Career

Surviving Racial Disasters

It Happened. Again. Sneaker waves of racist lashes and systematic suicides keep hitting our neighborhoods, news feeds and nerve systems. Past reports about Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, Eric Garner and Ezell Ford have now been replaced with fresh videos of Walter Scott, Philip White, Eric Harris and Freddie Gray. I have screamed, cried, cussed and […]

Camping in the Rubble

A cyclone threatened.  We knew the devastation it would leave in its wake would be enormous. As it began, we had no idea what the consequential damage would be, but we knew that it could not be stopped, and we had to wait until it had blown through before we’d know whether repair was going to be […]

The Fear Underneath It All

 To listen to the spoken-word version of this post by Ashley, click below.   “But the tigers come at night. With their voices soft as thunder. As they tear your world apart. As they turn your dreams to shame . . .”  ~”I Dreamed a Dream,” Les Miserables   “You’ll never do it again. Your words are […]

Meet the Princess of the Press: Ida B. Wells

Southern trees bear strange fruit Blood on the leaves and blood at the root Black bodies swinging in the southern breeze Strange fruit hanging from the poplar trees Before Billie Holiday sang the lyrics above at Cafe Society, the first integrated nightclub in New York, another icon of history, sat nightly, frantically documenting every lynching […]

That’s What She Said: The Story of Marcia Melissa Bassett-Goodwin

I’m in a class right called Restoration History, and before the semester began it was the course I was looking forward to the least. An entire semester of learning about old, dead white men who were racist, sexist, and worst of all: privileged and unaware? No thank you. Needless to say it was an experience […]

Dorothy Day: Saint with Thorns

  “Don’t worry about being effective. Just concentrate on being faithful to the truth.” ~Dorothy Day I heard about Dorothy Day years ago, when I was a young radical. She was an advocate for women’s rights before American women had the vote. She was arrested and went on a hunger strike. She advocated for the […]

Minnie Vautrin: Staring Down Death

“The city is strangely silent—after all the bombing and shelling. Three dangers are past—that of looting [Chinese] soldiers, bombing from aeroplanes and shelling from big guns, but the fourth is still before us—our fate at the hands of a victorious army. People are very anxious tonight and do not know what to expect . . […]

Motherhood on the Head of a Pin

 Jill Lepore wrote a book about a woman we know hardly anything about. A thick book, a love letter, a weighty tome about a woman of whom the slimmest of evidence exists—letters, a single hand-stitched notebook, ghostly things that others said of her. She was a poor woman from Boston right before and after the […]

Girls Can Do All the Things

  Juliette Gordon Low founded the girl scouts because she had been hanging out with the Boy Scouts founder and thought, well, why the heck weren’t girls encouraged to go hike in the woods, build a fire, swim? She liked all of that stuff. When people think about women who have made a major impact […]

Daughter of the Sun

  At a time when only around 1% of American girls studied past high school these three women were medical students at the Women’s Medical College of Pennsylvania.(1) The young woman on the left was born on March 31, 1865 in Poonah, India, to a high-caste Brahmin Hindu family of the Maharashtra people. Her birth […]

Women Have a History

“History is no longer just a chronicle of kings and statesmen, of people who wielded power, but of ordinary women and men engaged in manifold tasks. Women’s history is an assertion that women have a history.” ~Aparna Basu, Professor of History at the University of Delhi, India And what a history it is! From warriors, like Boudica, Zenobia, Lyudmila […]

Living in the Boring Chapter

It seems to me that most people live semi-ordinary lives with straightforward paths. You graduate from elementary school to middle school to high school to college and then you start working. My life has often consisted  of jumping headfirst into a random major change, freaking out because it was harder than I expected, finally acclimating […]

Recycled

“White woman, why water full of sorrow flow from face?” The young woman’s Chenglish needed no translation and neither did my tears as she poured rosewater into a wooden bucket to soak my feet. She was wearing a Louis Vuitton jacket, sequined sweater and rice hat: a fashion style as common in Kunming, China as […]

What I Didn’t Resolve in January

January is often a time of change. For me, it’s when I realize that my mid-February birthday is coming. One January, I broke up with a boyfriend, unwilling to continue in that unhealthy relationship as I approached a quarter of a century. This January, I quit my job. I’ve been hearing the whispers for a […]

Breakaway Rising

I was fiercely fighting in forcing myself to stay. To be the “bigger person” and rise to the occasion. But after nine months, I just couldn’t do it anymore. I had to break free. And I was terrified it would be anything but a clean break. Tears flowed by the buckets that weekend, all because […]

A Clean Break from Technology

The thought came to me in Rome, sitting on a small balcony overlooking the dome of St. Peter’s Basilica. The shell windchimes hanging just inside the window of the apartment we’d rented for a few days were tinkling on a soft breeze carrying the peal of church bells from across the Eternal City. There were […]