @bravesisproject to share your journey and discoveries. I think that Brave Sis is going to be a great tool for a lot of the great advice you’ve received today!
Love letters in the chat!
- Really looking forward to getting this journal in the mail!
- Love this, i have been looking for a black women centered journal...
- this sounds like my jam! I love me some notebooks, journals whatever! Lol. I’ve been looking for 1 from a Black Owned Business
- “Brave sis” Love that
- Can't wait to get my journal!!
- YES YES
- Say THAT!!!
- Thank you for that word! #authenticallies
- I love and collect journals. It is a blessing when there are images and quotes from Black women. To have that and it is a Black woman owned business is truly a blessing.
- This is awesome! I've received a lot today!
- wow. So nice. I love that
- Great Job! Many blessings!
- Congratulations sister!.
- Thanks for sharing your Brave Sis journey!
- yes, be brave sis
- Thank you and congratulations. I love journals.
- Thank you for your generous gift
- Brave Sis sounds phenomenal! I'm so excited
- Phenomenal! Thank YOU!!