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21 comments on “My Summer of Truth— An Open Letter

  1. kerry doyle says:

    Sashoy, there is so much power here, generated by and through the lines, through the sound-scapes, the lines and spaces between, the increasingly insistence of the “I”. it is such an honour to read your story, to be gifted this insight into your lived experience, to be given the opportunity to hear your voice and learn from you. thank you so much.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Emily says:

    This piece was great and I really like the way you depicted liminal spaces. Why did you decide to write this piece in the form of a letter?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Stephanie Bell says:

    An open letter is precisely the right genre for this powerful address. Good choice. I can’t help but wonder to what extent your experiences at York and in the writing department contributed to your feelings of shame. What would your open letter to professors, administrators, policy makers of higher education be? Thank you for your vulnerability in this piece. It’s a real gift, as Kerry notes.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Kate Kaul says:

    Sashoy, thank you for sharing this story. Your writing is beautiful; I love the way the pace and pressure builds toward the powerful final line. Part of White privilege is choosing whether we want to listen or not listen to other people. I was moved by “Being Black means not having the choice to walk away. to put down racism and say ‘not for me today'”. I hope White people at York are starting to make other choices, choosing to listen, choosing to inform ourselves about the impact of our behaviour, our actions, our refusals. Your open letter format calls us in and calls us out, but still reminds me that not everything is for me — that your story is for you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Blu says:

    It’s quite gripping how you have unfolded and narrated your story here in the form of a letter — it’s almost like you are confronting yourself and a larger audience. I can feel your vulnerability and your cries to be heard and supported and how proud you are of who you are 🙌 Amazing piece

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Anisa Ali says:

    Sashoy, Sashoy, you’ve blown me away with your honesty. As a Black Woman myself, it was a little difficult reading your piece because memories of me effacing my blackness to fit in came to the fore of my mind. It’s hard being black, but it’s even harder embracing it when “; so much White surrounds me”.
    Thank you for being brave enough to write this. You’re amazing and I’m honoured to have worked alongside you!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. John Spencer says:

    A very moving, insightful story; thoughtfully written and absorbingly spoken. I enjoyed it very much; thanks Sashoy.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Ernesto says:

    Sashoy, thank you for your letter very touch and profound. I love the tone of your presentation and the transition from point A to point B. But my question is to whom should we send this letter. Or i know to all members of society or to
    all individuals who share the oxygen that we breathy.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wilsonsash says:

      This letter is for me, my friends and others who have found or will find themselves in similar situations or will share similar feelings when it comes to reclaiming one’s identity.

      Like

  9. Marlene Bernholtz says:

    Absolutely stunningly moving and beautiful in every way – the thoughts, the words, the visuals, the movement. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Maria Joaquim Mitange says:

    That is true not all white people are bad. Sorry to hear about your past Sashoy, But in the Bible it says who you are, in the book of 1Peter2:9 But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light; 10 who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.

    This is how God made you, no matter what you pass through just remember where God brought you, I can say, Sashoy, that you are a very strong woman to come forth and open yourself. May God bless you and continue to give you strength.

    The Bible say’s in the bool of 1 John 4:4 You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. 5 They are of the world. Therefore they speak as of the world, and the world hears them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Darren Mc Almont says:

    Thank you much for open so open, Sashoy.

    I, too, as a young, Black man, who loves writing and the arts have felt ashamed of being Black. I didn’t fit the stereotype, so I didn’t even fit “in” with my community. I spoke too “proper English” to be Black.

    Ironically, it wasn’t until moving to Canada and simultaneously becoming a minority that I started embracing my Black identity.

    Thanks again for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. gcrone14 says:

    Sash,

    I am amazed by the power of your writing, the power of your words, the power of your reconciliation. You are commendable for writing your truth. You are commendable for being open to being vulnerable, so full of emotion and movement. And you are commendable for being you: the best you, the brave you, the awesome you!! 🙂

    I loved the form, too! I’m glad the suggestion I gave became such a stunning piece!! It was a pleasure working with you on the same panel!! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. wilsonsash says:

      Yes! Having you, Miske and Hannah as panel members pushed me to present my brave and vulnerable self in my writing. Thank you for your suggestion! It allowed me to view my piece in a new light.

      Like

  13. Sashoy, this was absolutely amazing to read and hear, and this piece carries so much power with it. Thank you for sharing your experiences, and I hope that everyone who reads this can reflect on the words that you say, and take this knowledge everywhere they go ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Hannah says:

    Sash! Thank you for sharing your story! You speak about your experiences with such power! I hope the ones who inspired it take away what all of us reading have! Great working with you!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Miske Ahmed says:

    Sash your words are so powerful. This piece was raw, honest, and a teachable moment for some people. You are a light and a pleasure to work alongside with. I am so proud of you.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. hanniemarg says:

    The way you designed your writing to look like a letter was an excellent choice, as it brings your writing to “life.” I imagined as though this was a letter that I had received from you in my mailbox and I could hear your voice as I read along. I also liked how the liminal space was you finally seeing yourself and that now you have reached a point of no return. A point where there is no going back and only forward on your journey. Furthermore, I liked how you expressed that you do not have to be by yourself in the liminal space. It certainly seemed that you started on your own when you first “saw” yourself, but you have now joined a community in the liminal space. I think that it is a good reminder that we do not have to be in liminal spaces alone and that we can be on a transformative journey with others.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. vricketts says:

    Sash, this piece was absolutely beautiful. It is just so raw and poignant. I think the George Floyd protests brought race relations to the forefront in ways I’d never seen before and with all of the division caused by the elections in the States, you really got to see the depths of both institutional and internalized racism, both publicly and personally. It really is disheartening to find that people can “forget” your Blackness in times when it’s most visible and needs to be seen. These things are not easy to share or talk about, but I’m so glad that through this you were able to find your voice because it is more powerful than you know. I just finished a poetry class this year and some of my favourite books were those exploring anti-Black racism across history, accountability, reclaiming power in white spaces, and turning the camera lens inward, examining yourself and where you fit in: Bellocq’s Ophelia by Natasha Trethewey, Voyage of the Sable Venus by Robin Coste Lewis (I didn’t get to finish that one, but it looks at the treatment of Black bodies through visual art), and Citizen by Claudia Rankine, which is a collection of prose poems and short essays. When reading your piece, I thought of one of the lines from Citizen where she says: “I feel most coloured when I am thrown against a sharp white background.” And it’s a very daunting place to be. I feel it’s stories like these where you confront yourself so head-on that you find so many things you didn’t realize was there: pain, trauma, uncertainty, discomfort, dissonance. But there is also strength, resilience, compassion, connection, truth, understanding, and in spite of everything, hope. I hear you, I see you, I feel you, and I thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Sashoy, this made me emotional. No one should ever feel less than or try to cover up their identity. Being Black doesn’t mean you have to conform to European standards that are toxic and suffocating. I’ll never be able to fully understand because I’m white myself, but I feel your suffering and I stand with you girl. All the best.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. lorinebw says:

    This piece was so moving and inspiring. The letter format made me pay even more attention to each word on the page. I could hear, feel and follow you and your journey through your writing. Thank you so much for sharing your story and addressing such important issues.

    Like

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