I needed to be able to provide more than a board seat. I needed to be hands-on, directly involved in the work. You’re truly free. You’re the boss. But sometimes I’m like, ‘I’m the boss. I’m leaving town. I need a mental-health day.’ My mother struggles with mental illness and I think that a lot of my passion is birthed out of helping people understand that the help is there. I truly aspire to be the woman I needed as a child.
Black people are so multifaceted and multidimensional. There is no monolithic Blackness. I think everyone wants this one Black experience, but the Black experience is so complex. There’s levels to it; there’s layers to it. And when I say Black people I mean every shade of Black, every dimension of Blackness, every identity within Blackness, every part of the spectrum, including LGBTQ+. I am most passionate about Black people. Period.
Breonna hit different. It just — it shattered me to my core. I heard about it from Facebook and I just remember crying. I cried for hours. I called everybody I knew and just cried and cried and cried. My heart ached. I remember (protesting) and just being full of emotion, and I cried and I cried until I had no more tears and nothing left in me. I was like, ‘This is not my position in the protest. I can’t be on the front lines. I have to go back home, regroup and figure out where my place is in this.’ Which is when I started cooking meals. I can take food to the park. I can drop off supplies at the park.
I find a lot of joy in hugs from Black women. That is what ultimately recharges me. Sometimes you just gotta mask up and hug somebody because those hugs and that touch are important. My sister’s in Houston, and she brings me joy. I will literally book a flight to go hug her. I just got back from Houston on Monday, and when I was there I just had to go put my feet in the water. I’ve always loved water since I was a little girl. I love the flowiness of water — maybe because the water is free and I like the idea of freedom.
There is power in your name. My name is Nannie Grace Croney, and I am the firstborn daughter of my mother and father. My name comes from my maternal grandmother and paternal grandmother. I’ve seen so much of 26 showing me them in my mannerisms and my disruptiveness, and the fact that I don’t take much from anyone. I see that coming from the backbone of strong Black women. Lineage is important. And 26 has helped me appreciate my name more than I ever have in my entire life.”