Yeefah Thurman ’87

Yeefah sent us a lot of fantastic information about her and all the work she is doing professionally and creatively. The clarity of the list below was powerful to read in the format she sent so we have decided to post it as is. We encourage you to visit the links at the end of the post to learn more about her and the amazing work she is doing.

I’m a Black American woman.

I’m a descendant of:

  • an enslaved African who escaped slavery with his wife, and 2 children
  • landowners
  • educators
  • entrepreneurs
  • and civil rights activists
  • my ancestors were often the first and only Black persons in the white spaces they moved within

At an early age I followed in their footsteps:

  • I launched a babysitting and odd job business with my sister at the age of 10 in our NYC city upper west side all white apartment building,
  • Our business grew large and we had to hire our friends to help.
  • Since then I have founded and run several businesses successfully. Currently I own a one chair salon.
  • I’m an educator and curriculum creator. I’m working on two curricula. One is an art and conversation curriculum for school kids about the n-word and one is about the history of Black hair and why the appropriation of Black culture is traumatic to Black people. I’ve completed a Black haircutting and styling curriculum for cosmetologists.
  • Through my art practice I advocate for social justice with stories about belonging, identity, equity, and social norms.
  • I’m often the first and only woman of color in my work and social settings.
  • I counsel BIPOC on navigating white spaces and code switching.
  • I mentor young people who are struggling with who they are, what they want to do, and how to live their life with purpose and passion.
  • I’m a trained facilitator on topics such as race, identity, inclusion, belonging and triumph.
  • I’m a trained racial healing facilitator.
  • I live with an inflammatory disorder, depression, anxiety, ADHD and learning disabilities.
  • I survived multiple child sexual assaults and domestic violence.

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