“By thinking of our work as a fixed entity, we guarantee that it must grow stale because we are ever-changing beings. By changing our thinking to consider work a fluid medium for our being to exist in, we open new possibilities.” – Allen, Art as a Way of Knowing, p. 68
“I give up being overly committed to any one version of myself” – Chani Nicholas
During my junior year of undergraduate studies, Dr. Penn (the Dean of the College of Integrative Arts – where students can curate their own major program of studies) sat back in his chair, put his feet up on the desk looked over his retro tortoise shell glasses, and said: “Jade… you can’t do everything. So, let’s at least narrow it down to three paths”. From that point, I threw myself into studying communication arts, theater, and creative writing. (And yes, many people would come to ask, “So what do you DO what that sort of degree?!”)
Years later, I would receive a Master’s in Higher Education and begin my work in colleges & universities. I threw myself wholeheartedly into the work of student advocacy. However, I’d quickly realize that it was only one of the mediums by which I wanted to serve the world. So, I began exploring the ways in which I could fuse my love for scholarly pursuits & education with my natural (and studied) proclivities in the creative arts. Surely, there had to be a way to combine my thoughts on gender & sexuality with intuitive spiritual practices… and surely, there was a way to dive into the intersections of POC centered spirituality, the complications of Western Christianity, along with storytelling as an assistive practice of healing. So, I began thinking of my work (to “empower people to thrive & to creatively challenge secular and sacred systems toward greater levels of inclusion”) as a work ever-growing, finding itself in various mediums so that it could expand.
Today, this looks like:
- Collaborating with artists of mixed mediums to put on programs, workshops, and experiential learning sessions on ritual creation, race & gender, style as resistance, intuitive POC centered spirituality exploration, disability & access for queer people of color
- Collaborating with universities & colleges to provide keynote speeches & training on diversity & cultural humility, advocacy for marginalized students, & career discernment processes for students of color
- Co-founding the faith & spirituality based nonprofit organization called The Mystic Soul Project along with Executive Director Teresa Pasquale Mateus & Board Chair Ra Mendoza. This organization seeks “to create spaces that center the voices, teaching, practices, and wisdom of People of Color at the intersections of mysticism and activism. Our mission is to foster engagement in a People of Color – Centered approach to action & contemplation, grounded in healing”. We hosted our inaugural conference in January 2018!
- Writing for platforms such as ForHarriet.com, The Feminist Wire, the National Association of Colleges & Employers
- Editing the Mystic Soul Blog Project (ongoing)
- Contributing notes to Candice Benbow’s viral teaching / learning resource The Lemonade Syllabus
- Curating the Healing in Our Times Project List which focuses on resources for the mind, body, and soul of people of color (ongoing project)
- Providing (by recommendation only) intuitive tarot & ritual creation services
- Performing as a Featured Reader & Storyteller at venues such as The Whine Club, Ace of Cups, & more
- Obtaining features in CurlyNikki.com, Sick Woman Theory’s bibliography list, Dope Black Girl Spotlight, The Come Up, Millenial Womanism Project, & Ramp Your Voice’s Black Disabled Woman Syllabus
If you want to collaborate on a project, book me for a keynote, curate a roster for featured readers, interview me on podcasts that have to do with any of the aforementioned subjects, inquire about training your staff members (and a myriad of other requests), let’s chat here! I look forward to learning more about you and (if possible), working with you.
Feature Photo Credit: Ally Almore