Episode 1: Dana Saxon - "Identity Reparations"

If you’ve been around The Black Expat for awhile, you’ll know that Dana Saxon isn’t new to these parts. As a regular contributor, Dana has provided an honest, authentic and sometimes difficulties of living life as an expat.

Writer. Disruptor. Nomad.  Activist. Awkward Black Girl. Any one of those labels work when it comes to describing Dana. She’s especially passionate about Black representation & power and this has only amplified while living abroad.  She launched Ancestors Unknown, to disrupt history education and challenge the notions of identity and heritage.

Here are some excerpts from Amanda’s conversation with Dana.  You can listen to the full episode on Spotify,  Anchor or wherever you get your podcasts. You can can also visit The Black Expat YouTube Channel to listen in. 

For Dana’s TBE articles visit here

Why She Launched Ancestors Unknown

I started digging into the archives myself kind of in a contrary way to prove this theory that I had - that the archives are racist is just as much as the whole United States of America. That they've written us out because they have enslaved and oppressed our ancestors. There's nothing to be learned in the archives about them, but I did that research and I started to learn about my ancestors in a mind-blowing way.

I learned so much about my ancestors even in a short term... During that time, I was working for an education non-profit organization, and I was already getting tired of working on someone else's mission, I'm all about education, I'm all about Black and Brown kids, but I was thinking there a way for me to serve Black and Brown children without working for a white run organization.

Finding Community with Black Women

Black women have always been one of my primary sources of support and just positive energy. There were just a few Black women that I met when I first moved to Amsterdam, and those were my first friends and my first entry into understanding the local community and getting a feel for what life is in the Netherlands beyond being a student or beyond being just a visitor or an expat. So yeah, connecting with Black women was the key for me to understand and make a life there, so... That was pivotal.

On living in the UK

Like I said earlier, those Black women here and they're an incredible community, and I feel they are smart and progressive and making some serious moves in terms of de-colonizing education, which obviously is right up my lane and thinking really progressively about how we can address the racism socially, politically. So I'm tapping into those networks and finding my people. I'm still new, but I'm working on finding my people and still doing the right work here.

Learn more about Ancestors Unknown at ancestors-unknown.org. You can also follow the organization on Instagram and Twitter (@ancestorsunknown).

To hear the full episode, click below or listen wherever you get your podcasts.

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