An Emergent Conversation: Rest, Revolution and Liberation

Women's Herstory Month 2021 Keynote Presentation

As we move into Women’s Herstory Month, we recognize the need to assert rest as a site for liberation within our voices, bodies and stories. This year, the theme for NC State’s Black History Month asked us to stop and consider rest as a place for liberation, necessary for pleasure, joy and resistance.

The Women’s Center extends this theme into March as a month to explore our past, present and future as we begin to think about ourselves as sites for a revolution at the intersection of our internal interrogation of self and identity with the theme of “Our Voices, Our  Bodies, Our Stories: The Revolution within Us.”

In partnership with the African American Cultural Center and Multicultural Student Affairs, this year’s keynote, “An Emergent Conversation: Rest, Revolution, and Liberation,features Yaba Blay, scholar-activist, public speaker, cultural consultant, and creator of #professionalblackgirl; Natalie Bullock-Brown from NC State’s Department of Interdisciplinary Studies; and student scholars Joanay Tann and Kali Fillhart.  

Our intention is to weave together discussions on the work of liberation and acting as sites for revolution as we learn to foreground our own joy and take action. 

We chose the emergent conversation format to intentionally allow for our speakers to share freely, weave in personal experience, and show the connections across all for their areas of expertise and experience.  We imagine this dialogue to truly be a journey, which curves and traces the connections between our everyday actions as we begin to understand these movements as acts of revolution and liberation.

As members of the university community, we will also challenge ourselves to think about the ways that we may engage institutions of higher education in restful, revolutionary and liberatory practices.  Let this be a starting point for our own journeys to unpack what rest, revolution and liberation look like for us.

Get a Copy of the Book

In addition to participation in this deep and thoughtful dialogue, participants will have the opportunity to obtain a copy of Yaba Blay’s new book, One Drop, which explores the extent to which historical definitions of race continue to shape contemporary racial identities and lived experiences of racial difference. Featuring the perspectives of 60 contributors representing 25 countries and combining candid narratives with striking portraiture, the book provides living testimony to the diversity of Blackness.

Staff will randomly select 25 names of those that register for the keynote and attend in its entirety to pick up the book from the Women’s Center when notified.

Add a Women’s Herstory Month Event

Is your department, unit or organization planning events for Women’s Herstory Month? We would love to include those opportunities as part of our calendar. Be sure to list your events on the university calendar and tag #WHM21. See all the Women’s Herstory month events at

Lisa LaBarbera-Mascote is director of the Women’s Center.