Archive by Author

Solutions: Listen to the Stories. Invest.

Screen Shot 2018-02-14 at 9.42.53 AMSolutions: Listen to the stories of those who are most impacted by inequity. Invest in organizations that are informed by and lead by those who are most impacted.

In Asheville: Word on the Street/La Voz de los Jovenes is one of those organizations.

“I’ve been wanting a place where youth can just be themselves,” said 14-year-old Serenity Lewis

“It’s kinda helping youth of color get their voice out within the community. We’ve all noticed there’s a problem, and we want to go at it and fix it, or try to.” – Quantasia Williams, 18 years old

Listen to this segment about them on public radio.



Read full story Comments { 0 }

If Change is Why You March…

womensmarch2017Some people marched yesterday.
Marching at a Womens March illustrated numbers and allows people to feel the presence of other bodies standing up at this tim. It’s a chance to sing, chant and learn from each other, be in conversation about what is important. As my brother said, yesterday’s march was the “easy public place” to vocalize resistance or vocalize what you believe in. It was also a day for many people to be recharged and revitalized in a time when it is essential that as many of us as possible have the energy and motivation to keep acting so things will change for those who are most vulnerable at this time. If you marched, I hope it nourished and motivated you in some way that helps you stay engaged.

Some people did not march yesterday.
Some are not able to march. Some did not feel included in the purpose of the march. Some did not feel a clear purpose behind the march. Some are standing and resisting in other ways all the time and did not feel the need to march. Some saw this as an opportunity to hold people in positions of power accountable and educate about the ways officials are using their power. Some did not feel safe at the march.

I believe that the majority of Americans are unpracticed in how to stand up to the state, corporate, and institutional powers that control and govern our society. More of us continue to wake up every day, feeling the churning in our gut, the fire in our heart that says, “Things aren’t right. You have to be a part of changing things. You have a role to play in creating a future that you dream of. You are part of the solution to stop the horrors that many are facing right now.” Fortunately, elder organizers remind us that civic engagement is a skill that gets better with practice.

I am beyond grateful that we are hearing the calls. I pray that we will take risks, be bold, and turn towards one another to learn from each other about how to move forward in response to this call. I emphatically believe that the answers emerge from:

  • listening deeply to the inner voices of divine guidance
  • listening intently and responding to the guidance from those who are most impacted by the injustice, discrimination and inequity
  • working together

Nothing-changes-if-nothing-changes-252x300If you are feeling uncomfortable with the diverse perspectives around the march and how to make change, if you’re feeling uncertain about what is the “right” thing to do — GOOD. If we are not practiced in standing up for what is right, it is valuable for us to feel unsettled as we step into this territory. The habits and patterns and behaviors that have allowed us to get to this point require undoing. We need to be disoriented and unsettled so that we can connect to the solid ground of our values, be vulnerable in unfamiliar territory, and allow the fire-to-act to grow stronger within us. The more we unsettle our old ways of being, the clearer we will get. That means unsettling feelings of righteousness as well. Then we can genuinely recognize when we take steps forward that influence growing the world we dream of. A better future requires our participation now in order for it to come to life.

Thank you Chris Corrigan, for inviting me into the power of the word/practice of unsettling.

More reading:

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Translating Sentiment to Action… or Not

I’ve been thinking a lot about tomorrow’s women’s march, particularly the one in Asheville. I imagine a sea of people with smiles, excitement and signs — feeling inspired that others are “showing up”. Feeling proud of marching in the name of things they believe in or things they are against. And yet… I also have a hollow pit in my stomach when I think about it– what good is it? What have the people marching done in the year since they last marched to actively change the discrimination and violence that is happening in our own community? How are people changing their own lives, making sacrifices that make lives better for those who are most targeted — which are NOT white, cisgendered women?

Then I read the below statement from Tranzmission, a local group that I really respect. So much of Asheville’s institutional leadership is not bold, is not willing to take risks to stand up for what is morally and ethically right. And so many of Asheville’s people have not been willing to stand up to this leadership, to demand better, to push for what is morally and ethically right. We have to do better. And to do better, we have to actually DO THINGS — not just voice our outrage and find others to complain with.

If you’re going to tomorrow’s march, I’d love to hear what you are invested in doing this next month to be a part of change here in Asheville. I do not judge your choice to recharge and remotivate in a public way, I just plead that you don’t stop there and that the rush of energy you get from being engaged gets translated to a city council room, attending a board of commissions, putting pressure on the people you know who hold positions of influence in local government, at Mission, at the universities, in the school system, police or sheriff’s department, etc. Consider putting your AirBnb up for rent instead and accept section 8. Do something radical, take a chance in service to actually being a part of real change. I continue to believe that Asheville is capable of remarkable shifts… but it will take all of us being active much more than the majority of us currently are.

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 3.36.31 PM

Screen Shot 2018-01-21 at 3.53.49 PM

Read full story Comments { 0 }

White Folks Are Needed to Help Undo Systematic Oppression

“So in 2018, white folks, stop showering us with empty compliments, being over-eager to befriend us & all that- just stop. It’s sad how badly you want your niceties to morph into freedom from white guilt.

And it doesn’t accomplish what you think it does, it just insults us when you think your biased kindness suffices in a world where we need you to actually undo systematic oppression.”
~ Alex Williams (read the full post)

I see a lot of white folks feeling pushed to a new edge with the blatant racism of the president of our country calling Black and Brown countries shithole countries.

I’m glad it is unsettling.
We’re all needed to actually undo systemic oppression.

“It’s more important for level-headed people to be strategic rather than outraged.” ~Don Lemon

May we use our outrage strategically to work together and undo systemic oppression.

Thank you Alex Williams for the education and Kristin Wilson and Desiree Lynn Adaway for the links.

Read full story Comments { 0 }

History: 58 Years Ago Black and White Children Learning Together was Illegal

IMG_2523Who do you know that is 58 years young or older? Think about how recent 58 years ago was — on this day 58 years ago, the Governor of Georgia threatens to withhold PUBLIC SCHOOL funding to any school that tries to integrate black and white students. What do you know about how schools and classrooms are still segregated today in 2018? What do you know about educational and political leaders that are still using policy and power to keep learning opportunities segregated, to hinder learning for some students? If you don’t know anything about how these things are still going on, what are you doing to educate yourself? If you do know, what are you doing to change it? How are you supporting the people who are making efforts to drive change? Do you believe in the power of education, that all young people have a right to quality learning experiences?

I am on day 11 of the Equal Justice Initiative Calendar. Reading these daily reminders of history, of how we humans allow one another to act, and of the timeline of how recent so many of these things are is not a joy-filled moment of my day, but it is incredibly powerful in helping to ground me in the reality of our past and our present. The calendars are only $5. Can you take a minute each day to remember the history we were born out of?

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Re-opening my Life Coaching Practice

Everyone_Good_Sticker_Guy_275_square_largeThe world needs everyone to use their gifts in positive ways. One of my gifts is the ability to be present with people and support them as they navigate the highs and lows of being human. I am re-opening my Life Coaching practice, now offerings sessions where I support people as they connect with their purpose and focus on how they are investing their energy and attention. How are you navigating during confusing or disorienting times?

Please keep me in mind if you or someone you know could use some support navigating this journey of life. Learn more about my coaching style here. My hope is that re-opening my coaching practice will allow me to do more grassroots organizing at no or low cost. Thus, if we work together, it’s allowing me to invest more in the communities I’m connected to.

Read full story Comments { 0 }

Shift the Perspective

PapaAndMeSometimes you just need a different perspective on things. Don’t be afraid to shake things up and look from a different view. We gotta be trying all the tricks we know, using all the tools in our toolbelt. 

(cute Papa Hertz and cute little me)

Read full story Comments { 0 }