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ZORA

Happy Birthday! Celebrating 2 Years of ZORA

Today is ZORA’s birthday, and we’re celebrating the stories that made us

Illustration: Qadir El-Amin

oday is ZORA magazine’s second anniversary, and we’re celebrating our birthday by celebrating you! Since June 2019, ZORA has been the space on the internet where Black women can get personal about our culture, our pleasure, our pains, our fears, our jobs, our families, and our lives.

So many of you came to ZORA to tell your story about living through the pandemic or surviving the Trump presidency. You wrote about how to grieve and how to love. You wrote about the joys and frustrations of being Black at work and in school and in America. Our stories have been inspiring, heartbreaking, educational, and groundbreaking.

We wouldn’t be two without you. The stories you shared were personal, unapologetic, bold… ours. We picked out 10 stories from the past two years that showcase the best that ZORA and Medium have to offer. These are the stories that made us.

“More needs to be done so that Black women will no longer be footnotes throughout turning points in our culture.” — Morgan Jerkins

5 Phrases Your Black Friend Wishes You Would Stop Saying by Ajah Hales

ZORA is a place where many of you came to express yourselves about what it’s like being Black in a racist world. Ajah Hales offers some lessons on what not to say to Black women.

Dear White Friends, I See Right Through Your #BlackLivesMatter Posts by Elyse Cizek

After the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and numerous other innocent Black lives, writer Elyse Cizek was sick of seeing fake sympathy and activism and called out the hypocrisy of her White friends and White America as a whole.

The Call Came From Inside the House by Danielle Moodie

When the Trump presidency culminated in a violent attack on the U.S. Capitol and democracy as we know it, ZORA’s resident politics writer Danielle Moodie gave us the hard truth about power and privilege.

When Black Women Go From Office Pet to Office Threat by Erika Stallings

We gave Black women language to describe the frustration that happens when work colleagues stop seeing you as dependable and start seeing Black women as disposable. Erika Stallings piece resonated and still resonates with all of you.

“I know what it’s like to lie to myself to try to seem good enough to fit in. It doesn’t work.” — Elyse Cizek

What Happened to Playboy’s First Cover Girl? by Morgan Jerkins

At ZORA, we share the hidden history that doesn’t get taught in school. Our former senior editor Morgan Jerkins conducted in-depth research to tell the untold story of Playboy’s first Black cover girl.

The ZORA Canon by Team ZORA

Our list must include this iconic, one-of-a-kind collection of literature by Black women. We’re all about giving Black women their flowers.

The ZORAscope by Ashleigh D. Jay

Every week, our in-house astrologer Ashleigh D. Jay took readers on a trip through the universe to discover what was written in the stars about the day ahead. All the zodiac signs found some advice and some awareness in her horoscope column.

All the Things We Need to Ditch Once This Is Over by Luvvie Ajayi

In 2020, we entered unprecedented times with the sudden arrival of Covid-19 and quarantine orders. But even amid all the chaos, Luvvie Ajayi Jones gave us something to laugh about and look forward to.

My Parents Are Married, But My Dad Has a Mistress by Carolyn Desalu

Y’all weren’t afraid to keep it really real about love and family dynamics. In Carolyn Desalu’s essay, she walks us through the complexities of her parent’s marriage.

The Inconvenient Truth About Monogamy by Ayesha K. Faines

In her breakdown of monogamy, ZORA’s sex and relationships columnist Ayesha K. Faines asks the tough questions that make us think about our values and what Black women really want and need.

t’s been a wonderful two years, and we’re only just beginning. There are more stories to tell, and we’re still here, waiting to help you share it. Thank you for making ZORA a publication for, by, and about Black women. We couldn’t do it without you.

We want to hear from you. Do you have a story you’d like to submit? Email zora@medium.com with a link to your piece!