Zakiya is a Southern Black queer writer and editor, youth advocate, and communications strategist who believes in the transformative power of storytelling to uproot racist systems, transform culture, and ultimately change the world.
With roots in North Carolina’s community newspapers and radio programs, she moved to Oakland to fuse her passion for writing and storytelling with her desire to realize more justice and empathy. She found herself in a familial community as a communications and media intern at the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. Zakiya went on to work at Fenton, where she provided media relations, messaging and strategic communications support to grassroots nonprofits and foundations within the firm’s social justice practice.
Most recently, she worked at Blackbird to further the communications strategies of the Movement for Black Lives—a coalition of more than 50 organizations committed to fighting for Black liberation and community, institutional, cultural, and systems transformation.
Why are you a strategist for good?
“My communications practice is a love of language, a pirouette with Black Queer Feminist (BQF) praxis, and a forever connection to Black womxn and girls who channel generational struggle into generational healing, wisdom, and truth.
I’m always curious about the new ways I can merge my skills in media, organizing, and journalism to develop and execute communication strategies for folx who are committed to making bold interventions to advance Black freedom, justice, and liberation.”
What’s your superpower?
“It’s in my Aries nature to generate (and unapologetically share) unconventional and visionary ideas all day, everyday — no matter how early or late in the day it is — and intuitively move on them. You’ll often find me quickly jotting down notes in my phone, passionately doodling in notebooks, or slowly filling in blank pages of watercolor sketchbooks as I absorb information, reimagine the seemingly impossible, and creatively chart new pathways forward.”
Who is your intellectual crush?
“Octavia Butler. She reminds me that:
All that you touch
All that you Change
The only lasting truth
Through her, I marvel at the fact that Black womxn are the embodiment of Change and already living in the future! I hear her whisper, “So be it, get to it!” And am inspired to dream big, conjure Freedom by way of word-weaving, and remain grounded in my personal healing journey.”