Nandi Rose Plunkett was the second female musician I ever saw perform live. Admittedly, I don’t go to as many gigs as I’d like to, but just two women up onstage – even if it’s a foot-high stage at a punk show – is not a high enough number.Read more
By Leighanne Scheuermann
It wasn’t until I graduated from college, spent a year as an Americorps member, and entered graduate school that I first came across this quote from Ghandi. You would think working as a social worker I might have been more mindful about the ways societies make change. Yet, I was young and wanted things to just transform…now. I was well into my twenties and I’ll admit it’s taken me many more years to actually apply this concept to my life. Some days I am better at it than others.
Now as a teacher and a mother, I feel a responsibility to help my children and students be self aware of their role within their communities. So my husband and I are trying out small ways we make change. Recently, I read about a family that discussed their "highs, lows, and an act of kindness" at the dinner table. Dinner in our home had become pretty chaotic, a stepping stone on the way to bath and a dreaded drawn-out bedtime, so we immediately tried it out and it’s made a huge difference not only in our dinner conversation but also our daily actions. Some days I volunteer my time or donate materials and other days I just try to send a nice email to someone, smile or refrain from honking in traffic unless fully warranted (which as a former New Yorker takes a lot of restraint). Knowing that my family will ask me at the end of the day what I did to change someone else’s certainly helps me follow through on the commitment. If you are looking for ways to explain social movements or protests to your children and the upcoming March on Washington you might want to check out some of these picture books about change within America.
You’re sitting or standing there, and from their mouth comes an outpouring of every painful thing that has become endorsed by our government, our media, and our people. They’re saying something that stings, something about you or the people you love, something that you know is wrong.
I know you’re angry. I know you feel frustrated, tired by the idea of having to explain that everyone deserves freedom and respect. You don’t understand what is so fundamentally wrong with this person that they could think that taking away someone’s basic human rights is acceptable. You want to walk away, to escape those words. You want to scream.
Immediately after the election results came out, I was left reeling. It was as though some part of me had been ripped out, some veil of idealistic innocence torn away from my eyes. Perhaps it was the universal childhood belief that “good” always triumphs over “evil,” endlessly perpetuated by fairytales and TV cartoons. Although I hate to reduce politics and people to concepts so absolute, the numb feeling in my gut on November 9th allowed for no grey areas. The fear and anger Trump inspired in Americans made him worse than any supervillain. Unlike TV supervillains, however, Trump was undeniably real.Read more
“Respect Yourself. Protect Yourself”
As a gynecologist, mom, and author of “The Gyne’s Guide for College Women,” these are the goals that I’ve worked so hard to instill in the young women that I see daily. Now that it is 2017, these goals have not changed, but the ways to pursue them must be adjusted to the new adversities we may face this year. My feminist resolution is to empower more young women to take control of their lives and in turn, respect and protect themselves.
Wake up and make a difference. Wake up and change someone’s mind. Wake up and redefy.
I vividly remember shaking and nervously holding the mic and my crumpled piece of paper with my notes as I made the opening speech of my first Youth Interfaith event in July of 2015. Since then, I’ve learned so much and have come across an exciting, growing, and amazing journey.
This week in the Black Girl Magic series we will hear from Ileri Jaiyeoba, Executive Director of Code Red! Ileri is a freshman at New York University. She believes that all girls and women should have access to menstrual products. Ileri wants youth to know that it does not matter where you come from or what you are lacking, but to acknowledge the advantages and privileges you have and use it to follow your passion of making an impact in the world. Read on to learn more about how Ileri is changing the world one package at a time.
Name: Ileri Jaiyeoba
Adjusting to the reality of our new President-elect has reminded me of a different, more fictitious but just as dangerous villain.Read more
The Black Girl Magic series has shared stories about young women making a difference around the world. This week, we will hear from Jaynay Chanel Johnson, author of Dear Teen Self, teen advocate, speaker and family therapist. Jaynay will share with us her journey: from growing up in Newark, NJ to being an inspiration to teens all around the country. Jaynay never took her eye off her vision, and she will encourage us to keep going even if disappointments may come our way. Read more to learn Jaynay’s inspiring story.
Name: Jaynay Chanel Johnson