When They Ask To Touch Your Hair, AGAIN

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars

Many of us women, people of color, and members of the LGBT+ community dread these first few days of the new year. The prospect of returning to campuses, nonprofits or companies where we are isolated, harassed, and blocked from success can be disheartening. In my own life, discrimination fanned the flames of doubt and shame I internalized through living in a society where I rarely saw anyone who looked like me-or loved like me-enjoy professional success.

If you’re steeling yourself against microaggressions, mansplaining, or other inappropriate discriminatory behavior, remember two things.

1. It’s Not You.

Discrimination is not something you can prevent with professional excellence, code switching expertise, or fitting into racial or gendered norms of behavior. It is driven solely by perpetrators’ allegiance to White supremacist, sexist and/or homophobic beliefs. (Whether that allegiance is subconscious is not your concern). Discrimination is illegal precisely because it has nothing to do with your actions.

2. You Are Not Alone.

Chances are you are not the only person at your campus or organization that desires a more inclusive atmosphere. To the extent that your feedback is solicited or you have decision-making authority about diversity-related programs, suggesting more trainings and cultural events might jumpstart the constructive conversations about equality and inclusion your organization needs.

I am hopeful for progress. The more we speak up, the swifter change will come. Happy New Year.

Yours in Solidarity,

RJH PhD

LGBT Mag Critiques 9 GRAMS Play

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars

The pioneering LGBT magazine The Advocate called 9 GRAMS “heartfelt and often humorous” in a glowing review of the play that appears in both its print and online publications. Writer David Artavia explains playwright Maisha Yearwood “has written a brutally honest and poignant one-woman play…putting on full display the ugly truth of what it means to be a targeted Black lesbian American traveling and living abroad.” Peep the full review here.

Go to 9GRAMS.com more information about the next performance of 9 GRAMS.

Don’t Be Alarmed

Posted Leave a commentPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Field Notes, Parents, Scholars, Students, Teachers

It is so easy to focus on the negative right now. To endlessly repeat in our minds everything that is wrong, wrong, wrong about White supremacy, fascism and the deplorable people who hold those ideals dear. It has taken me a minute to quiet my own mind and gain some clarity.

The swastikas brandished in Charlottesville last weekend are no different than those placed in dormitories at The New School last November. The murder of ally Heather Heyer is along the same despicable lines as the killing of Black student Richard Collins on the University of Maryland’s campus. For some time now, White supremacist violence has been resurging. And that is terrifying. I am everything these people hate. So many of my loved ones are everything they want to disappear.

The good news is- as Nobel laureate Toni Morrison pointed out-this outbreak of hate is the quaking desperation of people who are losing. Losing ground. Losing support. Losing power. Even with champions in The White House.

The most important thing we can do now is to raise the already swelling tide of opposition to this latest iteration of fascism. A simple way to help is to invigorate dialogues in our communities that promote equality. Events such as diversity trainings or timely programs for Latino Heritage Month are proven to build compassion and acceptance.

Progressive Pupil offers workshops and programs that can help. If our work is not right for your school, place of worship, or company; please also consider the services of The People’s Institute for Survival and Beyond.

Don’t be alarmed. Be part of the solution.

Bigots can’t win.

Yours with Love and Solidarity,

Recognize

Posted 8 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers

Screen Shot 2016-09-01 at 4.53.55 PM

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Between screening Black and Cuba and working on my new multi-platform project 9 GRAMS, I’ve spent some time this summer thinking about the Black woman’s image.  Of course in one way or another I’ve been thinking about it my entire life by looking in the mirror and beholding the relentless glamour of my mother and grandmother while I was growing up. In creating films that center Black women’s perspectives and – frankly- a lifetime of struggling to valorize my own, I’ve come to realize the most empowering and aesthetically beautiful representations of Black women are the ones we create ourselves.

Last Chance

Posted 10 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Authors, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized

Today, the New York Times reported in an astonishing video on racist, islamophobic, homophobic and misogynist statements emboldened by the Orange one at his campaign rallies. One attendee remarks, “this is the last chance…to preserve the culture I grew up in.” Please share with a friend who is considering not voting this election year.

 

The Counted

Posted 5 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized
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Korryn Davies, 23, now among The Counted

In memory of Korryn Gaines, who was killed today in front of her 5 year old son by Baltimore police, please take a moment and look at The Counted. Published by The GuardianThe Counted is an online database of people killed by police in the U.S. It appears Korryn Gaines will be number 631 in 2016.

The police officers involved attempted to arrest Korryn for failing to appear in court to answer nonviolent traffic charges.

"Stop Killing Us" 3 Things to Do With Your Grief and Rage

Posted 7 CommentsPosted in #BlackLivesMatter, Activists, Allies, Artists, Field Notes, Parents, Prisoners, Scholars, Students, Teachers, Uncategorized


Police dressed in riot gear accost peaceful protester in sundress. Baton Rouge. Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Reuters.

To be candid, this past week I’ve struggled to write Field Notes. As you know, at Progressive Pupil we strive to remain optimistic. A steadfast faith in the power of collective action and community-based leadership, rooted in the successes of social movements in the past, drives our work. Hearing the news of the killing of Philando Castile in Minneapolis, Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, and Delrawn Small in New York, as well as witnessing the grief of their children, tested that faith.

I lost my mother and grandfather (who was a surrogate father to me) a few years ago and understand the pain of losing a parent as an adult. I can only begin to imagine the despair losing a parent causes a child. Seeing Alton Sterling’s 15 year-old burst into tears, nearly collapsing from grief, while his mother expressed outrage about his father’s death overwhelmed me with sadness and frustration. At a press conference, they stood in front of a sign that read “Stop Killing Us.”