“Why am I compelled to write?… Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it. I write because life does not appease my appetites and anger… To become more intimate with myself and you. To discover myself, to preserve myself, to make myself, to achieve self-autonomy. To dispell the myths that I am a mad prophet or a poor suffering soul. To convince myself that I am worthy and that what I have to say is not a pile of shit… Finally I write because I’m scared of writing, but I’m more scared of not writing.”
— Gloria Anzaldúa
Brown Girls Museums Blog (BGMB) is an online platform and consulting agency, created with the objective to promote the visibility of people of color, especially women, in the arts, culture and academic fields.
In 2015, we met and learned that we both had a desire to lend our voice to the museum field—as an outlet and as a resource for those coming from marginalized communities navigating institutions. As two brown girls, our paths to museums is a reflection of the communities we come from, and the radical shift in politics that must occur in order to support those communities as scholars and museum professionals. Our approach to the museum field is guided by our academic interests in critical theory, performance studies and cultural geography.
It is through the blog that we discovered this intersection with Amanda’s work on trauma and healing performed by Latinx communities, and Ravon’s steering her towards conceptualizations of blackness that are renegotiated in the digital landscape among Africana communities. With these interests, Amanda applies her tech savvy skills to being our CTFMB (Chief Technology, Financial and Marketing Boss). Ravon channels her obsession with Instagram, and perpetual search for a good black dramedy series on YoutTube for our social and digital media content strategy, and creative direction.
Read more about our story in an interview with Creative Capital here.
Amanda Figueroa is a PhD candidate in American Studies at Harvard University and graduate of the George Washington University and Mary Baldwin College. Her academic research examines the use of art and performance in antifemicide activism at the El Paso-Cd. Juárez border. With Brown Girls Museum Blog, Amanda advocates for the inclusion of Latinx and other minority experiences within museums and other cultural institutions. She can be found on twitter @akfigueroa and instagram @joandidion.
Ravon Ruffin is a Social Engagement Producer at the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. She received her M.A. in American Studies from the George Washington University, and a degree in Anthropology from VCU. Urban sustainability, digital culture and Black Feminism are the lenses through which she seeks to redefine the museum as a community space. She is interested in the acts of self-preservation that social and digital media platforms inspire. She can be found @afroxmericana.