The Story Behind Empowering Our Melanin
by Erin Howard and Dayanara Almon
EmpoweringOurMelanin (EOM for short) was founded in July of 2020. This was an unprecedented time for us as a country, while dealing with a combination of COVID-19 (the virus and its effects), the deaths of Ahmaud Arberry, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, Black Lives Matter Protests, and more. Through this our country exposed itself for protecting only certain communities. We (Erin and Dayanara) had things to say!
We made EmpweringOurMelanin to uplift and empower BIPOC. We currently run an Instagram page where we post new content to bring BIPOC a sense of community which can potentially encourage them to use their voice and believe more in themselves. During this time we feel being BIPOC is very challenging in many ways. We strive to find a way to allow BIPOC to always have a voice. We hope with EmpoweringOurMelanin other BIPOC can feel inspired by us to be who they are, speak more on issues they are passionate about, and just let go of this heavy burden many of us BIPOC carry around.
The burden is the systematic issues embedded here in the U.S. and other places. We are constantly impacted by oppression and microaggressions. Dealing with them everyday causes other issues to form, like negative economic impacts, mental and even physical illness because many people are not punished for creating traumatizing experiences for us BIPOC. On top of that, many of us attend school or have jobs where we also face these drawbacks but with even more responsibility.
We, Erin and Dayanara, don’t only work to address these issues but also really want to lift BIPOC up. Because if we are told from the beginning that we don’t belong in a place we call home, or in a predominantly white space, then we are going to create one that we can call home, where we can belong, even if it’s just online!
After creating EmpoweringOurMelanin, we learned through feedback from our followers that we weren’t the only ones who needed a platform like this. By creating EmpoweringOurMelanin, using our voices and doing the work to uplift our community, we learned we are making others feel heard and inspiring people to use their voices as well.
We also have our podcast which is called EmpoweringOurMelanin The Podcast. On this podcast, we showcase our conversations and a BIPOC guest who has experience with these systemic issues. And because BIPOC can be a part of other communities such as the LGBTQ+, Jewish, and Muslim communities, we have a huge horizon to look at with every individual that joins us. Each episode of our podcast covers various topics relating to us BIPOC. We currently have four episodes with guests like Thomas Jemil Foster and Lucy Mayer. While EmpoweringOurMelanin was made for BIPOC, anyone is welcome to listen to our podcasts and consume our content. A part of EmpoweringOurMelanin is to educate others. There are so many more topics and guests to come this year! So let’s take a look at all of our podcasts below!
Episode 1: Privilege, Prejudice, and the Pandemic Welcome to our first episode of Empowering Our Melanin The Podcast. On this episode our special guest is Lucy Mayer. Lucy Mayer is an Asian-American woman born in Dongguan, China. Lucy oftens feels self conscious about her identity but she has been gaining more confidence and comfortability with herself. Lucy has a podcast with her friend Ruby, who is also Asian-American, called WeTheTeens where they share their perspectives on issues. We are so proud of them and we love seeing BIPOC, especially Women, creating things. In our podcast with Lucy we talked about Privilege, Prejudice, and the Pandemic. This includes subtopics like CoronaVirus Case Disparities (showing the privilege some people have over others), Hate Crimes towards Asian Communities (highlighting how the pandemic fueled prejudice and xenophobia against API communities), and more.
Episode 2: Our Untold Stories In this episode our special guest is Thomas Jemil Foster. Thomas Foster is a Junior at Rainier Beach high school, his pronouns are he/they/“and anything with love.” Thomas is a huge activist and creative with his own podcast called Thomas vs the world. It’s seriously such an entertaining and informative podcast. Go listen. He is also the head of his dance team and is heavily involved in other programs ranging from Junior Class President to the ACT Theatre. When was the last time we heard our opinions and experiences being told on big levels, and written by us? Actually though….where is it? It’s not happening. We feel like many adults are talking about this and sometimes they talk about our experiences without asking us to contribute. Is it mainly adults experiencing virtual learning, or is it us, who are being left out from voting but still working towards change? US! We aren’t always given platforms to express our stories, but now the youth (Gen Z) are making podcasts and blogs to present this to the world. So here is our story, for us, by us!
Episode 3: All the things we cannot say No guest! Just us, Erin and Dayanara. Stealing trends? Culture? AAVE? We cover all of these things in this episode of EmpoweringOurMelanin The Podcast. The things we cannot say are the problems we face everyday that get brushed off, the small and the big, the way we monitor ourselves to avoid specific words from coming out of someone's mouth or the credit we DON'T get. “Aggressiveness” and “attitude” are the only words used to describe us, but then why do they use our culture? Hypocritical Behavior, Cultural Appropriation, Stereotypes, and using AAVE, layer after layer. Come give our third episode a listen to hear about our reality.
Episode 4: Into 2021 we go! No guest! Just us, Erin and Dayanara. In this podcast we reflect on 2020 from topics like TV shows, music, trends, and more. And to kick us into 2021 we also spoke about our aspirations for the new year. Come listen to our fourth podcast to start off your 2021 on a good note while enjoying our cover art made by Chloe Ambrose. Happy New Year!
We look forward to spreading EmpoweringOurMelanin to more individuals. In 2021 we are so grateful to have the opportunity to continue our podcast on the radio with KRVU. Dayanara and I are very delighted to have the chance to expand EmpoweringOurMelanin and we hope you all will check us out once we get on the radio!
EmpowerinOurMelaninThe Podcast can be found on many platforms like Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Anchor, and Google Podcasts. To keep up with our release dates and podcast announcements make sure to give our instagram a follow which will be below and in our bio you’ll find out linktree is great for keeping up with us. Again, this year you will also be finding our podcast on the radio with KRVU. We cannot wait to keep pushing out episodes and expanding our reach!
To support and keep up with EmpoweringOurMelanin:
Hi, my name is Erin Howard. I'm a 15 year old sophomore attending SAAS. From California, to Illinois, Shanghai, and Seattle, I’ve gotten the chance to open my mind because of where I've lived and who I’ve met along the way. Since I’ve been in Seattle I’ve gotten more involved with the creative arts, my Black community, and activism. Another accomplishment I’m proud of is getting into the highest choir at my high school called The Onions. Last year Dayanara, my best friend, and I created EmpoweringOurMelanin. This year I am working to join more STEAM programs. I want to have the opportunity to represent people who look like me, Black women. My motivation is to achieve as much as possible. The one thing I say is that “I want to do everything” and who knows maybe I will!
Hello, my name is Dayanara Almon and I am 15 years old. live in Skyway and I go to the Northwest School. My passions include social justice and performing arts. Currently, Erin and I manage EmpoweringOurMelanin. In the past I’ve worked with groups like IMPUHWE (Inspire Motivate Powerful Undiscovered Hopeful Women with Education). I have been in school plays and presentations and in the past couple of summers I was in the Teen Summer Musical. I’m so excited to work on this blog to uplift the voices in our community through art and journalism, because these are things I am passionate about.