Earlier this month, through our Year of Rest initiative with Rachel Cargle, the Nellie Mae Foundation, and Miir, we hosted Omisade Burney Scott. Omisade has spent the better part of the past 25 years of her life focused on the liberation of marginalized people, beginning with her own community through advocacy work, philanthropy, community organizing, and culture work. She is the creator of The Black Girls’ Guide to Surviving Menopause, a multimedia project seeking to curate and share the stories and realities of Black women and femmes over 50. Omisade is a 1989 graduate of UNC-Chapel Hill, is the proud mom of two sons, Che and Taj, and she resides in North Carolina. Here’s what she had to say about her work, her Getaway, and the importance of rest as part of the resistance.
I was able to share this experience with my youngest son, Taj, who just turned 12 on October 15th. It’s been a rough and dynamic journey of the past several months for all of us, but in particular for him. Being separated from school, his friends, his eldest brother who is 28 and lives in Brooklyn, and the constant barrage of news filled with violence against Black bodies had started to take a toll on his usually bubbly and outgoing personality. We have navigated much of this time with healthy doses of love and hugs from his dad and myself, creating new family rituals, consistent teletherapy, and creative play (mostly virtual).
It was an absolute joy to experience this with him and to be able to unplug from the world right now. We cooked, hiked, took naps, played Pokemon (he won) and talked by the fire (I built my first fire). It felt like a moment where the outside world and all our concerns could just melt away.
I have been an activist and advocate for social justice for over 25 years. I also walk with the identity of being a creative. My journey to working in communities to co-create a more healed, just, and equitable world has been amazing, hard, fulfilling, full of learning, inspiration, and fatigue.
I took a sabbatical from movement work back in 2018 after some deep personal loss and extreme burnout. I spent much of 2019 giving myself permission to reimagine what my relationship to rest could look like in practice, as well as exploring what my social justice and creative work might look like from a grounded place of health and healing post 50 (I’m 53).
In July of 2019, I launched a new venture called The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause because I wanted to create and curate a space for the stories of people who look like me… Black women and femmes to speak their truth around aging. I wanted to share our stories, not from a medical or public health perspective, but from a cultural and social one that allowed us to explore notions of pleasure, intimacy, creative expression, rebirth, healing, and transformation.
Being nominated for this night away by my friend Xiomara Corpeno felt like a gift from my ancestors, a reminder not to let my commitment to rest, health, healing, and joy elude me or slip away while in the midst of a pandemic, unrest, and necessary transformation for our country.
I believe liberation is a real state of being that it is fully possible for Black people to exist in – one where the world is spacious, loving, accountable, free of harm and violence, and whole. A place and existence that we would likely call freedom. I believe that Black people, indigenous peoples, and people of color being able to access rest and exquisite care is essential to us arriving in that space whole and intact. I also understand there are so many reasons why we can’t access it, why it feels elusive—not possible. I know that the moments we access that care, that joy, that rest, are healing and restorative. It is my hope that the more intentional we are in co-creating access to those moments that are fully resourced and supported, the closer we are to being in a consistent healing practice that is an extension of care, grounded in social justice.
Need your own escape to nature to recharge and reconnect to what matters most? Reserve your tiny cabin today.