• TILA Studios

Member of The Month: Dartricia

Updated: Sep 27, 2018

You saw the headlines Serena Williams made when the prolific Grand Slam winning tennis star announced she almost died giving birth to her baby daughter, Alexis Olympia. Those of us in the black community certainly took notice as an underlying problem came to light: black women’s maternal mortality or maternal death rate is infuriatingly high. Unfortunately, our voices and concerns have often been ignored, even when it comes to our own bodies.

Thankfully, the narrative is changing. Meet change agent, writer and TILA member Dartricia Rollins who is advocating for a louder say and better way.

Reproductive justice is one of the pursuits Rollins’ is passionate about, in addition to copious amounts of books and art. The novice art collector says she tries to buy black always and would like to own more art by black women. Not to mention, she writes poetry mostly for herself, but one day we will certainly be looking forward to hearing from her in that regard!

She sits on the board of Charis Circle, the non-profit programming arm of Charis Books And More, the nation’s oldest feminist bookstore. Since being introduced to TILA, an organically delicious love affair has emerged. I talked to Dartricia on TILA’s impact in the arts, centering black women’s nuanced stories and also changing the narrative of women’s healthcare and abortion rights.

Tell me about the Black Feminist Book Club that meets at Charis. What energy has TILA’s involvement brought to it?

The Black Feminist Book Club is lead by Suzanna, who referred me to go to TILA, but I am usually at all of the book club meetings. We’ve been meeting for book club for almost three years now.

We’ve been getting a lot of new people coming to book club because they’ve seen it shared by TILA or one of the friends of TILA went to book club. It’s really great because the more people that you have in a book club, the more dynamic the conversation is. Especially, it’s really nice to get people who have probably never been to Charis before. And it’s a new experience for them to be in this feminist space. And we’re reading books intentionally written by and about black women.

What role do you think black women hold in being catalysts of change?

The historical implication is black w