Breaking Silence: An Arts, Action, and Healing Summer Camp
As October arrives, and with it the start of fall, the staff here at the African American Policy Forum is excited to share some reflections on the incredible summer we’ve just had, as we look forward to the upcoming year. From the launch of our brand new #SayHerName video(you can watch it here) and our recent lobbying day on Capitol Hill, to a wide variety of art and speaking engagements, we have spread our message in more than five states and three countries in just the last four months.
However, the pinnacle of the summer came in mid-July. During an exceptionally hot week, more than 60 women and girls of color trekked up to the beautiful Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, for our second annual Breaking Silence Summer Camp. Over the course of a week these women danced, meditated, rapped, and healed, all while engaging with the difficulties of being both a person of color and a woman in the United States today. After a session of dance and meditation, the campers participated in a series of classes that addressed various aspects of art, activism, and healing.
We are so delighted to share a preview of our experiences at Summer Camp with you, and hope you will read more about it on our blog.
Our very own Community Engagement Director, Cherrell Brown, was featured in the New York Times this week for her role in the recent protests in Charlotte. Cherrell, who travels between New York and North Carolina was on the front lines of last weeks protests that followed the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott. In addition to her physical presence in marches, she was integral in setting up shelters and organizing bail for protestors as well as getting milk to those who had been hit by tear gas. It is an honor to have Cherrell on our team and to support her work.
Read the Full Article
Join us on Sunday, November 20th, at 9:30 p.m. EST, for a night of arts and activism led by AAPF Artist-in-Residence, Abby Dobson. The night will feature a variety of art forms with specific emphasis on spoken word poetry and music as well as performances from Abby Dobson herself. Through Performance, the artists will seek to lift up the voices of Black women who have been victimized by state violence.
Be on the lookout for updates with information on ticket sales and performers!
AAPF Welcomes 3 New Members To Our Team
Cherrell Brown, the Community Engagement Director at AAPF, is a community organizer and educator from North Carolina. She also works as a social justice educator with Sadie Nash Leadership Project. Before that Cherrell served as one of the National Organizers for Equal Justice USA, a national non-profit organization working towards repealing the death penalty. She is also involved with several grassroots organizations working towards ending police and economic violence and teaches direct action trainings and community organizing 101. She recently traveled to London to obtain an MA in Culture, Diaspora and Ethnicity from Birkbeck University.
Kyndall Clark is the Program Coordinator at AAPF. Shortly after graduating from Vanderbilt University in 2013, Kyndall taught 9th grade special education in Philadelphia, PA. After leaving the classroom, she served as an organizer with the #BreakingSilence campaign and a Program Manager at Philadelphia City Council. She completed her Master's thesis on Black and Indian Feminist Pedagogies in West Bengal.
Teddy Fenster, the Assistant Director of AAPF, grew up along the California coast, but has always felt more at home in the Pacific Northwest. He recently graduated from Vassar College with honors in Political Science after writing a senior thesis on the state of voting rights after the Shelby v. Holder decision of 2013. He is also a two-time winner of the Julia Flitner Lamb Prize for excellence in political science. After working in a variety of fields, ranging from scenic carpentry and advertising to events programming, he is excited to join the AAPF team. With hopes of litigating, he intends to pursue a JD in the near future.
Say Her Name Campaign
AAPF Staff Visits The University of Rhode Island:
Last Tuesday and Wednesday, September 27-28, the AAPF Staff hopped on the train up to Kingston, Rhode Island. The University of Rhode Island, which has its main campus in Kingston, held its 20th annual diversity week and, as part of the proceedings, had asked AAPF to help out. Tuesday night Kimberlé Crenshaw took the stage of the Honor Colloquium, "Inequality and the American Dream," delivering the keynote address. The next day the staff led a section of the URI faculty in a training on intersectionality and unequal opportunity.
However, unlike most professional trainings ours takes the form of a board game. Designed off of our "Unequal Opportunity Race" video (watch it Here), our board game asks teams to stand in for the US census' racial categories. Players advance across the board but are stymied or aided by various historical factors such as the Homestead and Chinese Exclusion Acts. As an educational tool, our board game offers an accessible and enjoyable way to have difficult conversations regarding the way race operates, both historically and in the present day, to systematically marginalize major sections of the United States.
The African American Women and the Law Conference:
Read our reflection on September's AAWLC by clicking HERE. You will also be able to read all about our day lobbying on Capitol Hill! Couldn't make it this year or want to come back next year? Updates on The African American Women and the Law Conference 2017 taking place this June in New York coming soon!