“When you are quite literally told that you are not human. What option do you have? What’s the other option other than to overthrow the system that is telling you you're not human, you know? And so this is work, this is generational work. And we have had to do that generational work largely alone, because when women got the opportunity to vote, we were purposefully left out. When the civil rights movement was happening, we were the backbone of that mission. But our names don't appear in the books, in our history books. That we know how to move through systems that weren't built for us because there are so few that are. The only systems that are built for us are the ones we build together. Otherwise, we spend our entire lifetime in this country moving through systems that were not made for us, and in fact that weren't, not just not made for us, but made to squash us, made to make sure that we do not succeed and so in order to live into our own human dignity, the only option is to change the world because this is unacceptable.”
So says Austin Channing Brown. Her ability to distill essential truths always sends chills down my spine. Austin is a powerful and resonant public speaker, racial justice advocate and educator, and author, whose bestselling book, I'm Still Here, has catalyzed an indelible impact on how we perceive and discuss what it means to be a Black person, let alone a Black woman, in America. She just released a Young Adult version, which is required reading for all of our children as we work to build an equitable future. Austin is also the CEO of Herself Media, a platform creating content and narratives to provide a supportive space for those who find themselves on the outskirts of traditional power.
Today, Austin joins me in unveiling the facade of what it means to be good and how culture detrimentally enforces this burdening standard of goodness on women. We discuss the importance of anger and how it can be a navigational tool. By examining her own anger, Austin learned to move that energy toward creating community and literature that relentlessly fights for the future that America needs.
MORE FROM AUSTIN CHANNING BROWN:
I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness
I’m Still Here: Adapted for Young Readers
Follow Austin on Instagram
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