Day 86, with # Black Lives Matter

This thing, which should not even be a contentious statement, is the reason for the full week of massive protests here in Philadelphia, in America, and even the world. I support all the BLM protesters under all conditions.

ALL conditions.


If you are reading this and the statement Black Lives Matter is somehow uncomfortable to you, ask yourself:

“Why would someone feel an intense need to assert that their life matters in this country? And why would they believe I don’t think that their lives matter?”

And fucking sit with that.

If you can’t see it, you’re deliberately not looking.

If you finally see it?

Read “White Fragility” by Robin DiAngelo and realize this is not even the tip of the iceberg: this is a white woman’s perspective and she doesn’t even break ground on this; this is the easiest possible starting place. Then go read “So You Want to Talk About Race” by Ijeoma Oluo.

Realize that these two books are just the start of a VERY long life of unlearning the unconscious bias that has been fed to you.

Then read everything on the Schomburg Center Black Liberation Reading List.

If you’re on Twitter and you follow Black people like Bree Newsome Bass or Charles M. Blow or Imani Gandy, don’t reply! Just freaking read. Just listen. It does not matter if you think they’re wrong.

No, really, it doesn’t. They’ve lived through a lot more than you have in this regard.

And for the love of all that is holy, stop giving Shaun King money until he actually finishes something he’s started.

Coming to the end of Black History Month

We are at the end of Black History month here in the USA.  Last February I did a specific task and posted about the missions of the charities I supported each week, but given that the audience for my blog is so small, I wasn’t really helping anyone by mentioning them. So this year I kept quiet about what I was doing, and I tried to boost things like black voices about topics important to their communities, Black Panther, Ruby Bridges’ birthday, Black cowboys here in Houston, etc.  I also passed along a resource I am going to post here as well, because it’s comprehensive and such an amazing aggregation of educational text:

Black History Month Library on Google Drive

I’m leaving this here so not only can I come back to it again and again, but I can repost it every year, and remember to share it repeatedly.

Enough from me. More tomorrow, as March starts to track its muddy feet on the carpet.

Charities for Black History Month, week of 2/13 – 2/20

Black History Month 2017This week’s charity list has some amazing, not as well-known charities. I ask you check them all out; there’s some amazing stuff here.

2/13 – At The Well conferences is an organization that runs conferences around the country to “promote the emotional, physical, financial, and spiritual health of women and girls.” They also have a division that specifically aims to empower young black women to be future leaders. I’m really enamored of their weekend intensives for 9th graders – what a wonderful time to make a difference!

2/14 – Another great organization focused on leadership is Petals-n-Belles, which is particularly aimed at a non-conventional, non-conformist way of looking at creativity, intellect, and personal growth.  They do workshops, after-school programs, summer intensives, and more – and align girls in school with mentors to help them along the way. The goal is to give girls real-life experience that is relevant to what they’re learning in school. The founder, Damali Elliott, is also really cool! I recommend reading her description of her story.

2/15 – I fell in love with the unique mission of Girls Going Global – this organization wants to educate girls about the world and other cultures, and so takes them on trips and cultural exchanges around the world. How cool is that?? They currently serve Philadelphia and Atlanta, and I’ll be donating more in the future in hopes they’ll spread out. You can sponsor a passport for a girl, too! In these fraught days I’m thinking there might be multiple purposes for something like that…

2/16 – After going global, it made sense to me to go local and support the Uniquely You Summit. It’s a – pardon the pun – unique organization that specifically aims to help women and girls share stories and feedback about social pressures and personal issues they face. Per their website, “The UNIQUELY YOU SUMMIT is an experiential dialogue that unites black women and girls of similar backgrounds in order to eliminate the perception of isolation, and meet self-esteem needs not addressed by conventional outreach and instruction. By discovering the universality of their feelings and experiences, the barriers to becoming who they are are lifted.” I….can’t do better than that description. They have a terrific Twitter and some great Instagram posts; follow them!

2/17 – One of the things I really liked when looking at the work done by Black Women For Wellness was the sheer breadth of their projects – yet it does not seem scattered at all. If I wrote about everything this group did, I’d have to give them their own series of posts. From healthcare to advocacy to cooking classes to social justice to research on the criminalization of black girls in school, these amazing women have done a TON of amazing work. Catch them on Facebook and Twitter.

2/18 – Trans women are women, and trans women of color are most targeted by violence in all intersections, but particularly anti-trans violence. I support Black Girl Dangerous and the promotion of voices of queer and trans people of color. BGD Press, Blog (this is where one donates), and Books all aim to amplify voices that are ignored or minimized in today’s society, and they do amazing, quality work. Besides, Mia McKenzie is the bomb.

2/19 – I also support Trans Women of Color Collective, with their aim to “uplift the narratives, lived experiences and leadership of trans and gender non-conforming people of color, our families and comrades as we build towards collective liberation for all oppressed people.” As extraordinary founder Lourdes Ashley Hunter states, “Every Breath a Trans Person Takes is an Act of Revolution.” For trans women of color, doubly and triply so.

I feel it’s important to end on a focus on trans women of color’s lives and voices. Next week I’ll post today’s charity. Love and strength to all.

Charities for Black History Month, week of 2/7 – 2/12

Black History Month 2017This week I’m running late and ended up not donating on the exact days, but I’ve assigned each charity I donated to a day anyway :)

2/7 – I have a particularly big place in my heart for orgs that help abused children. Misssey is an organization devoted to helping kids in danger of or subjected to commercial sexual exploitation. They started in Oakland when Oakland was identified as a major locus of child porn and street prostitution of children.*  Nola Brantley, Adela Hernandez Rodarte, Sarai T. Smith-Mazariegos, and Emily Hamman were working in a youth assistance program called the Scotlan Center, and witnessed the impact of this on the kids of Oakland. They started Misssey to be a surivor-led and survivor-focused organization. Not only are they striving to help these kids either get out or stay out of sexual exploitation – they are working to change the narrative about their circumstances. Broadening the conversation from “child prostitute” to “victims of child sexual abuse” is critical, and decriminalizing children’s engagement is paramount to their healing. Misssey offers advocacy, case management services, referrals, mentoring, and foster youth programs. They are amazing – and bonus, their new Executive Director, Holly Joshi, is super kickass and served on Kamala Harris’ Human Trafficking Task Force.

2/8 – Black Women’s Playwright’s Group is a group whose mission is to “support and promote the work of our members as well as provide leadership and advocacy on critical issues within the theater world. ” They have monthly meetings, offer critiques to members, and do a lot of interesting experimental work using alternate media (like SMS) to explore the boundaries of theater. They also offer programs for the families of incarcerated people and residents of group homes. It’s very interesting stuff! Follow them on Facebook.

2/9 – Continuing on my arts kick, Sistagraphy is a collective of black women photographers that started in 1993 in the Atlanta area and expanded to 100 members. They’ve done over 50 amazing exhibitions in the past years, and while their blog has not been as active in the past 2 years, their Facebook feed keeps updating with current exhibitions and events.

2/10 – Here in Houston, Community Artists’ Collective (or just is the brainchild of two artists, one of whom ran a gallery and one of whom was a college professor of the arts. According to their terrific website, Michelle Barnes and Dr. Sarah Trotty organized this group to “meet the needs of the professional African American artists and with a special sensitivity to African American women artists.” They offer educational programs like after-school events and classes for children, as well as Saturday classes and workshops in art appreciation for adults. Check out their quilting events, but don’t stop there! They support and promote African-American art events of all kinds, and host many exhibitions at their gallery in Houston’s Midtown area. You can find them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

2/11 – Do folks know I love drums and drumming? I LOOOVE drums and drumming. So I was extra happy to see I could donate to Ayodele Drum and Dance. They’re based in Chicago (I’m so jealous) and have events for kids, teens, and adults. This year they are an Arts Org in Residence at the Chicago Cultural Center, so they have a bunch of free events.  (DOUBLY jealous.) Their site is fully updated, but also check them out on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

2/12 – All right, so this charity does not focus specifically on serving black women and children, but really, how in the WORLD could I not give to the Hurston/Wright Foundation?? Seriously, if I even need to say what this charity is all about, you need to go to African American Writers 101. Check out their programs and follow them on Facebook and Twitter.

Next week I’ll post the charity I donated to yesterday, since that takes me back out of the arts arc I started in this post.


*Note: This is a touchy topic for me, which is why the rest of the post focused on arts organizations.

Black History Month: Charities from 2/2 – 2/6

Black History Month 2017As discussed before, I’m posting about the work of the charities I am targeting for this year’s Black History Month. It’s all amazing work and I encourage people to go to the sites I am linking and read about the projects and programs for each charity, in their own words.

2/2: You should know Black Girls Code – if you don’t, why don’t you?? – as the terrific org that encourages young women of color into STEM careers. I’ve been following them on Facebook for a while. They support hackathons, training, classes, all sorts of awesome things…. and recently partnered with 20th Century Fox to provide free screenings of “Hidden Figures” in their 11 chapter cities.  Seriously, this is a great organization. Follow them! Go! Now!

2/3: The Black Women’s Health Imperative is a national charity focusing on the overall health – physical, mental, emotional and financial – of black women. In November they released Indexus, a report that is the “first comparative index of Black women’s health based on healthy Black women,” aggregating 20 years of research. The report at that link is free, and it’s pretty damn cool. They have a ton of other initiatives, but this is the first report I’ve read that focuses on a specific positive angle – what black women view as health for them, and what supports them staying healthy according to that view.

2/4: The National Congress of Black Women is an organization dedicated to making black women’s voices heard in our nation’s capitol. Their causes are very diverse, from human trafficking to supporting justice for American Indians to scholarships for black women to creating a culture supporting those with disabilities. They were founded by a large group of amazing black women who were in positions of public service, all of whom deserve a blog post all their own. Their founding chairs are Representative (and presidential candidate) Shirley Chisholm and the Honorable C. DeLores Tucker, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They’ve been a little quiet on Facebook since the middle of last year (I’m not surprised), but I’m looking forward to the results of their conference this coming September.

2/5: The National Black Women’s Justice Institute is devoted to helping black women and girls who have interacted with America’s justice system, with a specific focus on California.   Their mission is “focused on the reduction of racial and gender disparities in the justice systems affecting Black women, girls, and their families.” Their initiatives span from research into how existing policies in schools affect young black women to finding employment for previously-incarcerated women. They’ve got a fascinating pilot educational reentry project underway in the Bay Area, and their working paper about that project is free and downloadable from the front page of their site (and in the resources tab there are a ton of other excellent educational materials and articles).

2/6: Did you know that black women are 10% less likely to get breast cancer than white women, but their survival rate is more than 10% less? I didn’t until I read all about Sisters Network. They are a breast cancer survivorship organization for black women and they’re based right here in Houston. They provide mammograms, help black women who are having problems affording breast cancer treatment, and teach teens about the importance of breast health. They have a breast cancer conference that they are taking on tour! They’re starting in Houston and going to Baton Rouge, Memphis, Austin, Greensboro NC, Chicago, Portland (OR), Tampa Bay, Bergen County NJ and Hampton Roads, VA. And they’re organizing their 8th annual 5k Walk in April. You can follow them on Facebook to check out their past events and keep tabs on their amazing work.

Donating in honor of Black History Month

Black History Month 2017

This year, in honor of Black History Month, every day of February I will be donating to a charity that is run by and focused on black women in America. Because this is the first day, today I’ll spotlight the charity I’ve chosen. For the rest of the month I’ll post a summary of the charities and their awesome initiatives on Sundays Mondays.

Today’s charity is SisterLove, an Atlanta-based organization dedicated to supporting women’s sexual and reproductive health. Their main focus is on HIV/AIDS prevention, counseling, and destigmatization. They offer free rapid HIV testing and other STD testing in the Atlanta area, and have numerous programs devoted to education about safer sex, living with HIV, and PrEP advocacy (check out the numerous resources they have downloadable here). One of those programs specifically focuses on providing HIV/AIDS prevention education for women attending historically Black colleges and universities. Another program focuses on healthy attitudes around sexuality, and they outline the scope of the program on their site.

SisterLove is pretty freaking amazing and you can follow them on Twitter, Facebook. and Pinterest.

BTW, if anyone has an organization they would like me to consider, please let me know!