"…a collective has to be more than an ideal, and more than communal craft; it has to be a truly social enterprise."
-Nigerian art curator and educator, Okwui Enwezor
As with most things in my life, it all begins with a story…
Dope Black Woman (DBW): “You’re a spacemaker.”
DBW: “A spacemaker. Someone who makes space for other people to shine.”
DBW: “You recognize people’s talents and see ways to utilize them to help build community, help fight for freedom.”
Me: So…basically…I’m kind of like…Lebron!?
Me & DBW:
Until this conversation, I had never thought of myself in this way before. A spacemaker? What does that even mean? How is that a thing? But a Dope Black Woman, of which everyone needs at least one in their life, was able to explain this to me.
I started UBUNTU Research and Evaluation because I felt that my work needed a home. Gone were the days of me looking for job on listservs and websites. What I needed was a place where I could focus on building community without sacrificing my livelihood or cultural worldview. Once I handled the business logistics, I immediately turned to my peers, my sisters, to see if they wanted to join me in this endeavor. Although I’m a leader, I cannot operate in isolation. I seek teams. I love collaboration. I believe that cooperative economics and political movement is a critical imperative for creating a more equitable society. To build UBUNTU meant to make this space a Black Collective.
UBUNTU is a research and evaluation based consulting firm run by Black women using liberation and beloved community frameworks through education, policy, and advocacy. It is a space where I can work as a team to dream, challenge, and build on our shared values. The I and the WE are fluid in UBUNTU. Where one of us thrives, we all thrive. Where one of us struggles, we all practice critical reflection and radical empathy. The space is wrapped in joy and gratitude. The space is protected through a righteous dignity and consciousness of the ancestors on whose shoulders we stand and whose footsteps we follow. UBUNTU is because we all are.
To be transparent, I have built spaces before. Some of them failed, some of them are no longer in existence but continue to send vibrations through the community, and yet others thrive where I no longer fit. What has remained constant is the desire to make space with others. I look forward to sharing with you in upcoming posts about my reflections on space creation, maintenance, and sustainability. I am eager to share with the world about all of the great work our team is doing and will continue to do in the future. I want you all to know what it feels like to be encouraged to throw glitter with reckless abandon from Nikotris and to be reminded of your power, influence and worth by Cami. UBUNTU will offer all of this plus so much more to the world. I hope you stay connected with our collective, our social enterprise!
Peace after RevolUTION,