A Conversation with Ruby Sales

By Stephanie Younger • At the Katie Geneva Cannon Center for Womanist Leadership (KGCCWL) Virtual Spring Conference, I had the unforgettable experience of interviewing Ruby Sales, a freedom fighter, theologist, and founder of the SpiritHouse Project, an inner-city mission dedicated to Jonathan Daniels, who was murdered, while shielding her from a deputy who tried to […]

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Dispute the Questions: Reflections on non-hegemonic feminism in Latin America

By Mariana Álvarez Castillo •  Originally published on Afroféminas • Regarding the feminist commemoration dates, it is important to think about some of the discussions that have historically taken place within the movement, but that in the context of the recent 8M are shaken, deepened, and resumed. I like to think that this is what […]

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Bodies and Forcefulness: The experience of blackness in the work of Delphine Desane

By Mariana Álvarez Castillo •  Originally published on Afroféminas • Delphine Desane (B. 1988) places moments of her world in limbos of colors: from her experience as a Black woman in Europe, she brings situations, outfits, faces and hair to the canvas. With flat colored backgrounds and penetrating gazes, Delphine makes visible the black corporality […]

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Black Mommas

By Tanya Barnett •  I lie awake at night. Slowly dying on the inside. I am a Black momma. I am supposed to be strong. I am afraid. I am weak.  I cannot breathe. I feel the world’s hate. I cannot protect my kids. I call on the ancestors for protection. Nothing new under the […]

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The Movement Fighting for LGBTQ+ Liberation in Ghana

By Stephanie Younger • Last week, we spoke with Fatima Derby, a Ghanaian feminist thinker, writer and organizer, who stands for freedom, justice and equality. During our conversation via Instagram Live, we discussed the violence LGBTQ+ people in Ghana are experiencing, what influences homophobic and transphobic violence against queer and trans Ghanaians, and the fight […]

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Abused Womb of the Margin

Anonymous •  Trigger warning: Language of abuse the tireless calls from an institution disguised as a safe haven  claiming to nurse and aid the winded, bewildered, and aimless  claiming to heal and protect the ignored, silenced, and hurt  he calls out to me endlessly  he wants me to pour my soul into his seed  one […]

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10 Readings Authored by Black Feminists and Abolitionists

Black Feminist Collective has a put together a collection of 10 articles authored by Black feminists and abolitionists. Black Feminism Offers a Path to Abolition, by Elizabeth Jordie Davies for Bitch Media Black Trans Thought Can Set Us Free, by George Yancy for Truthout The Case for Abolition, by Ruth Wilson Gilmore and James Kilgore […]

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To My Black Relative Who Called The Police

Anonymous • Content Warning: Mentions of suicide and self-harm, and descriptions of ableism and anti-Blackness. To my relative who called the police, When I was 12 years old, you and mom gave me “the talk” to survive encounters with the police. 3 months after telling me I am more likely to be arrested and incarcerated, […]

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Prioritizing Promises over Pennies: The Exploitation of Black Trauma for Profit

By Kayla Alexandria Dorancy •  In an effort to achieve what some may call “the American Dream”, “reparations”, or just “getting theirs” — far too often do we see the main perpetrators and victims sharing the skin color and experiences. While the Black experience is not a monolithic one, the obstacles and difficulties we face […]

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No One Should ‘Enjoy Things’ at the Expense of Black Lives

By Stephanie Younger • During a movement in defense of Black life calling for the abolition of the police state and the carceral state, it seemed that liberals who were saying “listen to Black women,” were solely speaking in reference to Black women who do the labor of “saving our Democracy.” Recently, many who have […]

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Remembering Martin Luther King Jr. as a Radical Dreamer

By Teresa Younger •  In the future what will we name the period of history that we are currently living in? Every aspect of life feels so volatile as we are thrown from one crisis to another. No matter how urgent, it is easy to fall out of the news cycle and thus our collective […]

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Demonizing Human Movement: Criminalizing Immigrants in the United States

By Kayla Alexandria Dorancy •  Immigration is a universal practice by people that’s survived countless generations. The United States is known universally as a “melting pot” of culture and nationality. The inclusion and diversity of America is often embraced and is her most remarkable feature yet, internationally. Racial and ethnic variety is claimed to be […]

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New York City School Integration, An Urban Legend

By Kayla Alexandria Dorancy •  If I were to ask you when New York City schools were integrated, what would you tell me?  1954 right? In fact, most people reference Brown versus The Board of Education and 1954 as when schools were integrated.  You’re not wrong that in 1954 Brown versus Board of Education was […]

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On the Ancestral Blessing of a Union

By Yemi Miller-Tonnet •   During the Civil War,Harriet Tubman spent some monthsin South Carolina’s low countryworking as a nurse for the Union armyand a laundress in a local wash house.Harriett mended wounds,changed gauze, scrubbed linens,and hung shirts on clothespins.She worked and waiteduntil orders from the north camefor her to form a spy ring.She was to […]

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Black Women and Girls Must Be Protected When We Are Alive

By Teresa Younger •  Content warning: Mentions of sexual violence and murder According to PEW Research Center, 235 Black people were shot to death by the police in 2019. The social movement against systemic racism and police violence continued in 2020, when believers around the world turned out following the May 25th Police killing of […]

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Reflections on Activism in 2020

By Teresa Younger •  During a conversation about Virginia Museum of History and Culture’s  Agents of Change: Female Activism in Virginia From Women’s Suffrage to Today, which featured a panel about my daughter, I was asked, “Is your child happy doing this work?” I wondered if I should respond by stating that since my child […]

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SSD: A Timeline of Dealing with Single Sided Deafness

By Riss Clark • Marissa reflects on her experiences as from a child perspective to an adult perspective living with Single- Sided Deafness. She wants the reader to understand that there are so many incidents and not enough time. (October 2020)  Age 11 My mom places the phone to my left ear. I hear nothing. […]

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Slipping into My Pre-Pandemic Pants

By Riss Clark • Marissa reflects on her body’s change during the pandemic. (Sep. 2020) I can’t look in the mirror anymore  because I don’t want to see myself. My face is tired.  My eyes are weary and  my bags tell a sad story at 23.  My smile? Nonexistent.  My cheeks are so round,  my […]

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What Alice Walker’s Definition of Womanism Taught Me in 2020

By Stephanie Younger • This article was re-published on Afroféminas on March 9, 2021 • 1. “From womanish.  (Opp. of “girlish,” i.e. frivolous, irresponsible, not serious.)  A black feminist or feminist of color.  From the black folk expression of mothers to female children, “you acting womanish,” i.e., like a woman.  Usually referring to outrageous, audacious, courageous […]

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Review: Little Fires Everywhere

By Stephanie Younger • Little Fires Everywhere is a limited series on Hulu, based on the book the book authored and published in 2017 by Celeste Ng, that aired from March 2020 to April 2020. The series takes place in 1997, and begins when Mia Warren (Kerry Washington), an itinerant artist and her daughter Pearl (Lexi […]

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Call-to-Action Update: Making Classrooms Equitable for Black and Brown Students in Virginia

By Skyla Bailey •  A Message to Virginia Department of Education (VDOE): Our history classes constantly teach students to think of European History when they think of “American” History. However, African Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and Latinx Americans are all part of America. Students of Color in Virginia want to learn more about our […]

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Black People Can’t Wait Every Four Years for Our Liberation

By Stephanie Younger • America is rooted in the anti-Black idea that our worthiness of being valued relies on how much labor we do for our oppressors. A example of this is demanding labor from young Black feminists to “save our Democracy” by electing our way towards our liberation. But there are so many Black […]

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Colleges Pretend to Care about Black People

By James A. Perry Jr. •  The presence of elitism, capitalism, racism, and sexism are still ubiquitous within the apparatus of higher education. Higher education leaders need to move beyond rhetoric involving diversity, equity, and justice. In their quest for absolution, these sentiments have increasingly become cliché and disingenuous. We needn’t look further than the now […]

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Call-to-Action: Making Classrooms Equitable for Black and Brown Students In Virginia

By Skyla Bailey •  As Black and Brown youth, we are tired of being considered second place, tired of having the education system fail us, and tired of being behind. We want to have all schools in Virginia to become equitable sanctuaries where every student can flourish. This petition is an essential call-to-action. We ask […]

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How I Found My Own Garden

By Shontrice Carin Barnes •  Ever since I could remember, writing has been a huge part of my life.  All throughout my childhood, I had kept journals of random things that I would write. Stories, poems, songs, random thoughts… words were some of the only ways I knew how to express myself.  The most vivid […]

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Who is Solidarity For: Intra-Racial Solidarity for True Black Liberation

By Kahlia Phillips •  “Who is solidarity for?” was a question posed by Ebony Donnley, the partner of Ericka Hart, in an IG live show and I’ve been pondering this question ever since. Our priorities around who we, as Black people, engage in solidarity with are not in order and it’s time that we change that. The murders […]

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Pain Poem

By Alexandra Brown •  Originally published on Magical Women •  What is the difference between absence and loss? How would you articulate the ‘loss of loss’ and the ‘absence of absence’? What if, in your attempt to articulate, they both become synonymous? What if, you are in a state of sorrow and lament for something […]

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Reflections on Black Suffering, Grief and Re-imagining Freedom

By Alexandra Brown • Originally published on Conversations With •  This reflective piece is a summary and critical analysis of a conversation between author, activist, and Afro-Pessimist philosopher, Professor Frank B. Wilderson III and Chairman of ‘Before Columbus Foundation’, Justin Desmangles. The discussion was entitled, ‘Re-Imagining the Black Body: Race, Memory, and the Excavation of […]

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A Letter of Urgency

By Alexandra Brown •  Originally published on Conversations With • I wish to begin by sharing a prose I wrote in response to the murder of George Floyd. Institutional, systematic and structural racism, feels like I am dying a slow and painful death. When I learnt of the murder of George Floyd, it was like […]

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Sista, Be Free

By Tanya Barnett •  Come close so you can hear me.You’ve endured for too long. The time has finally come to shed the shackles. No more shrinking.No more hiding.No more playing safe.No more accepting abuse.No more lying to ourselves.No more ignoring the pain. It’s time for you to be free to…..Bask, Believe, Breathe, CryDance, Desire, […]

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Giving Birth While Black

By Joyce Angela Jellison Hounkanrin • “Do you want her?” The white nurse’s name was Millie and she proposed this question with regard to the impending birth of my daughter. I had voiced one fear. I was scared to give birth. A co-worker had shared with me she had fallen off the bed while giving […]

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The Secret Language of Black Women

By Joyce Angela Jellison Hounkanrin • What is embedded in the language of Black women? What belongs exclusively within our mouths? Briefly translated, there are secrets we have transported from the Middle Passage and kept secreted beneath our tongues; in the folds of our spirits; in the curves of our smiles; and in the salt […]

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Reconciliation

By Tanya Barnett •  This poem was re-published on Afroféminas on February 26, 2021 •  How do I reconcile my blackness in the 21st century? Do I yell at the mountain tops that I am BLACK or do I act like my blackness doesn’t matter so I don’t offend white people? How do I reconcile […]

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My Blackness

By Tanya Barnett •  Dear world, no longer will I shrink away from my blackness in an attempt to make you finally love me. Oh you had me fooled. Hoodwinked. Bamboozled. You made me think if I permed my hair you would love me. You made me think if I wore a size 2 you […]

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Church Sestina

By Addison Walton • CW: This content contains descriptions of murder and white supremacy. Come to church in your Sunday best!Let your mama press your hair.Your daddy polished your good shoes.New and black and shiny.He did it with love. Your mama kisses your head and puts in a pink ribbon.Your tiny arms clutch your bible. […]

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An Open Letter to the “What About”s

By Tani Washington • It seems that every year, when Black activists speak up against large-scale inequity and systemic brutality against people of color, there are those who attempt to qualify this suffering through questions that point to the sufferings of other, usually non-marginalized, groups. This kind of response is a tactic known as blame-shifting. […]

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A Black Feminist Resource List

In light of the recent events of police violence against Black people, and the uprisings in defense of Black life, Black Feminist Collective has created a list of resources, including books, media platforms, and organizations to support. Books Ain’t I a Woman? by bell hooks (1981) Are Prisons Obsolete? by Angela Davis (2003) Critical Race […]

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The Pain Of Anger

By Ryan Edward Perry • Originally published on The Backlight Blog •   I was talking with one of my best friends today. She has recently, to my delightful surprise, become quite outspoken and engaging regarding social justice and the current state of American culture and the movements that have risen in that space. My friend, […]

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The President Called My People “Thugs”

By Lux Aghomo • The president called my people “thugs.” They riot, loot, run through the streets for justice, really just tired. The Hate You Give Makes us Wanna set this country on fire. In 2014, people came together to chant “I can’t breathe,” in 2020 we’re still suffocating. George Floyd called out “Mama,” but […]

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Maintaining Solidarity in the Black Community in the Face of COVID-19

By Giovanna Adams • We’ve all heard the sentiment over and over again. It feels good to hear and it feels good to say, doesn’t it? Those words are comforting and encouraging during a time when we are all facing uncertainty and insurmountable burdens. It really is a nice sentiment, but it’s difficult to feel […]

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The Movement that Cancelled R. Kelly

By Stephanie Younger • Content warning: This article has mentions of sexual violence. Could a hashtag topple the career of a popular artist? Hashtags have the power to raise social consciousness about the exploitation of marginalized communities, to give them a platform that influences public discourse, and to ultimately change the status quo. Notably, “#MuteRKelly” […]

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6 Ways I Have Faced Anti-Blackness By White Liberals

By Stephanie Younger • Each time I have been invited to work with white liberals, it never took me too long to realize that I was being tokenized, spoken over and stereotyped. I wrote this article based on my experiences with white liberals who don’t understand that they have the benefit of viewing their favorite […]

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Remembering my Father

By Teresa Younger •  Given the deep divides apparent in society today, it is refreshing to re-read Poet Laurent Maya Angelou’s “Human Family” poem as a reminder of our endless similarities. “Human Family” was featured in an Apple ad during the 2016 Summer Olympics, a world event that draws spectators by the million. Sports have […]

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The Backlash Against “Karen” Memes is Peak White Feminism

By Stephanie Younger •  In late January, I was scrolling through my Facebook news feed during my break in between college lectures when I came across a blog post, in which the author claims that “Karen” memes are “misogynistic,” make white women “invisible,” “marginalized, wondering when our needs will matter.” (Translation: their “needs,” as in […]

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Equity Beyond COVID-19: Why we Shouldn’t go Back to the Beginning

By Giovanna Adams • Originally published on HB4 Diversity’s Newsletter •  While most of us have not seen a health crisis of this magnitude before in our lifetimes, inequities that have always been there are now lit up for others to see. It’s a scary world at the moment. For many, it’s always been scary. […]

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How Black Youth Have been erased From The Fight Against Gun Violence

By Stephanie Younger • Police shootings against Black people initially galvanized me into the work that I do, which eventually led into organizing for the abolition of youth prisons. One week after the Parkland shooting, I first heard about a local March For Our Lives rally in Richmond, Virginia through Richmond Youth Peace Project. At […]

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Gone.

By Raina Cornish •  Gone.You left.I stayed.I waited.But you, you left. I was ready to give up my name for you But you left. You came back.I let you in. Let your words poison my mind.“I love you.”“I need you.”“Only you.” I let you do what you wanted to me because I was scared to […]

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Why I am not “Voting Blue No Matter Who”

By Stephanie Younger •  When I learned that 2020 presidential candidate Joe Biden won 10 states on Super Tuesday on March 3rd, I couldn’t help but think of his political legacy of fighting for segregation, and criminalizing Black youth. Disappointed by the amount of Virginians who supported him, I re-read an excerpt from Dr. Martin […]

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Hermosos Tontos

By Raina Cornish •  Woman- noun ; an adult human female.  Human. But to man we are property. Coware. What women do when a man raises a fist to her.. If a woman is too strong, she wants to be a MAN.  If a woman doesn’t listen to her husband or boyfriend she is trying […]

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What I Want to See for the Future

By Amaya Madarang •  Every older generation says, “Remember how we thought there’d be flying cars in the future.”  And everyone laughs and nods their heads.  “Look at us now!” the adults reply, mockingly.  Again, everyone laughs.  But, really what’s funny is that people still think that there will be flying cars in the future.  […]

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THE MATACULEBRA: The Ultimate Expression of Slavery in the Carnival of Tenerife

Originally published on Afroféminas •  The capacity of Spain to normalize brutal acts with racist content, disguised as alleged anti-racist content never ceases to surprise us. This is the case of the Mataculebra perpetrated in Puerto de la Cruz de Tenerife. This video speaks for itself and we will not say more than that it […]

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Token

By Summar McGee • I am a Black girl at a PWI.  So I get a lot of kudos.  The people congratulate me for “making it” out of poverty Through an “education”  and to as close to whiteness as I’ll ever be.  Summar McGee is a Black woman, student & writer from Mississippi.

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Water

By Sahana Kapumba • Water H20 A transparent liquid that is drunk and swam in for recreational purposes Water 60% percent of my black body Water If we already have so much why do we need more? Why do I need to overfill myself with this colorless liquid If its been in my body for […]

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How Gender Stereotypes Intersect with Anti-Black Racism

By Stephanie Younger •  This article was re-published on Afroféminas on March 9, 2020 •  Do the ways we talk about gender stereotypes represent the struggles we all go through? In Katherine Toland Frith and Barbara Mueller’s article entitled, “Advertisements Stereotype Women” written for the book, “Advertising and Societies: Global Issues,” they write about how […]

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Is it Open Season on Natural Hair?

By Teresa Younger •  Complete with unsolicited comments, touching attempts from strangers, and pressure to do away with your coils right now, or you risk the shame of being prevented from attending your graduation or losing gainful employment? Is natural hair controversy a real thing? How have generations dealt with this constant problem?  My news […]

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4 Reasons Why the Pages of Alcoy are Violent

By Elvira Swartch Lorenzo •  Originally published on Afroféminas • It doesn’t matter what you think you are trying to represent, or that you may think you’re entertaining children. It doesn’t matter if it’s a tradition; if you paint yourself in a color that is not your’s, it’s racist. The blackface controversy comes every Christmas like nougat, where we see […]

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How the Mental Health Stigma Harms Black Youth

Anonymous • Content Warning: Mentions of self-harm • In the Black community, talking down to, speaking poorly of, publicly humiliating and criminalizing Black youth as a whole is acceptable. In the Black community, body shaming, and devaluing dark skin and degrading Black girls with Type 4 natural hair is acceptable. In the Black community, violence […]

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The Long Legacy of Anti-Blackness within the Mainstream Feminist Movement

By Stephanie Younger • This year, the Black Lives Matter chapter in Los Angeles, California was excluded by the Women’s March in LA. In an article for LA progressive, Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of Black Lives Matter LA, wrote an article detailing the harm caused by the Women’s March. “Beyond the specific harms, BLMLA has […]

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On Texturism and Misogynoir

By Stephanie Younger • Beyonce’s 8-year-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter has been subjected to despicable acts of anti-Blackness, from petitions calling on her parents to “comb her hair,” and misogynoiristic social media posts about her features – more recently, from a Black male journalist and a white female journalist. Although Blue Ivy does not experience […]

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The Terrifying Adventure of Autonomy

By Jourdan Lobban • “Defiant!” “Fresh!” “Rude!” Those titles followed me all through my childhood and into my teen years. Anytime I did something bad, I knew what was coming. Lectures in yelling style, laced with fury, and if I didn’t shape up in time, the belt would make an appearance. It was a routine […]

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Riding Rising Waters

By Jourdan Lobban • It was endless  The sea of self-doubt Rejection Beating me  With its ruthless water  Every chance it got  It was brutal How it told me  Over and Over “You’re bad, Worthless.  Rude, Evil,  A sinner who needs saving.” All the while  I hung my head low Taking blow  After blow  Hoping […]

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Analysis: The Impact of Policing on Black and Brown Mothers and Children

By Stephanie Younger •  Are all people in America served and protected by the law? In the documentary, “Profiled – The Mothers of Murdered Black and Latino Youth,” director Kathleen Foster utilizes the power of art, amplifies the voices of Black and Latin American women and youth, and directs attention to protest and dissent. This […]

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Queer Windows in Dembow Music

By Princess Jiménez •  Originally published on Kultwatch • In the Dominican Republic, where supposedly moral society and the Church often espouse virulent homophobia and transphobia, an unusual alliance has appeared among the very poorest: singers and producers of popular music genre Dembow are working with queer people and trans women, who have become huge stars […]

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An Excerpt from the E-Book, “The Therapeutic Alliance Handbook”

The following excerpt is from Traycee Truth’s e-book, the Therapeutic Alliance Handbook. •  “Usually, it is customary to begin an essay/journal of this sort of measure with a precise definition regarding whiteness, yet what are the intersectionalities of this concept? Within most contemporary and progressive circles, it is assumed that the cultural group I belong to […]

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Broken Tree

By Kiarran T. L. Diaz •  I will never know your happinessHistory only saved your painSleeping Ancestor, When we meetWill I represent your dreams,Or your shame? Ancestors tell meWhere you sleepWhere does your soul lieDo you laugh?Or do you weepIs there a home for youThat I can keep Is there a heaven For the lost […]

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Song of Harvest

By Shelby Moring •  She’s so relaxed. That hazy daydream of myself that I conjure, praying on her to materialize any day now. She doesn’t exist apart from me, but she’s so far in the future, that it almost seems impossible to reach her sometimes. What does she have that I don’t? Where I long […]

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Nine Phases: Black Women Crying in the Bathroom

By Krystal Tang • Take initiative – Okay here I go! I did it. Oh I did it slightly wrong…a different way? I didn’t do it right? Oops. Let me learn. Give me another chance? Teach me so I can grow…. “No”.  Gets belittled, screamed at, no empathy, no sympathy, everything you did right before gets […]

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Spots on the Rug

By Joshua Redd •  The House. The Red One. Right there on Macdonough. You can leave me on the corner, I’m fine. I live at the address, but the house isn’t mine. The rules of ownership are entitled to the mother, the sister, the dogs, the roaches, the mice, the boyfriend, the nephew. My own […]

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How The School System is Failing Black Students

By Sharayah Alkire •  Throughout American History systems have been built up to bring down Black people in many ways. Some of these systems have been legal and widespread, being used across the nation. One of these being the school’s systems. As a result of redlining American education has purposely based school districts in areas […]

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Op-Ed: The Role of Black Women in the Fight to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment

By Belan Yeshigeta •  Women have often been given the short end of the stick when it comes to equal rights, and it is no secret that African Americans are still prejudiced against to this day. The unique experience of being apart of both of these marginalized communities is one that is too often overlooked. […]

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Birmingham Burning

By Ayana Graham •  A Poem Inspired by John Coltrane’s “Alabama.” I’ve foreseen spirits, visitations of death, fire eating off sheeted breath, Sometimes I see the outline of God’s back turned to me Wretched hands stroke the lynch knot and bear the karma of the lost little girls There was no good outcome, I was […]

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Oppression Expression: Answering Zora Neale and Mother Lorde

By Kristin Couch •  Reading Zora Neale Hurston and Audre Lorde led me to question myself about the stance I take on activism. These writers represent two polar ideals of being that I have struggled to find identification with. Zora Neale, my humanist hero who finds that everyone should enjoy being in her company, and […]

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Botham Jean: When Your Politics Present a Challenge

By Joshua Redd •  Amber Guyger was sentenced to 10 years in prison on October 1st, 2019 for the murder of Botham Jean on September 6th, 2018. The murder of Black folks by the hands of officers is nothing new. What made this case extremely peculiar was that he was murdered in his own home. […]

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What My Mama Told Me

By Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba •  Originally published on UzanokuKhanya • What my mama told me My mama told me to grow up And be beautiful like our sunset, But what she forgot to tell me  Was to pack a gun for the world I was growing into had men with no scruples  And no […]

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My Name Presides in Shabby Conformation

By Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba •  Originally published on UzanokuKhanya • My name resides in shabby conformation I take a few steps but then Fail to find the strength to face them Spank! I feel a hand on my bum I turn to shriek but words do not come out of my mouth Words have […]

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To All the Men Who Have Fetishized Me Before

By Kimberly Davis •  “I’m a gentleman lives in _____________ looking for a long term relationship dating also hanging out. I believe in treating a woman with respect and honor I am 5”11 prefer African American and Hispanic types of women no offense at all just my preference of what I like also open to […]

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Crown Her With Many Crowns

By Ryan Edward Perry •  I did not always appreciate my Blackness. I used to be one of those “I’m not Black, I’m O.J.” types that purposefully eschewed the culture in favor of a more centrist approach to interpersonal relationships. I grew up and still reside in a place called Woodbridge, Virginia, just a half […]

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Fire and Mud

Kiarran T.L. Diaz is an Afro-Latinx writer and activist that advocates for intersectional womanism, LGBT+, and correcting the harm of non-diverse fiction.

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Black Music

By Baletica Genous •  Baletica Genous is a writer and book lover that lives in Chicago with her wife and two joys.

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Stage 2

By Nelle Jones •  angry black girls clenching desks with tight fists holding their breath a breeze passing through their hair the pale hand of yet another ghost angry black girls the blacker the berry, sweet blood from biting lips holding one’s tongue angry black girls sitting on stoops braiding hair summer was made for […]

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Two Poets

By Quincy Evans •  Excuse me, I’d like to re-introduce myself. I’m a good time. A misunderstanding. A plea and a red flag all at once. I’ll forever be that boy who gets really excited when the sky is in pretty colors. You slip into my mind so quietly, –like air in a window I […]

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Mightier

By Tene’sha Crews •  Tene’sha Crews uses activism, poetry and art to encourage people to make a difference in the issues that affect varying communities.

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Mother Nature Does Not Discriminate. America Does

By Kayla Austin •  The aftermath of the natural disaster that was Hurricane Katrina is a display of the effects of environmental racism, redlining, and the neglection of people of color and those facing poverty. Katrina is one of the worst natural disasters to occur in the history of the United States. This natural disaster […]

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We Safeguard the Peace the Enslaved Africans Dared Only Dream About

By Sarah Mathew •  In 1619, my second great grandfather was kidnapped from his home in Angola and forced onto a Portuguese slave ship, just to be stolen by English pirates. After all this, he was finally delivered to the English settlement of Point Comfort where he, along with 20 other Africans, were sold to […]

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I am the Reality of my Ancestors’ Dreams for the Future

By Gloria Amado •  400 years ago, my ancestors were kidnapped from their homes. Not only was there fear from their original captors, the Spanish, but they were then seized by a Dutch warship and brought to an unknown land. They were sold as property and worked until they collapsed. Considered as nothing more than […]

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My Name is Pronounced ‘Revolution’

By Simonne Elease Willis •  i trace america’s outline on a map, flinch when i reach the thirteen. a single prick on my fingertip. a single drop of blood falls. (the shape of a dog bares its teeth) another drop of blood falls. (the shape of a crow tilting its head) america has stood on […]

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Leopard Print

By Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba •  When someone talks about leopard print, one would think high fashion, cat walk or maybe even a-lister, but that is not the kind of leopard print I want to talk about today. I am talking about leopard print on a human body, from the face all the way down […]

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I am Sick and Tired

By Sinenhlanhla londiwe Meyiwa Magcaba •  This was originally published on UzanokuKhanya and re-published on Afroféminas •   I am sick and tired of trying to fit in this paradigm that was erected in a manner that has no consideration for my being even a glitch. I am sick and tired that in my own country I […]

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Beauty is A State of Mind

By Graciela Barada •  Originally published on Cuatro Meses en Barbados •   When I was about ten or eleven years old, I became overly conscious of my body and the lens through which the world saw it. Arguably, everyone deals with fluctuations in their self-esteem, particularly in regards to body image and especially during puberty, […]

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Perpetual Home

By Tene’sha Crews •  I was once told, that my body is my only perpetual home One that I rightfully and eternally supposedly own. A home in which I paint the walls whatever colors I want And plant whatever flowers I choose to display up front. My home where I express myself, My life choices, […]

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Uterus Support: A Letter to Some of My Dudes

By Mia Birdsong •  Originally published on Medium • I sent this to many of the cis-het men I know. One of them (thanks, Mordecai!) asked me to make it a Medium post so he could share it. Hi, my cis-het dude friends and family! How are you doing? Great, I hope! So, as well-informed, […]

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My Raw Thoughts On Depression

By Kenidra R. Woods •  Depression. You and I were once close. And it’s so ironic that you were the one who hurt me the most. And I don’t mean to boast, but I’m doing better without you. There’s nothing you could say or do to bring me back to a place of misery. ‘Cause […]

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You are Never Too Little to Make a Difference

By Havana Chapman-Edwards •  Speech at the Global Climate Strike on May 24, 2019 • My name is Havana Chapman-Edwards and I am 8 years old. I am here today because sometimes democracy looks like disagreement. I can’t sit in my classroom learning about our government when the government isn’t taking my future seriously. I […]

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Trigger Warning

By Quincy Evans •  At 13, she is already held responsible if her shoulders are showing in school, she is sent home on behalf of the boys who are distracted. She grew up like this. By 16, it’s supposedly her fault if she wore the wrong skirt, drank too much, made a mistake. What did […]

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An Affirmation to Black Girls

By NaVosha Copeland •  Hello, mother, Hello, friend, Hello, sister, How you been? I love you so much. You’re so strong and so kind and so sweet. Your melanin mixes so well with your bright white teeth. Your high cheekbones And chocolate brown skin Greets me, warms me, and welcomes me To a world of […]

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Our Liberation Must Be Centered In the Climate Justice Movement

By Stephanie Younger •  I believe in womanism and the abolition of youth prisons. I also believe that climate justice is racial justice, and in this fight for climate justice it is important to center Black lives. Even though Black and Indigenous youth are one of the most affected communities, and have been combating this issue for a very long time, our […]

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The Mandate for Black Men

Anonymous • Peace and love, how y’all feel? Sisters, how y’all feel? Brothers, y’all alright? -Erykah Badu Black men have to grow a politic around gender based violence. Y’all need to know how to talk about this. Black men, you have a responsibility to grow your understanding of gender based violence because Black women need […]

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It Has Happened Again

By Tene’sha Crews •  “It has happened again.” That thought echoes through my mind once more. I close my eyes and I pray. I pray for the family friend that the sun no longer gets to warm. I pray for the mother whose child she can no longer hold in her arms. I pray for […]

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Review: MTV’s Documentary “White People”

By Raina Cornish •  Racial profiling, “color blindness”, racist crimes, hatred. These are all issues that are making the world more divided than ever. People always say that we need to stop history from repeating itself, but how can we stop it if we continue to add fuel to the fire of racism and bias […]

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Don’t Forget

By Tene’sha Crews •  In the distance burning in the dark I see the flashing red and blue lights And then I think about the color of this paper and how all it’s missing is white And then I think about my country and if our choice of a leader was wrong or right I […]

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A Poem About Hair

By Tene’sha Crews •  Had Her Hate for Her Hair been cultivated or passed down? Passed through words like “nappy” and “needing of a perm Ignoring the monthly visits of that scalp stinging burn Like first it was grandmother, then mother, now it’s your turn To gradually detest your natural strands is what you’ll learn […]

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Reflecting on Intersectionality One Year After The March For Our Lives

By Mei-Ling Ho-Shing •  According to the Oxford Dictionaries, Intersectionality means, “the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage.” This term is very well-known in the fight for gun violence prevention. […]

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Living at the Intersections of Anti-Black Racism and Queerphobia

Anonymous • In the third grade, I remember standing in the lunch line waiting for cheap spaghetti and old milk. I would look at the other girls in line and think about how pretty they were. And then I’d tell myself to stop being gay. “Stop it, stop it, stop it.” I pushed those feelings […]

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Black Youth Have Been Combating Gun Violence for Generations

By Stephanie Younger •  This article was edited and republished on Reforming America on April 2, 2019 •  Nearly a year ago, I was given the opportunity to deliver a speech at the March For Our Lives in Richmond, Virginia, which led to being quoted in multiple local news outlets, being invited to contribute articles […]

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A Love Letter to Black Girls

By Jourdan Lobban •  February 2nd was Groundhog Day, although one little critter can’t possibly change the swirling halo of frigid cold we must all endure (insert sad face). It’s also one of the few precious days making up Black History Month. For 28 days (29 in leap years) the United States sets aside mandated […]

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For Black Girls Who Are Tired, but Rest Isn’t Enough

By Atari Gems •  I’m exhausted. My mother tells me to slow down. Drink more water. Cut back on the things. Limit time on social media. Go to the gym I’m passionate about. However seems like the work keeps stacking and stacking. I step back and scale it back then feel guilty. Like the crack […]

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An Open Essay About My Experiences with the White Moderate

By Stephanie Younger •  In 1963, Dr. Martin Luther King wrote in his “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” “I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride towards freedom is not the White Citizens Counciler, or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted […]

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Reconstruction Over Reformation: The Argument Against Liberal Feminism’s Relevance in 2019

By Roshaé M. Lowe •  Liberal feminism (often interchangeable with humanist feminism 1According to feministhumanists.org, a feminist humanist (or humanist feminist) “aggressively challenges the harmful notion of gender inferiority. A feminist humanist believes in the humanity of all human beings and works toward an equal and just society based on human reason, compassion, empathy, and […]

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My Confessions

By Kolby Whack •  I am a nonconformist. Semi conservative liberalist, Broken binary Gender role hating, Masculinity equals femininity generalist non institutionalized Institutionalized soldier 2 + 2 = 5 if you give me the paper Time is an illusion, and atoms create evens But Eve is Adam, her rib is his rib, And ribs are […]

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Masculinity Over Everything

By Chelsea Higgs Wise •  It’s been a few days since the Women’s March RVA, and as motivated as I am to build; my passion is to amplify narratives of persistence for Black women. I understand that dismantling the patriarchy will take bulldozers of disruption as well as barriers of sustainable resistance. With this resistance, […]

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Teach Black Children to Swim

By Zakkiyya Anderson •  Teach our Black children to swim Take them to the ocean and show them life has no bounds Teach Black children to read and to explore more than the outside of their broken door Give them tangible hope Dreams that aren’t just riddled in fables Show them they are able Give them stethoscopes and hammers and swimming pools and […]

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What You Need: My Experience Being Dismissed by my Doctor

By Fallen Matthew •  Life just keeps getting better and better for me. I have been afflicted with inexplicable symptoms and anxiety surrounding them for the past decade—all of which were either downplayed or dismissed by my MD, an upper-middle class white man generations removed from mine, despite a CT scan that showed “basal ganglial […]

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Creating our Own Tables: Why I am More Included in the Womanist Movement

By Stephanie Younger • Speech at Women’s March RVA + Expo 2019 • At an age where I was extremely self-conscious about the way I looked as a Black girl, people would rather comment on my body than my intellect. At age 14, people attempted to stop me from pursuing my dreams of being a […]

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Protect My Olive: How Policies Around Gender Binaries Affect the Representation of The Black Women’s Olive Within Family Planning Commercials

By Jameelah Lewis •  “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me,” these are just a few that every person bullied to stay strong, but the question in play here is, how do you stop a bully? It seems that African-Americans are picked on through the media more than any […]

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5 Ways “Nice” Racism Shows Up in Progressive Communities

By Daylisha Reid •  I grew up in a family with liberal viewpoints. As a child I had a basic, uninformed understanding of politics: Republicans are racist and influenced policies that benefited the wealthy, and kept the poor stagnant; Democrats are not racist, they are progressive human rights influencers that create social and economic opportunities […]

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What Armed Teachers and Police Presence Mean for Black Youth

By Mei-Ling Ho-Shing •  On February 14, 2018, my school, Marjory Stoneman Douglas, came face-to-face with gun violence. On that day I was on the 2nd floor of the Freshman building, the same building we lost 17 of our MSD Eagles. I hid behind my teacher’s desk holding my classmate’s hand, in prayer and in […]

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A Look into the Women Behind Intersectional Feminism

By Sharayah Alkire •  By Black mothers, in many forms, are a large part of our literature, movies and society in general. They are the women standing at the forefront of the civil rights movement, they are the mammys, the house negroes, the women who fought, struggled and clawed our way into the light. We […]

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Why ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ is Problematic

By Kiarran T.L. Diaz •  In the age of “wokeness,” TV shows, and media alike are rushing to find a way to sell their ideas to people who are tired of the nonsense. Different shows, movies, and books try to align themselves with diversity by trying to take shortcuts left and right. Producers love to […]

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Fight for You

By Stephanie Webb •  Fight for youFight against the indifference and the determination to assimilateFight against your self-intolerance and the rage against your individualityNo, you don’t want toI understandYou feel trapped in this existenceLost in the mindset of normalizationYes, your efforts mean something to you but no one elseThey applaud your endurance while they mock […]

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Havana Chapman-Edwards on Student Activism and Black Girl Magic

By Stephanie Younger •  This article was republished on The Melanin Diary • 7-year-old student activist Havana Chapman-Edwards (@TheTinyDiplomat) was the only student at her school to participate in the national school walkout to honor the victims of the 1999 Columbine school shooting. Her story went viral and captured the attention of CNN, Refinery29, The […]

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Black Girls Must Matter at School

By Stephanie Younger • This article was re-published on The Melanin Diary on November 22, 2018 • My advocacy for the abolition of youth prisons is influenced by the discrimination I experienced in school. Feeling unaccepted by my white peers and profiled by my teachers, I quickly internalized the notion that my Blackness wasn’t desirable. […]

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Black Youth Standing for the Closure of Youth Prisons in Virginia

By Stephanie Younger •  On Saturday Nov. 3rd, the Richmond community joined RISE For Youth, Art 180, and Performing Statistics, to “honor the voices, dreams and demands of youth affected by the school-to-prison pipeline.” The community, composed of speakers, dancers, singers, poets and other performers gathered outside of Hotchkiss Community Center to raise awareness about […]

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Film Review: The Hate U Give

By Stephanie Younger •  The Hate U Give is a film based on the acclaimed YA novel authored by Angie Thomas. Directed by George Tillman Jr., this film begins with a then 9-year-old Starr Carter (Amandla Stenberg), her younger brother, Sekani (TJ Wright), who was one year old, and her older brother, Seven (Lamar Johnson), […]

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“Lift Us Up, Don’t Push Us Out:” Art 180 Opens Exhibition About School Push-Out

By Stephanie Younger •  Art 180 is an RVA-based organization that gives marginalized young people the opportunity to create change by expressing themselves through music, poetry, dance, and more. On Friday, October 5th, they opened “Lift Us Up! Don’t Push Us Out!” a mixed-reality exhibit that raises awareness about the school-to-prison pipeline, the youth and […]

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The Movement Demanding Justice For Marcus-David Peters

By Stephanie Younger •  Last week, I met Princess Blanding at an art build for the upcoming National March For Justice and Reformation for Marcus-David Peters. I recently had a conversation with Blanding about demanding justice for her brother, Marcus-David Peters, who was murdered by the Richmond Police Department. Stephanie Younger: What is the story […]

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Patrisse Cullors on Art, Intersectionality, and Her Memoir

By Stephanie Younger •  On June 11, 2018, I had the unforgettable experience of meeting Patrisse Cullors, briefly after she accepted the “Next Generation Award” at the ACLU National Membership Conference. Cullors is an organizer, writer and artist who co-founded Black Lives Matter and founded Dignity and Power Now. I recently interviewed the freedom fighter […]

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When Black Girls are Robbed of their Innocence

By Stephanie Younger •  My painting in Art 180‘s gallery called “Everything is Connected” shares the online harassment I faced for acknowledging the Black youth have been rallying against gun violence for generations and my experiences with racism in the gun violence prevention community. This piece has allowed me to express my frustration for being […]

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Richmond Protestors Demand Justice for Marcus-David Peters

By Stephanie Younger •  This article was edited and re-published on the ACLU of Virginia on July 24, 2018 •  Virginia, we have a problem. We need to come to terms with our state’s history of the marginalization of the Black community. Virginia is where the first enslaved Africans were brought against their will. We […]

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Why I Walked Out on My Own

By Stephanie Younger •  I am writing this as a Black student who was excluded from speaking at the Virginia National School Walkout Protest at Brown’s Island in Richmond, VA. Weeks ago, the organizers guaranteed that I could speak about police brutality, and the significance of centering Black youth who are impacted by gun violence […]

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20 Things Black Girls Should Never Have to Hear or Experience

By Stephanie Younger •  The following list is based on my real experiences with misogyny, ableism and anti-Black racism, that I’ve written on a mixed-media piece I created in a VCU Future Studio program at the VCU Arts’ Department of Sculpture + Extended Media. My artwork symbolizes how I am healing and unlearning from my […]

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It’s Important to Listen to Black Girls in the Fight Against Gun Violence

By Stephanie Younger •  This article was edited and re-published on the ACLU of Virginia on April 5, 2018 •  Today, I spoke at a March For Our Lives demonstration in Richmond addressing the fatal school shooting at Majory Stoneman Douglas High school in Parkland, Florida. My speech shed some light onto how gun violence […]

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Marching For Juvenile Justice with Art 180, Rise For Youth and Performing Statistics

By Stephanie Younger •  On the evening of Friday, November 3, 2017, hundreds in Richmond, Virginia participated in the Juvenile Justice Parade, calling for the closure of youth prisons in Virginia. Marchers wore silk-screen t-shirts that read, “guide us, don’t criminalize us,” and carried banners and signs created by incarcerated and formerly incarcerated Black youth. […]

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Richmond Marches for Racial Justice

By Stephanie Younger •  On August 11-12, Klansmen, and Neo-Nazis attended the Unite the Right Rally, a demonstration against the removal of the Confederate monument. They attacked anti-racist counter-protestors, many comprised of anti-fascist, and Black Lives Matter activists. According to Al-Jazeera, the white supremacists’ violence left 35 people injured; and a white supremacist rammed his car […]

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Book Review: The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas

By Stephanie Younger •  Originally published on HCPL TeenScene’s Read & Review •   A 16-year-old Black teen who has witnessed the two fatal shootings of her childhood best friends, tries to make sense of the world. Starr Carter witnessed the first shooting when she was ten.  It was a violent crime in a violent neighborhood, […]

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14 Black Girls, Women & Non-binary People Every Intersectional Feminist Should Know About

By Stephanie Younger •  Many institutions fail to educate people about Black liberation and the feminist movement from the narratives Black women, Black girls and Black non-binary people, who are often discredited for their work on the frontlines of Black liberation—which is often centered around cishet Black men, and mainstream feminism—which often centers cishet white […]

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