First round of congratulations letters delivered!
This 👏🏾 is 👏🏾 a 👏🏾 dream 👏🏾 come 👏🏾 true. 👏🏾
This year, Blackgirl Gold Unapologetic became on “official” incorporated non profit charitable organization. 12 years in the making, this org originally went by the name “Sunflower Seeds” and was the major catalyst for my grad school studies: resistance and resiliency of adolescent blackgirls. I held on to the structure, the curriculum, the people I needed to advise me, the mission, for a very long time but something wasn’t clicking. I finally heard God instruct me to work from what I KNOW.
What I know? When I was 19 years old, I was in the darkest place of my life — I am here now only by prayers and favor. And a few years ago when I began to move around blackgirls of that same age range who had many of the same needs, desires, hurt, and talents as I, I realized I needed to shift the focus of my age range — as well as the name. What remains consistent is that, I’m a writer and I believe in sowing seeds. So this org could not move forward if I did not thoughtfully integrate writing (and arts based practices) as tools for identity and service.
Finally, as a student and now professor, I intimately know the financial struggles of obtaining undergrad/grad and professional degrees. My first year at UNC, I worked three and half jobs, including a community assistantship, backbar at a spot that frequently hosted punk bands, transcribing data, and as a loctitcian. mmhm. and had my EBT card on deck! I had a STRONG Village and we pushed me through. And while I don’t believe Black folk should have to struggle to pay for advanced degrees, the money is not always easy to come by. So, in addition to pouring into blackgirls who range 19 years and older with Love and Light, I also know it’s important to do it with COINS! This is why awarding these first two $1,000 scholarships gives me SO. MUCH. JOY. I am being obedient to a promise made over a decade ago and it’s is growing and growing and growing...
— M. Billye Sankofa Waters, Ph.D., Executive Founding Director