Come and Celebrate with me: Self Care & Love in Continued Terror of Black Live in America #sayhername

I am settling into my home, NYC, after 2 weeks away in Andover, Mass. I was a selected participant in the Andover Bread Loaf writing workshop for educators. I must confess I attended with selfish intentions. This experience was embraced for Tiffany, the person not teacher Tiff. I was hyper aware of my need to challenge my self damaging notions of my inability to write. I needed a space in which I would approach my writing with a new attitude. I needed to be affirmed. And I was.

I am a re-born poet! And newly born writer!

The 2 weeks gifted many lessons, that I intend on writing installments on this blog. *lets manifest this yall*

While away news of the passing our sister Sandra Bland hit my newsfeed. Rage, sorrow, confusion, hit my heart & soul. Questions still remain unanswered.

In these times when we can easily be buried from the weight of the heartbreaks, the wakes, the shakes in the foundation of humanity, I chose to find the space to celebrate. To remind myself that this work is worth it because life, HUMANITY, is beautiful. Through celebration; laughing, loving, dancing; humanity shines through the terror and I am recharged to do the work.

It is also when I turn to my ancestors and elders for guidance. Our ancestors have left us their wisdom in song, dance, art and writing. These artifacts have become my spiritual doctrine, their life is a testimony of the magic, beauty of the universe, of the divine nature of brown people.

Our mother ancestor Lucille Clifton spoke to me during my 2 weeks away in her poem, Won’t Celebrate with Me.

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

—Lucille Clifton
I celebrate because I AM HERE, YOU ARE HERE, WE ARE HERE! Our loving, our laughing, our healing is our mojo. It is the life force that Mother Lucille knew was our pot gold. We are the unwanted but the most needed. Everyday something has tried to kill us and has failed. We are unstoppable. Remember to say our ancestors name, celebrate them. Sandra, my sister, I say your name because they took you from us, from those who loved into the powerful woman you are. They tried to kill your legacy and failed.
Sending my love to you all.
Take care of yourself.
I close this post with Mother Lucille reading her word magic.

AFFIRMATIONS: Honoring Self & Community Care for & with Educators of Color

WEB_AFFIRMATIONS_FLYER_FRONT

I am proud to have illustrated and designed the flyer for:

Affirmations: Honoring Self & Community Care for and with Educators of Color! 

Did I also mention I am PERFORMING! 

I invite you to affirm your greatness, your purpose, your beauty, your healing. Affirm YOU!

Growing into 2015, I affirmed to re-emerge as Artist.

This year I have been working on projects outside of my classroom walls.

Event details are below, share, invite and hope to see you there! 

As educators of color we are often expected to take the lead–or asked to remained silent–on difficult conversations about race, and other aspects of our identities. At our respective institutions this role can often be both a necessary responsibility as well as a burden. Particularly in an age of contentious debate and protest over the heighten visibility of the police state and its affects on black lives and ongoing marches and protests calling for racial justice, the need to re-center race, self and community care and healing are crucial and imperative.

AFFIRMATIONS emerged out of NYCoRE’s Inquiry to Action Group (ItAG) #BeyondtheMarches: Living, Teaching and Organizing through the Intersections, and our collective desire to support #blacklivesmatter movement building. Through performances, sharing heart stories, songs, dances and herbal teas AFFIRMATIONS intention is to honor, explore, lift up and affirm self and community care by and for educators of color. The hope is that we all can build a pedagogical practice that is courageous and also sustainable.

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EVENTBRITE TICKETS: http://bit.ly/1dmNJB9
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Performance Nights
Saturday, May 30th, 6-8pm. Followed by fellowship hour 8pm. *For people/educators of color only*

Sunday, May 31st, 6-8pm. Followed by fellowship hour: 8pm. *For people/educators of color only*

Sunday, June 7th, 6-8pm. Followed by fellowship hour: 8pm. *For people/educators of color and white allies*

All donations and proceeds from the door will go to healers and organizers in the #blacklivesmatter movement building.

Because of the donation ticket structure for this show, multiple tickets must be purchased in separate transactions. We’re sorry for any inconvenience this might cause; it’s a limitation of this website. No one will be turned away for lack of funds.

Guest author: The Familiar Tale of Race, Power, Privilege and black life in America

Here is an entry I did post a PD/workshop I co-lead in relation to art education NOW & #blacklivesmatter.

ENJOY

Art Education at City College of New York

IMG_8122Author Tiffany Jones reflects on the recent Teaching Art Today: #BlackLivesMatter Teach in held at the New Museum on March 19, 2015.

Teaching art today is an opportunity to discuss life and all its complexities, while providing an outlet and the skills for students to communicate a message. Art provides students with a pathway to healing, empowerment and advocacy. Art makes their thoughts visual thereby making the artist visible, hard to ignore. Therefore as art educators I invite us to be agents of change, who explore hard issues like race in our space of learning.

So where to start?
Breathe! Self-care is imperative. Be mindful of yourself and your limits. Acknowledge
that race is a social construct that produces, informs and sustains a long list of social
injustices like police brutality. Race is a Goliath and it’s not only your task to address it.

It’s a social issue. So…

View original post 409 more words

Dear Raphael Sadonte Ward,

TLCbyTLJ_RAPHAELSADONTEWARD

Raphael,

I miss you. I thank you. I honor you.

Our short but meaningful time together as teacher & student (sometimes you being the teacher and me the student) has become my catalyst for continuing teaching, learning, growing and loving my life work of being an educator.

Thank you for the countless memories

Thank you for caring for me

Thank you for pushing me to be my best

Thank you for reminding not to take myself so serious

Thank you for the laughter

Thank you for building community

Thank you for sharing your family with me

Thank you for loving me, I know you did cause I heard you say it 🙂

Thank you for being my angel.

Love,

TI-FA-NAY! aka Teacher Tiff

The Year of Transformation & Revelation: Thank you 2014!

In 2014 …………………..

I became a College Adjunct Professor

I was asked to cover my former professors Graduate Course…..Yes I became Professor Tiff Tiff. It was rewarding to be around fellow growing teachers and share my experiences. Overall it taught me how to be a better listener and facilitator. The teachers in the program are amazing. I thank each of them for being apart of my journey.

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I learned the value of happiness, peace of mind and self care

This year I was presented with experiences that literally showed me the consequence of devaluing ones joy, self worth and peace. The acceptance of unhappiness as a constant state of being literally poisons the soul.  I learned the importance of taking care of my body and soul. I learned that happiness is a lasting condition even in times of total chaos and darkness. My peace of mind is more valuable than being right. Those who don’t know now will find out later and I don’t have to be around when it happens. I refuse to be in environment in which my worth is not acknowledged, valued and celebrated. Keep your toxic outlook where?!!! Back there!

I took control of my career

I proclaimed and acknowledged my value as an educator. 2014 taught me the importance of being a member of a community that is built on values that I believe in: respect, collaboration, trust, kindness, forgiveness, creativity, individuality, joy, growth,progression,honesty, social justice and healing. This past year was challenging professionally, I mean CHALLENGING! However revealed and empowered the courage to make a major life decision for change.

I am telling you TRUST YOURSELF and KEEP ON MOVING when you are in a place that does not feed your peace nor passion.

The universe confirmed my life journey by revealing a number of opportunities, yes institutions recruited me! What boost to my confidence. So confirming!

I am proud to say that taking control over my career blessed me with a position at a dream school.

I am an art teacher at CITY-AS-SCHOOL!

Teacher Tiff is back!

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I was a bridesmaid!

The wedding of my dear friends Tanya and David is hands down the most beautiful moment of my life! It was a honor to stand with them as they proclaimed their love. It is certainly my happy place of 2014!

Words can not express the amount of joy! I am so inspired by their bravery, commitment and trust for each other.

And dang it we were the best bridal party of 2014!

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My Idol became my Fan! 

Music is my healer. I often play Me’shell Ndegeocello’s albums to get me through my highs & lows. I admire the energy and thoughtfulness of her music. I am a fan since 13!

So you could imagine the FREAKOUT I experienced when we formed a Instagram friendship. I am so honored to be considered an artist in her eyes!

Me’shell knows who I am in this world…WOW!

Love, Mama is back! 

Yes, my sister and I are working on more dolls and goodies. We are so excited about where this will go! More about the re-launch here:

https://tlcbytlj.com/2014/12/27/tlj-of-tlj-the-unearthing-of-the-artist-formerly-known-as-me/

I witnessed the people I love FLOURISH! 

I am so proud of my family both chosen and blessed to me. I have witnessed their bravery and courage to live their best lives! They have quit jobs, started new careers, fallen in love, traveled, taught, learned, and taking risks!

*I plan on doing highlights on these people in 2015*

Overall 2014 you were the bomb. 2015 lets do this! 

Here comes the SUN!

Hello my loves,

The times we are leaving in can quite frankly inspire feelings of bleakness and defeat. The lives of young black men are devalued. The education of our youth is up for auction. Our debt, bills, heart aches….whoooa chile there is alot 

But I ask you this why do you continue? What causes you to wake and keep trying? 

Perhaps its the ones we love, our purpose or that one day that made you remember that life is a journey, that life is flexible and we are in power.

I continue because of the kids that smile and speak to me on the train. For that little girl that asked me if I was afraid of bugs when we saw an ant on the A train. I continue for the elder in the park that plays chess. I continue for the students that love me back, loving is such a powerful gift. I continue for the many bright days. For the unknown love and lessons coming my way. 

So today I gift you with a song that reminds that the sun is around the corner. 

Live in your light!

TLJ’s Reading List: A Bridge Called My Back

Hello Beautiful People!

Happy Monday! Hope this message finds you at peace and hungry for learning more on TLJ(The Life Journey) because I have a treat for you: A book!

Reading is an essential part of my self-care. Reading stimulates my imagination, provides a space in which I am alone in my thoughts, introduces new ways of understanding and the list can go on for the benefits of reading!

As a teacher I often find that reading any kind of subject matter stimulates my planning and approach to the upcoming school year. It provides me with more insight to share with students and colleagues. Give more to TLC with!

I first heard of the book I am sharing with you today during my graduate studies at NYU. My professor Dipti Desai (LOVE HER!), Director of the Graduate Art Education, program mentioned the book during our Art, Identity and Social Justice themed course. While I can not remember the specifics of the discussion I do recall the class was passionately speaking about the perceived responsibility of the oppressed to teach those belonging to the dominant culture about the historical implications of racism, sexism and classism. She commented that many times the oppressed become the bridge to the dominants culture awakening. The book she mentioned is A Bridge Called My Back edited by Cherríe Moraga and Gloria E. Anzaldúa.  tumblr_mlouv5jTnY1rpayo9o1_500

For years I searched for the book, which was out of print for many years, so you could imagine my surprise when I found a PDF version of the book( special thanks to the Tumblr goddess that posted the link). BOOK LINK: http://bit.ly/1fb8bmX

The wait was worth it! I am so thankful for my Mother elders foresight of creating this collection for their future unknown children. We need this!  This daughter is so grateful and honored.

There are so many Ah! Ha! moments I am experiencing reading this book. In effort to limit my influence on your Ah! Ha! moments I will refrain from posting quotes and pages that resonated for me. I want you to experience your most authentic Ah! Ha! moments.

However I will leave you with this question from the book:

How can we -this time-not use our bodies to be thrown over a river of tormented history to bridge the gap?

 

 

Happy Reading! and please share your insights!

BOOK LINK: http://bit.ly/1fb8bmX

 

 

 

 

 

The Life Journey of TLJ: Living the Best Life

This was a post on my TLC by TLJ facebook page. I am posting here for those who want easier finding. 

I ask myself daily if I am living my best life. It serves as means of checking in with my spirit. There were times in which my answer was NO! I was unhappy,unhealthy, unproductive and not living in my light.
What did I do?

I sat quietly with myself. I allowed myself the space to be silent in order to hear myself think. Thats when I was able to find my purpose.

I identified what did serve my purpose. I pursued those things, I made the time and invited the necessary unknown that would support me in living my best life. I spoke what I needed into existence. Positive talk always!

I identified what didn’t serve my purpose. I removed those things and if removing was not immediately possible I changed I how I reacted to it.

This inner chat helped:
“This experience,person,place or condition does not define me. I define it. I proclaim its function and impact on my life.”

Most of all I have been patient. I have been welcoming. I have been fearless. I have been reflective. I have been investing.

I claim my best life because I deserve it.
And so do you!

So cheers to you living your best life!

Love,
TLJ

With a heavy heart

It has been a longtime since I have been on tumblr. Since I have experienced such amazing growth and strength. However last Friday night I lost someone special. Someone I called my child. 

Raphael was a sweet and golden child. He was shot and killed last week. Tomorrow marks a week of the last time I saw him, hugged him and heard him say “I love you”. My heart is broken yet open. It is humbling to know I impacted his life. 

In my mourning and healing I completed my post on my other blog.  Enjoy. Please hug and say I love you to those that you care about. 

With a heavy heart

Treat Yo Self!

I am now 29 years young. Time is flying and I am growing into the adult I always hoped to be with some surprises. Of course when I was younger I imagined that by this age I would have a house, a marriage and perhaps some little ones calling me Mommy,Mama or Pretty (I also imagined I would have some cool little ones that would create their own name for me i.e. Pretty or Sunshine) But with my grand plan I never saw so many of the blessings I have now.

I am an Alum of NYU. An Art Educator who teaches teens. Teens who love me (I know this to be true because they never leave my sight without saying I love you Tiffany). I love them  like my own and they give me unimaginable hope. I am a Brooklyn resident in a forever changing landscape. I am an Artist. I am a proud big sister. And a daughter my parents brag about:”I never took a pill for my kids”. I am a giver of love and a receiver of many of the universe blessings. 

So as I live the last months of my 20’s I am excited for my future. Now don’t get me wrong I often have outburst. Moments of stressful sometimes tearful impatience. But I know I am blessed. And I am ready. 

Looking forward to debuting my new work for Love,Mama. Stay tuned and living in love & light. 

Remember TREAT YO SELF!!!!!!!