Permission Granted

The past couple of weeks have been filled with moments of permission granting for me, which led up to a virtual event that I attended yesterday that  provided new insights on liberation. The event was called “The Permission to Reimagine Radical Love and Pleasure.” This was not a conversation that centered white supremacy, racism or the other forms of hate and destruction structured against those communities that have been marginalized. No. This conversation was focused on what it means to love ourselves and to re-imagine joy in all of its forms.  

At this time of doomscrolling (which happened to be the word of the day on Dictionary.com last Thursday), our minds aren’t allowed to venture off into places where we can imagine anything lifegiving–where we can laugh, where we can create. However, it is critical to our wellbeing and for the wellbeing of those around us to engage in those things that remind us of our humanity. I did exactly that the past few weeks:

Thanksgiving Makeover 2.0

For Thanksgiving, I broke from the traditional turkey dinner again this year and cooked the foods that reminded me of my heritage, childhood or times in my life when I experienced great joy. So instead of an oppression adjacent turkey (shout out to my Black Indigenous fam), I baked chicken and slow cooked gumbo and oxtail stew, macaroni and cheese, collard greens, baked cornbread and fresh sweet potatoes. 

I enjoyed that meal with my daughter. I found such pleasure watching her enjoy bowls of gumbo, her new favorite. 

I took great pleasure in prepping the food the day before. I played some of my favorite songs nice and loud while I chopped, danced and sang. It was fun watching my daughter and her friends bake cookies that Wednesday (Don’t worry. Each child had their own baking kit and all the other COVID regulations were in play. Plus, I had the kids take their germ filled cookies to their own home to be enjoyed by their respective families).

One of the statement tees from my online store. Reads: Your Misogynoir Will Not Destroy Me.”

Hearing Me, Learning Me

Something else that I gave myself permission to do was to tell my story. One of my clients asked to do an informational interview with me and I agreed. It was cathartic to share my journey as I am still making sense of it: The good, the bad, the ugly twists and turns into how I have come to do the work I am currently. I also provided a few words of advice based on reflections from my past.  

Making Space for Friends

Allowing myself ample time to have a conversation with a college friend over the phone was another form of pleasure I allowed space for last week. For those who know me, I’m not a huge fan of phone calls. I try to make them as quick as possible. because it always seems like when I am on the phone, I am discussing business, so I’m just trying to get to the facts. It has been a while since I just enjoyed a leisurely conversation with a friend just to catch up. This surprise call was definitely a Liberation call. A dear friend of mine came out to me after we’ve been friends for almost 30 years. I could sense this person’s relief in knowing that who they love did not change the foundation of our friendship at all. We continued to talk as if we were sitting in the lounge of our res hall, eating take-out food while watching the show “A Different World.” 

Makkie’s Liberation Day

Another place where liberation showed up was with my daughter and her schedule. For those of you who have children who are experiencing distance learning given this pandemic, you know that right now our kids are navigating schedules that are rigid and fluid at the same time. And while there is a lot of content being covered, it is a challenge to support our Young Learners in a sustained understanding of the content given the added stressors.  That said, my daughter was over it. Her entire week is scheduled from the time she wakes up to the time she goes to bed. And because of this she asked if she could have a day where she had full control. 

Sis, did you ACTUALLY say yes?!? Girl, how long was it before the fire department showed up?

No, Makkie did not set the apartment on fire. From start to finish, Saturday (and a portion of today) have been Liberation Day. I paused to think about what she was asking and it was such an innocent but profound request. So yesterday she enjoyed a virtual sleepover with her sisterfriends and ate junk food (can’t blame her…I already had it in the pantry). She did not make her bed, but she danced, sang, played her video games until the wee hours of the night. She was free to do and be whatever she wanted. She escaped the matrix for the entire day. 

Freedom. Liberation. The freedom to not have to play a part in what we did not create and the liberation to create what is uniquely ours: love, joy, peace, pleasure, hope.

If you are interested in engaging in this re-imagining process, here are a few guiding questions for us to contemplate this week and beyond:

  • When was the last time I experienced extreme joy? Who was present and who was not present?
  • What brings me pleasure? What foods, songs, smells, sensations, etc. re-ignite a sense of aliveness in me? 
  • Some of us have stories of doing the ugly cry a few times during this pandemic. Yet, when was the last time I ugly laughed: Where I snorted, coughed, drooled, fell over, gasped for breath, with tears rolling down my face because I couldn’t control myself? 
  • When was the last time I felt loved? What does love feel like, sound like, look like to me now given what I have experienced during this pandemic? 
  • What are some of the ways that I am now re-imagining how love is displayed amongst my friends, significant others, members of my family? 
  • Given my responses to the questions above, what do I want to re-assemble this week and the weeks to come that will center the beautiful parts of myself and support the same reassembly in those around me? 

This week, give yourself permission to re-imagine wellness and wellbeing. For some of us, that means giving ourselves and the people around us space to say “No.” For others, that may mean giving ourselves and those around us space to say “Yes.” Whatever your situation may be, know that your Creator, your ancestors, and those of us who love and support you encourage you to give yourself permission to do and be All. That. You. Are.  

Love, Justice and Liberation!

Justice First

Recapping everything that has occurred since my last post seems futile. It almost feels as if the character Thanos from the Avengers is snapping his fingers, however his fingers are wet so he just keeps snapping because he’s not getting the full effect. We’re not seeing a loss of half of humanity. Yet, with every inaudible snap there is more loss and more injustice to dismantle. 

Supreme Court Justice and voice for justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, died on September 18th. Five days later, Attorney General Daniel Cameron in Louisville, Kentucky delivered another blow to justice: Not one of the 3 officers responsible for the death of Breonna Taylor would be charged with her murder. Breonnna Taylor was a First Responder who was asleep in her home when officers tore through her home shooting, looking for someone they already had in custody. One officer was indicted on first-degree wanton endangerment charges; he was accused of blindly firing shots that went through Breonna Taylor’s home and penetrated the walls of a neighbor’s apartment.

If the walls could talk, they would say Breonna deserves justice. They would manage just fine with some stucco and a good paint job.

Devastation, heartbreak, hopelessness and betrayal encapsulate only a few of the feelings of grief expressed as Daniel Cameron, a Black man by birth, regurgitated the decision for the world to hear. Calls for his resignation and cancellation were swift, given his affiliation with those who have a proven record of activating injustice against the Black community specifically and communities of color in general. Personally, I was grappling with how I was going to explain this decision to my 10-year old daughter who had just returned home from being with her father on the East Coast for a month. In a world that has been abundantly clear what “they” think about us (that Black Lives do not Matter and are detested, defiled and are expendable); I, like so many grown-ups are trying to turn the Truth Narrative volume up even louder in order to drown out all that hate noise. Black Lives Matter. They always have and they always will.

Something else I was wrestling with is how I too have unintentionally caused harm to my own community in the form of seeking solidarity as a form of justice. Or working to have Black Folx included in organizations and institutions that I know full well are so toxic that you can feel your humanity draining from you when you step through the door. No, I have never done a D. Cameron. However, I have inadvertently done damage.

Sis, you actually gon’ put that in writing for people to read? Are you trying not to work again or…?

I have always intended for my blog to be about love and liberation. Part of that goal is realized by excavating how and what we learn, challenging unhealthy thoughts and actions, while leading ourselves and others out of oppression and into liberation, both personally and professionally. You know, the stuff our Ancestors fought and died for and want for their descendants. So yes, this requires me being honest with you AFTER I have been honest with myself, because we know that substantive healing happens in community with others. 

So yeah, I messed up during what I will call my “Emergence from the Sunken Place:” 1 Part leaving a toxic relationship and 1 Part re-learning that Justice, true Justice is the foundation of DEI work.

Justice first.

Once, I thought I was being useful by trying to help bring Black and Brown students to work together in solidarity to combat White Supremacist Delusions (see @sonyareneetaylor on IG for her brilliant views on W.S.D.). I was a part of solidarity work during my time at USD where we conducted these educative, cathartic and life changing experiences with a diverse group of student leaders called Human Relations Workshops (HRWs). They were dope! Surely bringing these students leaders together after a botched student election to re-imagine leadership and liberation on this campus would be just what the institution needed, right? 

Crash and burn. I learned that before solidarity can ever be truly realized, there must be…

Justice first.

The 2nd time came when I was asked to support a department-wide conversation examining the impact of Anti-Black racism perpetuated by the department and the institution at-large. Due to my strong familiarity with the institution (my way of qualifying that I intimately know the pain caused to Black minds, bodies and spirits by said institution), I was slow to re-injure Black community members on that campus by talking with them first about their pain. “I know their pain and I know it is valid. Let’s get to work so we can make sure they are heard and give the organization their marching orders. The department needs to get busy in order to transform the experiences of Black community members, which will also make a better living/learning/working experience for everyone else.”  

Yes, I said that *bleep* out loud.

Add to my decision to not talk with members of the Black community being a single mom and being strapped for time, you can imagine the reception during the community discussion. 

Sidebar: Something I tell all of my emerging and seasoned leaders to make time for are Listening Tours. “Listening tours are not about you” I say. “They are all about you making space for those who have been voiceless, they must be heard and seen.” Listening, seeing, and loving on others is a form of…

Justice first.

Yes you guessed it, that discussion was cringe. Luckily, the Associate I had working with me was so amazing that she was able to create a brave space for the community that was in real pain, while I was able to observe the leadership to provide next steps to lead the department into the new millennium.

Breonna, your life and dreams were stolen from you. You would have been an amazing nurse, Sis. We will continue to fight for what was rightfully yours. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeFirst. | Image: Family of Breonna Taylor, via Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Back in my early 30’s, I remember being reprimanded for providing too much support to Black students on a university campus (I kid you not) and not providing enough support to our Asian/Asian American students. My supervisor at the time was someone who identified as a woman of Asian/Pacific Islander heritage. She led an office that was designed to support students from various cultural backgrounds. I recall a particularly contentious meeting where she informed me that there were “places for people like me” whose primary focus was supporting Black students.

“Word?” I thought. “There’s a place for people like you who have a problem with people like me. It is very, very, VERY hot there. Let me help you pack a sack lunch for the ride.”

I eventually quit that job.

We all have our biases. And, if our biases get in the way of justice for those who experience the most extreme forms of injustice, then we have to rethink our relationship to social justice, possibly time for a new line of work. As The Notorious B.I.G. astutely pointed out “UPS is hiring.” Go do that; don’t call yourself a social justice activist if you are not about…

Justice first.

To be clear, my goal in this post is not to try and garner sympathy. I have sown enough good seed in my community during the past 3+ decades that I haven’t been cancelled. Maybe I was on a “Cultural Time Out.” Nonetheless, my goal is to have you, the reader, think critically and honestly about ways that you may have unintentionally and/or intentionally worked against justice: Justice within your own family, community, places of worship, work environments, the gas station…wherever. A few questions you may consider asking yourself:

  • Do I know what justice is for myself? My community? Those communities different than my own?
  • Do I know what injustice looks like for the various communities around me?
  • What is hindering me from being able to actively hear, understand, appreciate and bridge the Justice Gap for those who may not be empowered or privileged in areas where I have power and privilege?
  • What stories have I been taught about what might happen if a particular group receives justice?
  • Am I doing true justice work, or am I engaging in covert-oppression exercises for those who have historically been in power?
  • If I am really about that Justice Life, am I learning and doing more to support the work that needs to be done?

One of my favorite quotes by Dr. Cornel West (that I often transpose) is “Justice is what love looks like in public.” Justice is still calling out too many names of loved ones whose lives have been taken, unjustly. #JusticeforBreonnaTaylor #JusticeforGeorgeFloyd #JusticeforTooManytoName #JusticeforReal #JusticeFirst.

Voting Resources: 

  • Check your state and local election sites for registration deadlines and voting details. 
  • There are a number of states that offer ballot tracking technology

2020: A Special Letter to You

For WP Welcome, 2020!

Dearest,

It has been a long time since we’ve connected. We wanted to share what has been put on our hearts about you as you prepare for an amazing new year. 

Stop being afraid. If you had any idea of how many people beyond this life had your back, you would walk through this world differently. With that said, hide these truths in your heart:

  • You are loved. 
  • Success is not a bad thing and failure won’t keep you safe. 
  • Your purpose is bigger than your pain. 
  • See and work beyond your current circumstances. 
  • We can tell you that you are worthy, but only you can live out your worthiness.
  • One more time…only you can live out your worthiness. 
  • What would you do if you knew everything was going to work out in your favor? 
    • What would your state of health and wellbeing be like? 
    • What would your surroundings look like (people, places and things)?
    • How hard would you pray? 

Yes, how hard would you pray? You know prayer changes everything around you. Why won’t you pray? Because you know it works. And anything that works scares you. Someone loving you back, scares you. Someone investing in you and your dreams, scares you. We have watched you villainize those around you because they love you. You run from those who love you because they see your worth.  What about you? Do you love you? If not, what are you waiting for? 

You have to decide that this year and every year you exist, is your year. Yes, you have lived through traumatic situations, but look at you! You are still here and stronger than ever, even when you do not feel like you are stronger. Tap into the resources around you to help you move past the trauma so that you can continue to serve, while living a life of joy and purpose. You’ve got this, Dearheart! Even when you feel like your “this” is a sham or totally out of reach, remember your THIS (Tenacious Heart, Irrefutable Spirit) are not to be taken lightly. 

Please make healing a priority. Block out the noise. Get prepared and stay prepared. Most important, fall madly in love with yourself and the possibilities that surround you. 

We are waiting for you to renew your mind and re-connect to your purpose. We have faith in you and cannot wait to see what you do next! 

With Love,

Your Past, Your Present and Your Future 

 

*I originally wrote this letter to myself as one of my personal healing projects. I hope it inspires you to work towards your goals today! Remember: You’ve got THIS!

Peace,

Dr. Kecia

Welcome the Holidays with The Love of 10,000!

What’s better than giving your Little Ones the gift of love, empowerment, and hope for the holidays? Celebrate a story of love and ancestral wisdom with the children in your life. Order your copies of The Love of 10,000 today!

Excerpt from the book:

Just find your calm and be still
and you’re 10,000 will speak to you.

You will hear them say:
You are mighty.
You are loved.
Speak out!
Rise above.
You matter.
You are brilliant.
Be kind.
Be resilient.

Children’s Book-The Love of 10,000

Inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers,” The Love of 10,000 is a love letter from a mother to her daughter. This visual poem reminds us all that as we navigate life, we are surrounded by those who love and guide us every day. Please email us directly at dr.kecia@drkeciab.com to order copies in Spanish, French, or Portuguese.

$16.95

Take 2: Spanish Translation Coming Soon

UPDATE AS OF 11-11-19:  The Love of 10,000 is available in Portuguese, and Spanish!

El Amor Cover

Well, it has been a minute since I sat down to write a post for my blog.

It has been a special kind of busy — meetings with military personnel, therapists and hospital administrators discussing orders for the book for the children they serve (and subsequently their own families).

As I am writing this post, I am keenly aware of the lives of peaceful protesters that were taken in senseless acts of violence in the Sudan. In addition, Layleen Cubilette-Polanco, a trans sister died in jail on Rikers Island. Thinking of the pain that is felt around the world every day, it feels even more critical to equip our next generation leaders with messages that counter the current micro and macro messages about humanity, while doing so in as many languages as possible.

That said, we are THRILLED to announced that the first translation of the book is complete and we will be releasing the Spanish version of the book “El Amor de los 10,000” this Friday. Our team will be discussing the next group of translations in the weeks to come and we would love to hear from you! Feel free to DM me on Facebook or Instagram at kecia.writes letting me know your recommendations.

To give you a taste of what the book has to offer, watch this short video created by my “Sister in Creativity,” Shawndra Cox-Diaz Owner and Lead Designer of Out of Proportion Studios:

Peace & Blessings Always,

Dr. Kecia

PRESS RELEASE: The Love of 10,000

THE LOVE OF 10,000 by Dr. Kecia Brown Published on May 25, 2019 by

Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing

Contact:
contact@drkeciab.com
781-361-9755

THE LOVE OF 10,000, A CHILDREN’S BOOK BY DR. KECIA BROWN,
PUBLISHED ON MAY 25, 2019
Amazon – Kindle Direct Publishing

Cover 05-17-19 LOVE-10000-MANUSCRIPT_KindleSan Diego, California (May 25, 2019) – A global publication date of Saturday, May 25, 2019, has been set for the anticipated third book by educator and poet, Dr. Kecia Brown.

THE LOVE OF 10,000 is a self-published work by Dr. Brown and is distributed by Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing.                  

Dr. Kecia Brown is an educator, entrepreneur, writer, mother and SisterCircle convener. Growing up in Inglewood, California, she has written poetry and prose for more than three decades. She released her first book, “Humanity’s Cup: Tales From the Inner Circle” in 2006 and “God Don’t Like Ugly…And Is Not Too Fond of Pretty Either” in 2018. Brown called upon the talents of her daughter, Makaila Imani to serve as Editor for her first children’s book, “The Love of 10,000” a book inspired by Dr. Maya Angelou’s poem “Our Grandmothers.”

As the first person to graduate college in her family, Kecia earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from California State University in San Luis Obispo; a Master of Arts degree in Leadership Studies from the University of San Diego and a Doctorate of Education degree from Teachers College, Columbia University in the City of New York. Her research interests look at the intersections of career, leadership and spiritual development of women leaders.

Said Dr. Brown, “Writing THE LOVE OF 10,000 began as simply a love letter I wrote to my daughter. It was her encouragement and ‘editorial savvy’ that led me to publish a book for children everywhere to enjoy. What I did not know at the time, was that I actually wrote the book that I needed as a child to help me better navigate the world after losing my father when I was seven years old. Thus, I have found my own healing in this book and hope that other children (and subsequently adults) will do the same.”

At the time of publication, Dr. Brown will embark on a book tour, with details to be announced at a later date. Information about the book is available to consumers at www.drkeciab.com and on her Amazon Author Page www.amazon.com/author/drkeciabrown

The print edition will carry a suggested list price of $16.95 in the U.S. and the digital edition will be priced at $8.99 in the U.S. International prices may vary.

In support of Dr. Brown’s personal and professional mission to support the development of next generation leaders, the author will provide copies of the book in her late sister’s name to children of military families who have lost a loved one in combat.

An English-language edition of THE LOVE OF 10,000 will be published in six territories: The United Kingdom, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Japan. A Spanish translation of the book will be available in early June 2019.

Countdown to 10,000

New cover_05-10 LOVE OF 10000 SPREADS PRINTWell, here it goes! My first post for my 1st children’s book! I have been thrilled and horrified at the same time about publishing it. The side of me that is thrilled looks forward to releasing this gift so that kids all over the world have a reminder of how much they are loved. Not only do I want to send the message that our kids are loved, but also no matter what they may be going through, they will be all right AND they are surrounded by love they may not be able to see. A love that is rooting them on past their challenges. A love that whispers words of encouragement and power in a world that screams out messages of self-hate, shame, and fear. The decision to publish this counter-narrative is part of why I am a bit nervous (yes, I wrote horrified earlier…you will learn I am a bit dramatic).

My original intent was to write a book solely for my daughter and my nephew whose father was killed in August 2018. As I began sharing the poem with friends and colleagues, I noticed how many were moved to tears as they talked about their own experiences with the themes in the book. Once people saw the illustrations that went along with the poem, the floodgates opened up. Soon, I was hearing about stories of bullying, abuse, addiction, mental illness…you know, the stuff that we humans do when we are broken. Dealing with my own issues as a recovering “People Pleaser” and “Fixer,” my automatic reaction is to go into fix-it mode. When I cannot fix a situation (or person…that will be a whole different post), I come down really hard on myself. This feeling of guilt comes from my shame in not being able to help my sister shake her addictions which led to her death in 2002.

As an educator, I have worked with hundreds of  women and seen them work their way  to healthier ways of being. However, there will always be that one…the main one, who will live on in my heart as the one I let down. Now, fast forward to hearing stories from other people who have lived through unimaginable experiences, and I already feel like I am going to pass out!

As I work on developing greater self-compassion, I am realizing that if I breathe for a second (or four) and  listen carefully, what I am actually hearing are not “problems to be fixed” but stories of resilience, power and love. The fact that these folks are alive to tell their stories their way, is a testimony to their strength and should be celebrated.

So, here I go. I will look forward to hearing your stories, now. Just know that I may have a few “Oh, Sweet Black and Brown Jesus!!!” moments privately. No worries, my 10,000 will set me straight!

Peace & Blessings

R.I.P. to my sister, Jacqueline Renee’ Polk (The “Love of 10,000” was written on her birthday July 15, 2018)black-heart