By Brianna Rae
“Brown girl seeks solidarity in a digital world,” reads the first post on Brown Girl Lifted, a new blog that seeks to be “a celebration of the layered movement that is intersectional feminism — the delicious cake of solidarity that feeds us all.”
The blog’s founder, Aarushi Agni, is a recent UW-Madison graduate, musician, stand-up comedian, and freelance writer who participates in annual productions for Yoni Ki Baat (YKB, also known as the Women of Color Vagina Monologues). Agni, her friends and fellow performers, craved a space similar to the one they had created for themselves in YKB. Brown Girl Lifted was the natural off-shoot to the synergy, bonding, and sense of community they had built.
“[YKB] really became a connecting experience for everyone. We as performers wished that we had something like this that sustained us throughout the year, and we got a lot of messages from people who told us they wished they could attend something like this every week and that they wanted more of it,” Agni said.
Launched in September 2015, the blog is garnering increasing readership and submissions, and has hits from several different countries around the world. Composed of diverse artistic mediums such as narrative, poetry, comics, paintings, drawings, and any other multimedia piece that can be conveyed online, the site acts as a unique holding space for various and overlapping expressions of identity.
In an increasingly digital world, sites like Brown Girl Lifted matter, especially in terms of creating community for people of color. “We as a group of women with diverse but similar experiences have something to say, and there aren’t a lot of spaces for people of color in Madison to come together,” said Agni.
“I want to believe in the digital world we live in… I want to use my efforts, talents and social networks to amplify voices that don’t get enough air-time… to write about and unpack issues of identity, power, privilege, and oppression,” Agni wrote for her first post on the site.
She also realizes that the title, Brown Girl Lifted, may feel exclusive to some who may not identify as brown. But, she said, “I prefer to think of ‘brownness’ as an inclusive term, encapsulating various shades of non-white identity.”
Life at the intersection of gender, race, class, religion, sexuality, etc., is personal and political, Agni asserts. “For people of color, it’s not a foreign concept that your life is constantly politicized,” she said, and because of that, it’s important to have safe, healing and affirming spaces to process and unpack experiences.
Brown Girl Lifted will accept submissions at firstname.lastname@example.org.