mute r kelly
January 31, 2018This one is heavy. Let me set the table in love and understanding and start by saying that by the time you are done reading this you will either appreciate the letter or not. I am okay with that, as silence breaking can go either way in a community where silence has been a protector
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I can't take this anymore.
August 5, 2015Monday, August 3, 2015:  I’m sitting on a plane on my way to DC for an organization wide event. My stomach is knotted as I think about seeing a co-worker who I have filed a sexual harassment claim against. I am a Dream Director. I empower youth and my community to believe that anything is
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me resized3
November 10, 2014A black girl’s first act of sorcery is to make herself disappear. I understood this when my father asked me to sit on his lap. He was in a wonderful mood that night. His baritone, a whiskey warmed song ripe with invitation. I remember wrapping my arms around myself, hands trying to gather in my
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women-cyberactivism-arab-spring
August 2, 2014I am Detroit. My heart beats “Papa Was a Rollingstone”. I feel lost–displaced. Everyone tries to tell me what my story is. And I can’t get an accurate reflection of myself. Time Magazine tells me that I am ruin porn. CNN keeps telling me that I am bankrupt. 60 minutes says that I am corrupt.
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Shetroit Birthday Slider
May 28, 2014“I’VE GOT YOUR BACK, BECCA,” one of our Shetroit sisters soothingly whispered in my ear at the wrap-up of a recent gathering of Shetroiters. That’s our affectionate nickname for the Detroit women involved in this digital media endeavor known as Shetroit.com (rhymes with Detroit, of course). Her supportive words came following a bruising critique session
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The Shocking Truth About Detroit

Less than a year ago, I sat in a classroom with two dozen Detroiters when something hit me with the ferocity of a deep razor-sharp truth. We had only just met, but when our professor asked us to talk about what in our lives had lead us to work for social justice, we shared generously.
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How to Find Common Ground

“Why?”—they ask. “Why Detroit!?” That’s the typical question I receive from Detroiters when they learn I am a newcomer. “Wow!” they add once they learned I moved from California. My friends from my former town had a heart-wrenching farewell for me also. At times, their “Wow” expression was followed by words of warning: “Sylvia, there
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What Child Abuse Looks Like in the Black Community

Since the release of our anthology, My Blue Suede Shoes, many people have asked me why I wanted to write a story about domestic violence. When a lot of people think about domestic violence, they think about male-female partners sparring and fighting with each other, a la Chris Brown and Rihanna. But that is really
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How to Bench Press Your City

…. if you can make it here, you can make it anywhere. No, seriously, if you can make it in Detroit, a city that is painted as, well you’ve seen the picture, you’re Super Duper Man and Woman. Does that make our success stories belong in comic books, with action heroes and sheroes because they
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A Starving Artist Loves Her Life

Her stage name is Honeycomb, but the dazzling spoken word poet, Tawana Petty, wears her ‘real’ name and lives her ‘real’ life in rugged authenticity here in Detroit. She first appeared on my radar as the real life Tawana Petty, a poor working mom, who rocked the Occupy movement when she fired off a Dear
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What to Do When Life Isn’t Fair

My dad went into palliative care last week. My mom and I sat with him, waiting for the ambulance to transport us to the hospice. I don’t think I’ll ever be able to describe the sad resignation I saw in his eyes, while he tried to be positive and brave for us. There was more
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