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You Are Your Best Thing
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Publication date: April 27, 2021

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You Are Your Best Thing

Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

Tarana Burke and Dr. Brené Brown bring together a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures to discuss the topics the two have dedicated their lives to understanding and teaching: vulnerability and shame resilience. With contributions by Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Laverne Cox, Jason Reynolds, Austin Channing Brown, and more.


Description

It started as a text between two friends.

Tarana Burke, founder of the ‘me too.’ Movement, texted researcher and writer Brené Brown to see if she was free to jump on a call. Brené assumed that Tarana wanted to talk about wallpaper. They had been trading home decorating inspiration boards in their last text conversation so Brené started scrolling to find her latest Pinterest pictures when the phone rang.

But it was immediately clear to Brené that the conversation wasn’t going to be about wallpaper. Tarana’s hello was serious and she hesitated for a bit before saying, “Brené, you know your work affected me so deeply, but as a Black woman, I’ve sometimes had to feel like I have to contort myself to fit into some of your words. The core of it rings so true for me, but the application has been harder.”

Brené replied, “I’m so glad we’re talking about this. It makes sense to me. Especially in terms of vulnerability. How do you take the armor off in a country where you’re not physically or emotionally safe?”

Long pause.

“That’s why I’m calling,” said Tarana. “What do you think about working together on a book about the Black experience with vulnerability and shame resilience?”

There was no hesitation.

Burke and Brown are the perfect pair to usher in this stark, potent collection of essays on Black shame and healing. Along with the anthology contributors, they create a space to recognize and process the trauma of white supremacy, a space to be vulnerable and affirm the fullness of Black love and Black life.

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About the author


Tarana Burke has been working at the intersection of racial justice, arts and culture, anti-violence and gender equity for nearly three decades. Fueled by a commitment to interrupt systemic issues disproportionately impacting marginalized people, like sexual violence, particularly for Black women and girls, Tarana has created and led campaigns that have brought awareness to the harmful legacies surrounding communities of color. Specifically, her work to end sexual violence has not only exposed the ugly truths of sexism and spoke truth to power, it has also increased access to resources and support for survivors and paved a way forward for everyone to find their place in the movement. Her steadfast commitment is what led her to receive numerous accolades including 2017 TIME Person of the Year, 2018 TIME 100 Most Influential People, the 2019 Sydney Peace Prize and Harvard Gleitsman Citizen Activist Award, and in 2020 being named one of USA Today's Women of the Decade among many other honors and recognitions.

Dr. Brené Brown is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation - Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the past two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame, and empathy and is the author of five #1 New York Times bestsellers: The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly, Rising Strong, Braving the Wilderness, and Dare to Lead, which is the culmination of a seven-year study on courage and leadership.


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