As a part of Harris Public Policy’s celebration of Black History Month, we asked what Black Radical Imagination means to members of the Harris Community. These are their opinions and perspectives, informed by their own life experiences and worldviews (and do not necessarily reflect the views of Harris).

LeChae Mottley, Associate Director, Career and Leadership Readiness

As someone frequently excited about paradigm shifts, I relish in the belief that things can be better than they are—that they can surpass what our minds can even conjure up. It is what gives me hope in a world committed to anti-Blackness.

As a people, we have always utilized Black Radical Imagination. It is at the root of our movements towards liberation, and we would not be here without it. Black Radical Imagination was present when enslaved people created soul food out of scraps and developed the ingenious, complex Underground Railroad; it inspired the Great Migration, the Jazz Age, the Harlem Renaissance, and the Civil Rights Movement. It served as an underpinning to the Black Feminist, Black Power, and Black Lives Matter movements. Our community, and this country, is better because Black people dare to dream boldly and crystallize futures time and time again.

To me, Black Radical Imagination is a portal to a future that hasn’t existed collectively but has likely existed in the minds of our ancestors for centuries. It is a continued return to the collective self, each iteration customized for the era we’re living in. As our community continues to evolve, my dream is that we prioritize rest, health, and abundance as our right. In my ideal future, we have recreated the self-sustaining communities that were stolen from us by white vigilantes and anti-Black policies. We live freely without consideration of the white gaze—hair, bodies, and professionalism included. We celebrate multiple identities, perspectives, and nationalities that color the Black experience. We are not bounded by structures and institutions that have always seen us as a threat. We are not measured by our productivity or lack thereof. We seek joy, pleasure, healing, and connection consistently.

We are safe. We are free. We are.

LeChae Mottley is the Associate Director of Career and Leadership Readiness. In this role, she assists Harris graduate students in exploring career options aligned with their interests and values, while also developing essential strategies to support their short-term and long-term career goals. She specializes in working with EMP students, candidates with 4+ years of work experience, and alumni.


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