Erin: Within, Between, & Beyond
Updated: Jul 17, 2021
Within, Between, and Beyond is a multi-layered art installation and participatory experience sharing an evolving archive of stories from Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) who identify as Mixed Race or Transracial or Transnational Adoptee. Interviews for the video portion of the installation were conducted by Lola Osunkoya, who here introduces our subjects and shares a few highlights from their stories.
Erin self-identifies as a mixed race Black woman, cis, and queer. Erin uses she/her pronouns.
I met Erin and her wife, Zoe, at the first MidWest Mixed Dialogue I ever attended! Brilliant and creative, I admired her as a collaborator on the first MWM Conference, volunteer activities, and when I hosted a writing workshop she facilitated. In our interviews for Within, Between, and Beyond, Erin had a really clear and nuanced take on her identity as a mixed Black woman.
I used to identify as biracial, that’s what I said when I was growing up. And I think that’s not untrue about me! I think I’m read in the world as a Black woman, and I enter spaces and I’m happy and honored to be part of a community of Black women.
My mixed identity is really important to me, and so I acknowledge it when I talk about it - in part because I’m crazy about my family and I love them very much and I want to signal them in my identity. But I know that for me, my identity as a Black woman is important, it’s a part of my lived experience. It’s not the only thing, but it’s important to me.
Being mixed and Black is not new in the history of our country, it’s from the foundations. There are people whose families have been mixed forever. It’s important for me to acknowledge the State in the ways that I identify, that the State has created violent relationships between the people I’m descendant from.
I’m a Black woman, and there are all different kinds of Black women. And I’m a Black mixed race woman. So both things are important for me to talk about.
As with many of us who have multiple identities and intersecting identities, Erin is able to hold a lot of complexity - both/and. Hear her speak more about this subject and other fascinating aspects of her experience - Within, Between, and Beyond runs 7/16/21-10/31/21 at Mia!