Auntyland affirms and honors Black, Indigenous, and People of Color aunt narratives, artists, and businesses through our annual holiday – Real Aunties Day. Because of COVID19, we shifted all activities online. We believe in scholarship and community. We aim to disrupt stereotypes about aunts and mature women of color with events, programs, and a new holiday called ‘Real Aunties Day’ set on March 8.

Decolonize Women’s History Month

“In our world, the word ‘Auntie’ and the ‘aunt’ role present complex historical and cultural meanings. Today, in 2021, colonialism and racism still impact our lives. Auntyland is an intersectional place where race, gender, and age meet. With ‘Real Aunties Day’ on March 8, we want to bring together some realness, to decolonize some national holidays starting with Women’s History Month,” said Sylvia Wong Lewis, Auntyland founder, and proud auntie.


Aunt stories will take center stage for the first time. Mothers and grandmothers have been studied and celebrated for eons.  But few understand the world of aunts. That’s where we come in. We will bring more creativity, scholarship, and rigor to teach about the aunt world.

Pronoun-defying superheroes

Why Auntyland? Because aunts are pronoun-defying superheroes, who have been overlooked too long! Aunts are chosen kinfolks, sometimes biological relations, second mothers, grandmothers, Godmothers, and more. Aunties play pivotal roles in strengthening Black, Brown, and Tan families and communities. We are especially reaching out to African American, Caribbean, African, and Asia women and siblings to document unique and resilient families and community traditions. This is the first time ‘real auntie’ stories will be collected and archived dynamically.

Activism, Social Justice

Auntyland is also a whimsical place full of joyful and amazing women. We are passionate about life and love. AND activism and social justice are our biggest concerns. Did you see us keeping vigil for the caged children at the borderlands? Do you see us marching and protesting daily for equality everywhere? Didn’t we save American Democracy at an Alabama election? Today more than ever, we need to disrupt the race, gender, and age bias– and take control of our narratives. Our voices and images are too often dismissed and stereotyped. No more!

Aunties Rule!

“When I think about my ‘aunties,’ I am filled with awe and gratitude. My mother’s friends and my parent’s siblings intervened in my life and the lives of my peers in pivotal ways. We hope to bring back some of that positive ‘auntie’ energy. “Where Sisterhood lives, Aunties Rule!’ is our motto. We aim to be a motivational and community-building space. Through our digital platform, events, and e-store, we hope to inspire, educate, and entertain,” Lewis added.

Have you ever been called ‘Auntie’ or ‘Titi’? Do you call anyone Auntie or Titi? These are cultural terms of endearment and respect titles for Caribbean, Latina, African, Asian, African American women, and siblings. But the word and the role can present different meanings depending on the circumstances. Let’s explore Auntyland!


Share your stories

Let’s schedule your interview to be featured on our website, podcasts, or videos. Talk about ‘aunties’ of all kinds. Honor an Auntie by sharing her story for our archives. Share what’s happening in your world! Do you have aunties–related, chosen, or found in genealogy? Are you an aunt or grand aunt? Are you taking care of a niece, nephew, young or old? Are you living with an Auntie?

‘Real Aunties Day’: Our public programs and events, including films, sports, arts, workshops, panels, and festivals, will cover topics and issues for and about aunties and mature women of color. Details to come soon.

Photography/Artists: We are reaching out to mature women writers, artists, and creatives of all kinds: photos, artwork, illustrations, multimedia to be featured in our public programs.

Funding: We are community-based in New York City and independently funded via grants through our fiscal sponsorship with Fractured Atlas. To make a tax-deductible donation, click the direct link here.

Contact: If interested, please send an email to













Self-care is warfare

Self-care event:L-R: Sylvia Wong Lewis w/Robin Stone, journalist; Marva York, attendee; Mimi Woods, NY Delta, Health & Wellness Committee Co-Chair.
Self-care event: L-R: Sylvia Wong Lewis w/Robin Stone, journalist; Marva York, attendee; Mimi Woods, NY Delta, Health & Wellness Committee Co-Chair.

Self-care is warfare. “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” Audre Lorde’s much loved quote opened discussions on Thick, a documentary about black women, eating, stress, and size by Robin D. Stone, a journalist and health coach. The NYC premiere screening was a Delta Sigma Theta Sorority-NY Alumnae Chapter, Health & Wellness community outreach program. Click here for more on the Delta-NY Alumnae Chapter programs.

Thick” Highlights:

Thick is a perfect title for a much needed conversation about being overweight in a stressful world. The recent timing, Tuesday, 11/17/2015 at The New School, was ideal as we get ready for Thanksgiving. Being ‘thick’ in all the right places—butt, legs, breasts— is considered attractive. Therein lies the mixed message. Would you risk your life and health to be sexy? There are many ways to answer this question. According to the Urban Dictionary, a ‘thick’ woman is “sexy, curvy, full-bodied, or big boned.”

‘Thick’ Black women were the stars of Stone’s documentary. Each told personal stories about weight, eating, and stress. One discussed her man’s preference for a ‘woman with some meat on her bones.’ Several recalled stories about ‘thick’ relatives who loved over-feeding them. One Sister listed diseases in her family resulting from obesity—diabetes and stroke. Another Sister recalled an obese friend who recently suffered a heart attack at 30! One young Sister, 19, reflected on her mother’s recent death from diabetes.

Self-care: 'Thick' was shown on screen at New School

We were invited to “listen, witness and reflect.” It was wonderful group therapy in a theater full of multi-generational black women!

“We as black women are not supposed to be here. We were not expected to survive our history,” said Ms. Stone.

During the Q & A session, several shared micro-aggressive comments from family and friends: “Why are you going to the gym? You’re not fat!” “I know you don’t do drugs, so why are you losing weight?” The connection between money and access to healthy food was discussed. Bulimia and extreme weight loss was also part of the conversation. But emotional and mental stress was a major focus.

“As caretakers of the world, it’s time for us to get radical about our self-care,” Stone said.

Self-care: from 'My Fat Genes'

My Fat Genes: Attending this event made me think about my fat relatives. I witnessed their difficulties. It is war! Like Oprah, they would win and lose their battles against weight gain several times over the years. We continue to cheer for them for being on a healthy journey. Event attendees wondered about what words should we with ourselves and others when the pounds pile back on. Do you say: “Big is beautiful” or “It’s ok to be you!” The current trend for big butts, breasts and implant surgeries was also discussed. One Sister in the film said that her doctor’s advice to get lap band surgery was a wake-up call. A while back I posted My Fat Genes to show the importance of genealogy with tips on how to learn about your family’s health history. What illnesses do you have in your family that are preventable through healthy lifestyle choices?

Click here to read more from My Fat Genes.


Audre Lorde’s quote: Self-care is a physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual war. The Delta event inspired me re-read Lorde’s writing and the writing of other Black feminists who posted about her work, especially, A Burst of Light. I had forgotten that Lorde’s popular quote was taken from stories written while she struggled to live with breast cancer that had already spread to her liver. Clearly, she was fighting the battle of her life. Lorde fiercely described the challenges, from diagnosis, Western and Eastern medicine practices, doctors, so-called ‘experts,’ natural remedies, treatments, and prognosis. Lorde’s legacy to us then, is to get ready for battle on many fronts and keep fighting to the end. Here’s an excerpt from a commentary about Lord’s ‘warfare’ writing.

Self-care: Audre Lorde's book A Burst of LightA Burst of Light is an account of how the struggle for survival is a life struggle and a political struggle. Some of us, Audre Lorde notes, were never meant to survive. To have some body, to be a member of some group, can be a death sentence. When you are not supposed to live, as you are, where you are, with whom you are with, then survival is a radical action.”

Click here to read the full post.

In conclusion, Thick was a bold reality check for black women’s health. I thank Ms. Stone and the women who participated in this soul-searching documentary for their courage, honesty, and inspiration. I also thank the Deltas for excellent community outreach. I believe that many left the event feeling inspired and motivated to do at least one thing —take a walk, drink more water, or cook organic meals.

As the event closed, we were given three self-care prompts for homework:


  1. What does your body reveal about your life story?
  2. What has your body taught you about life?
  3. What have you had to do to have peace with your body?

Click here for more on Robin Stone’s health coaching.

What stories does your body tell you today?


Her Say

Her Say: A series featuring Women of color having their say about aging and living with spirit, style, and grace. #isthatold?

June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek
June Lewis Miklau, 77, lifestyle model, tech geek

“When I was in my young 50s or 60s, my priorities were still dictated by a need to succeed. I would forego fun and was locked into competing as a black woman in the corporate world. Not anymore! At age seventy, I was signed by a major agency as a lifestyle model, I started an image consulting business and I became a tech geek. At 77, my hair may be gray, my body may ache, and I may not remember where I left my pocketbook. But, I feel young and enjoy living, laughing and loving my family and friends every day. I am always learning. I publish funny books for my grandchildren and produce movies of my family reunions.” ~June Lewis Miklau, 77, Oceanside, Ca. Lifestyle model, tech geek.

Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher
Diane Day Crump Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher

“Embrace your journey at every age. Following your passion can be a hard road full of sacrifice and difficult choices. I know. I had a show business career. I also went to college and became a public school teacher after 50 years old. Dance is still my passion and I perform with the ‘Las Vegas Forever Young’ dance troupe. Our ages range from 58-80 years old! I lived through everything. I’ve been a star and on the chorus line on many stages around the world. I survived racial segregation and everything that goes with unfair treatment of women and people of color. But I feel like I’m on top. I’m still here while many from my era are long gone. A positive attitude is everything. With a great family, terrific husband, grandchildren and friends, I have no complaints! I feel privileged to be 70 and still kicking up my heels!” ~Diane Day Crump-Richmond, 70, Las Vegas dancer, school teacher.

Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird
Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn Snowbird

“I believe aging is a beautiful thing when you prepare yourself to live abundantly, as God intended. Some body parts may break down, but if you keep your health in check, you can enjoy life and ignore “Arthur” when he comes around. Who’s Arthur? That the nickname for ‘Mr. Arthritis.’ I exercise and can wear a beach bikini with confidence. I live life on my own terms. I’ve been through everything–two marriages, widowhood, divorce, parenthood, death of my mother as a child and murder of my son at 18 years old. I survived many hardships. And I prevailed by God’s good grace. I have a solid education and I retired from an executive finance career. I have many blessings, talents and interests. My philosophy is simple: Do what makes you happy. I travel, dance, and hike. I winter in the Caribbean and visit family and friends as often as I can everywhere. There will come a time when I can’t do those things. So, for now, I do me. I’ve earned it.” ~Gail Gant, 65, Brooklyn snowbird.

Do you know a woman of color who should be featured in our ‘Her Say’ series? Let us know.

photo by Sylvia Wong Lewis, from ‘Flying Home’ series’ by artist Faith Ringgold’s glass mosaic panel series in the NYC subway station at 125th street.

Audience development

"On Kentucky Avenue" at City College Center for the Arts
Audience development: “On Kentucky Avenue,” a musical tribute to Club Harlem of Atlantic City.


Audience development can be seen in show business, politics, and the Civil Rights movement. How do you get people to show up, vote or march? Marketing experts are now re-examining how they use this important communications strategy.

I was intrigued by the experience of co-producing “On Kentucky Avenue,” a musical tribute to Club Harlem of Atlantic City, because of my family’s show business history. Several generations of my family performed and attended shows there. But, as a communications professional, I know from managing campaigns that it is all about that sweet spot where journalism, public relations and marketing intersect. The audience response is proof of the pudding.

Our event was very successful. Tickets to each performance were sold-out. Venue management had to add additional seating for the last show. Our exit video interviews revealed happy, joyful experiences. That’s what successful audience development looks like.

What’s next? Finding this audience gave us some insights about how to prolong and sustain this Black-oriented 60’s musical. Thankfully, social media research has taken audience development to new heights. Research provides a variety of ways to identify, reach your audience and set strategy. Analytics can prove what was done and leverage projections for future events. But, in the final analysis, we must rely upon old-fashioned “word-of-mouth” marketing, the original social media platform.

One writer used a ‘sale’ sign to explain audience development. “Audience development is simply this: attracting diverse people at scale toward a social object. By inviting them in via a unit of compellation (in my example, it’s the “SALE” sign), a variety of people with a variety of interests are courted and willingly corralled.”
Click here to read more.

How will you use audience development in your next event or campaign?
(Photos by Vivian Lee)

Guest writer project

Calling guest writers! There’s still time to participate in ‘Narrative Network’s Women’s History Month (WHM) Guest Writer’s Project.’ Deadlines are for the Week of: 3/9,3/19,3/23, or 3/30. Please select a date within these time frames that suits you.

Guideline and story ideas for Guest writer posts:
Pay tribute to woman/women in your own life who deserve(s) recognition; or list 10 books about women, or list 10 quotes by women you like; or list 10 women authors, musicians, artists, teachers, leaders, businesses, blogs etc. that you recommend; or write your own reflection on WHM; or write your ‘Top 10 Tips’ on how to honor or improve conditions for women on the planet, in your community, family. (Add link to your own blog or website or social media contact information.)

Length: 500 words or less, with a photos or images (with credits if need, at least 2 images works better); photo can be of you and/or something you like or topic that you are writing about.

A photo slideshow with 4-8 photos with narrative captions to create a photo gallery story is welcome too. Must have photo credits for photos/ or permissions. If interested, send message via the Contact page.
*Note: You don’t have to be a woman to participate. Everyone welcome!