Earlier this month we announced an expansion of our initial offering, 100 Nights of Rest. In partnership with Rachel Cargle, The Nellie Mae Education Foundation, and Miir we’re giving away A Year of Rest, 365 nights in total, to those fighting for change. We’ll be sharing our recipients’ stories each week in the hopes of amplifying their voices and inspiring meaningful action in our community and beyond.
Here are this week’s recipients of rest as described by those who nominated them:
My friend Lauren’s Twitter name is “Lauren Barnett demands rest for Black people.” She challenges me to remember that in a culture that prizes busy-ness and productivity – REST, and making space for Black people in particular to rest, is an act of resistance. Lauren is one of the most brilliant and deeply spiritual people I have ever known! She worked with Habitat for Humanity for several years to bring affordable housing to underserved communities. She also recently started her own creative consulting company, Bound For Good, which provides education and resources for building better, more empathetic campaigns, businesses, and organizations in the creative space. In addition to being a girl boss, she’s an incredible mother, raising two sons to find their own voices and connect to others with empathy. Lauren’s husband, Kinard, works as the Associate Executive Director for YMCA Triangle in Raleigh-Durham, and has been instrumental in bringing the Black Farmers Market as well as other Black-led community events to the area. After his cousin was killed by a CMPD police officer in 2019, Kinard and Lauren continue to work tirelessly to work with the Charlotte city council and other citizen-led organizations to provide a safer Charlotte. Lauren and Kinard are some of my own heroes and I can’t imagine anyone who deserves this Getaway more!
Omisade Burney-Scott is a Black southern 7th generation native North Carolinian feminist, mother, and healer. 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 a founding tribe member of SpiritHouseand previously served as a board member of The Beautiful Project, Village of Wisdom, andWorking Films. Omisade is the creator/curator 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. This project is a direct result of Omisade finding herself and her peers living at the intersection of social justice movement work, creative healer identities, and aging. She has chosen to use the medium of storytelling to disrupt the erasure of Black women’s voices as they age. The Black Girl’s Guide to Surviving Menopause (BGG2SM) partners with Black southern photographers, videographers, documentarians, storytellers, and artists to cultivate a larger narrative of what decolonizing aging tropes for Black women through the use of their stories looks like in practice. To be decolonized is to be untangled from systems of oppression like white supremacy, patriarchy, misogyny, homophobia, etc, and made aware of their impact on the lives of Black women. Omisade has developed this project as a true labor of love, starting it with community donations and patronage. When she started this work she found herself without a job and had recently lost her home to a natural disaster. She did not accept those as barriers, and continued with her vision. It is time our community also holds her so she can receive the rejuvenation she gives to us. As she walks into her new role as an elder, this retreat space will make room for her to grow. Omisade is also the proud mom of two sons, Che and Taj, whom she continues to co-parent with grace and humbleness.
I cannot say enough about La Baker and the strength this woman has. She is always giving to others, and creating safe spaces for others to be who they are and share their struggles. I work with La and she has spent her time here leading initiatives in our company and being a sounding board for employees of color, even though it’s not her official job. She is well known in the Columbus community as an activist and change maker. She is a force of nature and is beloved by all who meet her. She is the epitome of being proud to be who she is and standing up for what she believes in. La is truly a creative, innovative, dynamic human being who has never apologized for being exactly who she was born to be. I have cried with La, laughed with her, shared with her and received love and support from her. I can’t think of anyone more deserving to receive some much needed rest.
Ndeye is a force that cannot be matched. During all of the uncertainties of 2020, she remains positive and spirited. At the start of the Coronavirus pandemic, Ndeye created Black Girls Chillin, a Zoom hangout for Black women to decompress, connect, and most importantly support one another. She started this hangout mid-March and she is still hosting them weekly. As the sessions have progressed, she has started to partner with brands and Black entrepreneurs. Outside of Black Girls Chillin, she is the supervising video producer at Genius overseeing all of original video execution at the company. Her resilience and ability to help transfer all of our content to remote content is imperative as we are highlighting many Black voices and Black artists. Outside of work, Ndeye is a light and beautiful human that deserves a weekend to rest and relax. She is an amazing coworker but a better friend!
Ashley is an amazing leader across the Charleston, SC community and beyond. She Is the co-founder of BWRN Girl Talk (@brwngirltalk) and a gifted yin yoga teacher who holds classes locally and now nationally and globally, as well. Ashley is a wife and mama to a darling little boy. She is a force of love and leadership in our community and would be so deserving of this time to rest and restore from all that she gives and does to make the world a better place. We nominate Ashley on behalf of our entire teaching team at Still Soul Studio and our community!
Kenny is a mentor to countless Black youth in Manhattan communities where kids are not often afforded opportunities for change. As a basketball coach he works everyday to inspire a generation of teens to reach for the goals. He wants to keep kids off the streets by keeping them focused on their abilities to succeed. He especially works to empower young Black women, teaching them they’re just as valuable as their male counterparts through their dedication to sports. He coaches the girls LMC basketball team as he feels Black girls are often overlooked as vital community members, and wants to help break that cycle by personally changing the narrative. He is a strong fighter for freedom and started a platform called Connective, Inc. (@connectiveinc) to help Black youth develop critical skills for success. As a content creator he started a tv show called “the lost season” where he is able to display the talent of youth he works with and help them promote their stories. He does his best to help address racism in the school and workplace through podcasts and IG live. He is an educator who runs culture clinics to help youth become empowered by and reconnected to their roots. Aside from his dedication as a mentor to the New York community, he is a rapper (@247yb8) who uses his music to spread messages of struggle, prosperity, hope, personal growth, and the Black experience. His music is a platform he uses to inspire peace, promote awareness of Black violence, advocate for Black healthcare, ending hunger, breaking cycles of poverty, Dismantling systemic white supremacy, opening up dialogues of mental health within Black communities, and expressing his dreams for a better tomorrow. While his own life has had struggles (losing his dad at a young age, being a survivor of Black oppression, and the struggle to be financially independent while extolling the virtue of generosity) Kenny always does the right thing and is guided by his morals. He works hard everyday to continue his fight with no break, and despite that all manages to be an inspiration to everyone around him.
Lenore is an inspiration to all those around her, especially the women she serves at work. She works at Restore NYC, a nonprofit that serves survivors of sex trafficking, a horrific crime that disproportionately affects BIWOC. She helps survivors secure safe employment through job readiness courses. Outside of work, she is a mom to a sweet baby girl and wife to an activist in their Washington Heights home. As much as she navigates the devastation of the pain inflicted on Black communities with strength and grace, I know she could really benefit from a getaway to refill her soul.
Lienna is a first-generation Ethiopian and Black woman, who has done years of work in the public health policy arena for reproductive and sexual health justice for black and brown folks. Lienna is a strong advocate for folks of color, and works tirelessly. She is determined, motivated, and rarely gives herself time to rest. I want to show my incredible friend that self-care is more than a luxury- it’s how we maintain who we are, and part of that is slowing down.
Meme is fearless, tireless, and driven in the face of every challenge that 2020 and white supremacy has thrown at her. She is inspiring, caring, and most deserving of a break amidst this global viral pandemic embedded in 400+ years of anti-Blackness in America. She single handedly conceived of, and founded, MEASURE—a nonprofit that uses data and education to mobilize communities to eliminate social disparities. She has grown this nonprofit from literally just an idea to a crucial community voice to create a more just society. As if that wasn’t enough, Meme is growing her family in multiple ways in 2021, and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of permission and space (literal & metaphorical) to REST.