Art is the manifestation of personal truths and stories untold.
As a woman of color, creating art has been central to my survival and growth. As someone who is hard of hearing, since my childhood I have had difficulty vocalizing my perspective due to my insecurities around my speech and the sense of erasure I often experienced throughout my education. It was through reading and writing that I truly was able to channel my grief, reflect, and express my deepest truths. Creating art can allow for healing to take place as we share our stories and cultivate spaces that center our lived realities and dreams.
My mother has always encouraged and inspired my writing. When I was was 11 years old, she wrote in a journal she had purchased for me: ‘The way to happiness is through the soul- the way to soul is through honesty and recognition-write Annie write, make your journey to your soul, and you will find Annie.’ I carry that message with me everyday. When my mother passed away when I was 19 years old, I came across her journals and letters that she saved throughout her life. I realized then how writing had also been a healing practice she utilized and how lucky I am that she shared that gift with me.
My proudest moment was launching This Bridge Called Our Health with one of my dearest friends Danielle Stevens. It is a Community Forum For Women and Femmes of Color of All Genders to Explore, Develop, and Imagine the Infinite Possibilities of healing from systemic trauma. This passion project was cultivated through our friendship and experiences in a Women of Color Circle at UC Santa Barbara– a collective of women healing from the violence of the academic industrial complex. This Bridge Called Our Health disrupts dominant understandings of health and re-centers the narratives of those who are often marginalized. This is a platform to connect, organize, and support each other as we speak truth to power and our experiences. The overwhelmingly positive response from across the United States as well as from fvarious other countries further validated the crucial need for this space. We are volunteer-run and fundraising to elevate and sustain our work. We would appreciate any support we receive in the forms of funds and/or spreading the word! http://bit.ly/FundThisBridge
Love has held various meanings throughout my life that have shifted and transformed. I resonate deeply with James Baldwin’s remarks on love: “Love does not begin and end the way we seem to think it does. Love is a battle, love is a war; love is a growing up.”
I like to be outside and around nature when I write. I also listen to music while I am writing. This type of environment unlocks a deep sense of peace and inspiration that propels me to create and honor what lies within my spirit.
Ah I cannot express enough how music is so very much connected to my writing. I enjoy all kinds of music, but some of my favorite artists include: Norah Jones, Beyonce, Death Cab for Cutie, Damien Rice, and Adele.