Ms. Legarde hails from the colorful and unique city of New Orleans, Louisiana. In her youth, she recalls spending her weekends and summer days on her grandmother’s porch, reading while the women of the family gardened, cooked, and shared stories about their weeks. “I learned what it was to be a Southern black woman from my grandmother, my mother, from every woman in my family. Looking back, I’m amazed at all the ways simple porch talk can be applied to my life now. The stories not just of adversity, but triumph where our people learned to not just live, but thrive.”
In her late teens, Ms. Legarde left home to attend the University of Missouri, where she majored in English, focusing on Creative Writing and African Diaspora Literature. “When I was growing up, I wasn’t exposed to a lot of literature written by women that looked like me, or really, women at all. In my college years, I worked intentionally to re-educate myself in the rich traditions of storytelling from women such as Ursula LeGuin, Alice Walker, Zora Neale Hurston, and Audre Lorde. I used to think I was alone, being a nerdy black girl who love science fiction and fantasy, but what I discovered is women have been in those spaces a long time, and I try to connect to those who came before by engrossing myself in their words and visions for the future.”
In New Orleans, Ms. Legarde has worked with several organizations; the ones most dear to her heart being Big Class (Chapter 826: New Orleans), which provides creative writing tutoring to New Orleans’ youth, and Wildseeds, a feminist-of-color collective that uses speculative fiction and art as a resource for social change.
Currently, Ms. Legarde serves for Notre Dame Mission Volunteers AmeriCorps in Boston, MA. She is overly enthused to join the Girls Leadership team for their summer term as the Social Change in Action Teaching Counselor, and help write history by connecting girls with the past, present, and future of strong trailblazing women like themselves. “As women, we’re part of a special community. It’s not history, or even herstory; it’s our story. I want to show young women what it is to be community-oriented, and work together to enact change. We are so much bigger than ourselves; we have the power to change the Universe.”
Ms. Legarde also enjoys good (spicy) food, good conversation, and the company of cats. A multitude of cats.