I believe I am a strong, resilient, kind-hearted black woman rising with humility with many talents, experiences and a journey that has built me to be humble. If you are like me, your story is a gift: a tale of the human condition, with an ability to survive and continue.
When I think about the journey our Southeast community is on and what we are moving toward, I see the same resilience, courage and strength in each of you — and I have hope; I have joy. Some won’t see us all peaking into a season of abundance, but we are here, living abundantly. Young ambitious leaders are sitting at the table deciding on millions of dollars to transform their neighborhoods; legacy leaders are moving mountains locally and nationally; community members are improving their parks and neighborhoods; in a food desert, neighbors are feeding their community with fresh and healthy food to nourish their families; and advocates are standing up for civil rights and change. Leaders are rising to say, “We are here,” and I am personally inspired.
My goal: Assume the best; challenge the process; create a shared vision. Trust. Respect. Integrity. Enable others to act.
I had the absolute privilege of spending a few amazing years serving at El Pomar Foundation, a general-purpose foundation that contributes more than $25 million annually through grants to nonprofit organizations and government equivalents across Colorado. The leadership models the organization upholds, strives for and teaches have changed me in profound ways. They are a part of helping create the leader and woman I am today. For me, leadership is a gift and takes many forms. And it’s so much more than a title. I see leaders who are in “hiding” without seeking glory, credit or having to be right. They sit, listen and find ways to harness their gifts into a team effort.
For me, that has always been my sweet spot. What I hear from our community has evoked such inspiration that I am — for the first time in a long time — excited for our community. The last year has been challenging for us all, and yet, we stand. And we’re standing with a little more joy. So, if you are like me, we celebrate the small victories. For me, elevating these voices is also a daily test in advocacy. If you have never had to fight for your voice or to be seen, you easily forget that living in the shadow is a hard place to be. You also may unknowingly continue to silence the voices that don’t get the table invite, executive leadership role or simply the chance to share their ideas. Still, here we are, standing, with a little more joy.
The Southeast Express is one of the newspapers under the umbrella of the Colorado Publishing House, also home to the Colorado Springs Business Journal, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Springs Military Newspaper Group, the Pikes Peak Bulletin and the Transcript. The Express is a nonprofit community paper, and if you are outside of the 80910 and 80916 area, where we deliver free of charge, you can subscribe and get the SE Express delivered to your home or business.
Boxes fade as I enter my own self beauty.
Oh, she is a divine and feminine as a Queen.
Decolonizing the image that we are separate from one another.
I see me regardless of the image you perceive.
I am me all day long and fiercely loved by self.
Joy comes in the morning but not always as some nights soaked and dwelled too long in the pain.
But another morning has come so the pain is a gift of weakness gaining the courage to live again.
And so, I live and give thanks each day I rise.
And so, I smile of joy. And on top of that… Black everlasting joy.
The grit to be Black in the undignified box some think they own but they are only perceived ideas. Ideas Incepted from fear of nonexistent inferiority and deep grown ignorance.
Black joy is an honor.
Black joy is a crown on this Queen as it grips through mud to awaken the lotus to move over.
I am joy flourishing to be the light hoping it will be duplicated in a world without joy.
Human joy. I am light. I am love. I am me in all my forms understood or not.
I am becoming joy… pure Black joy.
Patrice Ravenscroft is the associate publisher of the Southeast Express.