The Awakening... Confronting Oppression in the Workplace

Nine Black women, nine different careers, and nine stories with striking similarities, of career struggle, self-doubt, mental and physical health issues, and general unhappiness caused by varying forms of work related stress; nine stories of fortitude and resilience that eventually morph into nine stories of rejuvenation. These women form the inaugural part of a multi-layered interactive media project titled BlackFemaleProject—a project attempting to peel back the skin of the often unseen effects of racism and sexism, not only in the workplace, but also in terms of how these issues elbow their way into other areas of Black women’s daily lives.

We continue this journey with Katrina A. Croswell's story, "The Awakening." Katrina works in the higher education sector and asks us, "How do we, as African Americans (Black folks), reconcile with a society founded on our oppression?" The answers she finds through her experiences lead to a shift in her response towards the oppression and racism that stands in her way.

All of the women who share their stories in our inaugural collection have found themselves in a battle for sanity, cultural autonomy, or simply professional courtesy. Each of these women have also found their own strategies of success; some are still developing these methods and share their experience with us in real time. Let’s join them now.

Katrina A. Croswell
Click the button above to download a copy of this story.


Who are you and where do you live?
I am an extraordinary woman of African descent, with ordinary needs. I am originally from the South Side of Chicago, but have lived in the Bay Area now for 13 years.

What’s your career focus?
To balance work in the field of higher education while successfully providing healing to my clients in my bodywork practice.

What’s something positive that came out of writing your story?
Being able to expose this particular moment in my life on the page was incredibly freeing; I was finally able to step out of the 'trap door' I felt it had stuffed me in.

Three words of advice for your 18-year-old self?
Self. Love. First.