#AFROPUNKWESEEYOU: ASHLEIGH SHACKELFORD
October 9, 2019
Name: Ashleigh Shackelford
Occupation: Visual Artist and Data Futurist
Star Sign: Leo, and it shows
How did you get involved in data?
I began my work in data by telling my truth. Data is storytelling and storytelling is data. At first, I realized how data is viewed as a STEM project that requires a specialized and non-accessible training. But I needed to decolonize this perception of technology and reframe data as our stories woven together. Subsequently, I created the #FatCensus, seeking more storytelling and more statistical weaving of our experiences as fat folks to reimagine a world where Fatness is not a death sentence nor is it a medicalization of our bodies. Fat people deserve the nuance of our experiences to be visibilized. Using data as a means to tell our stories is an amazing way we can create new worlds of possibility for everyone.
Why is it important that Black queer people are involved in data?
Black queer and trans folks are already involved with data because data is human. Our stories, our experiences, and our collective identities are what data assesses. We are data. Our storytelling and humanity are the most valuable tool to our own liberation.
Why is it important for the Black community to support each other in creating a Black future?
We’re all we got! There is no one is the world but Black people who know the depths of my pain, my desire for freedom, and the power of being what the world wants to embody and kill at once. Our Black Future is a world in which we heal, transform, and struggle together without interference, voyeur, or surveillance. We are the means, method, and result. We need each other always and forever.
What does We See You mean to you?
We See You means power and possibility for our stories to be held, affirmed, supported, and protected. We See You is about being offered the space to embody freedom and uplift the nuances that make us special.