02 Feb

Constant Vigilance

ScrimgeorThese are dark times.

It is a full frontal assault on all peoples by an intolerant, sexist, racist, and classist administration. I am reminded of the this speech from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows.


We are seeing some of the strategies used by Republican/White Supremacist leaders:


but resistance comes in many ways, and humor helps us continue.

pick your struggles to fight for. Don’t just talk and study. Show up. Make a difference. Working together for justice is the only way.

30 Oct

A Writing Hiatus…of sorts

I am working on two books right now, one on whiteness and addressing internalized dominance, and one on social justice supervision with two colleagues. I am finding it hard to focus on that writing and the blog writing at the same time, so I will take a hiatus from the blog.

Of sorts. I will still be writing, and I will occasionally share a post or two along the way. And hopefully, i can share the fruits of the book writing soon.

Until then…

12 Sep

I Don’t Want To Be Okay

Photo of 9/11 Memorial by Ludovic Bertron

“Tribute in Light” by Ludovic Berton used under CC License

Yesterday was a day of reflection for me, remembering memories and feelings from 15 years ago. The attacks on 9/11 punctuated my soul and heart, and in moving through all of that, I re-found this post I did. The desire to love still speaks to me even though I recognize the naivety of my younger self. I am still moved.

I hope it is moving for you too.


I Don’t Want To Be Okay

I don’t want to feel better about the world or myself after September 11th.  I don’t want to go back to my “normal” routine as a passive player in the world…my job, my daily commute…my armchair perspective of the world.

I don’t want to be okay because I am being told that I should “go back to normal.”  I feel like I am being told to forget and pretend that everything is all right.  Too much is still wrong; it is still too painful for me to just ignore.

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25 Jun

Walking in Liberation


Photo Credit to Noee

I am flying home after co-facilitating a three day intensive institute on equity and justice sponsored by the multicultural student center at the University of Wisconsin Madison. It was a wonderful and deeply transformative three days with some faculty, staff, and students. I am returning home renewed, rejuvenated, and with a clearer sense of purpose of the work I need to do in the world.

Three days together was a gift. Most trainings are 1/2 or full days—two days if we are lucky. It was a rare treat for me and my co-facilitator, Tanya Williams, and it was a deep investment by the institution in its employees.

What I realized is that this additional day allowed us to work in liberation. Trainings and institutes that are smaller timeframes generally only provide opportunities to understand how we internalize and act out of domination and subordination, but not begin to dismantle it. The third day offered us time to explore what liberation from oppression might look and feel like.

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13 Feb

Cheerleaders are Never on the Field

interwoven strings

Photo credit Derek Σωκράτης Finch under Creative Commons

I am a provocateur.

I like art and ideas that stir the heart, mind, and soul. I like being moved.

When I watched Beyonce’s video, Formation, last weekend, I was stirred. It was, at once, a celebration and a call to action. It was loving, hopeful, defiant, and angry, and it said get your shit together. In short, it was art, and it was provocative.

The educator and artist in me loves that Beyonce has inspired and stirred so many. Engaging racism, sexism, classism, and systematized oppression is a complicated, messy endeavor. The activist in me loves that so many white people are unsettled and uncomfortable with the images and words in her video—we don’t change if we aren’t uncomfortable.

I am hopeful that this is another opportunity for us to have deeper, more engaged conversations on racism. But the collective response reminds me that we, in particular white people, haven’t accepted our painful, ugly historical legacies of systematic oppression. Sadly we aren’t yet ready for this kind of conversation, and we are struggling to collectively hold that pain, find healing, make meaning from it all, and make change.

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08 Jan

Ripples of Change 2015

ripples by sea turtle

photo licensed under creative commons by Sea Turtle

It was a blessed and productive year.

As part of my annual commitment to use a portion of my proceeds to spark more Ripples of Change, I share the organizations that I chose to support for 2015.

I am supporting the Lower Bottom Playaz, an Oakland based theater company “dedicated to the excavation, critical examination, and the illumination of the conditions of North American inner cites and the lives of inner city inhabitants though the creation of original works, the production and performance of the highest caliber existing material available to us from the North American African canon, and the works of other artists considered marginalized within the American theater scene and the greater American society in general.”

This is vibrant community theater grounded in community engagement and social justice. I encourage you to support them too.



31 Dec

Ripples of Change 2014

Photo Credit by Richard Freeman

Photo Credit by Richard Freeman

It has been a productive, complicated, difficult, and blessed year.

I had the opportunities to work with people at Rollins College, University of Nebraska, UC Merced, and the Sierra Club. I am blessed to work, and grateful for my exceptional partners: dr. becky martinez and Amber Mayes.

As part of my annual commitment to use a portion of my proceeds to spark more Ripples of Change, I share the organizations that I chose to support for 2014.

Feminist Frequency
I have been following Feminist Frequency and the work of Anita Sarkeesian for a couple of years now. She is a media critic, focusing on representation of women and gendered stereotypes in popular culture. She began her video blogs to address sexism in popular movies, television, and video games. This led her to research sexism in video games, undertaking a review of hundreds of video games and critiquing the ongoing sexism in the video game industry. Her work in gaming spaces prompted a backlash of harassment, sexual and violent threats on her wellbeing and life. Through it all, we witness a gaming and media industry unwilling to shed its prejudices. Anita remains a courageous and clear voice in one of the clear social justice issues of our time. You can find more on Anita and Feminist Frequency here.

The Brown Boi Project
The Brown Boi Project is an organization in Oakland, CA, that works to empower queer/straight men of color, masculine-of-center womyn, and trans men through leadership development, economic self-sufficiency, and health and wellness programs. They have a commitment to social justice work at the intersections: racial justice, gender justice, and using masculine privilege for social change. I continue to be inspired by their work to expand notions of masculinity, break down gendered roles, and to empower communities of young men. We have seen the results of a country resisting change and holding on to whiteness, patriarchy, and capitalism—black, brown, and trans youth being terrorized or killed by whites and a justice system that condones those killings—and the Brown Boi Project is a needed voice in the movement for change. You can find more information on The Brown Boi Project here.

I encourage you to support both these organizations.

Although the “end of the year” is a time for reflection, renewal, and thinking ahead, I am reminded that it is an arbitrary mark in time, and our work for social change transcends these time markers.

Happy New Year, and I wish us peace, justice, and love.

09 Nov

White Man Rules

Southwest Boarding ProcessAs we have previously discussed, systems have consequences.

And when we create nested systems within larger systems, often times those who benefit in the large system receive the benefits of the nested system, unless we account for it to be otherwise.

Case in Point–A few years ago, Southwest Airlines revised their boarding system from a “first come, first served at the gate” model to one that gave the early boarding spots to those who checked in online first. This was a natural evolution as the internet became more prominent in our lives.

Southwest additionally created their version of a tier system to honor and recognize its regular customers, which is also not uncommon in the airline industry. Southwest then revised its boarding system once again to reserve the early boarding spots to their frequent travelers with high tier membership and those that bought into the full fare ticket price.

On face value, this is a good system for recognizing brand loyalty by an organization that prides itself on low-frills, and is also fairly simple, which sets it apart from other brand-loyalty programs. On face value, nothing in this system is set up to unequally reward one group over another (assuming of course that the value within a capitalist system of rewarding customers who have given you a lot of their money is fair—but that is another post).

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14 Oct

On Mike Brown, Darren Wilson and the Deadly Intersection of Race and Masculinity

Photo Credit: Photo: Brett Myers/Youth Radio

Photo Credit: Photo: Brett Myers/Youth Radio

by Eric Mata and Craig Elliott

A couple of days ago, we had a conversation about the shooting death of Mike Brown. As a man of color and as a father of an infant son and a white man and a father of two boys, the events that have unfolded in Ferguson, MO have resonated deeply. We’ve been constantly thinking about what could have led to the moment when Darren Wilson shot and killed Mike Brown. We know who killed Mike Brown. But we’ve been grappling with the question of “what” killed Mike Brown.

Further, as we raise our boys and daughter, we have also been grappling with these questions and are our part in them: How do we shift this system of oppression that causes death, pain, and suffering for men and boys of color, and teaches violence as the language of living? How do we raise our boys to be different, to resist violence and aggression and the other mantles of manhood and masculinity? How do our children grow to live a life filled with compassion, love, and justice, and to create community spaces built on those values? These aren’t new questions created by the death of Mike Brown, but they have been given more shine in our lives.

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28 Aug

Working Across Difference

Photo by Adam

Photo by Adam

Ferguson is not a black and white thing. Ferguson happens all over the country, to black folks, brown folks, asian, native, trans* folk. It crosses racial lines. Ferguson (and all the other violence and killings that happen in our country) is also at the intersections of race, class, and gender…and so Ferguson happens to poor folks, to middle class folks, to women, to trans* and gender non-conforming folks—by men, and primarily white men. Our country’s history is centered at the intersection of whiteness, masculinity, and wealth, and our suppression tactics through violence, fear, and economic sanctions stem from that place as well.

As I have been processing all of what is happening and having conversations with friends and colleagues, it occurred to me that our “justice work” efforts have been largely single issue actions and responses. We do our work in the silos. Race is salient in this country in very particular and meaningful ways, and we work that. Class has a very real and tangible impact on families and communities, and we work that. Gender has a fluidity that resists being boxed and harassed into narrow imaginations, and we work that. But we end up segregating our efforts, never getting to the intersection that leads to the oppression in our country.

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