Many people talk about racism, some even fight it. Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu stands among them, a Black poet and storyteller committed to the well-being and activism of Black, Indigenous and People of Colour.
Through her poetry and writing, meditation, and online courses, she seeks to help others understand and come to terms with racial trauma. Her work has taken on new impetus in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement that spread from America across the world in 2020.
As she explained at the time, “Racism not only impacts the physical health of Black people and other communities of colour but it also impacts the emotional, mental, and spiritual health of individuals. This is called racial trauma.”
Social media has made it possible to share her poetry and ideas on a scale previously unimaginable. Visitors to her Instagram @ogorchukwuu will find treatises on racial gaslighting and race-based imposter syndrome, among exhortations on the benefit of rest, and video meditations.
This year, coinciding with Black History Month, Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu is February’s Martell Standout Swift. The multi-faceted collaboration foregrounds her teachings on identity, while bringing together, and to life, her poetry and ideas in new ways.
In a live work entitled The Face of Poems, Jacquelyn reads her poetry aloud while African-American artists illustrate her ideas in real time.
As she says in her own words
“I wish my poems were felt, not just read. It is with their eyes that my words will come to life.”
“Justice, in all its honesty, in all its vulnerability, in all its determination, has always been about love.”
– Jacquelyn Ogorchukwu
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