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Tashell Mitchell

Outreach Associate, Washington, DC

For me, this work is an act of liberation: an effort to leave no stones unturned. And hopefully, with liberation will come a sense of radical love where we care for ourselves and others well.

Tashell found her way to DC eight years ago by way of West Virginia, which meant grease crackling in a cast iron skillet, winding backroads, and a strong sense of community. Her grandparents raised her and used everyone around to help — from aunts, to church, to little ladies up the street in housecoats. Tashell grew up with some unfavorable events, but this love that she knew was enough. When Tashell decided to attend American University, she originally thought she wanted to go into politics. She knew from experience just how broken the system was and I figured putting on a suit and campaigning would change that. But that’s the beauty of the District. The more Tashell began working with local nonprofits and volunteering and mentoring, she realized that the work she wanted to do was local, and it was personal. It was opportunities like walking her kids home amidst a shootout, or defining the terms ‘pride,’ ‘purpose,’ and ‘power’ for children who had only ever heard to take what they were given, that let Tashell know she had a different calling. Tashell knew she wanted to be part of the same village that raised her. Organizations like the Black Swan Academy afforded Tashell that, and gifted her with a journey of heartaches, headaches, and breakthroughs. Tashell spent her undergrad experience examining the criminal justice system and imagining what reform would look like. So much of her work since then has been meeting folks where they are, working within the existing systems.

Tashell examined government and a good deal of the philosophical theory behind it, and she’s come to believe that “we are all we’ve got.” So Tashell does this work as a sister, a niece, a cousin, a granddaughter, a neighbor just checking in. She steps into these spaces as an ear, as a helping hand, and hopefully as an agent of change — as one single voice to remind all, who we are and what we know is precious. Tashell strongly believes that if we utilize who and what we know properly, we are able to overcome even an entire system. Tashell plans to eventually go into policy and make an impact at a macro level, but for now, on the ground is good. Tashell’s hope is that when you see her, you get a glimpse of the revolution.

 

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