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Lauren Flemister, Urban Planner, Designer and Researcher

 

Columbus, OH

Mother is Liberian and father is a southern African American whose family moved to Liberia during his teens.

"My liberty depends on you being free, too". – from Remarks by President Obama in Eulogy for the Honorable Reverend Clementa Pinckney

 

When you think of a thriving Black community and cities, what do you see?

A place where black people and people of color feel like they can inhabit majority spaces, while still having many scenes of their own. Abroad, where in some cases we are the majority, the multiplicity of thriving scenes and vibes. And acceptance across those scenes in a particularly advanced society or period

 

What neighborhood, city or space affirms your Blackness?

 

Houston is one of the rare places and maybe the only place I’ve spent a lot of time in America where black people of any stripe could be in any space (high, low, sophisticated, grimy, cultural, sport, etc.) and unquestionably own part of that space without permission or capitulation (most of the time).

 

What do you want your legacy to be?

Putting the needs of others before myself. Thinking systemically and strategically in my work to affect change. Finding real purpose in the ways I work and volunteer.

 

Who do you think best embodies Black excellence?

 

The freedom to unapologetically be and know one’s self, as this is the state of mind where creativity and genius are expansive.