Cover Photo: Illustration by Monica Ahanonu for Catapult
Illustration by Monica Ahanonu for Catapult

The Civil Rights Activist Whose Unique Spirituality Helped Me Find My Own

After I left my family’s religion, I was, for better or worse, searching for a blueprint, a model I could trust, which felt familiar enough to be safe, yet bold enough to be revolutionary.


fake-it- until-you-make-it

If I was willing to betray the code which united us, what new thing was worth the pain I had caused?


the attribution of a living soul to plants, inanimate objects, and natural phenomena;

the belief in a supernatural power that organizes and animates the material universe.

.The Color Purple

Dervishes. In love with the Divine,

Do you go to church? Are you a Christian?

Remnants: A Memoir of Spirit, Activism, and Mothering

Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation.



Joy Notoma is a freelance writer and journalist who lives in transit between New York, Benin, and northern France. She writes about the emotional landscape of migration, spiritual freedom, and topics related to black womanhood in a global context. Her essays and reporting have appeared in Longreads, Zora Mag, Al Jazeera, Huff Post, CNN International, and Quartz Africa. You can find her on twitter @joyinthestillness.