I never wanted to be an activist. I always saw activism as a practice for people who thrived in the spotlight, who seemed to be born to dismantle systems of oppression. You had to be so unapologetic in your opinions, in your presentation, in your identity. You had to be free from inhibition and free from the socially constructed ideas of “worth” that you felt bound by. The activists I grew up idolizing seemed to all have an ethereal glow to them — they radiated passion, dignity, truth, and justice. So when people started calling me an activist, I didn’t know how to react. Suddenly my rants of self-awareness, of social ills, of feminism and intersectionality and institutionalized racism were resonating. I started to have followers. So, I started a blog. I became an outspoken social media persona on the patriarchy, on anti-LGBTQ jerks, on white supremacy, on Black Lives Matter, on poverty, and social injustice. I was shocked that people started asking me to share my thoughts, in public — my perceptions of the movement, on how to move forward, on how to be better people. I remember calling my mom squealing when I found out one of my workshops sold out in less than three days. Why was I — this awkward Black girl with too many opinions and a history in corporate America — asked to speak? I didn’t get it. I’m not sure when it happened, but I had pushed through what was blocking me from embracing myself as a happy, carefree, passionate, empathetic Black girl. Somewhere along the way, I saw a way to speak about how my people are drowning but they’re being told that they need to save themselves.
At the end of the day, I could be the next Sandra Bland. Mya Hall. Alton Sterling. Miriam Carey. Charles Kinsey. Vivian Strong.
It’s so powerful to see transgender women, non-binary people, disabled people, and queer people who are carefree in their self-love, and are coming together to make social change happen.
Morgann Freeman is an intersectional feminist and pro-Black activist who writes, blogs, speaks, and posts about Blackness, feminism, and intersectionality; LGBTQIA+ issues, ableism, and other social ills that oppress people. She’s an Omaha native, studying at the University of Nebraska at Omaha, while running her inclusive communications consultant firm. Her blog, Melanin & Honey, focuses on Black women and non-men’s experiences in Omaha.