Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) is a third-generation Harlemite who has known Harlem since she was four months old. She is the daughter of Dr. Lynne Richardson and Dr. Desmond Jordan, two minority physicians who trained at the historic Harlem Hospital.
Her father, Dr. Desmond A. Jordan, just passed this past November 2020. He is deeply missed.
Growing up Kristin (KRJ) was in and out of Lenox Terrace where her great aunt was an original tenant and where Kristin herself lives now. She attended the Calhoun School where she graduated cum laude with distinction in Social Studies, Spanish, Mathematics, Science, and Music. She then attended Brown University where she graduated class of 2009 as a double major in in Black Studies (“Africana”) and Literary Arts and was a commencement speaker for the Africana Studies department.
Kristin (KRJ) is a book printing poet, teaching artist, author, and activist in the Harlem community, where her mother is also from and lives, where her great aunt (as mentioned above) was from and lived, and where her grandparents (married at Abyssinia Baptist Church) lived – 3 generations of Harlem.
Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) has published her own (and others) work by starting an independent publishing company called Pens Up Press, for literary activists generally, and Black and Latino activists in particular to publish and promote books for and about making a better world. Kristin’s first book titled Mules Fight Back: 40 Activist Poems and Stories is a poetic response to the famous Zora Neale Hurston reference that the Black woman is the “mule of the world,” and her most recent work, Water & Light: Choose Love Now, rooted in her personal experience with an abusive relationship is about a totality of things from personal, interpersonal, romantic, platonic, social, communal to national revolution. In addition to her own work and publishing, Kristin also coordinates the Uproar Poetry Group, an online Facebook platform for activist poets, and (until recently with the COVID pandemic) ran senior poems and senior current events workshops at A. Phillip Randolph Senior Center and Central Harlem Senior Center. She and her team continue to serve seniors and ALL Harlem residents with daily wellness checks and mutual aid.
As an activist Kristin has participated in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street mass movements. She’s been a member of the ANSWER coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a supporter of Freedom Hall and Sister’s Uptown Bookstore in Harlem, and a member of AALUSC (African Ancestrial Lesbians United for Societal Change). In 2012 Kristin founded a cop watch team and has continued to this day to be an advocate for police accountability. She is a member of Democratic Socialists of America, a member of LT-ACT (Lenox Terrace Tenants Association), and the Social Justice Chair for United Methodist Women at Salem Church. Kristin is also a practicing Buddhist (Christian Buddhist) and member of Soka Gakkai International (SGI). Some opponents with ties to the establishment claim they have “never seen Kristin” because of her lack of ties to Harlem’s political machine, but anyone active in Harlem community service and anyone out in the streets with the protests last summer and for years before knows Kristin, KRJ, Kristin for Harlem.
As a teacher and a teaching artist KRJ has worked for a number of notable organizations including Directions For Our Youth and Girl Be Heard; and until recently was a literacy specialist at Harlem Boys & Girls Club. She was also the co-founder of Freedom Love Birthright a writing and community theatre youth program in the spirit of African and African-American ancestry that took place in 2019 in Central Harlem.
As a public speaker, panelist, and guest lecturer, Kristin Richardson Jordan (KRJ) has presented at Circle of Voices, the Kennedy Center, Hostos Community College, and Montclair State University. She has also been featured on a number of podcasts including Mind Over Melanin.
Kristin is passionate about social justice, and the history, politics, and culture(s) of all people generally and Black people in particular. Politically spiritually and personally she believes in serving people including but not limited to housing, environment, health, food, education, and criminal/policing justice. She is an optimist and an idealist who dreams about a truly equal and equitable world based on seeing whole people and the humanity in every person.