“For the raising like an obstinate Christ.
For the salvation of a body that bends like a baptismal bowl.
For those who will worship at the lip of this sanctuary.
Praise the body for the body is not an apology.
The body is deity. The body is God. The body is God;
the only righteous love that will never need to say sorry.”-The Body Is Not An Apology by Sonya Renee Taylor
Wear Your Voice magazine had the opportunity to speak with Oakland based award winning poet, activist and transformational leader Sonya Renee Taylor for this month’s #myWYVstory, our ongoing campaign highlighting local leaders, activists and visionaries making big and lasting impacts on a global scale.
Sonya is the Founder and Editor in Chief of The Body Is Not An Apology (TBINAA), an online platform dedicated to creating a more equitable, compassionate world, one person at a time. Sonya believes when we break self imposed barriers that prevent us from accessing our fullest potential, we become vehicles for change, capable of creating a positive impact on a global scale.
The Body Is Not An Apology began as a poem, sparked by an intimate conversation between Taylor and a friend who was concerned that she might be pregnant.
“She felt like her disability made it difficult for her to be sexual, so she didn’t feel entitled to ask that person to use a condom. My response in the moment [to her] was ‘your body is not an apology’ “.
Today, The Body Is Not An Apology is one of Taylor’s most celebrated poems, viewed more than 200,000 times on YouTube.
For Taylor, becoming a poet was almost accidental. While working at a nonprofit in D.C focused on H.I.V prevention for street based workers, Taylor’s then boss approached her and several other staff members to participate in a benefit, reciting their own poems.
“I got up and my hand was trembling…I read it, and I felt alive, in a totally different way than I’ve ever felt before”.
Taylor stopped listening to what she calls “the outside voice inside”, or negative self talk to hold her back from her dreams.
When crowdfunding the remodel of TBINAA’s website, Sonya launched the When We Say Yes crowdfunding campaign. in which people submitted 90 second videos recalling times they’ve said yes to something in their lives that would have otherwise kept them in fear and doubt if they chose to instead respond with no. The campaign ended in August, raising over half of the $80,000 goal.
What Wear Your Voice means to Sonya:
Wear Your Voice really means that I get to own my voice–to be heard in the world, particularly, in a world that doesn’t necessarily always make room for everyone’ voice…an act of power, an act of reclaiming my space in the world”.
For more inspiration, hear Sonya’s full #myWYVstory in the video below.