Sonya Renee Taylor

Social justice activist, performance poet and author Sonya Renee Taylor will speak at 7 p.m., Feb. 28 at McConnell Hall on the Central Washington University campus.

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Social justice activist, performance poet and author Sonya Renee Taylor will visit Ellensburg, Feb. 28 for a presentation at McConnell Auditorium on the Central Washington University campus.

In 2011, Taylor founded “The Body Is Not An Apology” (TBINAA), an internationally-recognized movement that celebrates “radical self-love.” Bustle Magazine named Taylor one of the 12 Women Who Paved the Way for Body Positivity in 2015, and was named a Champion of Women’s Health by Planned Parenthood in 2016.

People are bombarded with messages of doubt about how they look from society’s expectations, false or misleading advertisements, and social media. Often times they face these thoughts alone or may not have a community to help them counteract these messages. Taylor will share resources for responding to those messages.

Radical Self-Love requires a set of tools

While Taylor is now an internationally recognized activist, she still finds herself apologizing for the way she looks.

“We live in a world where we are inundated every single day with messages that tell us we are not enough, so countering those messages can be really exhausting and really difficult,” Taylor said.

Her book offers 10 tools to help improve radical self-love. Taylor refers to the last tool as being the most important.

“Give yourself some grace,” she said, adding by not “intaking those messages that tell you’re not good enough … (you can) practice a new story about your own relationship to your body.”

Using the Language Every Day

Taylor’s movement starts with self-love mantras, and then dives into challenging concepts like “body terrorism” and “radical self-love.” When asked how individuals can share these topics and incorporate that language into their daily lives, Taylor suggested that people begin to use the words regularly.

“I think part of it is just using them,” Taylor said. “It is the same way that all words end up in our lexicon is that we use them … the more that we talk very specifically about those experiences, the more powerful that language becomes.”

Creating a positive community

To keep spreading radical self-love within our communities, Taylor said it is important to “take it on and then invite other people to take it on with you.”

“I think part of the challenge is often times we try and do this work alone,” she said. “When people ask you what you are doing tell them ‘today I am practicing radical self-love,’ which means I am practicing not saying disparaging things about myself and not letting other people say disparaging things about themselves. Let people know what you are doing and invite people to be a part of the journey.”

Emily Masseth works for the CWU Publicity Center.

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