Between Ourselves: Rhiannon Chester

By |2013-07-18T09:00:00-04:00July 18th, 2013|Michigan, News|

By Crystal Proxmire

1. How did you first find out about KICK and what have you learned by being part of it?
I found out about KICK through a friend who introduced me to Curtis Lipscomb. I attended a few Live and Learn (now Talk Tuesday) sessions. Sometime later I received an email from KICK about the L.E.A.D.( Learn Educate Advocate Drive) Academy. That same friend that introduced me to Curtis encouraged me to join the program. I took her advice and my life changed.
I’ve learned indescribable lessons by being apart of the KICK family, but the think that I reflect on most is the fact that I do have a voice. So often in marginalized communities we are made to feel that we don’t have a say, but through exercising my own voice I see that I have social, political and economic power.

2. What does the Young Adult Board of Advisors do? How many people are on it?
The Young Adult Board of Advisors serve as an advisory board to the Execuetive Board of KICK. YABA develops workshops, events, summits and fundraisers to bring awareness not only to the role Black youth and young adults already play in the movement but also serve as a reminder for the necessity of having youth in decision making positions. There are 11 voting members and members at large,

3. What has been your role in helping with Hotter than July?
The Young Adult Board of Advisors was given the opportunity to plan and execute a youth and young adult summit. As a member, I have been apart of the conception, brainstorming and planning of the Generation NOW: Youth and Young Adult Summit which will be held at the University of Michigan Detroit Center 3663 Woodward Ave Detroit, MI on Thursday, July 25th from 12pm-8pm.
I am a member of the HTJ Film Festival Committee where the best in Black LGBT Cinema will be honored on Thursday July 25th from 5:30 p.m. to 12 a.m. at Cass City Cinema 3420 Cass Ave. in Detroit.
Mpowerment Detroit, where I serve as Co-Program Coordinator, is in collaboration with HTJ’s Generation Now Summit and will host its 6th Annual Townhall Discussion as a part of the Youth and Young Adult Summit on Thursday, July 25th.

4. What is the Woman 2 Woman group? What are you most proud of about the group?
Woman 2 Woman us a program designed to create the bridge between generations of Black women in order to forge a solid sisterhood. W2W is a sex specific safe space for lesbian, bi-attractional, same gender loving and queer Black women to collectively debrief and heal ourselves. I am most proud of the relationships that have been created through W2W and with other women’s groups; we are sisters. We love and support each other, for that I am proud and grateful.

5. How long have you been going to Hotter Than July for? How long have you been part of its planning?
I have been going to Hotter than July since the summer of 2005. I started attending planning meetings in 2012.

6. What was the most touching or memorable thing you experienced at Hotter Than July?
The most memorable thing I’ve experienced is being stopped by a 76 year old lesbian on my way into the park a couple years ago. She wanted to know my story because she “sensed” something. We talked for over an hour about our lives; she told me how her life was an out Black lesbian growing up. She taught me many things that I’ll never forget. I’ll never forget her even though I though I don’t know her.

7. What are your personal goals over the next few years?
My personal goals over the next few years are to establish myself as a non-commercial photographer of and in marginalized communities, especially Black women. It is my belief that we have to see ourselves visibly represented as beautiful and powerful to feel and act in accordance with that belief. I plan to enroll into the Master’s of Social Justice program at Marygrove College. I also plan to learn financial literacy in order to make investments into my community.

8. Anything else readers should know about you?
My life is my passion. Everything I do roots from my heart.

About the Author:

BTL Staff
Between The Lines has been publishing LGBTQ-related content in Southeast Michigan since the early '90s. This year marks the publication's 27th anniversary.