In August of 2018, a member of my family was taken from us far too soon. Lyric Leigh Mchenry was a shining beacon of light in my life who represented so many things I wanted to be. She was eloquent, empathetic, and intelligent beyond compare. Lyric could annihilate a misogynist, racist or homophobe in a matter of seconds. She was hilarious, her laugh infectious. She had such incredible visions for our future; she was unlike any other.
For so long, losing her made me feel hopeless and disconnected. I thought if someone like Lyric who had such vision, charisma and a purpose wasn’t going to be able to share it, then what was the point? What did I have to say and why should I get to try to say it when she can’t? In processing my grief now though, I have reached clarity in understanding that Lyric would want me to feel the exact opposite. Lyric would want me to do everything in my power to use my voice. And with knowing this, I am more motivated than ever to put myself out there, use my voice to empower others, and to make an impact.
In developing Selected, I found myself continually thinking of Lyric. I thought about how proud she would be of me expanding my voice and how exceptionally valuable her contributions, talents and vision would be to the site's creation. Lyric was committed to racial and social justice and constantly encouraged me to use my voice to empower and connect with other young Black women, something I hope to do with Selected. She saw the goodness in me and believed in my power even when I didn’t. I want to be the version of myself Lyric believed I was, and I want to instill that same sense of self-love and belief in others.
Below I’ve linked the page for the Lyric McHenry Community Arts Fellowship at her alma mater Stanford. The fund supports 3-4 students each year to complete a summer internship with an arts organization that furthers racial and/or social justice. Each Fellow receives a base stipend of $5,000 to support travel and living expenses during their internship. If you’d like to donate to the fund the link provides access to do so.
This is for Lyric.