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An Open Letter to Black Women Who Are Lovingly Devoted and Committed to Supporting and Protecting Robert Kelly

This 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 Have Nowhere Else To Report This

Monday, 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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On Becoming Unfukwitable

A 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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Wearing Our Truth: Shetroit’s Raw Evolution

I 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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How to Transform the World Through the Leadership of Women

“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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How to Take Charge of Those Uncomfortable Moments When You’re Compared to a Porn Star

‘Noooooo!’ I mentally yelled in slow-motion. I imagined my arms stretched out in front of me, palms outward, pushing against the air … pushing him away. This young man was finishing one of the oddest comments a stranger had laid on me in a long time. “…I’ve watched Bridget the Midget porn. You know, out […]

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How Grandma Reacted When I Told Her I Was Gay

On one of my last visits to see my 90-year-old Grandma Pearly before she died, I decided to take the plunge and tell her I’m gay. I hold on to that complicated and intense conversation so dearly now.  It was a tough one for me because while I loved her deeply, we didn’t always get […]

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Juicing While Black

I’m walking into a civic engagement training in Midtown Detroit when a white lady stops me, glances at my hand and asks, “What did you juice?” I have my workbag in one hand and a mason jar filled with green liquid in the other. “It’s kale, celery, apples, and grapes,” and both of us say, […]

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How This Sign Lets Us Be Ourselves (says the Arab American Woman)

“Women-Only” On wedding invitations or party invites in the Arab American world, this rule is a given. In my Yemeni culture, it’s very rare that you’ll find men and women mingling at social gatherings, which is due to a strict Islamic interpretation on gender interactions. It’s a rule which gave me the opportunity to get […]

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What They Don’t Tell You About Detroit

 “Sometimes you think you know what you’re looking at, and you actually have no idea.” -Sandra Simmons (Mama Sandra), Hush House, Detroit   I came to Detroit knowing very little about the city. What I did know was love, and I rested in the understanding that love was enough to take me anywhere. And what […]

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