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You Are Your Best Thing : Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience - Tarana Burke

You Are Your Best Thing

Vulnerability, Shame Resilience, and the Black Experience

By: Tarana Burke (Editor), Brene Brown (Editor)

Hardcover | 27 April 2021

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Tarana Burke and Dr. Brene Brown bring together a dynamic group of Black writers, organizers, artists, academics, and cultural figures to discuss the topics the two have dedicated their lives to understanding and teaching: vulnerability and shame resilience.

Contributions by Kiese Laymon, Imani Perry, Laverne Cox, Jason Reynolds, Austin Channing Brown, and more

It started as a text between two friends.

Tarana Burke, founder of the 'me too.' Movement, texted researcher and writer Bren Brown to see if she was free to jump on a call. Bren assumed that Tarana wanted to talk about wallpaper. They had been trading home decorating inspiration boards in their last text conversation so Bren started scrolling to find her latest Pinterest pictures when the phone rang.

But it was immediately clear to Bren that the conversation wasn't going to be about wallpaper. Tarana's hello was serious and she hesitated for a bit before saying, "Bren , you know your work affected me so deeply. It's been a huge gift in my life. But as a Black woman, I've sometimes had to feel like I have to contort myself to fit into some of your words. The core of it rings so true for me, but the application has been harder."

Bren replied, "I'm so glad we're talking about this. It makes sense to me. Especially in terms of vulnerability. How do you take the armor off in a country where you're not physically or emotionally safe?"

Long pause.

"That's why I'm calling," said Tarana. "What do you think about working together on a book about the Black experience with vulnerability and shame resilience?"

There was no hesitation.

Burke and Brown are the perfect pair to usher in this stark, potent collection of essays on Black shame and healing (and contribute their own introductions to the work). Along with the anthology contributors, they create a space to recognize and process the trauma of white supremacy, a space to be vulnerable and affirm the fullness of Black love and Black life.

About the Authors

Tarana J. Burke has worked at the intersection of sexual violence and racial justice for more than twenty-five years. She has created and led various campaigns to interrupt sexual violence and other systemic inequalities disproportionately impacting marginalized people, particularly Black women and girls, including the 'me too' movement. Burke was part of the Silence Breakers, named Time magazine's 2017 Person of the Year, and one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in 2018. She has also received the 2019 Sydney Peace Prize, Harvard University's Gleitsman Award, and the Ridenhour Courage Prize.

Brené Brown, PhD, LMSW is a research professor at the University of Houston where she holds the Huffington Foundation-Brené Brown Endowed Chair at The Graduate College of Social Work. She has spent the last two decades studying courage, vulnerability, shame and empathy, and is the author of four #1 New York Times bestsellers: Braving the Wilderness, The Gifts of Imperfection, Daring Greatly and Rising Strong. Brené's TED talk, The Power of Vulnerability, is one of the top five most viewed TED talks in the world with over 45 million views. Brené lives in Houston, Texas, with her husband, Steve, and their children, Ellen and Charlie.

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