Reflections on Community Circle

“Revolutionary Mothers: Unbought, Unbossed and Uncut!”

You simply had to be there.

Facilitator and Blog Author Courtney Napier

Facilitator and Blog Author Courtney Napier

Last weekend’s Community Circle was a celebration of the great mothers and mother figures of our community. In our esteemed panel, we had Raleigh Councilperson-At-Large Nicole Stewart, Executive Director (and “professional Rock Thrower) of the Carolina Justice Policy Center, Attorney Dawn Blagrove, Wake County School Board Member Heather Scott, and founder of Not Another Statistic Inc., community organizer Chalisa Williams. 

The title of our event comes from the anthology “Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines” edited by Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Ma’ia Williams. 

The atmosphere was fun, impassioned, and real. We ate and drank delicious, locally produced treats hand selected by the incredible Shonna Greenwell of Rebus Works.

Then it was time to get down to the business at hand: spurring each other on to action for the betterment of Raleigh. In speaking to the free and easy atmosphere of the event, the introductions were part late night conversation, part TedTalk; each woman sharing life changing pieces of wisdom and moving anecdotes of how they every manner of obstacle to get to where they are today.

L to R - Chalisa Williams, Councilor Stewart, Attorney Blagrove, Board Member Scott, Courtney.

L to R - Chalisa Williams, Councilor Stewart, Attorney Blagrove, Board Member Scott, Courtney.

Williams told us about breaking the negative statistics that plagued her family with the encouragement of her sister and the support of her aunt who helped her get into St. Augustine College.

Attorney Blagrove shared how her upbringing by her revolutionary mother and father planted the seed of a desire to speak up boldly for the voiceless and vulnerable, but the how came through a desire to take care of herself and her family well, thus becoming a lawyer.

Board Member Scott talked about her educator’s heart breaking as she observed seeing children being cast aside as lost causes, and refusing to let a vulnerable district in Wake County go unrepresented with dignity.

Councilwoman Stewart shared her story of being a radical environmental activist in college, and being called out as being willing to, “…hug trees more than you want to hug people.”  This strong admonishment unlocked the potential in Stewart that has made her an incredible philanthropist, champion of marginalized communities, and a voice for those citizens in Raleigh that some council members would love to forget.

Between our cutting up, bragging about our children and partners, and just generally enjoying the beautiful company, there were so many incredible gems of wisdom and encouragement that were shared by our panelists.  Here are just a few of my favorites:

  • “Sometimes y’all wanna hug trees more than you wanna hug people.” - Councilwoman Nicole Stewart

  • “Sometimes no support is the only support you need.” - Chalisa Williams

  • “Don’t just wait for a thing. Do it” - Chalisa Williams

  • “No one has to invite you to anything that’s open!” - Chalisa Williams

  • “What keeps me going is a child looking at me and saying, ‘that momma right there is everybody’s momma.’” - Attorney Dawn Blagrove

  • “Do not underestimate the power of one person in one place doing one thing.” - Attorney Dawn Blagrove

  • “Giving another mother room to breathe (by being of service to her), that’s a revolutionary act.” - Attorney Dawn Blagrove

  • “When you have a calling in your heart to do something, you just gotta to it. Be brave.” - WCPSS Board Member Heather Scott

  • “When you get home, get a pen and paper, and ask yourself, ‘What is my goal?’ Then do some research to see what organizations or leaders who are already at work on this goal. Then determine if and how you can come alongside those efforts.” - Councilwoman Nicole Stewart

  • “Part of being a revolutionary mother is raising revolutionary children.” - Attorney Dawn Blagrove

Sunday Afternoon’s Community Circle was truly a glorious experience. We honored the revolutionary mothers of the past, present and future. We validated our experiences and encouraged us to keep moving forward. We were given action steps to take in order to take our goals and passions to the next level. We are all revolutionary mothers, and our mothering will leave Raleigh better than we found it.