"Spreading the Black Joy Virus" is a community- and youth-enrichment campaign envisioned in Portland (OR), during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic. We want it to celebrate the fact that, for centuries, the Black community has always made a way out of no way. And when challenging moments like this arise, the Sankofa bird within the JOY reminds us to reach back and fetch our ancestral resilience, creativity and sense of community.
Radical Black Joy is our inheritance.
Photo Credit: Jacobsen Valentine
"When you live in this community, you really deeply appreciate the people who make it a better place....(Renee) has brought such beauty and such joy and such depth to our community.”
~ the late City Commissioner Nick Fish
(at 2019 Spirit of Portland Award ceremony)
A 2019-20 Spirit of Portland winner, multimedia artist and an award-winning, former newspaper journalist, Renee is best described as a Creative Revolutionist™ because she is difficult to define & too multifaceted to compartmentalize. She is currently a 2021 doctoral candidate at the University of Oregon, specializing in empowering Black youth to creatively heal from racial trauma. Renee also is the founding director of I Am MORE, a transformative youth-development program. Motivated by intention and heART, Renee's deepest desire is to use her creativity to help others let go, gather up and move on.