Black Feminist & Girlhood Scholar
I am an interdisciplinary, Black feminist scholar who interrogates how intersections of identities are negotiated across institutions and inscribed onto the body. It is through my experiences growing up in the Cabrini Green neighborhood of Chicago that I learned to ask sociological questions about Black life and culture - I learned first from the real world, then from academia, and still do. My experience of girlhood was defined by the hard-talking women in their 20s and 30s who shared their wisdom through “real talk” with the neighborhood girls, letting us do and say things we’d never do in front of our parents.
I am the daughter of a mother who has always cared for others; she’s everyone’s auntie and has never met a stranger. My mom let me make the tough decisions about school choice and what was best in my educational journey. My father was a Chicago peddler and hustler, a Southern boy from Eudora, Arkansas who saw wars on two fronts - in Vietnam and the South. My third parent is my stepdad who walks like Denzel, did my hair early mornings on school days, bought me menstrual products during my first period, and read my first publication with tears in his eyes - a true #girldad. It is from this triad that I learned to be so many things to thrive in so many spaces.
I was the nerdy Black girl who went to Catholic school on scholarship with a half-empty fridge at home. I read books in the corner of juke parties. And I never quite perfected my footwork (but that don’t stop me from gettin’ down lil mama). I was all of these as a girl, and very much so still am. I carry these politics of displacement, outsider-within statuses, and multiplicities with me always. When I started my college access company during my junior year of college, I supported youth from my neighborhood in imagining their life beyond, but in dialogue with, Cabrini Green. The projects didn’t have to be the only places we planted roots; we could propagate our gardens across many communities. I make home for all the ways and places Blackness shows up and I embrace its familiar warmth. The necessary critical praxis to nurture Black futures is non-negotiable in the ways I do sociology. Public sociology, accessibility, and learning from and with young people are how I come to my work. As a practitioner of Black sociology, I write across genres to make legible the knowledges we hold in our bones that tell law of another home.
Thank you for seeing me.