I have posted this before, but it merits another posting seeing the contentious fear of outsiders seeking to be insiders. Yet, outsiders must be invited and, often and as sad as this image denote, must confirm to those who are the insiders. If we are thinking about true diversity…insiders must allow outsiders to be themselves. Thus, code switching to meet what insiders deem as dominant values must be reconsider. If mot you have diverse faces conforming to the reality of those who decide who can enter the door.
It was exciting being a participant at the Clark Atlanta University symposium. I was thankful that the university was able to award me funding. Joined by friends and colleagues, I was able to engage and learn from a number of top scholars in the field of history, sociology, religion, and African-American Studies. I was excited by how well my paper was received by the audience. And, I was able to get some feedback on my research as I further develop my arguments.
As seen above, I am discussing my paper that reflects a more traditional W.E.B. Du Bois. I will not comment much on my work here, but it was exciting sharing space with other academics seeking to advance their understanding of the past, and how reflecting on the past can bring about some resolutions to the problems of the 21st century.
On the final day of the symposium, Phil (pictured here to the left and Sho to the right) and I arranged to have coffee with artist Sho Baraka, who authored his lyrical album Talented Tenth—after that of W.E.B. Du Bois. This brotha is gifted. I am a fan. Better yet, I am in hopes of bringing him to Brooks campus to speak and perform. We were also recruiting him to write for a peer-reviewed journal we are editing.
It is one of my favorite days here on campus. As a member of the Diversity Leadership Council, I have enjoyed working with colleagues and students as we focus on our admission in advancing the notion of community inclusiveness. Both students and faculty members participated in delivering workshops.
Above I am discussing the importance of being an ally, and how the various dynamics of power often works against good people who elect to be bystanders.
We had Alex Myers as our keynote speaker. He is amazing. Alex noted this about himself on his webpage: Alex was raised as a girl (Alice) and left Maine to attend boarding school at Phillips Exeter Academy. At Exeter, Alex came out as transgender, returning his senior year as a man after attending for three years as a woman, and was the first transgender student in that Academy’s history. After Exeter, Alex earned his bachelor’s at Harvard University, studying Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, and living in the Dudley Co-op. Alex was also the first openly transgender student at Harvard and worked to change the University’s nondiscrimination clause to include gender identity.
Trump and others can hate, but my friends and I will keep fighting for the rights of all people to be treated with dignity, love, and respect. I am fortunate to be on a campus and with colleagues who share my values.
I spoke to a crowed at the end of our protest march in front of the Boston State House. I am feeling a desire by many to bring true change. But that will not be easy. This march/protest was aimed against policies on deportations and refugees and Muslims.
I am with Jackie here, she is my friend; I am her friend. She is my ally and I am her ally. We stand with others as friends. Let me be clear here: I love people. And because I love working-class people, I have decided I can no longer be a friend with those who support the legislation of hate. What does this mean? I will not travel with you nor visit your home. If you are against LGBTQ folks, female rights, undocumented friends, black, brown, and others, and if you support hate and American exceptionalism, I am not your friend and you are not my friend. This is not just a virtual notion; it is true for me day-to-day. If you believe you are “just” due to your faith — we are not friends. To be my friend means you are my ally, and thus are seeking to evolve by walking with me to denounce bigotry. I will work with you on the job. I am working class and have to pay the bills. I have no interest in your religion or church if your members are not allies. I will be nice and say hello – Mom and Dad raised me well. I will work beside you at work — but just know I cannot be your friend; if you are not my ally, we are not friends. If you are arguing about my realities and the realities of my friends and allies – we cannot be friends. We cannot break bread in my home or have a glass of wine.