Lexus Walker, the Tzedek Mission Advancement Fellow at the YWCA of Asheville, is native to Asheville. In her bog post, Where Are All the Black People? she shares her experience connecting with Asheville’s black community.
One question native Ashevillians often hear from both tourists and transplants alike is “where are all the Black people?” “There are no black people in Asheville,” is a lie I’ve heard – and a lie I’ve told.
This language of erasure used to talk about Black Asheville is dangerous and damaging.
Internalized oppression happens when folks with marginalized identities begin to believe the negative messages they hear about their marginalized identity. In my case, internalizing the message that there are no Black people in Asheville kept me from seeking connection with other Black Ashevillians.
During my orientation with Tzedek, I was reconnected to Black Asheville. In meeting other Black fellows who were new to Asheville, I became aware of the importance of seeking connection with the Black community here. Through a connection with the Center for Participatory Change, I learned about Black Love Day, a monthly gathering at the Edington Center and a healing space for Asheville’s Black community. My fellowship placement with the YWCA has also taught me about the long history the YWCA of Asheville has in serving our Black community and I see every day the ways in which the YW has built and continues to build community.
I am reassured that in fact there are Black people in Asheville. We are here and we are seen.
To read Lexus’ full article visit the YWCA of Asheville’s blog at ywcaofasheville.wordpress.com.