After much encouragement from friends, I finally have my own blog!
I would like to introduce myself to the newcomers and to the ones I know quite well. My name is Amber Zakiya Jones. I am a PROUD product of the South side of Chicago, Illinois (and when I say proud, I mean PROUD). Currently, I am a second-year undergraduate student at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, majoring in African-American & African Studies and minoring in Political Science. As I work towards my senior Honors thesis, I am becoming increasingly interested in womanist/black feminist philosophy (I say this now because if you have plugs/resources, I am happy to receive them). I go hard for the Black Student Union; I’m on the Executive Committee. I work with some fabulous feministas as a Communications Intern for the University of Minnesota Women’s Center. Jesus is my Savior (and my homie :P). I like cheese. I’m a hip-hop junkie. My hair is natural and sexy. My life is pretty dope. Jus’ sayin’.
I adopted this moniker Zakiya Sankofa (which is also my Twitter handle: @ZakiyaSankofa) not too long ago for a couple of reasons. Zakiya is my middle name, and it was the name my father chose for me, as he wanted to speak prophetic truths onto my life, much like our ancestors from Africa. In my research, I have come across two origins for “Zakiya”: in the Swahili language, meaning “intelligent”, and in Arabic, meaning “pure”. Hopefully I am living up to these expectations–I’ll leave that up to my father to determine. ;)
“Sankofa” carries the second portion of the moniker to symbolize the lifelong journey I am embarking on to be one with my culture, my history, my identity, my people. “Sankofa” is from the Akan language of Ghana, and it means to “go back and get it”. It has been widely interpreted in North America to symbolize the importance of learning about your collective past and being one with your culture and history. For me, I find peace in the fact that this journey does not rest in reaching a destination, that the treasure lies in the journey traveled, much like Santiago in The Alchemist.
With that being said, this blog will be an outlet to express my sentiments while venturing down this journey. I will be delving into topics such as Blackness, (black) feminism, womanism, poverty, racism, activism, religion, spirituality, theology, education, mass incarceration, youth, love, family, my childhood, leadership, sexism, hip-hop, elitism, the list goes on and on. IF (and I mean “If”) I get my poetry thug-dizzle on, I might share some verses, but keep in mind I’m (somewhat of) an artist, and I’m sensitive about my shit. I will attempt to not censor myself only because this is included on my quest to freedom. As I up my reading game, I will share some book reviews.
I intend for this blog to be a release. I am also on a quest to be more publicly vulnerable. So hold me accountable. If you sense I am being too guarded, call that shit out in the comments. We cannot grow together if we do not feel one another. I want this experience to be cathartic. I want us to purge. I want us to revitalize. I want us to be restored.
When I say “us”, I take it seriously. Contact me at my email firstname.lastname@example.org if you have something on your heart to share. I want this space to encourage story-telling. So often, we build barriers to keep people away from each other. We walk around in exclusive inner-circles. We make simple judgments that balloon into serious, static, permanent perceptions and keep us locked away from the greatness we all possess. I am not about this life anymore, so if you want to venture down this journey with me, hand gripped tightly with support, by all means, join me. We cannot progress if we do not exist in community–my ancestors taught me this.
With that being said, welcome to the blog, and welcome to this journey. The road will be bumpy, but I anticipate a wild ride! :)