Octavia Estelle Butler was a future-seer who built new worlds with her bold words who is both the namesake and patron saint of this project. How could you not love a woman who self-described as ”comfortably asocial – a hermit in the middle of Los Angeles – a pessimist if I’m not careful, a feminist, a black, a former Baptist, an oil-and-water combination of ambition, laziness, certainty and drive”?
Octavia Butler blended the prophetic and the practical. She had a very clear dream that she wanted to be a writer when nothing around her suggested that was possible. She worked to organize her entire life around her freedom – her creative process.
Octavia wrote her own worlds. She didn’t mimic or copy other people’s ideas of the future. Her attunement to the reasons of herself and the world, helped her understand the likely outcomes of the future.
Rest and retreat played a critical role in Octavia’s own life. She left Pasadena, California for the first time as a community college student to attend a writers retreat in Pennsylvania where her talent was reflected back to her and she had the time and space to see that it was more than possible to become a professional writer. She had her own philanthropic dreams of creating a retreat space for Black youngsters to tend to their creative potential.
Can you imagine a world in which we had thousands of Octavias? Thousands of Black women who knew deep within themselves that there were other options, other realities, and understood on a cellular level that they could make those things real?
That is the world that The Octavia Fund nurtures.
We stand in awe and side by side with our contemporary champions of rest.
A celebrated housing rights lawyer deep in the practicalities of justice, Rasheeda is also a deeply creative thinker and doer who, in addition to crafting her own speculative fiction, founded The AfroFuturist Affair and the Community Futures Lab two beautifully generative future-facing projects.
We draw from the well of our ancestors and historical patron saints.
Biddy Mason petitioned for her own freedom and went on to become a booming business women who shaped the development of Los Angeles and carved new grooves for what it meant to be a free woman.
A poet with a deep connection of the more-than-material world, Lucille Clifton voice and work recalibrated experience and history to center Blackness and bring long-ignored truths into the fold.