Identity

Dr. Justina Ford Goes Higher

7,000 was the number of babies she brought into the world. 31 were the years she served the diverse community of east Denver—treating patients regardless of ethnicity, nationality, or ability to pay—offering resources and food for those who lacked them.1 She is reported to have said, “Folks make an appointment and whatever color they turn […]

A Poem Called Freedom

A Poem Called Freedom (Reflections on How To Stay Free While Black)   Keeping my head to the sky I will close my eyes And listen for the sparrows’ whistle, the rivers roll, the trees whisper of their journey to freedom.   As the wind wipes my tears and holds me near I will embrace […]

Nia Dennis Has the Floor

Nia Dennis worked the floor for 90 seconds and a lifetime. The student-athlete’s January 23 routine (9.95) not only secured the UCLA Bruin’s win over Arizona State but became a rising, viral anthem for something far more profound: In her LA Times feature of Dennis, Thuc Nhi Nguyen reports, “Inspired by the Black Lives Matter […]

Phillis Wheatley’s Revolution

She had words, from a birth language, spoken by a birth family, who gave her a birth name. Thieves tore almost everything from her, endeavoring to replace the originals with cheap imitations—like the new name they chose for her, from the boat that abducted her (The Phillis) and the family that enslaved her (Wheatley). But […]

What’s in Amanda Gorman’s Name

You know her titles: National Youth Poet Laureate. Inaugural poet (youngest ever). Harvard University graduate. Super Bowl show-stopper. Amanda Gorman: The one with her hand uniquely positioned on the pulse of a nation past, present, and future. But from a recent interview with Michelle Obama (Time Magazine),1did you know this about her name? “President Biden […]

Ziyah Holman’s Anchor

Two weeks ago, University of Michigan student-athlete Ziyah Holman overcame an unheard of 21 second team deficit to win the 4X4000 (Simmons-Harvey Invitational). Holman’s 51.79 second split came AFTER she set a meet/stadium record (and NCAA season lead) in in the 600 meters.1 She narrated her comeback-mindset to Theo Mackie of the Michigan Daily: “‘Just […]

Counterfeit

She is even better in person, I think. Better than The Crown. “For nearly 70 years I have kept a tradition of speaking to you at Christmas,” she begins—and we are captivated. She sits regal and poised behind the stately antique desk: a beacon of constancy and hope. An imposing yet festive Christmas tree shimmers […]

What They Got Wrong About Women

In Cassandra Speaks, Elizabeth Lesser tells us about Pandora. You might be familiar with the Greek myth: The gods punished men by giving them a woman (Pandora) and a jar filled with human suffering. Because Pandora was prone to evil, she opened the jar and released every kind of suffering and misery onto humanity. All […]

Dr. King’s Final Climb

Dr. Martin Luther King delivered his final speech from a Memphis pulpit on April 3, 1968. He was assassinated one day later.  He knew, as Moses before him, that he would not taste deliverance before death. But like Moses on the mountaintop, he would proclaim its promise from afar. May we, too, look long and […]

Melancholy and Hope

The air was crisp with a chill and I breathed in deep the smell of a new season as I wheeled the grocery cart to my car. Fall always smells a little like nostalgia and new beginnings woven together, doesn’t it? Melancholy and hope together in one breath. Being the hostess for holiday meals is […]

Twisted

My high school mascot was a pretzel. I know. It gets worse. This—and middle-child status—explains a lot of my issues. On the upside, you won’t find my alma maters in the fray of mascot-related rhetoric lately making news. Ex: “You can eat us but you can’t beat us!” and rival schools trampling pretzels by the […]