The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World

Dear friends, I’m thrilled to share that I will be one of the women featured in a new exhibition, ‘The Changemakers: Rochester Women Who Changed the World,’ inspired by the centennial of the Nineteenth Amendment and commemoration of the women’s suffrage movement.

The Changemakers will open on October 9, 2020 in the Riedman Gallery at the Rochester Museum & Science Center.

It will be a community-curated exhibition that hopes to celebrate historical and contemporary women visionaries, trailblazers, inventors, social innovators, and entrepreneurs in western New York, through compelling, untold narratives. It will use Immersive, collections-rich spaces and hands-on experiences to give visitors new access to insights from the past, encourage gender equity in the present, and inspire a better future.

I will be there on Oct 8th! What a treat! #ChangemakersRoc

doing a tv spot for asian pacific american heritage month

working with #APAA (asian pacific islander american association of rochester) and #WXXI to celebrate asian pacific american heritage month. 

sunken meadow state park

went to #sunkenmeadowstatepark this morning. just 20 min from our place and such a wonderful beach and boardwalk! boardwalks are one of my favorite things in life, pretty much. but there were too many people there so we changed course and walked through the park. there was this broken fence in front of a fragrant bunch of wilderness and its heady scents of nascent spring took me back to my childhood in brussels, when we would wait for such a sunny day to go explore and stay outdoors for as long as we could. magic.

The ‘Sultana’s Dream’ Project by Chitra Ganesh and the Importance of Muslim Feminisms

i wrote this in the middle of our move, because it means that much to me.
a new exhibit based on the work of radical bengali feminist rokeya hossain is now at the Memorial Art Gallery of the University of Rochester (until june of this year). that’s something to rejoice, except that hossain’s muslim identity is completely erased in the discourse about the project both on MAG’s website as well as in artist chitra ganesh’s description of the work on her own website.

this erasure is particularly jarring at a time of anti-muslim progroms in india as well as the weaponization of the pandemic (it’s being called covid jihad) to stoke islamophobia.

here’s more.

selling to neighbors

i have to write about this. so we are moving to long island on april 8th, inshallah, and i have been selling a lot of stuff on fb at fairly low prices – from a treadmill to a yamaha piano, to bedroom furniture, bookcases, cameras, skis and bikes. i’ve also donated tons: i post on fb, add pictures of the stuff, and people come and pick it up for free. there is plenty of social distancing as they help themselves from shelves in my garage, with no human contact at all. it’s been one of the loveliest experiences ever.

not only did i get to meet a large number of my rochester neighbors (an extremely diverse group based on race, ethnicity, class, gender, age, and more) but i also got to know their stories and their visions for the stuff they’re picking up.

some send me pictures of how they’re using those things in their homes. one young guy and his wife bought two bookcases, then joined them to another piece of furniture, added moulding, painted everything, and created a gorgeous entertainment center. he messaged me photographs.

it does my heart good to see how my things, which were loved and cared for, will have another life after they leave our home, that someone else will use them and cherish them as well. they are only things of course, but this opportunity to share with our community has been incredibly joyful.
many times when people buy one thing, i give them another for free. someone bought a camera, i gave them a tripod for free. the reactions are priceless, unforgettable. i love rochester so much, and this has been a life-affirming way of saying goodbye.

the fb groups i used:

rochester online garage sale
rochester craiglist

Film Discussion to Explore Legacy of 1947 Partition, As Anti-Muslim Violence Surges In India

so a screening of ‘a thin wall’ followed by a community discussion at Douglass Auditorium at 36 King St. was cancelled on march 14th, in accordance with NYS coronavirus guidelines. we hope to reschedule some time in the future.

in the meantime, Darien Lamen spoke to Hibah Arshad, Thomas Gibson and i, and put together this excellent intro to the community conversation we hope to have. pls read/listen here.

panic and shortages

i am not an alarmist and i like to take things as they come, so today i went to wegmans for my weekly shopping and it was freaky. all the meat is gone, most of the canned goods, no cooking oil, no rice, no pasta, no garbage bags. i didn’t check the TP situation. this is extreme. people should buy what they need. it’s irresponsible to create shortages, as some might actually need that food right now. urgently. also, when people are gripped with fear, those in power will, inevitably, institute harsh authoritarian measures and trample on rights and protections. the process started a long time ago in the US, but this latest crisis (much like the war on terror) will allow robber barons and their state/defense machine to go into overdrive. let’s remember the shock doctrine and use our own calm common sense and compassion in the weeks to come. it will make all the difference.