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Dark Matter

What is this Dark Matter?

I look at Black people as being Dark Matter.

We are that mysterious substance in the universe holding it all together with our gravity-pull,

as you look at us through the telescope wondering who we are. Where did we come from?

And How do we continue to exist?

Are we a threat to you?

We can't be seen.

No one will listen.

We can bend light with our gasps, our wails, our gospel, our discourse, our rap, our rage, our outcry, our

spirituals, our weeps, our silent whispers, our Ebonics, our music, our complaints, our jokes, our dry

humor, our stories, our peaceful resistance, our satire, our blues, our narrative,

always pushed back,

ignored, blamed,

telling us we do not emit light.

and yet you pass through us like we are not there,

but you work us, drug us, redefine us,

tax us, imitate us, enslave us, cheat us, berate us,

watch us and secretly peep at us,

stereotype and profile us, arrest us, kill, kill, kill us,

suppress us.  (GASP)

I can't breathe….

Well, we exist.

We are Dark Matter.


Author(s)

Jacqueline Samuel

Jacqueline Samuel

I was born and raised on the south side of Chicago. I discovered my decolonialize space in the arts through performing, visual arts, stage directing, curating, and producing. The process is liberating. With the arts being a reflection of life it provides me with a platform to engage, enlighten, and raise consciousness of audiences about topics and/or issues that they should be aware of.

 

When I realized that the arts were being taken out of the school system in the early 90’s, I made it my mission to integrate the arts in all that I do to demonstrate its significance and purpose in our lives. Sometimes subtle sometimes broad no matter which, the essence of the arts will always be evident in my work.

 

Two of my most inspiring performances touched on subjects about racism and Black woman empowerment. The play about racism was called “The Good Times are Killing Me” by Lynda Barry and “for colored girls who have considered suicide when the rainbow is enuf” by Ntozoke Shange, a critically acclaimed collection of poetry about the awakening and empowerment of the Black woman. Some of my arts projects include but not limited to curating the artwork of Bernard Williams collection called “Black Cowboys”. Nothing filled my spirit more than watching a 13 years old Black male youth in a hypnotic gaze looking at Bernard’s work. Hosting Indira Johnson’s 8 Buddha sculptures representing peace placed throughout the South Chicago Community was also humbling. This project provided me with the opportunity to invite local artist to compliment Indira’s work by creating arts projects for peace with the residents at each sculpture location. Besides entertainment, I also have used the arts as a community development tool for beautification, preserving history, and telling our stories. I have made a huge leap from performing on stage to integrating the arts into the classroom and in communities.  I believe it was those creative experiences through collaborations and community engagement that provided a protective factor for me (and the participant) by reducing the psychological trauma of oppression and providing a decolonialize space as respite so that I could achieve the following accomplishments.

 

Jacqueline Samuel, Ph.D. is the Program Director of the Master of Public Administration and Assistant Professor at National Louis University. She is actually returning to NLU as she earned her MA in Public Policy and Ph.D. in Community Psychology.  Previously Jacqueline served as the Project Manager for the Housing Authority of Cook County, South Suburban Safe and Thriving Communities Program to address youth violence in 3 suburban townships. She also facilitated and developed quality of life programs for 10 years in the South Chicago Area.  She has served on the Health and Healing committee/ Mayor’s Commission for a Safer Chicago, The Mayor’s Kitchen Cabinet Commercial Development Advisory, Advocate Trinity Hospital Community Health Council, Community Advisory Review Council for the Institute for Translational Medicine (CARC) and the Illinois ACE’s Response Collaborative.  Her dissertation was about community engagement titled, “Advancing the Block Club Model as a Violence Reduction Strategy”.  She was also a Co-Investigator for Community Academic Collaboration to Prevent Violence in Chicago Research for Lurie Children’s Hospital Strengthening Chicago’s Youth.  Her most recent awards include National Louis University REACH Award, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital Courage Award, and the Chicago Police Department CAPS Award for the 4th District area.


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