Rachel Warren, Brilliant Intern
As a Black woman raised by Black women, I experienced the power of us. As the daughter of an educator, the passion I have for the protection, advancement, and empowerment of us runs deep and was developed early. I grew up in Minneapolis, MN; moved to Chicago for college. I graduated from North Park University with a B.A. in Nonprofit Management, a B.A. in Sociology, and a Minor in Spanish. I used those degrees and my lived experience to engage in an extensive variety of Black youth, family, and community work in both Southeast, D.C. and Minneapolis. I am now an Advanced Opportunity Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Madison pursuing my Masters of Social Work degree and interning at the Progress Center for Black Women. I firmly believe in the Progress Center’s stance that “Black women know what’s best for Black women,” and I cherish my role in celebrating and elevating Black women.
What I enjoy about working with Black women and families:
The thing I enjoy most about working with Black women and families is getting to be a witness to all that Black women and families have to offer. To see and appreciate what society too often disregards. To be a part of the continuation and elevation of a people who have carried us in every aspect of the word and in every space in society from then, to now. The beauty, intelligence, power, creativity, strength, vulnerability, the love… Black women and families are sacred. To carry the legacy of Black women who came before me and continue to create ways for those who will come after me to do the same, is a necessity.
3 tips for Black families living through this pandemic:
- Communicate with each other often and honestly. Be gracious in your understanding of and response to each other.
- Find healthy ways to stay connected to community. Together and individually, engage in outlets (people and activities) that support wellbeing.
- Ask for help. Advocate for yourself. Don’t ever doubt or forget that you matter.
My definition of Black Joy:
I define Black joy as…
watching Girls Trip in a theater full of Black women;
listening to my mom and aunties sing, laugh, and reminisce through the Patti and Gladys Verzuz;
tasting the food of coming together… the food that gives you the ‘itis or makes you yell, “Issa Brunch!”;
knowing Howard is the real HU!
celebrating the wins, the firsts, the new releases, and the power moves – all of them;
experiencing the National Museum of African-American History and Culture in Washington, D.C. for the first time;
honoring The Black Panther.
Black joy is the spirit and legacy of those who came before me. It’s the unapologetic, spilling-over-feeling of good. Of healing. Of speaking. Of dancing. Of growing. Of pride. Of overcoming. Of resistence. Of mattering.