FeaturedLife and Arts

Q & A with Monique Harper-Desir, Humboldt media creator and community organizer

Monique Harper-Desir (She/Her/They/Them), 33, is a community organizer and Co-Founder of Black Humboldt (BH). Coming from the east coast she’s committed to uplifting the Black community here in Humboldt. Below is a Q&A discussing a bit about who she is, what her work consists of and her inspirations.

Q: Where are you from? 

A: born in Western Massachusetts have lived in New York, North Carolina and Florida but spend most of my upbringing in Springfield and Amherst, Massachusetts. Moved to Humboldt to be a part of the cannabis culture and industry, I was especially interested in living outside of capitalism for as long as I could. 

Q: What organizations/groups are you currently connected to? 

A:  Black Humboldt, Queer Humboldt, The Ink People, Access Humboldt, Open Art Organization, Cal Poly Humboldt and a number of local schools. I also find myself supporting a number of BIPOC groups and gatherings as a community member. 

Q: How was your experience at Access Humboldt?

A: I really enjoyed my admin and development role at Access Humboldt and will continue to foster opportunities and collaborations with the staff and projects they’ve got going on. I value the AH mission and the work they’re putting in for access! I will continue connecting them with community voices through their solutions journalism project that I helped design, The RLP. 

 Q: What does community mean to you? 

A: I’m big on community, which there’s always levels too. Being in the community at large is really a series of meeting folx and creating a web for how we’re all connected and can support each other. But on a personal level creating and maintaining a safe and supportive, joyous and authentic relationship with the folx around me who are in similar walks of life as myself is meaningful. This is my community but a lot of these people have become my chosen family. Especially as I live so far away from where I grew up and my blood family. I’ve always been surrounded by people – it takes a village and that’s so true. It can be easy to surround yourself with people who don’t fill you in the right ways. So I want to add that the community is not stagnate or fixed but ever changing and evolving. 

 Q: What are your sources of inspiration? 

A: Over time different things have inspired me. A lot of my work is inspired by the people and the struggle that I am connected to, but I have found a new found inspiration in ease which is something I feel I’ve been able to connect with after starting and being intentional with my personal healing journey. It has inspired me to really think back on the times I was in survival mode or any fast paced part of my life that I never got to analyze and really deconstruct who that person was. I am also really fascinated by the migration of my ancestors and folklore stories as well as new uncovered truths I am able to learn as new histories are revealed. 

Q: You’re the director of Admin and Development for Access Humboldt, what has your experience there been like?  

A: I am no longer the director of admin and development at AH but work closely with their solutions based journalism project The RLP. I very much enjoyed my time at AH and was driven in that position to bring as many unheard voices to the resources they have available there. 

 Q: What would you want to say to BIPOC up-and-coming graphic/web designers? 

A: Keep it up, design and decolonize the field. Digital media is lacking our stories so I want you to recognize how much you’re needed and necessary in those spaces and how keeping your voice and your vision your own is also vital. 

Q: Are there any recent or future events you’ve collaborated with or helped plan out?

A: Look out for Juneteenth in June, Pride month is also in June. I hope to release a new art project that includes music and visual art in April. Also my website has a great collection of fun local art things going on.  

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *