Introduce yourself! Who are you?
I'm Erica Buddington, writer, educator, equity activist, daughter, friend, emcee, and CEO of Langston League, a curriculum design firm that creates culturally relevant instructional material for scholars of color.
Who would you say is your #1 inspiration?
My parents: My father, Patrick, a poet, and marketing savant that is obsessed with the details. My mother, Marie, a lover and never a fighter. She's the strongest woman I know. Oprah: Because there is no limit in her sky.
What is one thing no one really knows about you?
My apartment is practically a library. You might walk in and trip over a book. Sorry.
What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
It's not how you start. It's how you finish. -Dad
What would you say to 16-year-old you?
I would tell her that it will all happen one day and everything she's been working on has not been in vain. I would tell her that she is beautiful. I would ask her to continue burying herself in literature and lined paper.
What’s your dream job?
I would like to own my own school, filled with all types of dope #Edtech, electives, and free children.
Have you ever had anyone doubt you? How did that make you feel?
Every day of my life. It makes me try harder. It makes me dedicate myself to proving them wrong.
What message do you think every woman should hear?
This poem by Marty McConnell called "Frida Kahlo to Marty McConnell:
"Leaving is not enough; you must
stay gone. Train your heart
like a dog. Change the locks
even on the house he’s never
visited. You lucky, lucky girl.
You have an apartment
just your size. A bathtub
full of tea. A heart the size
of Arizona, but not nearly
so arid. Don’t wish away
your cracked past, your crooked
toes; your problems
are papier-mache puppets
you made or bought
because the vendor was so
compelling you just
had to have them. You had
to have him. And you did.
And now you pull down
the bridge between your houses.
You make him call before
he visits. You take a lover
for granted, you take
a lover who looks at you
like maybe you are magic. Make
the first bottle you consume
in this place a relic. Place it
on whatever altar you fashion
with a knife and five cranberries.
Don’t lose too much weight.
Stupid girls are always trying
to disappear as revenge. And you
are not stupid. You loved a man
with more hands than a parade
of beggars, and here you stand. Heart
like a four-poster bed. Heart like a canvas.
Heart leaking something so strong
they can smell it in the street."
What is your favorite thing about where you live?
The flavor--the blend of peoples, foods, and laughter. I am hurting while I watch Brooklyn's erasure. Soon that'll feel like a memory
What do you love most about yourself?
My ability to always get back up again.
Do you remember a specific time you overcame adversity?
I was broke. I still am, ha! I was on my last dime, on an early teacher's salary, and I had to get home. I had to get from Harlem to Brooklyn and I was prepared to walk. I remember seeing a slam online and the prize was cash. I walked the twenty blocks to the slam. I spit three rounds of poems. I had enough money to eat for a week and get home that night.
What motivates you most?
My scholars. They are filled with wonder and excitement. They encourage me to find more ways to make them smile.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
My book "Boroughs Apart." I wrote about two different time periods and I had to research and go back and forth. It was the hardest piece of fiction I'd ever written and I was sure that folks would hate it. When it was done, folks told me that it read like a dream. I was proud!
What do you do on a daily basis to grow and move forward?
I read like crazy---20 articles, 1/3 of a book, and I take notes. I'm always trying to find ways to take my writing/teaching up a notch.
What is something on your bucket list?
Go to Paris. I dream of this city although I've never been there.
More About Erica
Buddington exhibits cultural competence engaging her scholars in a way that caters to their learning styles, identities, and increases their learning capacity.
Buddington is a career author and arts educator based in Brooklyn, New York. Buddington also writes fiction and memoir that elaborates the experience of the millennial woman of color. She’s written/published four books: (Intention, Boroughs Apart, Of Micah and Men and more). She’s also an HBO Def Poet and poetry slam champion.
She left her post as a Director at a non-profit to design and found a company that designs equitable and culturally relevant curriculum, with an emphasis on literacy, for children of color. She’s currently a curriculum lead and 6th Grade ELA/History teacher.
You can find Erica on the cusp of Brooklyn’s gentrification, in a quaint home office, spilling over with journals. She’s working on her fifth book and is plotting on ways to showcase her Cuban and Jamaican ancestry, every chance she gets.