Announcing MILES of melanin: travel grants for Melanated artists & activists
miles of melanin is founded by activists Xan West, Yvette Blair-Lavallais, and myself, Vahisha Hasan.
As melanated women of color, we know the challenges of navigating spaces where traditionally our presence is missing.
The biggest barrier is funding for travel. We three women — from the east, west coast, and southwest, respectively — connected when we were accepted as academic fellows to Princeton Theological Seminary’s Black Theology and Leadership Institute (BTLI).
Getting to the space to engage with and learn from scholars who are doing liberative and restorative justice work was the immediate challenge. Unlike some of our colleagues, none of us were financially supported by an academic or religious institution. We were solely responsible for the cost of registration, lodging, and travel. We relied on funding support from friends and organizations to help with the expense of traveling and lodging.
Doing the liberative work of social justice is expensive. Choosing which conferences, symposiums, and workshops to attend requires negotiating how to navigate the cost of these spaces.
That’s why we want to help other melanated activists, writers, and artists navigate spaces by offering travel grants.