Reminders for a New Season

Joy Marshawn
3 min readFeb 22, 2021


Loïs Mailou Jones in Paris

Every week, I introduce our girls to a trailblazing Black woman from herstory. Last week, they met artist and educator, Loïs Mailou Jones (November 3, 1905 — June 9, 1998), whose influential work spanned several decades. Jones taught for nearly half a century at Howard University, and her acclaimed artworks are represented in many museums and collections.

It was no accident that Jones’ life was presented to me right at the time I was preparing to meditate on our theme for next month: strength for a new season. While reflecting on Loïs Mailou Jones’ words and her art, I was reminded of where my strength resides and why I am so proud to walk in and expand the paths our foremothers paved.

Our strength is in creating.

“The wonderful thing about being an artist is that there is no end to creative expression. Painting is my life; my life is painting.” —Loïs Mailou Jones

We are creators. We are alchemists. We take the tragedies of life and transform them into healing, beauty, and art.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Ubi Girl from Tai Region, 1972. Acrylic on canvas. The Hayden Collection — Charles Henry Hayden Fund. © Loïs Mailou Jones Pierre-Noel Trust.

Our strength is in empathy.

We see the truth behind others’ eyes, and we respond to it with love, compassion, and understanding. We lift as we climb.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Vendors at Martissant, Haiti, 1964. Watercolor on paper.

Our strength is in self-awareness and self-love.

We look at ourselves objectively and lovingly, seeing the women who came before us and those that will come after us.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Self Portrait, 1940, casein on board, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Bequest of the artist, 2006.24.2

Our strength is in the Divine.

We honor our Creator, heal with Divine grace, and move mountains with an unbreakable faith.

Loïs Mailou Jones, Ritual Haiti, 1985. Watercolor on paper.

As you prepare for the spring season (and any new personal seasons), I invite you to reflect on where your strength resides, while proudly embracing the wisdom and power of our ancestors.

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About Me: I’m Joy. I’m an educator, writer, and the Founder & CEO of Butterfly Dreamz, Inc.—a nonprofit that helps girls from underserved communities grow as leaders and achieve their dreams through mentorship, scholarships, and leadership development. You can learn more about me and my work at