Black Womxn Storytellers: Through Lesedi’s Lens
Anna Del Castillo (she/her/hers) is a Mississippian, Peruvian-Bolivian American, and faith-rooted activist for justice. She is pursuing a Master of Divinity as a Dean’s Fellow at Harvard Divinity School where she studies at the intersection of public policy, racial justice, and healing. She is also an Interfaith America Racial Equity Fellow.
You know those moments in life when you meet someone and you’re immediately in awe. That was my experience meeting Lesedi Graveline three years ago in my living room as she visited one of my housemates. Our first conversation was a deep dive into our spirituality, our visions for justice, and our desire to be forever learners. Little did I know that Lesedi would soon become one of my classmates and closest friends at Harvard Divinity School. As a Black woman, storyteller, scholar and practitioner, Lesedi is committed to sharing her divinity school education with those outside of academia’s exclusive, ivy-covered gates. She recently launched a podcast, Through Lesedi’s Lens where she redistributes resources and knowledge that she has access to through Harvard.
For Lesedi, storytelling is both her calling in life and quite literally part of her DNA. As a Motswana-American, she is motivated by the oral traditions of her ancestry. She will graduate from Harvard Divinity School with a Master of Theological Studies in May 2021. At Harvard, she explores the history and narratives of the African diaspora, Black cultural production, and transformative justice. She is most interested in fostering spaces of resistance, radical inquiry, and growth.
Some of Lesedi's most recent projects include co-editing and co-creating a 100-page literary magazine that celebrates Black and Brown contemporary creators titled, Freedom School: A Seminar on Theory and Praxis for Black Studies in the United States. She is also currently serving as an organizer and co-chair for the 2021 Black Religion, Spirituality, and Culture Conference. A graduate of the University of Connecticut, she is passionate about expanding her leadership through mentoring and empowering young people. Her most urgent tasks include embodying ethical leadership and navigating the connection between personal transformation and social change.
I sat down with Lesedi to talk about storytelling as a tool for radical social change, truth-telling and bridging the gap between the world as it is and the world as it should be. Through our colorful conversation, Lesedi discusses her experience launching her own podcast, highlights the urgency of sharing and listening to Black women’s voices, and offers advice to those considering engaging in storytelling.
This is storytelling through Lesedi’s lens.
If you are looking for a way to become an interfaith leader, work for racial equity and build bridges, please check out our free curriculum "We Are Each Other's" and start your interfaith leadership today.
more from IFYC
The opinions contained in this piece are solely the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the views of Interfaith Youth Core. Interfaith America encourages a wide range of views and strives to maintain a respectful tone with a goal of greater understanding and cooperation between people of different faiths, worldviews, and traditions.