March 5

New Photography by Mikael Owunna celebrates the beauty of the black body

‘Every Black Person Deserves To See Themselves This Way’

In his series called Infinite Essence, photographer Mikael Owunna creates works with the intention of redirecting imagery of black people.  He works to create an alternative to the negative imagery we are accustomed to seeing in the news.  He paints his models with glow in the dark paint to create images in which the black body appears celestial and infinite.

Click here for more on his work from NPR.

 

February 17

Yassmin Abdel-Magied: Is It Possible To Unravel Unconscious Bias?

In this powerful TedTalk, Yassmin Abdel-Magied discussed combating unconscious bias by acknowledging it and interrupting it.  She offers the viewer the suggestion of beginning by mentoring.  She specifies, however, that it is comfortable to mentor and lift up those who we are similar to.  She challenges the viewer to mentor someone different from ourselves and that in this way, we create access and opportunity for others.

A powerful new Ted Talk worth a listen:

 

For more on this and similar stories, click here

 

https://www.npr.org/2019/02/15/694279494/yassmin-abdel-magied-is-it-possible-to-unravel-unconscious-bias

February 4

Mural Artist Fabian Williams works to Disrupt Racism in the NFL

On Super Bowl Sunday NPR story about an artist in Atlanta, Fabian Williams, who is creating murals to disrupt racism in the NFL.
This is his mural that was torn down just days before the Super Bowl. It was an image of Muhammed Ali and Colin Kaepernick painted two years ago on an abandoned building not far from the stadium.
Listen to the interview and read the articles for the full story, and Williams’ artistic response.
Some resources are below:
http://natmonitor.com/2019/02/03/kaeperbowl-the-silencing-continues/

 

January 7

White Fragility, by Robin Diangelo

At a recent workshop hosted by Volunteer Community Services and the Center for Safety and Change, an important new book was highlighted:

White Fragility, Why it is so hard for White People to talk about Racism, by Robin Diangelo.

Sociologist and antiracist educator Robin DiAngelo illuminates emotionally charged and defensive behavior that occurs when a white person’s perceived anti-racism is challenged.

“Referring to the defensive moves that white people make when challenged racially, white fragility is characterized by emotions such as anger, fear, and guilt, and by behaviors including argumentation and silence. These behaviors, in turn, function to reinstate white racial equilibrium and prevent any meaningful cross-racial dialogue.”   ~Beacon Press

Many important tools are provided to self reflect on our inevitable racism caused by being socialized in a society where there is a historical foundation of institutional racism.  Diangelo stresses the distinction between acts of discrimination and prejudice (overt intolerant events) and the societal structure of racism.

In this process, Diangelo implores the reader, particularly those of us that consider ourselves progressive, liberal and anti-racist, to recognize our continued role in racism, and to recognize that interrupting racism is life long work…that we are never “done.”

 

Important concepts that strongly impacted my thinking:

-Our actions: Intent vs Impact

– The Good/Bad Binary  (because racism is amoral, saying a white person is racist is a moral affront.)

-Working to consider ourselves in racial terms…the impact of being white

 

Diangelo encourages the reader to shift their thinking from if you are a racist, to how we engage in racism.

 

This short book (150 pages) is an important read!

 

October 15

Human Library – breaking stereotypes through honest conversation

The human library concept originated in 2000 in Copenhagen, Denmark, as part of a youth organization’s work to combat violence.

More recently, the San Diego Times reported on this idea being put to use in the San Diego Library.

Here’s how the human library worked: people signed up for 20-minute slots of time during which they could “check out” and have a casual conversation with a “human book,” a person with a particular life experience that is generally stereotyped. In addition to Spacek, the other human books on Saturday were “refugee,” “punk entrepreneur,” “rapper,” “disabled,” “journalist,” “dwarfism,” “blind,” “transgender,” “veteran,” “Muslim,” “graffiti artist” and “psychic.”