In the Spotlight

Kellie P. Easton

What makes you YOU?

My drive to bring my tangible self into the fullness of my conscious self makes me, me.
I was raised by beautiful people who allowed me to believe that I was great just as I am and who gave me a strong spiritual foundation that has truly framed so much of my decision making in life.  I also believe African American culture has shaped so much of who I am.  I see myself as creative and draw upon the many assets and blessings from my ancestors for resources throughout every aspect of my life.
What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the wisdom of my children Kalonji and Karoline-Kellie.  I spent and continue to spend so much time educating them on who they are, the many ways in which they can contribute to our world, and the importance of purpose, mission and community.  When I hear and see how they respond to worldly events and even events in their own personal lives I am most proud.
What keeps you going when things are tough?

Faith.  I see the work I do as a continuum of work that has taken place in the past and the work that will be required in the future. Though it often feels as though we have so far to go to achieve change, I hold that in tension with how far we have come and I am encouraged to keep going.

What keeps you up at night?

Really nothing.  I sleep well at night. Sleeping well is one way I measure my self care and mental health. 90% of the time I sleep throughout the night and wake up ready to jump into action.

 

 

Wren Monokian

What makes you YOU?

I’ve been regularly referred to as a “force of nature,” which I now wear as a badge of honor. I say “now” because I was socialized to believe that women should be demure and docile, and so being described as something powerful was an idea I struggled to accept about myself. I like to use the space I take up in society to lift up others around me. Whether in work or in life, my goal every day is to be a support to those who need it. I feel like most of my inspiration to evolve and to do better comes from doing work with and for queers and others who belong to other marginalized communities.

What are you most proud of?

I’ve put in the work to grow and develop who I am as a person. Much of this didn’t occur until my mid-thirties. I had to learn how to move my identity away from who I was in proximity to others (a partner, a mother, etc.) to who I actually am. The pandemic changed me as I know it did many others, and it forced me to face some uncomfortable truths about myself that could have broken me. When faced with that reality, I chose myself, perhaps for the first time in my life. We aren’t always given permission to put our needs ahead of others and that’s a fail on society. It’s okay to see to your own needs.

What keeps you going when things are tough?

I draw a lot of motivation from my partner and children. My partner manages to both challenge and support me in ways that are absolutely necessary for my personal growth. They are also really killer with book recommendations (need a horror suggestion, let us know). My children are the purest reflections of myself, which can be equally annoying and amazing. Watching them grow into their own character, personality, and identity reminds me that we are all constantly evolving and should be support systems for one another, even during times of literal isolation. Feeling the unconditional love and support of my family during some of the most trying years of my life absolutely carried me through and kept me going, especially considering how challenging life has been for them as well.

What keeps you up at night?

If it’s not the four cups of coffee I’ve had throughout the day (shout out to Camel City Coffee and Coffee Park Airstream), it’s usually me remembering awkward interactions I had throughout the day. Ever say “I love you” to a client when hanging up the phone? I’m also an incredibly Type A personality with multiple calendars and notebooks, so I like to plan ahead and organize what I’m going to do the following day. Sometimes I try to work out a budget that will allow me to buy that 13-foot skeleton from Lowe’s, so I focus on only the most important things as you can see.

 

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