Category Archives: projects

‘Islamophobia is Racism’ at First Unitarian Church of Rochester

I will be presenting at First Unitarian Church of Rochester on Thursday Feb 6, 7-9 pm. The topic will be ‘Islamophobia is Racism’ (part of the ‘Race, Racism and Relationship’ series at First Unitarian Church).

As white supremacy becomes emboldened in America, overt racism has re-entered civil discourse and there has been a corresponding surge in Islamophobia. The word Islamophobia is used frequently by mainstream media, yet few understand its social construction, historical context, or operation in everyday life.

This interactive, multimedia workshop will help explicate the term, locate it in history, and clarify its overlap with racism. The presentation will be followed by group activities and an open discussion. Thank you Barbara De Leeuw for organizing this before our move. Looking forward.

Rochesterian advocates for equity despite facing racism, sexism, and ableism

the incredible luticha doucette <3

Noelle C. Evans: Luticha Doucette is the equity coordinator at Rochester City Hall. Currently, she’s working on the Race Equity and Leadership Initiative (REAL) for city government. REAL is part of a program with the National League of Cities aimed to address structural racism through policy and civic engagement.

She says that while there are conversations in Rochester around racial equity, like REAL, there isn’t as much visibility for disabilities.

“Disability is often put to the wayside. And you can’t separate the two. I’m not disabled on a Sunday, right? I’m disabled 24/7 just like I’m black 24/7,” she says.

For Doucette, she says a mix of sexism, racism, and ableism — which is discrimination against those with disabilities — put her in a life-threatening situation a few years ago when she was having health complications. More here.

Rosalie “Daystar” Jones – Using art to carry tradition forward

The beautiful Rosalie M. Jones who choreographed and performed for The Injured Body: A Film about Racism in America <3

Rebecca Rafferty: Jones has had an active and impressive career as a pioneer of what she called Native Modern Dance, which draws inspiration from Indigenous inter-tribal dance as well as the modern dance she studied in her postgraduate days at Juilliard (where she hung out with the legendary Martha Graham).

She was born on the Blackfeet Reservation in Montana. Her mother was Chippewa and her father was a Welsh-Canadian railroad worker who crossed the border at 18 and met her mother on the reservation.

“I think because the both of them had hard childhoods and really no opportunities for formal education, they wanted to give that to me,” Jones said. “So consequently, I was encouraged from the very beginning to get college degrees, university degrees, and pursue my own talents and ideas for my lifetime work.” More here.

An evening to remember

This evening the fabulous Nadia S. Malik organized a dessert extravaganza at her home, baked exquisite cakes, made flan and even kulfi (for real?) and invited some of the beautiful women I am blessed to call my friends. They are poets, writers, artists, photographers, dancers, choreographers, curators, lawyers, journalists, feminists, activists, professors, philosophers, counselors, storytellers, community leaders, my sisters. I wrote about each of them because I wanted them to know what they mean to me. It was emotional. I had to focus hard in order to keep my voice steady. The beauty around me was overwhelming. Thank u Nadia for ur elegant hospitality, thank u Sabina for joining us, and thank u Amanda, Annette, Debora, Erica, Kristin, Lauren, Liz, Lu, Mariko, Pamela, Reilly, Sady, Sejal, Smriti, and Yvonne for being who u are. Love u all <3

an open letter of solidarity by jewish and muslim activists

after the hanukkah attack in nyc (late last year) and the surge in islamophobia accompanying american aggression and a possible war with iran, young jewish and muslim activists based in rochester wanted to raise their collective voice and recommit to solidarity. theirs is a solidarity rooted in a desire for justice and a political understanding of their respective struggles. in their view, solidarity is safety.

thank u Smriti Jacob and the Rochester Beacon for publishing our open letter. thank u Nate Baldo, Arseniy Justice, Tori Madway, Halima Aweis, Ian Layton, Hatun Guler, Fatimah Arshad, and Mawia Elawad for ur profound understanding of our world.

“In the wake of the December 2019 Hanukkah attack in New York City, Gov. Cuomo announced an increase in security including a $45 million grant administered by the Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services for communications equipment upgrades. This is meant to assuage Jewish communities and make them feel safer.

But actual safety comes from solidarity, not greater state scrutiny and criminalization, which disproportionately impact people of color and vulnerable communities. Employing state forces as barriers between our fractured communities only furthers our fragmentation and contributes to future distrust and misunderstandings.

We, Muslim and Jewish activists based in Rochester, understand this and are committed to a decolonial understanding of our histories and struggles. We aim to stay invested in and show up for one another, and we urge all our diverse communities to do the same. Let’s band together against the rising tides of violence, in our country and across the globe. Solidarity is safety.” More here.

Anti-War Protest Highlights Link Between US Militarism and Climate Chaos

wonderful report by darien lamen in which he gives protestors the opportunity to voice their concerns and their reasons for being there, rather than framing the rally himself. thank u for ur important work darien.

Rochester-area youth organized a rally Thursday to oppose war with Iran. Many protesters highlighted the link between imperialism and climate change. Reporter Darien Lamen spoke with Hridesh Singh, Scott Wagner, Crescenzo Scipione, Mara Ahmed, and Emily Good. Listen here.

futurisms and the concept of linear time

yesterday in my class ‘thru another lens’ we studied ‘afrofuturism & non-linear time’ and ‘who will we be when we are free? on palestine & futurity’ with the brilliant Reilly Hirst who helped us break down some of the complexity in ideas related to futurisms. my students rose to the challenge and helped produce a sharp discussion in class. it’s empowering to know that we can hack into an oppressive timeline and create alternative worlds St. John Fisher College  St. John Fisher Honors Program

Excellent screening of A Thin Wall in London

brilliant screening of #AThinWall, a #film about the #1947 #partition of british #india, at #harrowauditorium @uniwestminster #london
it was organized by #tonguesonfire the wonderful team behind the @ukasianfilmfestival 
great attendance and interview by rosie thomas, and so lovely to do the first screening ever with my co-producer and friend Surbhi Dewan