On Sept. 17, 2017, three Black University of Michigan students were targeted with racially derogatory language in the form of defaced name tags on their dorm doors.

I sip from a teacup at the dinner table, half listening to my family’s ear-splitting conversations — which, in our world, means light chitchat. My uncle and aunt are talking stocks. One cousin is showing us his dancing skills by flipping his sister over. My grandmother is putting salted fish down. On one end of the table, my older cousin has been roped into a conversation about a startup with my father.

We love you, Demario!

If you attended first year orientation at the University of Michigan between 2013 and 2017, you know Demario Longmire. You may not have had the opportunity to meet him, be graced by his soul soothing voice or held in one of his pain-releasing embraces, but you remember him.

I’m going to ask you three questions, and I need you to answer honestly.

First, did you know that Black children are punished more often and more severely than their white classmates? Second, that Black borrowers are much less likely to be granted a loan than their white counterparts with similar credit scores? And third, that employers prefer applicants with “white”-sounding names over those with “Black”-sounding ones?

You named me, Ocean, because I was so big. Who would have fucking thought

Reflective fragments, excerpts, bits from my journals, both paper and electronic since meeting my birth family.

Laughing with my fellow magical black girls

“No person is your friend who demands your silence, or denies your right to grow.”

Alice Walker

Ann Arbor Sky

For eighteen years of my life my mother’s arms were the warmest home I ever knew. A home for when I felt scared or lonely or sad. What an actual home lacked in structural support, my mother made up for in love and kindness.

Overlooking la Septa Avenida (Seventh Avenue) in zone 1 of  Quetzaltenango, Guatemala

To my fellow Central American unicorns,

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for” -John A. Shedd


Oddly enough, my most pivotal memories of us are simple conversations that meant nothing at the time, but mean everything today.