Episode #12 of the Diving for Pearls podcast has officially launched!!! In this episode, I sit down with New York University Abu Dhabi student, Tatyana Brown, to discuss how operating from a philosophy of abundance and embracing a love ethic could bring about much-needed change in our relationships and in our communities. A social research & public policy major and a recent recipient of the Harry S. Truman scholarship (a scholarship awarded to undergraduates based on their records of leadership, public service, and academic achievement), Tatyana has focused her research on systemic injustices faced by Black women and gender-marginalized people. Heavily influenced by some of the guiding ideologies of Black Feminists such as bell hooks, June Jordan and Alice Walker, Tatyana firmly believes that when concern for the collective good is rooted in love and when we extend ourselves for the purpose of nurturing others, we are learning how to live in solidarity and begin the process of healing ourselves, our relationships and our communities.
Raised in San Antonio, Texas in a household where “extended family” included everyone from the “cafeteria women” to the older women at church to her grandparents and great grandparents, Tatyana was tuned into the importance of a supportive, loving community at an early age. Not only did these “elders” assist in the passing on of cultural teachings and traditions, but encouraged a sense of belonging and were a key source of emotional and moral support for Tatyana during her formative years. Tatyana credits all the women who appreciated and nurtured her with showing her how loving communities could serve as tool for social transformation. She posits that when we learn to operate as brothers and sisters by working with each other, showing care, love, respect for ourselves and others then it is possible to experience the joy of community.
It was this quest to explore the true meaning of community that led Tatyana to developing AZIZA (which means “beloved” in Arabic), a student led organization in Abu Dhabi that focuses on self-care and healing as change agents.Understanding the critical need to focus on self-care to be of service to others, Tatyana co-founded AZIZA in 2019 with fellow NYU undergrad, Waad Abrahim, with the intention of creating safe spaces for Black women and gender marginalized individuals to share their collective experiences. As she embarks on her senior year at NYU AD, Tatyana remains deeply committed to bringing people into meaningful conversations about creating greater equity, inclusion and social justice and plans to continue collecting ideas and stories on how communities can foster relationships from a place of love.
References and Websites:
Tatyana’s NYU Abu Dhabi Story- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xd8DtTCERGI
James Bonham Academy (San Antonio, Texas)- https://schools.saisd.net/page/107.homepage
All About Love: New Visions by bell hooks
Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement by Angela Davis
Finna by Nate Marshall