When I enter church, I don’t get to take off my womanness or my blackness or my queerness and just enter as Christian. I enter as all of me, which includes the parts of my identity that our society privileges and the parts of my identity that our society oppresses. Shout out to Mother Lorde who preached to us all that, There is no thing as a single-issue struggle, because we do not live single-issue lives.Read More
There is a particularly aggressive strand of social justice activism weaving in and out of my Seattle community that has troubled me, silenced my loved ones, and turned away potential allies. I believe in justice. I believe in liberation. I believe it is our duty to obliterate white supremacy, anti-blackness, cisheteropatriarchy, capitalism, and imperialism. And I also believe there should be openness around the tactics we use and ways our commitments are manifested. Beliefs and actions are too often conflated with each other, yet questioning the latter does not renege the former. As a Cultural Studies scholar, I am interested in the ways that culture does the work of power. What then, is the culture of activism, and in what ways are activists restrained by it? To be clear, I’m only one person who doesn’t know everything, and I’m open to revisions and learning. But as someone who has spent the last decade recovering from a forced conversion to evangelical Christianity, I’m seeing a disturbing parallel between religion and activism in the presence of dogma:Read More
Liz: Can you tell us a bit about your background? What was growing up like for you?
Chanda: I grew up being raised by my grandmother, "Granny," who had the house where all the kids went to get a hot meal! She was always cooking and entertaining. She was always at home, her number was everyone's "emergency" number, and she influenced me to graduate from high school. But little did she know, she was planting the seed for me to become an event planner…
Liz: Your grandma sounds wonderful. How was she planting the seed?
Chanda: I wanted to be like her. She found joy in making dinner and setting a fancy table with Sunday china and having everyone over. She didn't like being in the spotlight, but she loved how everyone felt after they left...I didn't know that then, but that's what I loved and love to this day!Read More
Since being engaged and now married to my wife for the past six months, I would say that the word “congratulations” has trended in my life. Used to express good wishes on a special occasion, I’ve come to really appreciate how this one word can express love and expand a sense of community when spoken over those who are celebrating an important time in their lives. Given the influx of “congratulations” to my wife and myself, it has also made the lack of this expression glaringly obvious and painful by those in our lives that we love. The pain is increased in knowing that some justify their lack of “good wishes” because of their Christian beliefs that being gay is a sin, and marriage is only legit if it involves one man and one woman.Read More
When I moved to Poland about a year ago, I knew that I was saying goodbye. I knew that I was moving to a country that wasn’t all that LGBTQ-friendly and that language barriers were going to make it difficult to re-establish a close network of friends. What I didn’t realize was the giant hole this was going to leave in my heart.Read More
If you find yourself questioning something that feels inappropriate or abusive, then it probably is. Do not "use" an interracial couple in a shoot just to make your portfolio more diverse so you can start seeming more inclusive to the industry. Start first with yourself. Take a step back, and look at the inner circle of people you see every month. Who are they? What do you all talk about? Are you discussing issues related to populations you have no experience with? Do you participate in tokenizing? Overall, if you share these values and want to start out in the industry, double and then triple-check yourself and your own life. Because if you're still participating in social practices that are damaging or harmful toward marginalized groups in this country, whether it be consciously or subconsciously, then frankly you haven't done the work.Read More
Kanayo Adibe is a DC photographer who attended the Women's March this past weekend, and this is the march through his eyes: "How do I explain this experience? 3-hour long queues for metro passes, delayed trains, full parking lots and garages, streets packed with people like sardines, but most importantly UNITY. It was an overwhelming experience; to see sooo many people come together for a single cause was mind-blowing. We should do this more often; the world would be a better place. Here are a few highlights of the day from my eyes."Read More
In this day and age anytime you turn on the TV, flip a page in a magazine, or see an advertisement, there are vibrant signs everywhere celebrating how diverse and inclusive we are as a community, as a company, as a convention, etc. But these words often fall on deaf ears because in reality the words “diverse” and “inclusive” don’t make people feel either of those things. These phrases have an underlying us against them mentality that perpetuates systemic racism even more.Read More
So something pretty interesting happened last week. A well-known conference for wedding industry creatives, Creative at Heart, posted its speaker line-up on Instagram, encouraging folks to sign up for early bird registration. The photo shows a grid of 26 smiling faces, all of them white. The post inspired 95 comments and counting. After a handful of yay!s, woo!s, and heart-emojis, Stacy Reeves wrote, "Extremely disappointing to see a sea of caucasian faces with no diversity. You are not creating an inclusive and welcoming place for women of color here." Mic drop.Read More