This week is my honor to introduce my readers to my sister friend Val Day-Sanchez. Val has been an inspiration to me and I am also excited to be coaching a seminar alongside her this June in Brooklyn, NY.
Val is a professor, author and motivational speaker. She has always been writing. But, it has evolved from spiral notebooks into manuscripts she'd type in Microsoft Word eventually blog posts and books. Teaching was also something that seemed to always be with her. Val would play school with her dolls and stuffed animals for days instilling wisdom and knowledge upon them. She would setup an entire classroom in her guest bedroom, folding cardboard into desks and grading papers, offering tutoring to the "kids" who were struggling. It was very elaborate. Her first human pupils were at Sunday School all throughout middle school and high school. When she entered graduate school Val started teaching undergrads and that's where she really embraced her passion, in a professional capacity. Speaking is something where she loses herself. "It's how I hear my blog posts and books. It's like a stream strung together through very intense feelings and research. Like things are converging and I have to share it. In a way, I didn't 'get started' as much as I trusted what had always been there."
Val's motto is, "Always check in." Its easy to get caught up in what you're doing and feel like it is of the utmost importance. But the danger is losing yourself and forgetting to ask, what do I want? It's okay to change your mind. It shows growth.
So, what's Val's goal? "I want to create more opportunities for people like me, that often rely on the kindness and awareness of others to succeed. Often times brown and black kids get over-looked, passed over, those that are cultured as girls do as well. When you have race and gender against you from the start you just miss the entire pipeline. You are automatically placed on a separate track, one that inherently never leads to riches. Closing that gap through education and representation is what guides my life."
What events does she have coming up? "I'm so excited to announce that I get to reunite with an old friend, in BK!!! The first week of June we will be presenting at the Black Girl Project Sisterhood Summit in Brooklyn. It's wild because I met Shekinah when I was nineteen, not even allowed to drink, and now we are meeting back up in our thirties so much wiser and so much more experienced. It's rare that you meet people that you connect with, who you can truly grow with so I feel very lucky. I am elated that our proposal was accepted."
What’s one thing she wants people to know about you? "I'm black. I'm pansexual. I'm gender-fluid and my life still matters. Black queer lives matter."