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Tropical Leaves

Our Sistren's Gardens

My dissertation project - the #NotYourMammyStudy - felt like an affirmation and an invitation to live and dream bigger beyond the limits ascribed to us as Black women in American academia. I am most grateful for the confidence I hold in who I am and what I can offer in a world that strives to teach me otherwise. I am profoundly indebted to the people who participated in this project and inspired this iteration of the space we carved out together on the internet.


Welcome to 🌸 Our Sistren's Gardens 🌸

The Our Sistren's Gardens Discord server is our slice of the internet that heavily draws inspiration from the life & legacy of bell hooks and Alice Walker. I’m interested in curating spaces for us – educators, dancers, scientists, creatives, activists, dreamers, disruptors, and artists – to “talk back” as Black women, femmes, and non-binary folks.


Our Discord server blends resources, mental health and wellness invitations, inspiration, calls to action, kinship & everything in between as we navigate this journey to the graduation stage. I invite you to be in community as my sistren & siblings in the struggle. Academia can be a solitary and isolating place - let's link arms and make sure that none of us has to navigate this experience alone.

And so I invite you to explore some of the resources I pulled together for the original #NotYourMammyStudyDiscord that focused on empowering Black women, femmes, and gender non-conforming people working to complete graduate degrees in American academia. I encourage you to scroll through this page and clickity-clack the links and hopefully find something that speaks to your needs or that of one of your sistren!


Thank you for joining this digital garden,


In kinship,



A collection of funding opportunities that I've compiled over the course of my doctoral journey. This feels especially important considering how challenging it is when we don't receive full-funding and trying to be well can sometimes feel impossible when we are not paid living wages. Have suggestions? Holler at me here!

A collection of resources meant to nurture our mental health and wellness needs. The university works to disappear and exploit Black women intellectuals and I want us to survive the journey in one piece and in peace. 

*It's important to note that the design and intention of this thread is not meant to operate in place of mental health professionals and/or services.

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A hub to share/discuss community resources in real life and on the web - organizations and groups may offer services or a place for support as Black women navigating this chapter of life. The degree and the process are only one component of the full lives we're meant to lead - so grow your community!

This thread serves as a place to share anything "audio" that you keep on repeat or listen to as a reminder of who you are in spite of American academia's commitment to keeping us at the figurative bottom. Maybe its Tina Turner's entire discography (a personal fave), a podcast you love, or something in between - share your soundtrack to this season of our lives as emerging scholars!

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Support Melissa Koby

Love the artwork featured? All digital illustrations are designed/owned by artist, creative, and inspiration Melissa Koby. You can learn more about her beautiful work (and purchase them) here! Many thanks to the Pinterest algorithm for introducing me to many of her gorgeous pieces.

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