Written by

Shavaun Sutton: “here”

I’m Shavaun, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology. I feel so fortunate to be a part of the Reckonings Project.  It aligns with one of my research interests – recovering lost Black narratives, experiences, and histories through the sociological lens although my work is, increasingly, becoming transdisciplinary. This is a taste of who I am, my research commitments and how I approach my work, the work, and the Reckonings project. I share this poem, entitled “here”, as a reimagining of an “I Come From” poem (Tannenbaum &Bush 2005) that acknowledges my roots (“I come from”), recognizes where I am now (“I rest”) and looks to the future (“I go to”). The repetition is an intentional refrain, reminder, and demand (Dill et al 2022).


I come from ground provisions, flying fish, “woo-oo” calls, notes on the stairs to signal presence and absence
I am a first-gen West Indian American
Far from the sun and clear ocean
I come from New York City purgatory- heaven nor hell, not quite urban, not quite suburban
The forgotten borough of Staten Island where we move to our own beat and are overshadowed by
the City
I come from a loss
A lack of recognition
of Blackness- our narratives, lives
To a sea of whiteness

I “rest” in academia
Until the tide comes in
A momentary stop to recover what has been erased
I rest in a love that
Returns knowledges from whence it came

I go to the Black communities I love and respect to be held accountable
To be held
As a mirror and amp for those unseen and unheard
I go to places of revolution and restoration
Outside of these hallowed halls and cold classrooms
I go to hold space for reclamation and recovery
Taking back what was stolen
Stories and hope, chance
I go to be held and to hold
Safe and secure from institutional harm.


Shavaun Sutton

Research Assistant, Sociology PhD Student

Shavaun Sutton is a second-year doctoral student. She holds a master’s in public health in Community Health Sciences from SUNY Downstate School of Public Health. She strives to promote equity via the analysis of nuanced narratives and lived experience. Seeking to amplify voices silenced by oppression and marginalization, Shavaun critically engaged with Black girl- and womanhood, state-sanctioned violence, and erasure as epistemic violence, particularly the erasure of Black narratives in white-majority spaces, through the lens of Black Feminist Thought.