Featuring Jordan Johnson

It was better to keep it all to myself than to be told I wasn’t Black enough or grateful enough.

About Jordan

Jordan Johnson is a twenty-four-year-old graduate of Ball State University with a bachelor’s degree in creative writing. Writing has been her passion since she learned to read. Now that she is out of college, she has time to focus on developing her writing and putting herself out in the world. Her essay explores her experience with self-harming and depression: how it started, her struggle to overcome and, in the end, her journey to learn more about her self worth.

We had the opportunity to interview author Jordan Johnson, whose essay "The Black Sickness" appears in All the Women in My Family Sing. This is what we learned...

What inspired you to write your essay for this anthology? 

When the anthology was asking for submissions, I was in the middle of coming to terms with a couple of things about myself, in particular my depression and anxiety.  I was ashamed to talk about it openly because of the stigma in the Black community, but when I saw the opportunity to talk about it in this anthology, I trusted myself to be ready enough to put myself out there. 

What is one of the most memorable challenges you have experienced as a woman of color in the twenty-first century? 

Accepting that mental illness isn’t a white person struggle but a struggle anyone can have no matter your race, class, or social standing. 

Give an example of women’s roles in today's social justice movement. 

Women have always been a part of the social justice movement.  From the French Revolution to Black Lives Matter, women have always been on the front line of demanding for change and organizing.  It has only been in recent times that we have come to acknowledge that history.

What do you most hope readers will take away from reading this book? 

I hope people take away that these stories are universal but also unique to a group.  You may never be able to put yourself in someone else’s shoes, but you can look into their stories and find similarities, or at least understand their journey a bit better.