Resistance Rooted in Creativity

Khaliah D. Pitts and Nia Minard

Born and raised in Philadelphia, Khaliah D. Pitts (she/her) is a writer, culinary artist, and curator. A lifelong creative and griot, she is continuously searching for new forms of expression and storytelling. Although her primary medium is writing, she finds herself exploring creation through short films; curating events and spaces of art and liberation; crafting wire jewelry and decor; and, most often, cooking, eating, and gushing about food. She dedicates her work to preserving culture, documenting stories of the African diaspora, and crafting spaces of liberation and joy. Khaliah is also a well-practiced, trauma-informed public health educator, trainer, and facilitator to audiences of all ages. Khaliah is working in partnership with Nia Minard.

Philadelphia born, Mississippi raised Nia Minard (she/her) was one of the 15 culinary artists in the Philadelphia Assembled Kitchen exhibit, an immersive dining experience where she served as a storyteller, recipe contributor, and one of the head chefs in the kitchen. An advocate for food justice and sustainability, Nia currently consults for Fishadelphia Community Supported Fishery (CSF) and is a culinary instructor at Simon Gratz Mastery Charter High School. Through her work, Nia uses food as a tool to access memory and document Black foodways both past and present. Nia believes that food and the narratives created around it are central to exploring and understanding the evolution of Black identity. Nia is working in partnership with Khaliah D. Pitts.

q & A with Khaliah and Nia

What connections have you noticed between your work and other Fellows’?
Despite having varied fields of interest, the preservation of *culture* through archival storytelling is our common thread. Uplifting overlooked communities and feeling empowered to search for ourselves in the archives. We all can agree (now, if not before) on the vital importance of having control over our own community archives.
What was it like to do archival research during a pandemic?
Difficult. Between not being able to meet in person, not being able to view certain archives until further into the project… We just lament on what the project could have been had we not spent the first 8 months reeling from COVID-induced isolation, distance and stress and apathy.
What do you want other activists and organizers to know about preserving their stories and archival research?
Preserving our own stories, in our own way, in our languages, in our institutions is crucial to ensure that more of our history is not buried behind a white man’s story. Who does the archiving dictates what gets archived and how.

“knowledge is being
systematically kept from
people. their history is out
there somewhere.....”
- nia minard

Interested in more stories about hidden Black genius? Check out the work below:

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