Creating Spaces to Fully Express Our Blackness:
A Conversation with Katja Kinder, Peggy Piesche, Prof. Dr. Maisha Maureen Auma of Generation Adefra: Black Women in Germany
Generation Adefra is a socio-cultural space defined by and for Black women and gender independent people, whose contribution to social movements is often minimized if not rendered invisible. Their focus is on creating movement spaces that aim to connect Black lives while honoring their complexities, intersectionality, diversity and differences. Movement spaces are often romanticized and examined through rose-colored glasses as spaces of common understanding and unity, but how can we connect across differences in space, time, and identity, particularly when we’re in conflict with each other? How do we create spaces in which we are able to express our Blackness fully?
When we share our stories with each other, it’s vital that we be vulnerable. I can’t listen through layers upon layers in order to understand that person’s core. Their vulnerability has to be shown before they can be fully heard. Then, even if I don’t agree with what that person is saying, I can at least take what they are saying seriously.
This question of how we as a community, as a collective, can envision a future which is borne out of intergenerational love and love for community allows us to survive the atrocities in the physical places in which we live. The older I get, the more I see how imperative it is to work from a strong foundation of love for community. From there we can build our own chosen families. Here I’m able to achieve a feeling I couldn’t within my own biological family. That love is political.
We are taught not to love blackness, not to love ourselves, and we are also taught not to give each other dignity. It’s becoming clearer to me that actually seeing each other with tenderness, to experience those small moments of Black joy that are part of our daily routine, are incredibly important. Yes, there’s that foundation of love, but it’s also a foundation of Black joy.
—Prof. Dr. Maisha Auma
Katja Kinder, born in Berlin-West in 1966, is an educator, empowerment trainer, diversity leader, and conflict mediator. She taught German as a second language and Gender and Diversity Studies courses in Berlin and Stendal from 1990-2017, and she is currently the Managing Director of the NGO RAA-Berlin, an Education Rights Agency for BPOC communities. Katja is a founding member of the Black queer-feminist organization Generation Adefra: Black Women in Germany, a Black feminist thinktank she leads with Prof. Dr. Maisha Auma and Peggy Piesche. Through this platform, they carry out different strategies against anti-Black racism and develop Black feminist knowledge production.
Peggy Piesche, born and raised in Arnstadt/GDR, is a literary and Cultural Studies scholar. She is heading the Department of Political Education and Plural Democracy at the Federal Agency for Civic Education (bpb) with a focus on diversity, intersectionality, and decoloniality. She is also an activist with Adefra: Black Women in Germany and a board member of the Association of the Worldwide Study of the African Diaspora (ASWAD).
Prof. Dr. Maisha M. Auma is an educator, Gender Studies scholar, and activist. Her research focuses on diversity, inequality, and plurality in textbooks and didactical materials in East and West Germany, intersectional sexual education as empowerment for Black communities and communities of color, critical whiteness, intersectionality, decoloniality, and critical race theory. She has been Professor for Childhood and Difference (Diversity Studies) at the University for Applied Sciences, Magdeburg – Stendal since 2008, a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Transdisciplinary Gender Studies and the Institute of Education at the Humboldt University Berlin from 2014-2019, and a Visiting Professor at the Centre for Interdisciplinary Gender Studies of the Technical University Berlin from 2020-2021. She currently holds the Audre Lorde Guest Professorship for Intersectional Diversity Studies in the Diversity and Gender Equality Network (DiGENet) of the Berlin University Alliance (BUA). Prof. Dr. Auma has been active in the Black queer-feminist collective Adefra: Black Women in Germany since 1993. Together with Peggy Piesche and Katja Kinder, she also carried out a consultation process in cooperation with the LADS, the State Agency for Equal Treatment and Against Discrimination for the State of Berlin, entitled “Making Visible the Discrimination and Social Resilience of People of African Heritage in Berlin” in 2018. It was a project within BLACK BERLIN, the UN-Decade for People of African Heritage 2015-2024.
The Highlights | Witnessed | The Co-Authors | #FemGeniusesinBerlin | The Dedication | The Acknowledgements | The Preface | The Foreword | The Introduction | Chapter Two | Chapter Three | Chapter Four | Chapter Five | Chapter Six | Chapter Seven | The Afterword | Buy the Book | Events | Book Dr. Lewis | Feel the Love