Anyone who has ever loved can tell you what heartbreak feels like. An actual physical sensation of hollowness in your core. A series of wrenching moments without breath. A weeping wound that oozes without reprieve.

The year 2017 was a national heartbreak. Turn for turn, we witnessed violence, abuse, ignorance, and depravity at full scale. As the madness, along with the voices of women in resistance-crowded streets and Twitter timelines, reached a feverish pitch, I worried about the hearts of Black women.

For as long as I have lived, I have watched the Black women I know push on, pull through, carry on, tuck in, tend, take care, grind, hustle … you know how we do. We know how to get from moment to moment, how to create magic and mercy for everyone around us. But what about our own hearts?

Are we cared for? Are we asked about? Who is advocating for the wholeness of our hearts? Who is making sure our lovers do not murder us? Who is ensuring that our children are born without us dying in our hospital beds? Who is making sure we eat, rest, medicate and love with full easy breaths?

Today is the first day of the fourth annual Black Futures Month, a month-long celebration where Black Lives Matter invites us to imagine new worlds. But this year is different. We are mending our hearts, and recalibrating our steps. Our bodies are drowning in cortisol. We need a moment. We need a breath. This year, we are breaking from our rigorous calls to action and landing softly in the visionary hearts of poets, painters, photographers, filmmakers and musicians.

It has been said that everything we are living is a result of the imaginations of those who came before us. Our daily lives — our homes, cars, mosques, DJs, ambulances, theaters, clubs, jails and more — were all once living in the world of the imagination. This year, we have invited and worked with 14 incredible Black dreamers from around the world to imagine a Black Feminist Future along with us. Every writer and artist whose work we share with you this month walks with strong heart medicine.

Every poem, song and visual expression this month is dedicated to the memory of Erica Garner, her heart and the future of Black life.

It is our hope that your heart is made more whole from these offerings and you find a moment, a breath or two, to reach out and check up on someone you love.

In the Black Future, we are love.

Welcome to #BlackFuturesMonth18.

Written by Noni Limar
Limar is the current Art+ Culture Lead with Black Lives Matter. With a decade long resume in television, theater, commercial and music, she is committed to create by any means necessary.