Embracing your Identity


“I’m from a family of 7 kids. I have 5 sisters and 1 brother. So there’s a lot of women.

I’ve always been surrounded by women. I grew up in Kenya.

Generally speaking, I think of people in authority—the police in Kenya—I know that some people view women as property. A topic that popped up in my mind is domestic violence, like the police in Kenya. The police are underpaid in Kenya and have to share quarters in other families. But that’s not an excuse to be abusive and take it out on their wives.

So who do you report to when it's within the police family.

I also come from a Christian background. My mom always tell my sisters that men out there are just after one thing— objectifying women and using women as their trophy. And I think that’s really common.

Most African cultures have polygamy. The more rich and wealthy the man is, the more wives he has. I think it may stem from that but I’m not saying that’s all African culture.

There’s still a lot of rights that women don’t have, or even that they have but they’re constrained from really exercising their rights.

I’m going off of what I’ve heard because I moved here when I was 16. When it comes to my own family, we were not raised in that conception.

Through that Christian lens, my dad was the head of my family. But if it wasn’t for my mom, my family wouldn’t be where it is now. She’s always holding us together. I really value the strength of a woman, especially my mom.

I didn’t really think of myself as less than men. Also moving here, I remember a time at a women of color conference for UCSB students. These are two groups that are oppressed which someone had phrased that way. But how I look at it, I see those as also strengths. I see it as, no that’s not the part of my identity that I should see as a weakness, but that’s my identity, that’s my strength.

It’s actually powerful to be a woman and a woman of color. I see the oppression with my friends, my family, and people around me but I can use that as tools in order to be the change agent. It just really builds resiliency, you just have to learn how to survive and thrive.

Yes I have my identity as a black woman, as a African woman, and also my identity as a Christian. That’s another powerful identity because that also changes my lens through which I see the world.

The past 2 years, I went to India for this organization, All Ladies League. I got to go to this conference and automatically become the chapter chair for Santa Barbara.

Each year they have a different team. It’s basically bringing women from all backgrounds, from different sectors—they’re people from all the continents. There was this great energy. I feel like if it’s women leading something, it’s going to be different, it’s going to be balanced.

I do feel that this is a time women are rising up and raising their voices and I do think this is needed. There is a lot of wrong in the world and healing needs to happen. I believe women are the nurturers and we bring creativity.

For such a long time, there’s been oppression and imbalance. We need that balance of women rising up in their strengths. We need that balance of healing. Women naturally are peacemakers. I think there’s a lot of gifts that we have to bring to the world.

For a long time, we’ve been silent. And this is a time I’ve been hearing women rising up and women being empowered and women using their gifts.

Even within the church, there’s those parallels of oppression. Some are subtle.

Some denominations, women are not allowed to preach. God wants there to be that rising up. It may feel like a shift but yeah if someone’s been oppressed and rising up, there’s gonna be a shift.

There was men at the conference and it was great because there are conversations needed where men are listening and learning from us. A lot of things we go through is centered around men’s perspective. Bridging women from different cultures, generations, and backgrounds was great.”