We had the good fortune of connecting with Nicole Young-Turner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Nicole, what are you inspired by?
I am constantly nourished, ignited, and motivated by the courage and resiliency of the People and Communities fighting fiercely for Love, Liberation, and Unity–past, present, and future. When I’m most inspired, I can literally feel the brilliant force of The Ancestors; I am activated by their willingness to bravely choose faith in the face of fear, to seek the light of truth in the midst of blinding darkness, and to move toward solidarity and healing in the wilderness of rage and ignorance. These ‘soul-models’ provided us with a blueprint for civil service and disobedience, gave us permission to ACT UP while finding homeplace amongst the S.T.A.R.s, and reminded us that our silence will not save us. We are because They were.
“Beloved community is formed not by the eradication of difference but by its affirmation, by each of us claiming the identities and cultural legacies that shape who we are and how we live in the world.” -bell hooks
I believe in the transformational power of Beloved Community; moving together, as a collective, that embodies and embraces the beauty and dignity of difference and diversity yields infinite positive possibilities. I am humbled, grateful, and honored to have the opportunity to learn from and serve alongside a beautiful, dynamic, tenacious coalition of leaders and advocates who dedicate themselves and their resources to uplift, protect, and celebrate the people and communities that are far too often silenced, harmed, and erased.
I am inspired by the families (of origin and choice), the educators and community servants, the Rainbow Warriors, allies, and co-conspirators who push the movement for freedom, inclusion, and equity forward. I am inspired by the youth, who deserve a present and future where they are elevated, educated, and empowered for who they truly are. All of You anchor and drive the vision for Kaleidoscope Village!
What should our readers know about your business?
My journey to becoming the Founder of Kaleidoscope Village, a Liberatory Educator, and a Social Justice Activist is deeply rooted in my history and my layered experiences as a Black, Lesbian, Woman growing and leading in the Deep South (Atlanta). I am the descendant of enslaved peoples and Freedom Fighters who taught me the power of courage, truth, and collective action. I am third generation literate and a first generation college graduate because of the unwavering will, sacred wisdom, and relentless pursuit of knowledge gifted to me. I am also the first person in my family to thrive as an OUT member of the LGBTQ+ community despite the rejection, isolation, and erasure; despite the barrage of violent messages shouting: “You are not valuable, you are unworthy of dignity, understanding, and love.” The colorful pieces of my path motivated me to turn my lens toward the light, be a mirror for all people in my village, and cultivate spaces of healing and understanding to bind us together.
At my core, I believe in and practice the value of “ubuntu” (humanness is found in through interdependence, collective engagement, and service to others). For me, leading with vulnerability and cultivating humble, empathetic connections are the foundations of transformation and unity. Periodt. The seed of Kaleidoscope Village began to sprout during my time serving as a #BraveEducator and youth advocate with students and families in Metro Atlanta, as well as supporting community leaders across the nation foster cultures of safety and belonging. Witnessing my students be denied an education for healthy self-expression, listening to the deep pain of my colleagues as their lives and livelihoods are threatened because of who they are, hugging and crying with families who couldn’t protect their loved one from hate-fueled harm compelled me to take equal and opposite action–to design an organization that centers the experiences of the multifaceted LGBTQ+ community, facilitates the sharing of resources and knowledge, and holds space for collective healing, joy, and co-creation.
Kaleidoscope Village’s mission is to elevate the diverse voices of LGBTQ2sIA+ youth and families, to educate all leaders on building and sustaining safe, affirming, and equitable environments, and to create empowering spaces and programs for everyone in our village to connect and thrive! We partner with schools and community organizations to provide historically and culturally grounded knowledge, skills, and mindsets to advance LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion (LGBTQ+ Learning Journeys and consulting). We also directly empower and serve our community through dynamic programs (in-school/after-school Pride Alliance Clubs, Village Circles, Allyship Workshops, etc.) and tangible resources to amplify awareness, deepen understanding, and encourage solidarity while celebrating our differences–to give breath to Beloved Community.
I am honored by and extremely excited about the amazing champions and emerging partners supporting our Village (we are pumped about our upcoming partnership with the Atlanta Pride Committee to bring youth and family engagement to the Atlanta Pride Festival this October.) We will not, cannot, and must not do this alone–we are always seeking to connect and nurture relationships with our schools, community organizations, families & youth, donors, and fellow advocates in Metro Atlanta and beyond! With all of us together, our long-term vision of creating physical spaces for our Village (accessible and sustainable LGBTQ+ Youth and Community Centers) will be a reality within the next 3-5 years!
For me and millions of others, Kaleidoscope Village is more than a business venture–the soul of this organization, this movement, is US. The tenacity and passion of all of us who lift our voices, fighting to live our truths in a world that tells us to wear masks and remain silent. The leaders who give to and serve with communities, recognizing that none of us are free, healthy, and empowered unless all of us are. The families, allies, and activists who evolve with us and stand beside us in the sunlight, reminding us that we are here and we are beautiful and deserving. You are Kaleidoscope Village
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Atlanta is such a textured place with expansive innovation and deep history–I don’t think a week would give my city the justice it deserves! As someone who has lived, served, and played in all corners of the city (and a few suburbs, too), I’d recommend exploring:
Places to Visit:
Auburn Avenue Historic Neighborhood
Piedmont Park Area-10th St Pride Crosswalk
National Center for Civil and Human Rights
Historic Grant Park, East Atlanta Village, Historic Kirkwood
Atlanta University Center (Spelman, Morehouse, Clark Atlanta University)
Out Of The Closet
My house (my wife is magical in the kitchen)
Festivals: Atlanta Pride (October), Atlanta Jazz Festival, Music Midtown
Nature & Chill: Piedmont Park, Historic Fourth Ward SkatePark, Botanical Gardens
The Arts: Art on the Beltline, High Museum, Horizon Theater, 7 Stages Theater
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My village has raised me, held me, nurtured me, and guided me along my journey of becoming the highest version of myself as a person and as a servant leader. It is because of the love, hugs, grace, and wisdom gifted to me from my many families, friends, teachers, mentors, and champions that Kaleidoscope Village exists. I would like to give special recognition to my wife and partner in life, Margo Young-Turner as well as the members of my families; thank you for welcoming all of me into your hearts. I also want to thank my mentor, Tim’m West, who has supported me and guided me as I live and lead #Bravely. I truly value my circle of amazing #edupreneurs (much love to Claudine Miles and Kimberlie Milton, Founders of Restore More and Rejoice Jones, Founder of Vower, Inc.) and the devoted champions in the movement for LGBTQ+ equality in Atlanta (shout out to Ryan Roemerman, LGBT Institute, Lynn Barfield, Atlanta Pride Committee, Adah Pittman-Delancy, RedefinED Atlanta, and the Prism Metro Atlanta Coalition Board of Directors).
Soul Nourishment (Books):
The Color Purple, Alice Walker
Gather, Octavia Raheem
Parable of The Sower, Octavia Butler
Daring Greatly, Brene Brown
Bone Black, bell hooks
Unapologetic: A Black, Queer, and Feminist Mandate for Radical Movements, Charlene A. Carruthers
Youtube: Kaleidoscope Village: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCkE-K4ZPoDVMkYmyYVQ9U7w
Other: Donate: https://www.kaleidoscopevillage.org/donate Blog Feature: https://www.werestoremore.com/blog/edupreneur-spotlight-nicole-young-turner
N/A (Self) *Pictures not loading properly and I cannot delete/replace the selection for personal photo–will send in email to Sherry T.–Thank You! **PLEASE SEE FOLLOWING LINKS FOR CORRECT IMAGES and TEXT: Images: https://drive.google.com/drive/folders/1KyH7foSS9b4KXYWG3aqeZlvN0MJh9yVG?usp=sharing Article Text: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1HSVwlHG81pou-TrO-NneKOZZEzdziqAt5iFQ5v8pjcw/edit?usp=sharing