Simone Biles already won.

On rest and resistance

There’s a very clear pattern in this year’s Olympic games for women who are struggling to compete due to immense pressure or insane and sexist rules. From Simone Biles (the greatest gymnast in the history of the sport who stepped out of competition to tend to her wellbeing, to the German gymnastics team who chose not to be sexualized in leotards, to the Norwegian handball players who refused to play in skimpy bikinis, to Sha’carri Richardson who tended to her grief and self-care, women are choosing to prioritize their humanity in the face of violent systems of exploitation and oppression.

It is not unlike the skewed laws and systemic values enforced by people in power to deny basic human needs like a living wage, housing and healthcare to communities living on the margins. But none of us are well until all of us are well.

Simone Biles is showing us that championing for our mental health and wellness is worth more than playing by the rules or winning a gold medal.

“I have to put my pride aside,’ Biles said. ‘I have to do what's right for me and focus on my mental health and not jeopardize my health and my well-being. So that's why I decided to kind of take a step back. At the end of the day, we're human, too, so we have to protect our mind and our body rather than just go out there and do what the world wants us to do.’

Simone Biles already won.

Kerri (she/her)

Art by @ryan_lemere

  1. It’s OK to not be OK. Naomi Osaka on prioritizing mental health and why sports needs to change NOW. [click to tweet]

  2. “America has always asked Black people to give everything we’ve got and then give what we don’t have…We are, I believe, witnessing the beginning of a great refusal.” How to say “no”. [click to tweet]

  3. Simone Biles and Surya Bonaly are unparalleled, but the judges penalize them instead of exalt their athleticism. When Black women are punished for being the best. [click to tweet]

  4. "Work martyrdom tells you 'no one can do this job but me.' Biles knew better." How Simone Biles refused to be a work martyr (and you can, too). [click to tweet]

  5. ‘WE ALL QUIT’: How America’s workers are taking back their power by protesting abuses and exploitative conditions. [click to tweet]

If you’re more proximal to systems of power that continue to oppress and exploit people, you have a responsibility to disrupt. But you can also actively redistribute resources where they’re needed most to ensure everyone has what they need to thrive. This week, we’ve highlighted some of our favorite organizations and initiatives who are supporting Black women’s wellness:

BLACK MAMAS MATTER ALLIANCE: Representing the voices of Black mothers to change policy, drive research, and reframe the conversation for better Black maternal health and justice.

LOVELAND FOUNDATION: Founded by activist and academic Rachel Cargle, the Loveland Foundation provides financial assistance to Black women and girls so that they can seek therapy for healing and overall wellness.

BEAM: BEAM is a national training, movement building and grant making organization dedicated to the healing, wellness and liberation of Black and marginalized communities.

SHE CHOSE TO BREATHE: Supporting the wellbeing of girls and mothers through yoga and business trainings in Ghana (led by our dear friend, Tameka Walton!).

SELF PRESERVATION INITIATIVE: 100% of these proceeds go towards therapeutic coaching & vent sessions that offer healing safe spaces for Black women + men to engage in mental health care without judgement for their cultural beliefs.

Art by @ashton.creates

We’re kicking off the fourth season of CTZN podcast with Tracee Stanley who’s new book Radiant Rest: Yoga Nidra for Deep Relaxation & Awakened Clarity is right on time. In it, Tracee says that rest is our birthright, and when we are able to embrace that - we begin to see how we have been asleep in our lives. It is an essential practice in a moment when dominant culture is telling us to get back to normal and perform being woke. We practice rest so that we can remain awake - awake to the reality of our interdependence and collective survival. Tracee reminds us that rest is revolutionary. It is how we take our power back and live into the more just and generous future that we all deserve. 

Art by @ryan_lemere


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