I was the executive editor/producer of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and Elle.com #SquadCare project. For this collaborative journalism project I taught student writers journalism skills and helped them develop their stories for the project, a collection of stories that goes beyond current calls for self-care and explores squad care – how people care for one another. I also wrote: It Takes a Squad to Care for an Elder.
Institutionalized racism contributes to mental distress that black people experience. I wrote about the connections between racism and mental health in the black community for Self magazine: Racism and the Invisible Struggle of Mental Health in the Black Community. I also wrote a first-person essay about why some black women are reluctant to disclose mental distress.
A national coalition of groups organized National Mama’s Bail Out Day to bring attention to ways in which the criminal justice system and the bail process are disproportionately affecting black mothers. I wrote about their effort to get black mothers out of jail and back home: NBC BLK 'Mamas Bail Out Day' Brings Black Moms Home From Jail for Mother's Day.
Thousands of women attended the Women’s March on Washington, an event planned to protest Donald Trump’s rhetoric and policies that organizers believe undermine women across identities. But some black women opted out of the event because of historic exclusion from the feminist movement. In this story for NBC BLK I explored historic and contemporary racial tensions in the Women's Movement: Historic Exclusion From Feminist Spaces Leaves Black Women Skeptical of March.
The Mothers of the Movement, black mothers who lost their children to police brutality or gun violence, logged hundreds of miles traveling across the country, visiting battleground states – sometimes twice – urging people to use their ballots as a tool to fight police brutality. They stumped for Hillary Clinton because they believed she was the best candidate to work toward police reform. I wrote about their campaign efforts for Clinton: NBC BLK Turning 'Sorrow into a Strategy': Mothers of the Movement Stand by Clinton.
Black women from across the nation traveled to Oklahoma City to stand in solidarity with the 13 black women who former police officer Daniel Holtzclaw was charged with sexually assaulting. I wrote about their attempt to bring attention to the ways in which black women are brutalized by police: NBC BLK Activists Support Survivors of Sexual Assault in Holtzclaw Case.
Video footage of the police brutality deaths of everyday black citizens circulate widely through social media and traditional media. While the scenarios are different the videos of police brutality become too familiar like episodes in a television show. I wrote an editorial exploring how constantly seeing such images affects black people for NBC BLK: How Does a Steady Stream of Images of Black Death Affect Us?
The erasure of black women, the distortion and repurposing of their image to make it palatable for the masses and profitable for the powerful, are as old as bantu knots and baby hair, but the sting is always precise and sharp. When black women tell their own stories we get closer to the truth and their humanity. I wrote for Elle.com how one episode of Orange is the New Black explores this: Black Women's Voices Are Often Unheard-Here's How Orange is the New Black is Trying to Change That.
Little known stories of black women’s resilience and resistance in tough historical times took center stage at the Oscars in 2017 with two actresses earning top acting nominations for their portrayals of black women historical figures. For NBC BLK I wrote about why these nonfictional accounts of black women’s lives in film were resonating with the Academy: Telling Black Women's Real-Life Stories Could be Oscar Gold.