West Dayton Stories: Rebirth...Now Healing
Dayton’s African American community has a rich history and a vibrant present, and there are important stories of strength and resilience to be told. We launched the West Dayton Stories project in the winter of 2020, bringing together a group of Dayton residents as community producers.
And then, as everyone knows, the pandemic hit.
But the West Dayton Stories project has continued, even though we aren’t able to meet and train and conduct interviews in person for now. Today, the community producers begin by sharing thoughts on life and living during the time of COVID.
First we welcome Tiffany Brown, also known as Tiffany NP. Tiffany is a nurse practitioner, a certified yoga teacher, and a spoken word artist. She’s a holistic healer, a community activist, and now a radio producer. Here’s her COVID commentary entitled, “Rebirth...now healing.”
A baby girl's first cry lets you know that she has arrived. But what of a grown woman's cry? I am Tiffany, daughter of Brenda, who is the daughter of Mary, and I was first born in 1976, but I was reborn in July 2020 during the coronavirus pandemic. I can only imagine what my firstborn cries expressed; feelings of surprise, discontent and wonderment, yearning to be bathed in my mother's embrace and nourishment.
But my reborn cries during this unprecedented time have expressed a wide range of feelings and emotions, sort of like colors in a rainbow. But imagine the only colors you see are shades of black; black fear due to systems of injustice and oppression that de-value black bodies in neighborhoods, boardrooms and hospital beds. Cries of breathlessness and restlessness in pursuit of peace and justice, yet blatantly disrespected. But there is also black joy and fearlessness, because while they go low--the powers that be continuing to fail at leadership and governance for the people by the people--I aim high, uplifted by the powers in me bestowed by my ancestors, empowered to take the lead in my life where leading means:
Loving myself first
Acting in my own authority, and
Delivering on my promises.
No longer doubting or delaying, but owning and proclaiming that black health and healing is mine to discover and design. So, from this rebirth going forth, I am welcoming and re-imagining new ideas, dreams, and visions, bathed in gratitude and thanksgiving for my grandmothers and their mothers who gave us all living. I am inspired to be more creative with these cries that I make, that they may ring melodies and rhythms of black healing and radical transformation, breathing in meditation, words of affirmation, dancing and drumming in celebration!
West Dayton Stories is produced by Jocelyn Robinson at the Eichelberger Center for Community Voices and is supported by CityWide Development Corporation.