Kayann Comeaux is a long time Southside resident, multi-faceted artist, and community connector. She has written 4 books, a stage play, and is a nationally recognized columnist. Her youth advocacy led to the creation of a robotics initiative to inspire future generations in tech. She is thrilled to combine her skillset in the Arts, Community, and Leadership at HOBT with fresh eyes and an eager heart to drive the mission of this Southside staple, home.
Listen to Kayann read her reflection or view the transcript below!
Summer 2020 was the coldest season of all my forty years living.
In a matter of moments our world stopped. Masks. Now we must smell our own breath. Breath.
Whoever would’ve thought breathing would be so sacred?
Yet so easily taken. Our breath.
By force. By shock.
Watching his last breath…
We were forced in our homes.
Forced to face who didn’t have them.
Not only confronted with ourselves, but the ignored behaviors that shaped our exhaustion.
Who did you become when things fell apart…? What did you learn about what you believed in…?
This summer forced a fire within to ignite your truth, just as a series of epic events exposed lines once previously blurred.
Under city ordinance for masks our truths were revealed. The core of our fundamental belief systems were challenged in ways perfunctory performances previously never were.
You can’t fake your support of equity on a zoom call.
This summer we saw the ration if not disproportionate distribution of wealth trickled resources.
Places where the community relied on itself to survive painted pictures of armed Black bodies protecting their blocks, boxing gyms giving the elderly rides for meds, churches sharing space, and countless orgs collecting donations to redistribute food and supplies.
We witnessed community survival while on the brink of tears this summer.
Tears of frustration, tears of rage, tears from the air, tears from fears that appear all too real, this summer, we saw ourselves on the ground, in the street, still begging to exist in our Black bodies.
That’s been hard.
Personally, I hold deep gratitude for my HOBT team not only naming the work prior to my joining the team but living through the shared experience with the challenges with change. Feeling affirmed in the work I do, like community chats about resources or checking in with donors on updates, is just as vital as my existence being affirmed on my team.
Nothing about any of this has been easy, but it is work I believe in with folx whose words and actions align. We will make it to the other side, with community, through conversation and action, using art as a unifying language in an hour where hate is primetime. We will rise.
Reflecting on March through the summer we’re surviving, with tears in my eyes I smile because I witnessed us survive. From delivering birthday libations to my door to the sacred & intentional care package when I took ill, nothing I saw this summer did I see it alone on this team.
That means something significant to me. A Black body.
Written & Performed by Kayann Comeaux
opening music: Padintonbear "Re: Joyce" via Free Music Archie
closing music: Chad Crouch "Children by the Creek (instrumental)" via Free Music Archive