Meet Rose —

A soft black woman learning to land gently

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Rose J. Percy is a third year M. Div. student living in Boston. Born in Haiti and raised in the US, Rose claims her hybridity as a Haitian-American woman. In her studies, Rose considers the personal impact of faith and identity in the pursuit of justice and vocation.

Rose hosts a podcast called “Dear Soft Black Woman,” which ultimately seeks to create community care and support for Black women. Through conversations and affirmations, Rose and her guests delve into topics that intersect with and impact Black women’s ability to flourish.

As an educator, Rose has taught undergraduate classes focusing on racial justice and reconciliation, Christian theology and activism, and intercultural studies and missiology. Rose carries in her heart a passion for critical pedagogy while engaging culture and the arts, esp. poetry.

Rose is currently working with a team of women of color to launch “Quni,” an organization that seeks to co-create sacred spaces for disabled BIPOC, queer BIPOC and women of color. As a community, Quni will host classes and cohorts for those seeking to connect with Jesus alongside others who embody celebratory kin-dom. As one of the facilitators, Rose brings her joyful celebration of hybrid identities, theological knowledge, and love for imagining newness.

In her downtime, Rose enjoys learning new songs on the guitar, caring for her plants, and her daily Lucille Clifton poetry readings.

Enneagram 4
Strengths: Empathy, Strategic, Learner, Intellection, Ideation

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My website

Ask them, not me — BOOKS —

I don’t believe there are stupid questions, but I do know there are tiring questions. These books are here as a reference guide for my work and my life.

(All links are Amazon Affiliate Links. I earn a small commission, at no additional cost to you, for any purchases made. Also, I’m switching to a different affiliate program soon!)

Set Boundaries, Find Peace: A Guide to Reclaiming Yourself — Nedra Glover Tawwab

I highly recommend this book. As someone who is redefining their boundaries and learning a lot about themselves in this time, it has been super helpful.  so many of us are new to knowing what we want and saying what we want. And I find this book useful because it offers so many prompts and helpful guides for various areas where we need to define boundaries. It’s made for the world we live in today (unlike some other boundaries books I won’t name 😶). 

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“Why Do I Feel Like This?: Understand Your Difficult Emotions and Find Grace to Move Through” —Peace Amadi

New to me, review loading!

I am a black woman and I got through things I shouldn’t have had to go through . I’m a fragile black woman, I’m a soft black woman, I’m a needy black woman. I need gentleness. I need loads to be taken off of me. — @ItsPeaceAmadi

In April, I attended a zoom event for black women, to check in, unpack and heal as we processed the trauma of Ma’kiya Bryant’s death. I took a lot of notes from that day and kept coming back to this one. Peace’s words has informed some of the content I am producing around “soft black womanhood.”

Peace facilitated a space that allowed us to be listened to, affirmed and recognized. We were led through the activity of finding out how we could be committed to practices of care for each ourselves. I felt so much lighter after that day and I continue to reference the insights.

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“I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness” —Austin Channing Brown

I've found solidarity in Austin Channing Brown's book, I'm Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness. Brown's memoir is truth-filled and life-giving. By holding up a mirror to society and confronting whiteness, she's empowering black women like me to stake our claim in this world. "I'm still here," is about more than resistance through existence. It's about taking up space in a society that seeks to shove us into distinct and controllable boxes. It's about breaking out of those boxes and making a fuss. Reading this book I felt a host of emotions, but I also felt a renewed validation: I no longer needed to wear the "mask that grins and smiles," especially when pain and hurt lay behind it unaddressed and unseen.

I'm Still Here has allowed me to see the ways black anger—particularly black female anger—can inspire creativity and revolution.

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“The Cross and the Lynching Tree” —James H. Cone

“The lynching tree—so strikingly similar to the cross on Golgotha—should have a prominent place in American images of Jesus’ death. But it does not. In fact, the lynching tree has no place in American theological reflections about Jesus’ cross or in the proclamation of Christian churches about his Passion. The conspicuous absence of the lynching tree in American theological discourse and preaching is profoundly revealing, especially since the crucifixion was clearly a first-century lynching. In the “lynching era,” between 1880 to 1940, white Christians lynched nearly five thousand black men and women in a manner with obvious echoes of the Roman crucifixion of Jesus. Yet these “Christians” did not see the irony or contradiction in their actions.”

― James H. Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

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“Stand Your Ground: Black Bodies and the Justice of God” —Kelly Brown Douglas

We cannot ignore the sound of crying mothers. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
Kelly Brown Douglas weaves this beautiful theological and historical masterpiece around her lament for black mothers everywhere—including herself and Trayvon Martin’s mother. As I turned the final page of Kelly Brown Douglas’s book, I sighed without relief. Douglas carried the weight that hangs in the balance for her argument to the very end, the importance of black embodied life in the midst of stand your ground culture. Douglas calls us to embrace the call of this kairos time, pregnant with possibilities and full of moral imagination. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
To accept the call to moral participation in THIS MOMENT means naming the inconsistencies found in America’s dual legacy of exceptionalism AND its oppressive history. She names the importance of black prophetic testimony pointing to leaders like Frederick Douglass, President Obama and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr and others. All of these leaders were able to draw upon America’s documents of freedom and faith language when approaching the question of what freedom looks like for black people in America. Ultimately, as important as it is to have these conversations, we cannot be content with just talking about these issues. But for Christians: if we’re ever going authentically participate in what liberation looks like, we must wrestle with this history. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
This is an exploration into the criminalization of black bodies and what God’s justice might look like—but it is not an “easy read.” If you’ve been theologically trained but felt like there are gaps in your understanding between Christian tradition/history and this moment, this is a good gap filler. Theological background is not necessary but might help to underscore some of her points.

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“The Fire This Time: A New Generation Speaks about Race” —ed by Jesmyn Ward

A necessary read for our time. I was asked to speak on “there fire this time” this summer, and this book was still making its say to my house. Since then, I’ve been loving it. Here are quotes from my favorite essay (so far):

"We live in a country where Americans assimilate corpses into their daily comings and goings. Dead blacks are a part of normal life here." "The Black Lives Matter movement can be read as an attempt to keep mourning an open dynamic in our culture because black lives exist in a state of precariousness....Black Lives Matter aligns with the dead, continues the mourning, and refuses the forgetting in front of all of us. If the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr's civil rights movement made demands that altered the course of American's lives and backed up those demands with the willingness to give up your life in service of your civil rights, with Black Lives Matter, a more internalized change is asked for: recognition. "...National mourning, as advocated by Black Lives Matter, is a mode of intervention and interruption that might itself be assimilated into the category of public annoyance. This is altogether possible, but also possible is the recognition that it's a lack of feeling for another, that is our problem. Grief, then, for these deceased others might align some of us, for the first time, with the living."

"The Condition of Black Life is One of Mourning" Claudia Rankine
From "The Fire This Time," ed. by Jesmyn Ward

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“After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging” —Willie J. Jennings

Am I prematurely writing this review when I have a chapter left? Yes, yes I am. Let me tell you why: I have read a few of Jennings’ articles which served as preambles for this text. Those articles guided me though the roughest parts of theological education. I have felt, for awhile, emerging from Jennings’ writings, a sense of kinship. A likeness that spoke to the similarities found in our wildernesses. So, in the most bookish way possible, I shadowed him, and lingered wherever his name was mentioned. Why have I followed him, if only on paper?

Do I “stan” as the kids say? Yes, indeed I do.
But I followed because I was lost. Very often, too. I’ve had some of the best mentors ever. Some of the best opportunities. Some of the highest praise and expectations cast upon me to succeed in this narrow home between the church and the academy.

But my tiredness tells me I am lost and will often get lost. And this book has helped me figure out why. Or begin to. I cannot loan anyone this book, because in it contains many annotations, stories and commentary that stem from my own experiences. I have shared them in here with my unofficial mentor. It’s possible that I imagine for myself a similar path to the one Jennings is on as a scholar. I can’t say for sure. Assurance is not my friend. But it is my hope that my wilderness is someone else’s map, as this book is for me a map. Every map goes through changes, and updates as we discover new cites and name new passages. I’ve always loved a good map.

This book is a good map.

For a good overview of one of the chapters /a good conversation between two amazing scholars , I suggest the @thewitnessbcc’s Pass the Mic podcast episode with Jemar Tisby, reflecting on the “Buildings” chapter.

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“Create Dangerously: The Immigrant Artist at Work” —Edwidge Danticat

In this memoir, Edwidge Danticat writes to honor the journey of the immigrant artist, beginning with defining a moment she calls her “creation myth” event, a public execution ordered by François “Papa Doc” Duvalier no November 12, 1964 in Port-au-Prince. Danticat spares no detail in this opening chapter as she describes the moment Numa and Drouin’s faces go from life to death and as their bodies follow suit, slumping down on the poles their bodies were held against.

She then makes a shift in the chapter to a discussion on creation myths, a term she uses to describe the moment when one becomes an artist, a moment that forms an obsession, a haunting. It was, like the story of Adam and Eve, “a heartrending clash of life and dead, homeland and exile involv[ing] a disobeyed directive from a higher authority and a brutal punishment as a result.” Disobeying the rules set up by the Duvalier regime, Numa and Drouin were also among many who left Haiti and returned, hoping to make a difference. As writers, they tapped into what it meant to create dangerously in a way that challenged the oppressive political regime of their time. They paid the price with exile: from this life into the next. Here are some of the many things Danticat writes as she describes the role of the immigrant artist through her life’s many fascinating stories:

“The immigrant artist must quantify the price of the American dream in flesh and bone.”

“The immigrant artist must sometimes apologize for airing, or for appearing to air, dirty laundry.”

“The immigrant artist challenges ‘historical amnesia’ and writes to overcome forgetting especially in honor of those ancestors who were “told to remove their past from their heads and dull their desire to return home.”

“The nomad or immigrant who learns something rightly must always ponder travel and movement, just as the grief-stricken must inevitably ponder death.”

An intense read, but for sure a worthy one.

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