Entrepreneur, Gabrielle Burks founded A Conscious Conversation, Non Profit with the future of our children deeply in mind. As a mother, she understands the necessity of community cohesiveness.
“I’m a mother first so the balance is real. To know me as I lead the building of our organization is to know my daughter. She comes to meetings with me, knows the team by name, and said to me just last week. “Mom – I want to work at A Conscious Conversation STL when I grow up.” That was big for me, as a mom who just left her full-time career to build a non-profit, that was confirmation!”
Inspired by the organization: “Truth Telling – Ferguson,” A Conscious Conversation STL is an organized forum that promotes unity and cohesiveness through debate, expression, and poetry. The purpose is to empower and unite the Black and underserved; to give a voice to the voiceless. Creative director, Gabby Burks, was inspired to take these steps towards understanding and self awareness after the events in Ferguson showed how divided we are as a community.
“The changes that would come out of these discussions would be people loving each other, walking in their gifts and callings, and giving back to their communities – all because we had a conversation! A wise man once said, the answers to Black empowerment & rebuilding the Black community is within ourselves.”
The non-profit that holds monthly discussions about issues that plague the Black community, such as colorism, self love, and conflict resolution. Members include Amber Walker, Christine Stallworth, Calvert Johnson, Aza Njeri, Misone Adiasor, Devin Ross, and Jamar Pinkston. Gabby is inspired by the tenacity of this small and organic group.
“Being the creative director, I must work to manage all the moving parts – Amber conditions me to consider things from an operational stand point. Slowing me down with questions that start with, ‘Have you considered.’ Christine Stallworth, who is a Conscious advisor inspires me with her assertiveness. She comes up with valuable content that streamlines us and just tells it like it is!”
The next discussion will take place May 20th at Queen of Sheba. It will cover colorism and ”situationships.” Urban dictionary defines situationships as any problematic relationship characterized by one or more unresolved, interpersonal conflicts. usually confused with dating. Panelist are volunteers and hand picked members of the community. This upcoming panel will include: Aza Njeri, a Conscious advisor on the panel discussing colorism and Dr. David Ragland, the co-director of A Truth Telling Ferguson & a professor in Pennsylvania. All that is asked of attendees is that they come with an open mind, open ears, and an opinion.
“We want people to be engaged, give their opinion, feel heard & empowered. Then after that, we want them to DO the WORK. Enlightenment is like school, right? You have to apply the things we are saying our solutions to colorism, or monogamy. We don’t want this to feel like something people do once a month and then return to their corners of the world. We want friendships, coalitions and scholars to be born out of this movement. You have to give back, volunteer your time, mentor, and realize that your community is waiting on your talents.”
Gabby Burks is also planning a festival for the conscious community.
“We are currently partnering with Harris Stowe State University for a festival to celebrate our culture – Conscious Fest. This will take place on Saturday August 27th. Here you’ll find live music, a poetry cypher, barbeque, STL businesses and non-profits, political figures, and A Conscious Conversation discussing the quality of an HBCU education and the effects of Hip-Hop in the Black culture. We are looking for more bodies, as we have work to do. If people are interested in joining the movement please contact us through the Gmail or Facebook.”
A Conscious Conversation, the non profit can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org