For the month of December, I’ll be shining light each day on some extraordinary women I know. They represent various fields and backgrounds, and I admire each for their passion and strength. These are bold, beautiful, brave women — artists, businesswomen, union organizers, nurses, writers, teachers, movie makers, designers, reporters, and all-around badasses.
Imani L. Brown is the Regional Managing Director for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Northern California. She has a Masters Degree in Nonprofit Administration from the University of San Francisco. Her Senior thesis exercise won the President’s Prize in Women’s Studies at Pomona College. And she is the proud product of an all-girls college prep boarding school, Miss Porter’s School, in Farmington, CT. Imani enjoys welded sculpture and writing. She loves robots, unicorns, and lots of other geeky stuff. Her ultimate life goal is to always remain a child at heart and to never stop traveling and exploring the world. She’s a black lesbian cancer survivor with a beautiful wife and an amazing community of family and friends.
1. What did you want to be “when you grew up?” As a kid, I always wanted to fly. So I figured the next best thing would be to be an astronaut, so I could float in space. I remember finding out that astronauts were all really good at math, and I was terrible at math, and that crushed my dream. Then one day I decided I’d just be a Nobel Peace Prize winner instead.
2. What makes you the most proud of yourself? I am a childhood cancer survivor, and I work for a children’s cancer charity for a living now. I was supposed to die when I was 17, and some days I imagine maybe this is why I didn’t die. Maybe I was born to do this, and help other kids.
3. What darkness have you overcome? How did you find strength? It’s hard being black and gay in America. There is a lot of hate out there, and some days you just have to turn towards the light. My mother passed away four years ago, and she taught me how to be a strong proud black woman. She taught me the power of protest and resistance. And she taught me how to walk out of a business and tell them they lost my money because they had a Confederate flag in the lobby window, or were selling racist slave memorabilia. My voice and where I spend each dollar matters, and my mother taught me that.
4. Where will we find you on a Saturday morning at 10 a.m.? Walking my dog Callie with my beautiful wife, hopefully on our way to breakfast. I’ve been married for 11 years, and our dog is our baby. Our crazy, hairy, baby.
5. What makes you smile the most? I have some dear friends from when I was 9 years old. We’ve stayed very close over the years and it means a lot to me. Whenever we’re together I’m always crying with laughter. It’s such a good and deeply healing feeling in what can otherwise feel like a bleak world out there.
Bonus: What advice would you give your younger self? Don’t try to be a rich straight white girl. You are perfect just the way you are, and when you discover that, people will love the light that shines through you.
Today’s #OneGoodThing is sharing this extraordinary woman and my friend from junior high, Imani Brown, with all of you! We are stronger together, so let’s shine a light on our extraordinary sisters! If you’d like to participate or nominate a woman to participate, please send me a note or leave a comment! What was your #OneGoodThing today? Please share in the comments! Kindness is Everything.
1 year ago today: Beautiful ombre sunset
2 years ago today: Latkes, brisket, donuts and good friends
3 years ago today: A funny awakening
9 years ago today: Emerald Beaut Holiday Surprise