Featured Blog Posts

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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Featured Video

NIkki Patin On Why Testimony is Necessary

“Mommy, Can I Be Made in Detroit if I’m White?”

I love living in Detroit and I want other people to know my sentiment. That’s why I’m inspired to use my kids as billboards to broadcast that. Most recently, I bought them t-shirts with the “Made in Detroit” logo. I merely wanted them to share my enthusiasm, but my 8-year-old daughter got a completely different
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“Accessible” Wedding Plans: Wheelchairs and All

This week, my partner, Ryan, and I are celebrating our first wedding anniversary.   After a year, I am happy to report that: a) I love being married and b) I’m glad I never have to go through the process of planning a wedding again! As with all big projects, planning our wedding was quite
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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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Warning: Learning to Flip Grown Men Can be Good For Your Health

I never imagined that I’d get into martial arts. In fact, as a teen, the thought of martial arts made me feel weird and angsty. I think it was a combination of having seen bad kung fu movies and having no concept of how martial arts could relate to my life whatsoever. I had no
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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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Your Sensuality & Sexuality: Learning Through a “Sex Play Date”

NOTE: This article contains explicit and graphic material that may make some people uncomfortable. Dear Devi, My partner and I are exploring oral sex. He feels clumsy and unsure and I’d really like some tips on how I can support and encourage him on his way to becoming a world class lover. After all, the
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Black Boys: Do Not Let Them Make You Small & Invisible

Over the Detroit skyline soars the light of a boy. The ‘not guilty’ verdict is a reminder that there are places that still cannot stomach his shadow. Freedom is earned: paid for with life, blood, rage and grief. Our children memorize the dates of American wars. Educators repeat those dates until July 4th tastes metallic
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What the Trayvon Tragedy Can Teach Us About Being White

A week like this hasn’t been an easy one for conducting ourselves in the work-a-day world while Trayvon’s soul calls us to think deeply and long about healing and justice. The Trayvon Martin case shows once again how white people and people of color live in very different universes. Many of my African American friends
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