Inside Black Stories Matter - September 13th - TMI Project

Inside Black Stories Matter:
Running While Black (and Caring for the Black Body)
Featuring Alison Mariella Désir and Zanyell Garmon

Monday, September 13th, at 7pm EST on Zoom

Free with a suggested $20 donation

TMI Project presents its 5th segment of Inside Black Stories Matter, a storytelling and roundtable discussion series that marries the personal and the political with ideas for direct action for anti-racism that everyone can take to make a positive impact on their community. Host Jessieca McNabb, Workshop Leaders Dara Lurie and Micah, and a featured storyteller — all from the Black Stories Matter program — will be joined by a community leader every month. All are invited to listen, learn, and leave with concrete anti-racism actions.

In preparation for TMI Project’s first-ever fundraising race Run FOR the Truth, which will be held virtually on Sunday, September 26, 2021, this iteration of Inside Black Stories Matter will spotlight: Running While Back (and Caring for the Black Body). The featured TMI Project storyteller Zanyell Garmon will share her story about body image issues and self harm, which led her to discover the practice of yoga and taking her rightful space in the world. She will be joined by special guest Alison Mariella Désir. Together, the panel will discuss running while Black and all things related to caring for the Black body.

Join us for Run FOR the Truth! To learn more and register to participate, click here.


“The Black Stories Matter Drop-in Workshop was like a pressure-valve-release of pent-up rage. I’ve been refocused, renewed, calmer, and less stressed ever since. I had been writing over, under, and around increasing outrage over anti-Black racism.”

– Black Stories Matter Workshop Participant Beetle Bailey

Jessieca McNabb
Program Host

Jessieca McNabb was born in Alabama and raised in Ulster County, NY. A sought-after entertainer, comedian, and emcee, Jessieca got her comedy career started at the Laughing Wolf Comedy Club in New Paltz, NY in the nineties. Other performance credits include Rosendale Theatre, Ole Savannah, The Bearsville Theatre, The Colony, Woodstock Pub, and her monthly gig at The Lodge. Since 2019, Jessieca has served as the emcee for multiple nonprofit organizations and charity events, including Black History Month Kingston, Kingston African American Festival, Harambee, and for TMI Project’s annual Voices in Action Benefit Showcase. Jessieca is an activist for Black Lives Matter and the LGBTQ+ community and co-hosts popular Radio Kingston shows No One Like You, My Kingston Kids, and Harambee Radio.

Workshop Leader

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Micah serves as the manager at GWI’s (Good Works Institute) Greenhouse Kingston, a yoga teacher at Mudita, and creator of DAY 1 (a New Year’s Day community event). He is on the board of Wild Earth (a non-profit Wilderness School), Radio Kingston, The Center for Creative Education, and O+ (a nonprofit health and wellness festival for artists and creators). He also serves as City of Kingston’s Art Commissioner at the Kingston Farmers Market.

Dara Lurie
Workshop Leader

In addition to leading TMI Project workshops, Dara is an author and manuscript coach. She received a B.A. in Film & Theater from Vassar College and M.F.A. in Creative Writing from Hunter College. Dara grew up on the Upper West Side of Manhattan and migrated in the early 1980s to West Berlin, Germany, where she tended bar, wrote and performed in the theater while living in different communities of squatters, Green Party activists, journalists, teachers, and social workers. Her first book, Great Space of Desire; Writing for Personal Evolution, is a memoir and creative guide for writers wishing to tell their own stories.

Alison Mariella Désir
Special Guest

Named by Women’s Running as one of the “Power Women of 2021,” Alison is an endurance athlete, activist, and mental health advocate. Alison is the founder of Harlem Run, Run 4 All Women , and co-chair of Running Industry Diversity Coalition. In 2020, Alison launched the highly successful Meaning Thru Movement Tour, a series of 9 virtual fitness and mental health events that featured widely sought after experts and fitness professionals, such as Chris Mosier, Cliff Albright, Kenya Crawford and Stephanie Bruce. Alison is currently working on a book, The Unbearable Whiteness of Running, out October 2022. She is also the Director of Sports Advocacy as well as an Athlete Advisor for Oiselle. Alison’s nickname, “powdered feet,” comes from the Haitian Kreyol saying, which describes a person so active that you never see them, just the footprints of where they’ve been in powder. She holds her BA in History, MA in Latin American and Caribbean Regional Studies, and EdM in Counseling Psychology, all from Columbia University.

Zanyell Garmon
Special Guest Storyteller

Zanyell is a black queer human. She is an English educator in local high schools and a youth tutor in the Poughkeepsie Shelters. She is an avid yoga practitioner and teacher. She loves to write and dance (and perform) with hula hoops and other flow props, often on fire! She’s been consciously practicing and advocating for liberation in all parts of her life and community. This practice has pushed her growth as an individual and a part of the community. Writing has been an instrumental part of this practice and she is grateful to be able to share part of her story.

“Absolutely life-changing. It revealed racism didn’t know I had and I’m grateful for that. The only way across is through!”

– Black Stories Matter at Bard College Audience Member

About Black Stories Matter

Black Stories Matter is TMI Project’s way to participate as an organization in the national outcry of injustice by using true storytelling to speak truth to power and to dismantle the white supremacist systems that hold racism in place. We support and amplify Black voices, share resources, and inspire anti-racist action. We acknowledge the historical predominance of white-centered narratives that permeate the cultural, political, and policy conversations in this country,  and seek to elevate the full spectrum of Black experience to its proper place within the realm of American discourse.  Learn more at

Partner Organizations




Black Stories Matter is made possible by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.


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