Book talk: Emotional justice

ESTHER ARMAH Special to the AmNews | 5/16/2012, 5:37 p.m.
Black love? Nothing more revolutionary than that. We create art, words, music and style with...
Book talk: Emotional justice

"At the same time, they were products of their time who demonstrated their love in very particular ways. They weren't huggers or kissers, not of their children or each other. We didn't talk very much about our feelings, except when we were conveying anger. This was particularly difficult for me because I was a very sensitive child. I was very in tune with my emotions. I had to learn to swallow many of my feelings of hurt and loneliness, insecurity and vulnerability, I had to hide much of my pain."

Another book of essays that offers particular and powerful insight into the notion of emotional justice is New York Times best-selling author Rebecca Walker's edited book of essays, "Black Cool: One Thousand Streams of Blackness," featuring essays from dream hampton, filmmaker, writer and New York Times bestseller; and Staceyann Chin, award-winning poet and author.

This slim volume is pure power-it kicks off with hampton's "Audacity," which walks you through the challenges of being a girl in Detroit navigating the violence that girls routinely run into and which society dismisses as insignificant, through the trauma of surviving and fighting a rape that shapes a fearlessness evident in her career.

Conversation in our sister and brother circles, at our kitchen tables and out at dinner, in public, on the page, on the mic, on the small screen and live is how we practice emotional justice. The "Emotional Justice Unplugged" series is now in its third year. This multimedia conversation series creates safe space to tackle tough truth and give voice to untreated trauma that has too often lived in our silences.

On May 29, hampton and Chin will be at Harlem's Dwyer Cultural Center; this panel follows the May 16 event with Hill and Robert Cornegy Jr. held at Manhattan's Brecht Forum. "Black Love: A Re-Imagining" is a conversation on Black love--lessons, legacy, losses, learning through trauma, transition, transformation and triumph--moderated by me, with a book signing featuring the two books mentioned.

At this moment, in this time, emotional justice is the logical next step for a people whose battles have humanized nations. We've earned the right to heal from our history's untreated trauma. Our story is not just blood, death, sacrifice, struggle, violence and pain, it's also resistance, power, success, evolution, revolution, victory, dignity.

We got here. We made it. Survival is no longer our only story. Emotional justice can be. Why not join the conversation?

For more information on the May 29 "Emotional Justice Unplugged" panels, visit www.facebook.com/emotionaljustice or call (212) 209-2815.

Follow Esther Armah on Twitter at @estherarmah.