Farewell, Fam: With Love and Gratitude

by Erica Woodland

I “officially” joined the BBP fam in August 2010, when I came on as a volunteer inspired by the transformative vision of building a world where masculinity can not only be beautiful but liberatory. It was inspiring to engage in critical dialogue and practice around the intersections of my masculinity, feminism, blackness, and queerness with others, instead of alone in my head. Before BBP, I often felt there was no place for me – my complexity, my desire to no longer be complicit in patriarchy while at the same time embracing my masculinity.

This all changed when I met the brown bois. Six years later, I am blessed with more chosen fam than I can imagine. As we all know, with family comes lots of love, connection, but also challenges. The healing I have received from this love will never be describable in words. It has literally changed the course of my life. But it has been the struggles that have helped me show up with integrity when it was easier not to, to transform in ways I did not know were possible, to hold myself and our community with tenderness in response to our pain.

When I came on as the Field Building Director in January 2012, I made a commitment to BBP to do what I came here to do – to fulfill my purpose within the organization. I have worked to support the growth and healing necessary for people of color (specifically young, queer and trans people of color) to transform ourselves, the way we treat each other and how we build community. It has been an honor to serve in this role and I am grateful to all of the movement leaders, brown bois, and in particular the BBP staff (Cole, Carla, Genesis and Zami) for having the audacity to believe that being accountable for our privilege as people of color is one of the most radical acts of love we can demonstrate.

Our organizations and our movement don’t do endings well. I believe this is because we have lost many of our traditions and rituals that mark transitions. When I came on staff in 2012, I was challenged to think about what I wanted my role in the organization to look like after this position: to consider how far I could take this work before creating space for a young person of color to take it to the next level. Initially it felt terrifying to think about this change, but since I have faced it, it has challenged me to consider what my rites of passage will be as I transition out of my role as Field Building Director. Our team has spent the past 18 months considering this, and I am excited to say that although I will no longer be on staff, I will always be a part of this family and hold each of you in my heart.

I look forward to all the new and transformative leadership that will emerge in the future of this work. The transition of a long time staff member, especially in a young organization, can be an exciting opportunity to do things differently: take this work to the next level and build upon the foundation of BBP.

My deepest gratitude to each of you who have touched me on this journey. I’d love to stay connected as I embark on my new adventures.

Much love,

Erica

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Erica Woodland is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and facilitator who is committed to broadening the impact and engagement of social justice movements. She works directly with social justice leaders to move through barriers and gain clarity in their work to increase awareness and alignment. Erica is also a healing practitioner who supports organizations and individuals in developing deep-rooted relationships and enriching the critical intersections of their work. Coupling her commitment to progress with her commitment to authentic self-care in movement spaces, she provides support to organizations with a desire to promote sustainability. With more than 13 years of experience, Erica has worked as case manager, therapist, life coach, facilitator, trainer, social worker, program director, researcher and clinical supervisor with youth, people of color and LGBTQ people from Baltimore, MD (her hometown) to Oakland, CA where she currently resides. She has done extensive work in prisons, jails, group homes, psychiatric facilities, schools, non-profit organizations, community-based clinics and with grassroots groups giving her a wide range of experience to draw from in her consulting practice. She is passionate about building and refining systems to support workers in the social justice movement by offering guidance through transitions and creating new projects & programs. Erica is the founder of the National Queer and Trans Therapists of Color Network, a space for queer, gender non-conforming and trans therapists of color to build, resource and support one another as clinicians and healers.                                                                                                                                 http://www.nqttcn.com

 

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