If We Don’t Tell Our Stories, Who Will?

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A blog post from Executive Director Sheree Williams.

Each day that I listen as well as watch what is going on in the world, I am reminded about the WHY when it comes to the work we do here at The Global Food and Drink Initiative (GFDI).

It is clear, without a doubt, that just as many want to hear and learn about Black history as well as Black food history, there are those who simply do not. This both saddens as well as makes me feel some kind of way.

However, as many feel they can take our stories away or hide them altogether, we will continue building a space and a table where everyone can sit around and be heard and celebrated.

Reflection As 15 Years Approaches

I have been doing the work of storytelling and amplifying Black voices for almost 15 years through Cuisine Noir and now three years through GFDI and there is one thing I know for sure; we as an organization can not stop.  Our voices as Black people matter more than ever now.

We deserve to get louder and louder even in the midst of DEI programs being eliminated, board members of HBCU universities being wrong removed, communities being rezoned in attempts to take away Black votes and more. Some days it seems too much. But we must not stop.

Fifteen years is such an incredible milestone to hit and celebrate. As we look back at how Cuisine Noir unwaveringly tells the stories of people of African descent around the world, we know that WE are the ones to tell our stories, no one else.

Our history, connection to the Earth and food, as well as our ability to overcome, create, influence and flourish can only be told through our lens because that’s where our power lies.

Cuisine Noir may not be the most prominent media platform, but it is an important one.  It is just one of thousands of keepers of our past, present and future when it comes to food.

I often ask myself, “What does winning look like to me” as a Black person and the answer to myself is: Winning in this world today looks like being able to champion our stories and voices in an authentic way.  It is not code switching, watering down or only telling half. It is for me and my team to show up as our authentic selves and allow others to do the same.

Winning is knowing we created a safe place in a toxic world for our stories to shine.  This feels good to me; it feels right.

Only time will reveal what the rest of the year holds, and one thing I will hold on to is the joy we have when we are cooking, creating and gathering with one another because there are more stories that are yet to be told.

How Can You Support?

You can support the mission of The Global Food and Drink Initiative with a donation starting at just $10. Each donation will continue to help us unlock untold stories and preserve Black food cultures around the world.