Amira Stanley: Finding her place and voice as a Black activist
Read more about Amira and see photos on this blog post.Amira Stanley is a mindset & intention coach, end-of-life doula, and anti-racism educator and community activist. She grew up Black and gay in mostly small cities or towns, has lived with pain from hip dysplasia and lost a huge amount of weight so she could have hip replacement, supported her beloved husband through his transition, and has dealt with the emotional trauma of racism all her life, only to discover this one year ago through education and studying. She’s always been an LGBTQIA+ activist, but now she’s also become an anti-racist and community activist. “It's a mission of mine to help people be okay with sitting in discomfort. We're not going to get to the other side without sitting in discomfort.”Amira knew she loved women and female energy from the age of seven or eight. She had crushes on all her little white girlfriends. When her mom made her go to church, she started receiving the message that liking the same sex was bad. At age 18 she finally had the nerve to come out as bisexual. Every time she’d bring male friends home, her mom would get her hopes up…so finally Amira decided to make a choice and be with women. When Amira got older and began volunteering with the Living Room Youth, an organization that celebrates and supports LGBTQIA+ youth in Clackamas County, Oregon, she realized she was pansexual (not limited in sexual choice with regard to biological sex, gender, or gender identity).Amira shared a phenomenal story about her husband coming out as transgender. I asked her if she has any advice for people whose partners are transitioning.“Allow them to be who they are, but also take care of you. If it's something you can't handle, follow your own heart, but do it in a way that is loving and supportive to that person. If you can, walk them through this journey, especially if they have no one else. It's not easy, but if you can support them being who they are, that's priceless.”Amira has been shocked to discover the extreme racism in Salem, Oregon.“Salem is extremely racist. I've never been in a space where I've been very uncomfortable. I'm used to giving people eye contact and smiling. I don't do that anymore...It makes me sad but at the same time it made me sadder six months ago.”Living in such a racist town made her into an anti-racist and community activist. Attending a vigil for Breonna Taylor at the state capitol, she was inspired by Julianne Jackson, founder of Black Joy Oregon, to step it up. Julianne said, "if you're Black and you live in this city, there's basically no excuse. We need you out here. We need you. And I was crying and saying, okay Amira, you're terrified. But this chick is calling you out and you live here and this is what you need to do.”We talked about the ambitious “End White Supremacy by Way of Black Experience” event Amira and her team put in in April. We also talked about progressive Christianity, after she recently left a position at a local church, and her journey to get to wellness with hip dysplasia and weight loss. You can reach Amira on her website . Also, listen to her latest video podcast episode with her friend Rayah Dickerson on the topic of “Protesting: What’s the Use of It?”Meeting and befriending Amira is one of the joys of the last for me. And we need all the joys we can find right now!Contact us if you can use some help with your writing, editing, communications, or marketing.