Sheba • Education and Training Consultant & Mom
Sheba is a mom, a proud podcast enthusiast, and a Jewish woman of color. I met Sheba a year ago through a mutual friend who grew up in Park Hill. We were instantaneous friends. When I asked her what it means to be Black in Denver, as usual, she dropped gems.
How long have you lived in Denver?
I have lived in Denver, Colorado for almost three years.
Who are you?
As I reflect back on the first year of twin motherhood, I realize that most days it takes conscious effort to tune into my own needs and hear my own thoughts. It takes intention in order to remember who I was before I was somebody’s mama – because that person is important. At the top of the list of things that help me reconnect to the parts of myself that make me feel like ME is to sing. Music helps me stay whole and when I sing, I choose to bring myself into a place of joy. Music helps me not to forget about the person I used to be.
Who are you? has followed me most of my life and has inspired a lot of self-inquiry and at times insecurity. Growing up with my six siblings who looked like me, who I was made sense. But outside of the home I struggled to know where I fit in. It wasn’t until later in life that I learned to meet my multiple identities with curiosity – and at that point, I was led down a path toward finding community and belonging. That work still continues, and I have grown to be proud of who I am – and I want my children to feel the same about who they are. I identify as a Black woman and also as a multiracial or biracial/mixed-race; and my ethnic or cultural heritage is Black and Jewish. My children are mixed with Gambian, West African lineage.
I was raised to love my blackness, but to also understand that not everyone saw it as something to be celebrated. I am curious about the conversations we will have with our children about race: how will they identify in terms of race? How will the way others see them impact the way they see themselves?
One lesson that I look forward to is sharing with the babies is that being Black is not one thing: we come in all shades of melanin, with all types of hair textures and colors, in all body shapes, sizes and abilities, from many different backgrounds, religions, national origins and ways of existing and being in the world. Being black is so many, beautiful, unique things.
What does it mean to you to be Black in Denver?
For me, being Black in Denver is about building community and creating awareness of the many vibrant entrepreneurs, culture creators, and dope vibe-makers living here.
What do you love most about living in Denver?
I am originally from Madison, Wisconsin, and when I would travel people would ask me, “Are there any Black people there?” The answer was, yes there are, but that said, I did have to put myself out there to find opportunities to share space and connect in meaningful ways within the Black community. I find it to be similar here in Denver – there are plenty of Black folks here – but you have to make an effort to connect. I have been happy to find lots of groups such as the Black Women’s Alliance, Outdoor Afro and the Soulflower Denver community!