The Audacity of Humanity


Tag Cloud of Contents
in no particular order or size

share this . . . and listen


Storytellers Leaders Dreamers

share this . . . audaciously
In December of 2009, Seth Godin released What Matters Now featuring 70 big thinkers sharing an idea for the coming year. On March 7, 2010, Lianne Raymond released a women of wisdom version, What’s Dying to Be Born, on International Women’s Day. I was one of its 30 contributors. That project inspired me to create a book about who-are-we-NOW that matters. This is a new kind of chain-mail for collaboration and inclusion. Audacity augments courage – Publilius Syrus The Audacity of Humanity features over 35 authors, ages 10 to 63, from 5 continents, multiple ethnicities, sexualities and belief systems with different abilities and limitations. We are ONE people, the human race, courageously up-ending stereotypes and generalizations. Each contributor offers their story as a radical transformation of what leadership can be. We are not contained by description (check out our bios). We can agree to be offended and stay connected. From A to Zed, we are a collective testament to the audacity of humanity. This is free. Liberate this. Tweet it, email it, post it on your own site. Make up your own riff, flip it, post it on your blog or online social network. It's a good exercise to share. And when you do, let us know. We want to share its chain reaction on Facebook. Share it with someone new; with someone you don’t know or don’t necessarily like. Share it with young people (17 and under); with those who seem alone, disenfranchised, or left out. Share it with folks who seem to have it all. Today, your “moral jazz”, your willingness to be audacious, no matter how small, unrehearsed, or honestly upset and bitter, is that what matters now. Be the audacity of that!
I am a 2009 TED Fellow. Welcome to my Twitterhood. I am Kyra Gaunt

(adj) having the property of transmitting light without appreciable scattering so that bodies lying beyond are seen clearly.


One driver—locking his doors and cracking his window as I reached for the door—tried to refuse my fare to SOHO at three o’clock in the afternoon. This stayed under my skin. During the final class, I could barely speak without crying. I shared, not about the student, but about the taxi driver’s crooked admission the day before when I forced myself to ask, “You weren’t going to pick me up because I'm black were you?” (I left him a decent tip for being honest.) Then, the student raised his hand after six weeks of bitter silence. “I think everyone should have the opportunity to face their oppressor and if they don’t, I’d apologize to them. Everyone should have that opportunity.” In that moment, we all were eye to eye with the remarkable oneness of humanity without changing a thing. And conversations of bigotry, prejudice, and discrimination were merely superstitions of the past like the earth being flat. Without racism, we all would have missed the opportunity to agree to be offended and stay connected, which began with our transparency.

Race may be a pigment of our imagination, but in conversations that offend us, we get stuck. In 2009 I taught a course on racism at a diverse, business college in New York City. Around midterms, a white student claimed that I said, “all white people should be killed.” He added that I had insisted the course be required as “reparations” for past racial injustices. Things escalated with six weeks of brazen discontent. He colluded with other students—white and black—who had grown “tired” of talking about racism after Obama’s election. Then a belligerent outburst led to a mediation with the Omsbud the day before our final class. I heard him out—listening without interruption to every one of his concerns. But by meeting’s end, I was convinced I would be sued. Still shaken, I ran to catch a cab to a rehearsal.

I am singer-songwriter and an Associate Professor at Baruch College-CUNY who voices "the unspoken” through song, scholarship and social media. Tweet me @kyraocity. I am that racism is a resource...for being courageous and compassionate. I am Kyra Gaunt.

About 10 years ago I discovered the Internet and its power. Back then it was all about Y2K and how everything was going to blow up. Well, the Internet did blow up it just blew up in a direction that people didn't expect. I tell you, these experts (SMH ;-) All this was before a little bird called Twitter, a TV called YouTube, back when you fell asleep with your face in a book. The world turned around itself a few times since and we're living in a new era. An era that truly allows us to be powerful beyond measure. Not only can we share information online, we are blessed with the opportunity to share information and be heard by the world. As if this wasn't powerful enough we also have the ability to own the media on which the information is created and shared.

Complaining about not being heard is not an option anymore and everyone owes it to themselves to own a piece of the Internet. You do that by publishing yourself online and blessing the world with one of your skills and allowing everyone to be inspired by what you say or do. The technology that we have around, social media and Web design obviously facilitate the process and it doesn't have to cost you much to own a piece of the action. Quite a few people didn't think that what they had to share would be of any value until they tried and realized that the world was patiently waiting for their contribution. A man created a website with a blank page and sold each piece for a dollar and became millionaire. A young girl posted a video of herself singing, getting on a table and falling, others were inspired by it and she ended up on Oprah. Some sing, some dance, some are funny, some are full of knowledge. Be yourself and start sharing a piece of what matters to you with the world. Do it today because we don't know about tomorrow. Do it today because the world has patiently been waiting for YOU. Get online.

I am a professional in the web design industry. I was born and raised in Montreal (Quebec) and moved to Ottawa (Ontario), which I made my home. I help people produce income on the web doing what they love. Tweet me @stevenleconte. I am Steven Leconte.

Recipe for Mixing
for Kimiko

Every fall tendrils creep out of my mulch pile, out of my half-eaten debris, carted out religiously after the kitchen scrap bucket holds no more. What climbing plants could these be, wandering from the muck, reaching to warm sunlight? To my delight, the first year these mystery plants bore fruit—pumpkins and carnival squash. The second year, similar leaves and vines crawled along the rich soil, grasping at any stable staff to hoist skyward. The trailing green vines—now bearing pumpkins with speckles, squash, and ornamental gourds—seemed to intertwine sensuously. Caressing gently here. Climbing and interweaving almost competitively there. Prickly broad leaves forming shade, camouflaging fruit below. What’s to hide? Year three, delicate tendrils return. I watch eagerly as each vine sprawls out with whimsical, yet slow dance steps. Later, after the performance, they recline longingly. What secret appears under shaded leaves? Radiant orange hybrids of gourds, squash, pumpkin—striped and speckled pumpkins, carnival squash with gourd knobs, and long gourds wearing stems befitting jack-o-lanterns. Three years of fertile cross-pollination, as one anther’s pollen mingled with the other. None can simply pass for pumpkin, nor squash, nor gourd any longer. The labor from mulch bore no Latin-named offspring. Each vine offers unique offspring with no sense of belonging, except with those traveling along the vine.
I move stories about the body. I am a Japanese American~happa dancer and ethnomusicologist (happa = mixed, criolle, biracial, squash!). I wrote Sensational Knowledge: Embodying Culture through Japanese Dance and I study Monster Truck rallies and human-computer interfaces. I am Tomie Hahn.

I recently read your post about engagement photography and wanted to thank you for the mention. As I write this, I am sitting at the head of my bed about to call it a night and go to sleep. After reading your article, I do agree with your general sentiment. There is undeniable value in documenting the "pre-wedding" or engagement experience. That said, I am shocked by the line: "As long as you don’t pay an outrageous price for the photographer’s services, you certainly won’t regret it." What exactly is an "outrageous price" for photography? I do not believe this to be “outrageous,” this love, this art…a story of creation. As a person dedicated to the mastery of art and community organization, I offer a wedding vow to photographers and their clients. Let me charge you both to remember, that your future happiness is to be found in mutual consideration, patience, kindness, confidence, and affection. We are to be one, undivided. pho·tog·ra·phy \fә-ˈtä-grә-fē\ : noun (2010) The art, practice, or occupation of taking and printing photographs that capture the ethereal, ineffable, stories of life for the future.

The lovechild of a sweltering African son, tempered with a dash of Jamaican jerk, seasoned by a well-read mother goddess who cooks with no books. Marinated in melting pots thick with legacy. Leavened by the cultural yeast of a sleepless city. The yield? One dream walkin' Lightseer. Ready to serve the betrothed @iamparris. I am Parris Whittingham

Photo credit: ©Parris Whittingham

Moved as a young child by the disrespectful and inhumane treatment of immigrant workers that I witnessed, I kept in my heart a deep sense of outrage and injustice. There is no force more powerful, it is said, than that of righteous indignation. Increasingly frustrated in my early college years by the one-dimensional portrayal throughout media of Middle Eastern youth – a portrayal virtually unanswered because of censorship and state control of media in the region - I took to my keyboard to answer with my own voice, to show not only the diversity of ethnicities, religions, and cultures in the region, but also the diversity of opinion, fervor, ideals, hopes, and politics; to portray for the first time in the global discourse Middle Eastern youth in all our depth, our feelings, and our complexity. I was joined over time by a growing number of similar voices, declaring in unison that we are Muslim and moderate, idealistic and hopeful, Jewish and peaceful; we are Christians, Baha’is, Sunnis and Shias; Persians and Arabs; Turks, Berbers and Kurds, and we are all here so that the world hears us in our own voices. We are humanity, with feelings and dreams that unite us with the rest of the world.

I am the director of Mideast Youth I am a TED Fellow, Echoing Green Fellow and a fighter for minority civil rights and free speech in the Middle East. My latest project is MidEast Tunes: Music for Social Change. I am Esra'a Al Shafei.

A Climate Change
Taking this picture, in the face of palpable yet misdirected hostility, made me reflect on how easily divided we are as a species. How even the name "United Nations" does not convey a unity of people nor purpose. Rather it conveys divided national identities and bureaucracies that in reality separate us from each other. For what is it to be French or English? To consider yourself American or Chinese? To imagine that you are Indian or African? Is it to appear somehow special by seeing anyone else as "other," as “outsider”? Our geographical labels would appear as ridiculous to any alien as they do to most geneticists or to indeed any Buddhist. They no longer serve us because the separation that once informed our cultural pride has become a millstone preventing the changes we need to make as a people not of many nations, nor of separate geographies. We are a single species that has taken over the Earth and we are busy making a mess of it. In the moment when I took this photo, I saw that we are only a people of one homeworld and that homeworld is imperiled by childish bickering.

Angry frustration boils over and the mob pushes forward their hastily assembled placards disintegrating in the scrum. Security, caught flat-footed, scramble to prevent chaos and yet the actions of a few “peaceful” non-government organization members will hasten the banning of many people of good will from attending the remainder of the United Nations 2010 Climate Change Conference of the Parties No. 15 in Copenhagen.

I am half chinese australian from Earth :-). I am the special diplomatic envoy for St Kitts and Nevis for sustainable development and the environment. I wrote Stone Soup: The Secret Recipe for Making Something from Nothing. I am an entrepreneur and philanthropist who tweets @liaonet. I am Bill Liao.

Genius Heart
Ruthless compassion. A spirituality that makes way for rage. A body politic that can forgive. A generous commerce. A unified diversity. It’s feminine-fire-fueled. It’s round like eggs. It’s spine roots back to the beginning. A tree will conspire to speed the death of it’s own branches as symptoms of disease surface. It’s how some of us vote, or yell on behalf of the silenced. It’s how we call crazy on its shit, and declare with hollers, and touch, and laughter that, The heart is sane! We can speed the dying (it can hurt.) Karatechop greed. Puncture silicon. Carve up pretense and principles too small for how big we really are. Let the heart make the way -- she will anyhow, by plow or by whisper, by angst or by grace. The genius heart is being born. She loves fiercely, wholly, and now. The beauty of our DNA is dying to be born: an acceptance of the order of chaos; the reverence of High Priestesses in the grocery store; the force of incredibly tender men; the critical necessity of senses that transcend technology.

I am the creator of self realization rocks. I am an inspirational speaker and strategist, I help entrepreneurs light up their career with my signature Fire Starter Sessions. Tweet me @daniellelaporte. I am Danielle LaPorte.

If we are one, then what matters to me is what’s of interest to you.



share this . . . someone’s waiting

We can’t start perfectly and beautifully, but if we’re willing to start by accepting our neuroses and basic chaos, we have a stepping-stone. Don’t be afraid of being a fool. Start as a fool. –Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Tibetan) One of the great liabilities of history is that all too many people fail to remain awake through great periods of social change. Every society has its protectors of the status quo and its fraternities of the indifferent who are notorious for sleeping through revolutions. But today our very survival depends on our ability to stay awake, to adjust to new ideas, to remain vigilant and to face the challenge of change. –Martin Luther King, Jr. (African)

I do not believe there is anything impossible. I feel that when you do not see your strength, your pride, and your soul, and you do not want to deal with something, you call it impossible. –Yogi Bhajan (Indian)

The Other “N” Word
There is an “N” word that I repeatedly face that evokes revulsion in me. It's “Nuts”. It is used to describe a person suffering from a mental illness. Though some do not find this “N” word to be as vulgar as "n*gger", I find this word to be equally offensive as a person living with a serious mental illness. It is challenging enough for me to be black, female, poor, and have come from an unconventional family with an undesirable upbringing. It’s far more challenging to live with a mental illness and endure the discrimination and prejudice that comes packaged with the diagnosis. My mental illness is has been like a double edge sword. First there is the actual devastation of the diagnosis--having your hopes and dreams trampled and replaced with emotional upset, psychiatrist visits, medications, hospitalizations, therapy appointments and support groups. If that is not enough there’s the misconceptions, stigma, and discrimination which can be even more disabling the actual illness itself. I know what this is like firsthand. I was forced to leave a college due to my mental illness. I have lost jobs. I’ve lost housing. Lost friendships. I have had people constantly underestimate my ability. “Well, you don’t really 'look' like you have a mental illness," they say. So what does it really look like? I’ve also heard I am too “smart” and “well spoken” to have a mental illness. Mental illness does not rob you of your intellectual aptitude. My last semester in college I was hospitalized 5 times, yet I still managed to make the Dean’s List. The time has come for those in recovery from mental illness, like myself, to take our place in the sun and challenge the stigma and stereotypes posed by societies. I challenge these stereotypes daily by getting up, exercising, going to work, smiling, and volunteering in my community despite my feelings and the side effects of my medication. So do me a favor, next time you see me, don’t refer to me as “Nuts.”

I am a strong black woman who refuses to succumb to the adversities I've faced in life. I am a passionate advocate for people in recovery from a mental illness.  My story was featured in “Firewalkers: Changing the Story of Mental Health.” I could be your next door neighbor. I am Myra Anderson.

good education
My village in Arusha, Tanzania did not have good schools.  So, I started Shepherds Junior School in 2003 with money I raised from a small chicken farm.  I began with only 10 students.  With the help of Epic Change, now I serve more than 411 kids and my school is currently ranked #2 in my district out of 118 schools.  Find me on twitter @MamaLucy. I am Mama Lucy Kamptoni.

I asked a few of my students and teachers to write something about me. Before the time to go home, they wrote these responses. I was thrilled to read what they wrote. It was my opportunity to learn who I am -- though I'm not very sure if what they wrote is true or it's just because we love each other. :-) Nihad Salim: "I started learning at this school since I was six years old; Now I am 12. Mama Lucy is a founder of our school Shepherds Junior. She is a hard-working mama. She is kind. She loves us and I love her very much." Leah Albert: "I joined Shepherds Junior 6 years ago when I was in Nursery. Now I am in class 6. When our school started, there was no cook. Mama Lucy cooked for us tea or porridge. May God bless Mama Lucy to live a long life. Thank you." Kelvin Yudah: “When I started school [five years ago], she used her small Toyota Corolla to take pupils

to school and return them back home. It could carry 10 children. Now our school is having 1 big bus from Epic Change and 3 school vans.” Teacher Lillian, a founder teacher: "Mama Lucy is a founder and School Manager of Shepherds Junior. She works very close and likes to share ideas with her workers compared to some other bosses. She always work hard to see the problem is solved. She is a person who never gives up. Thank you!” Teacher Nancy - Class 6 teacher and Academic Mistress: “I first met Mama Lucy year 2006 when she employed me. She is a role model to our community; a woman who never fails in her ambitions.” Gideon Gidori: “Mama Lucy is a very intelligent and a person who works hard so that we can get good education. I am proud of Shepherds Junior.”


I am a seasoned photographer from New York City specializing in live events to maximize publicity and exposure. I have created a repertoire of unique images from over 25 years of photography experience. I am Carl Nunn.

The Last Apartheid
As a trainer, I found it hard to believe when people tell me they don't like to drink water. No Water. No Life. No Water. No Food. We cannot exist without it. But everyday water is being separated from people by major corporations around the world while we take water for granted. We are living in times when our fresh water supply is being polluted and it's contributing to learning disabilities and birth defects. Clean water is a children's issue of justice. If the chemicals in our water today can feminize male frogs, what impact do you think it has on humans? Or on the hormonal balances of men and women? The petrochemicals in the plastic containers we buy have

been known to cause breast cancer and infertility. Clean water is a gender issue of justice. Water, sold in single-serving plastic bottles, is responsible for hundreds of tons of plastic waste, the release of hundreds of tons of carbon dioxide, and millions of gallons of crude oil used for the manufacture and transportation of the bottles. Clean water is a sustainability issue of justice. By buying a home filtration system you could be spending 8¢ per gallon versus 25¢ per gallon for the plastic-bottled water bought from a corner store or local grocer. We are being sold tap water in unregulated bottles labeled "spring water". Richard Wilk, a professor of anthropology at Indiana University, who studied the industry, wrote "The bottled water industry takes a free liquid that falls from the sky and sells it for as much as four times what we pay for gas." Clean water is a cost-of-living issue of justice. Lack of access to clean water is separating us from healthy children, from wellness in men and women, from our income, from a sustainable planet, and ultimately from our very lives. Separated from our very existence this could be the last Apartheid. Diversity won’t matter without clean water.

I am a Certified Personal Trainer and wellness consultant in New York City. I think taking responsibility for our health in an act of self love. We need the proper nutrition, we need to detox and we need to drink clean water. Email me at I am Ivan Trudeau.

The social sector has gotten stuck. We have confused energy and vision with meaningless mission statements and empty slogans featuring words like “eradication”, “sustainability”, and “collaboration”. We promise our donors and investors that we have found the way to end pollution, disease, hunger, and social injustice. We paint these grandiose pictures akin to that of the millennium development goals (MDGs), and then we wonder why our donors are beginning to ask us where their money is going. People are still poor. The slave trade is still thriving. Children are still hungry. Carbon dioxide emissions remain excessive. All realities that leave us with a question of, “Have we actually done anything at all?” Yes, we have. We have developed ready-to-use-therapeutic-food to address issues of malnutrition. We have provided millions of dollars in loans to foster entrepreneurship in the developing world. We have

used SMS technology to connect people to healthcare and food. We have even set up voluntary carbon markets to hone and incentivize environment-friendly processes. We are doing good work. But we are growing increasingly lazy in the way that we tell our stories. In fact, I’ll take it one step further – we are lying. People are asking for measurements of success and many of us do not have them – at least, not the ones we promised. Using buzz words instead of creative and honest language to convey the work we are doing is disrespectful to the people and communities we serve. If you do choose to promise to eradicate poverty, I challenge you to do this in front of an audience of children in the slums of Kenya. If you choose to promise to stop the international sex trade, do it while looking into the eyes of the young rape victims in your own city. And if you choose to promise a future for all children, I dare you to do so while sitting with a mother who knows that the AIDS that claimed her husband’s life will soon claim hers. They will all ask how. And they deserve a clearly defined answer.

I am young woman with a fierce passion for amplifying unheard voices. I am a consultant for international non-profits. I love music, art, culture, and vibrance. I graduate from Indiana University with an MPA in May 2010. Tweet me @amycarolwolff. And I am saved by the grace of Jesus Christ. I am Amy Carol Wolff.

I baked for nine months in my mama’s tummy and came out right on time during the Winter of 1980. But in Louisiana, our winters are more like happy autumns without the tenacity to carry the bitterness and meanness of a real freeze. I was a fat baby and brown like a good roux; browner so like pralines and pecan pies done right. I grew into a brown girl with plaits and knobby knees, legs good for double dutch and Vaseline on bony edges. When I was six, I had a birthday party and all my school friends were invited. One of my classmates gave me a doll and she had alabaster skin, great big blue eyes and two long blonde plaits, one down each side tied at the end with a blue ribbon. After the party was over, my mama took the doll away and told me that brown girls need brown dolls and that was that. The hard truth came via middle school when I learned that brown girls weren’t the color that pretty makes. There was a hierarchy -- boys liked the light skinned girls the best but long silky hair was a close second. They didn’t mind a little fat as long as you definitely had number one and better if you could complement number one with number two. Pretty was a currency that could be bartered for popularity, recognition, and attention. During adolescence and young adulthood my brown girlness wasn’t reflected in the fashion magazines I read or the television I watched. I wondered, what color does pretty make? It seemed to me that pretty was well pretty cliquish -- only allowing a selected few into the group, never fully realizing the rest of us who stood right outside her purview. I decided to find my own pretty, for me, and I found her within. I am the color that pretty makes and I love her Boldly.

I am an African American transplant from Southwest Louisiana living in the Big Apple. A writer of books, essays and blogs. I love to cook, and absolutely love to read. I tweet at @cocacy. I am the thirtymilewoman Courtney Young.

Sex is just but one dialect from the lexicon of the body’s language. We concern ourselves with the act of having sex or initiating the procreative process as a central meaning when speaking about sexuality. To refer to me as lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, straight or otherwise grants you a peep hole perspective into my very personal horizontal existence. And with this limited view, which is not yours to imagine or judge from the outset, you loose the potential to comprehend who I am and what I may need to express when positioned otherwise. When I talk about my sexuality I’m not speaking about how and who I have sex with. I’m expressing the same with my hands, legs, smile, eyebrows and lips an army of ideas, emotions, intellectual viewpoints and quiet connections. Our sexuality is an underused doorway to a robust comprehension of both strangers and community. There is a sincerity in the way my body reacts to your words and their multitude of possible meanings. I propose instead of using these rigid and uniformed ideas of sexuality and gender expression as safeguards we begin to observe, listen and accept the dialogue of our bodies. I simply suggest we include, explore and use the body’s language when forming our identities and impressions of one another. We may find that attraction does not always mean sex but the potential for understanding that predicates creativity.

I'm everything I've been and still collecting: Playwright, filmmaker, musician and speaker. I am Hanifah Walidah.


Type to enter text It seized my flesh and bones and left me paralyzed. But I knew I couldn’t stay there. Despite my misgivings about the conflict, I had to honor my commitment to my country, my fellow troops, to myself. Each day my faith and sanity were under attack, but I returned fire, refused to surrender to it. I knew that I couldn’t give up because I had an obligation – to present myself a living testimony to what faith and courage can do. Since then, I have turned in my rifle and combat boots, but now I’m better-equipped for the real fight. With each challenge, I don’t always know why I have to go, but I’m always glad that I did.

I was a soldier in the United States Army National Guard, and after years of serving only one weekend a month, I was headed for the war in Iraq. The year was 2005. I couldn’t understand why I had to go. Why did I have to interrupt college, a critical point in my life, to support a war that I wasn’t sure had validity? When my boots first hit the tan earth, I had no idea what to expect. All the training under my belt was theoretical. It didn’t map out the direction a tour of duty would take every day or how it would turn out. I found myself with something to fear other than the threat of mortars, IEDs and gunfire. Uncertainty.

I am named for a beautiful, bright lotus that grows in a murky stream and blossoms for just a few hours at night.   I am an instrument created by the Lord to illuminate places where there is no light. Tweet me @kamalalane. I am Kamala Lane.


How not to give money to charities working in Africa 4. Consider visiting an African country and/or NGO to see for yourself before donating. 5. Do not write a cheque or set up a direct debit before asking for proof of how the money will be spent. Not all charities are accountable. 6. Target charities with a sharp focus on health, new technologies, empowerment, education, infrastructure, rape centres, climate change, water, agriculture, etc. 7. Do not forget to empower local individuals in/ from Africa. Invest in learning from them. Invest in teaching and learning with that person so she/ he can pass the knowledge on to others in the community. 8. Finally, make friends in Africa and find partners and doers that can help you get involved in ongoing or stagnant projects. There is no need to reinvent the wheel.
(Originally posted March 6th, 2010. Visit dwSM81 for more tips).

Thousands of well-meaning people around the world give regularly to charities or want to donate or get involved in some way but are unsure of the best way to go about it. Many of these people lack knowledge of the real issues on the ground affecting ordinary Africans. They are often unaware of alternative, more hands-on strategies to donate that can sometimes give better, more tangible results and are ultimately more satisfying for all concerned. So here are 8 tips and donation strategies. 1. Do not fall into the trap of thinking that Africa is all about poverty. It is extremely rich in resources both human and natural. 2. Do not forget that there are 53 countries in Africa. 3. Do not forget that governments (Western and non-Western) are often incompetent, shortsighted, and/or corrupt when it comes to aid to Africa.

I was born in Senegal, West Africa. I am a London-based philanthropist, CEO, social entrepreneur, blogger and mom. I have a passionate commitment to empower my fellow Africans through education and social entrepreneurship. I tweet from London, Paris, Dakar, and New York @mjamme. I am Mariéme Jamme.

I notice if I'm asked to point someone out, if that person is black, I hesitate. Will it be the right word? Will I say it the right way? It's like part of you has to die in order to live with the world that way. Two years ago I traveled from the U.K. to San Francisco to attend the Conference for Global Transformation in 2008. One of the workshops I attended was called Agree to Be Offended: Curious Connections in Conversations of Race facilitated by Kyra Gaunt. It was standing room only with 50 participants from the US, Canada and even Europe where some individuals insist racism doesn't exist. Kyra took us beyond the usual rigmarole about skin color and explained how people think that merely talking about race is what separates us. The problem has little to do with skin color, and everything to do with how we resist conversations that offend us. We take things personally, get offended, and then we're stuck. All that's left is gossip or avoidance. Then, she had us share our earliest memories of learning about racism--how old we were, who was there and what happened. That memory can be a "useful failure" for discovering why racism persists and how ordinary people– avoiding something that happened when they were small—unwittingly perpetuate it with their silence. It's been two years and Kyra and I have become partners in promoting what I think is a killer idea. Agree to Be Offended and Stay Connected™. It is our listening, not our judgment, that can make a difference. Otherwise, who is the separatist? I have a whole new way of looking at racism. Transparency is available as well as the disappearance of the whole question of race. By presencing or saying what offends us in the moment, we get to put our hands on and truly grasp how it's going to go. I have a whole new take on racism as a resource for being courageous and compassionate. It's not about the end of racism -and that is NOW possible -- but rather the end of its power over us.

! am a southern geordie with no accent from north east enger-land. With pa(mi)ssion, ! adjust your listening : ! mentor individuals and small groups to have them find & design their pa(mi)ssion to be. Email me @ ! am L¡z Marley.

Real Profits

“If you think you’re too small to have an impact, try going to sleep with a mosquito in the room” – Anita Roddick. community. They have the autonomy to choose where their money goes so they can see firsthand how powerful the process can be. Eventually, Koro and her collective decided to allocate 5% of their profits to the health clinics of Project Muso, a non-profit and our local partner. 5% amounts to 21,926 West African Francs (CFA) x 30 women = about $45 US dollars. As the profits came in, there was a dramatic shift in attitude. Koro and her fellow entrepreneurs were excited! Their own hard-earned dollars were now being used to pay for the community’s health services. They were proud of their ability to do good for others while also benefiting themselves. Not only were they sustaining their families, but they also saw a more lasting, intangible return: empowerment. To the community at large these women became leaders, standing for something more than just their craftwork. All we had to do was let them choose their impact!

Reading this quote was the first of many defining moments for me. It changed what I thought I wanted to do with my life and career, and what I believed I was capable of achieving. Just think of how long mosquito bites can itch! What could I do in some small way that would have the same lasting value, impact? In one of InVenture's first pilot programs in Bamako, Mali, we began working with a female cooperative of thirty Bogolan artisans including teenagers, mothers, and grandmothers well into their 60s. Bògòlanfini cloth, aka "earthcloth" or "mudcloth", is a traditional woven fabric dyed with fermented mud. Korotommu Ye was the leader. A mother of seven, Koro was very entrepreneurial, always among the top-ranked students in her class. The cooperative was doing well, but it wasn't growing. Their debt was eating away any significant gains. Koro (as well as the others) was initially hesitant about donating any of her profits, even if the money would improve her own 'community'. And as soon a business begins to turn a profit, InVenture Fund asks them to reinvest in their

I am an Indian woman who can't live without exclamation points and believes that no one is too small to have an impact. I tweet about InVenture Fund @shivsiroya and I am Shivani Siroya

Restorative justice
There are many restorative justice systems. The one I’ve studied is Restorative Circles (RC), a system originally developed by Dominic Barter in the shanty towns, schools, courts and prisons of urban Brazil. I am a bit embarrassed to champion it, because I fell into it rather recently, but RC fits with my belief system and values so completely, I cannot imagine writing about anything else for this project. Restorative Circles provide a way for individuals and communities to handle conflicts, including racial conflicts, compassionately rather than punitively, as well as to heal and learn from these conflicts. To the uninitiated, restorative processes may appear idealistic and naive. After all, they reject the two core aspects of the traditional justice system: the assignment of blame and the administration of punishment. Instead, the goal of the Circle is for the parties involved in the conflict to first gain mutual understanding of the others’ experiences and needs and then to restore or build a mutually satisfying relationship. Talking is involved, so is listening. Lots of listening. But it’s a decidedly different type of talk than people usually engage in, and it's not just talk. The restorative process is designed to lead to voluntary (and they really are voluntary!) acts offered to repair or restore the relationship. The two words are not synonymous. Reparative acts have to do with compensation -- paying for a broken window is a reparative act -- while restorative acts are those whose value is largely symbolic, like a heart-felt apology. It’s certainly not surprising that people prefer to have both, but, according to Barter, if they can only have one, there is a strong preference for acts that are restorative. And yet, restorative processes aren’t, at the heart of it, about apologies. They’re about mutual understanding and connection. Too often racial conflict is addressed with (legitimate) accusations. Denial ensues. Feelings are hurt. At the end, no one feels good about what happened. Restorative processes offer an alternative, one that connects people and leaves them satisfied. Right now, nothing in my anti-racism work gives me more meaning or more hope.

I am a Soviet-born, U.S.-raised psychologist, scholar and activist focused on race relations and popular culture. I blog for Psychology Today and OpEdNews, where I am the managing editor. I tweet @MikhailL I have no known mutant powers but provided regular Congressional testimony opposing the Mutant Registration Act. I am Mikhail Lyubansky.

Mestiza This
Keeping Connected To Our Families´ Cultures And Languages Walang Título de tierra hangang tierra lumalakad ang tao en busca de un puente a bridge para sa dormir para sa trabajo para sa ver las cosas chismised about in barangays back home first languages are not easily defined and third world defines simply the purposeful poverty of our peoples caminamos en las calles pero puede nakita sino ang bago ditothe fresh off the boats and those who've grown into a swagger sipodemos intindihan ang kanta amerikano y hindi hirap to translate ang sulat de seguridad social o de los hospitales o del gobierno cuando nuestros padres worry their english isn't enough anak, hijas de inmigrantes we are hindi tayo parejo lumake kami dito un lugar con fronteras and that has made all the difference de nuestras comunidades somos y no somos hindi ko alam ang momento cuando we became more american than not.

I am an actor/dancer/singer/writer/violinist/community worker born and raised in NYC. I perform stateside and abroad. I facilitate Red Tents and organize arts and activist workshops in the communities- from schools, prisons, and your local homey´s house.  I am Jennifer Cendaña Armas. 

Mestiza THat
For Translation Keeping Connected To Our Families´ Cultures And Languages Walang Título from land to land walk the people looking for a bridge ng tulay to be able to sleep to be able to work to see those things gossiped en los barrios back home es difícil para explicar las lenguas primeras at third world = la pobreza de ng tao we walk the streets but you can spot los nuevosang fresh off the boats y el pueblo que han crecido una manera de pagmamalaki yeswe understand american songs and translate letters from the social security office the hospital the government when mag-alala our parents porque mga ingles no es suficiente somos the children of immigrants but we are not the same we've grown up here this bordered homefront at esa es la diferencia we are and are not from where we are from I can´t pinpoint that exact moment when hemos crecido mas norte americanos que no.

Reach me at I am the flipside of Jennifer Cendaña Armas.

the most successful marketing campaign ever. the mark of a great marketing campaign is when the idea or slogan transcends the product. it attaches to the cultural consciousness, and when attached to the product, makes the product greater. for instance, nike’s campaign, “Just Do It’ began to be applied to everything from winning a basketball game, to graduating from college, to giving birth. it’s now a part of our cultural vocabulary. another example is the 1930s advertising phrase ‘a diamond is forever’ promoting the idea that one was simply necessary to cement an engagement. diamonds were NOT traditionally associated with marriage or engagement. but the concept has become so entrenched in our culture most of us have no idea it originated as marketing. racism, as we know it, was also implemented as a marketing ploy. the goal of this campaign was to devalue human beings to the status of

chattel. this had to be accomplished in order for other human beings to be able to kidnap, buy, sell, torture, maim, rape, kill, and work them to death, while maintaining a sense of their moral correctness. the product was slavery. a free work force. you couldn’t have a free work force if everyone was catching feelings every time someone dropped dead from exhaustion, screamed for their stolen child, etc. in order to ’sell’ the idea that human beings should be treated as chattel, the marketing message was, ‘these people are not like you and me, they are different, inferior, subhuman.’ it was entrenched enough that it could be handily applied to dismantling reconstruction efforts, segregating bathrooms and burial plots, and instituting jim crow laws. so, that’s that. as the world changed, the applications have changed, but the fact that racism can still be used, for example, as a wedge issue in an election to rouse people to vote against their own self-interest out of fear, is proof of the power of the marketing message. compound that w/the fact that this country has been pushing this advertising for four centuries. that’s a LOT of brand recognition.

I am a multimedia artist, filmmaker, husband and dad currently trying to condense all that I am into a palatable catchphrase. Tweet me @exittheapple.I am Pierre Bennu.
edited/big words by jamyla bennu Longer version available at Feb 20, 2010. Image from International Slave Museum website


Standards. Musings Installation 2006
I am a black Buddhist, world loving, american woman, visual artist. I am a muse performance painter, professor of art, and mother of a teenaged planet. I create large scale studio works and commissions. For me, Art is Life... and withholding it from school children is a crime. I am Marcia Jones.

What starts with being inspired will almost always devolve into being safe, being liked and playing small. Dare to break out of that to live your life as a creation. To lead the inspired life the visionary must be bold, and all of us have an inner visionary dying to be set free. It’s about giving the gift you’re here to give with flair and style, because life is in love with seduction. Trust yourself and power and freedom will emanate from you and resonate in the world in ways that will surprise you. Act like you mean it and you’ll find your tribe, and together you’ll love and fight ruthlessly and energetically. Be the genius you are and the world will listen to you. In the end, the audacity to live fully alive is it’s own greatest reward.

I am a Consultant and Coach. I work with individuals, groups and organizations around the world to access their deepest power. I am also a jazz saxophonist, a poet and a student of the world's wisdom. I live with my beloved Joy Perreras in Boise, Idaho. I am Brian McFadin.

When I was at the height of what felt like a powerful rebellion, my friend Marvin asked me why I was railing so raucously against, well, just about everything. I explained that I felt confined by so many aspects of the mainstream culture, that some days I didn’t know where to start—everything needed fixing, everything needed tearing down. He asked me what would happen if I just imagined that the systems that were confining me didn’t exist. Impossible, said I, they dictate everything that we do. But if you’re constantly focusing your energy on breaking down a system, he said, you’re starting off by first admitting that it’s true, and that it holds power over you—this gives it its power. How about starting from a place where none of those systems exist, and we can define for ourselves what we think is important? That conversation happened years ago—enough so that my hair, for example, has been through an entire rotation of colors, but almost every day I’m reminded of its unique possibility, especially when traversing conversations on online social networks. More than ever, we have the opportunity to reject prescribed identities and social structures, and to connect with others doing the same. The more there are of us doing it together, and as many kinds of people as we can find, the better off our brave new world will be. Sometimes change takes anger; it often requires breaking apart social structures and barriers from the outside in. But just maybe if enough of us sidestep those barriers and use our ever-advancing social tools to create space for a future where power, tradition and hierarchy are not required elements for success.

I am into tech, progressive politics, feminism, dogs, and writing, I am a media technologist and strategist. I wrote Share This! How You Will Change the World with Social Networking (June 2010). Tweet me @randomdeanna. I am Deanna Zandt.

我是如何学习英文 Learning
In U.S. we call a teacher Ms. or Mr. in grade school and “Professor” in college. In Chinese school, it is forbidden to call a teacher’s name. You may call any teacher 老师, “lao-shi” but never their name. If you speak their name you are breaking the rules and you will get punished. The teacher will call your parents and let them know that your disrespect of the elders. Girls and boys are seated together for greater harmony. Each desk has two drawers where we put our books and we have to change our seat every week. In the U.S. the student will always sit in the chair that they first choose. My seat is always beside another Chinese student, because I feel safe there. In China, students have to show respect to the teacher and Chinese teachers are more strict and serious than most U.S. teachers. It is because of a traditional Chinese ideology: “I eat more salt than you had with rice," which means the elders are always right. They know more than those who are younger. As a result students only listen and are not expected to give opinions. That is why many Chinese students in America do not speak in class.

In Chinese schools, a group of about 4 people have to clean the classroom together. We call that cleaning group the “zhi-ri-sheng”. They have to reset the chairs and the desks, close the windows, throw out the garbage, and erase the board. The key to the room will be kept by the one among them who is most responsible, and that person has to come to the class before everybody else. The purpose—to practice diligence. In the U.S., students do not have to do this work. A maintenance staff is hired at a low wage to clean classrooms. In the U.S., professors give students a grade without any comment. Sometimes they do not return the paper. If I do not understand where I made the mistakes, I never learn right from wrong. Many Chinese students must learn more about English than their professors learn about Chinese. If English speakers understood more about the Chinese language, it would not only serve students but make for more powerful communication skills around each subject.

I came to the United States when I was 15. I am in college and I wrote this as part of my mini-ethnography project for my anthropology class with Professor Kyra Gaunt. I am proud of my work and my writing. I am Mei


Extract from A Child's First Book of History, ed. Bechtle, Raneel. Penguin E-Books (Republic of Truro and St. Austell), published 2339.

The world you and your community live in was not always like this. Three hundred years ago, children like you lived in small groups, apart from their communities. Everyone was divided into groups according to where they came from, how they talked, and other ideas which you may struggle to understand -- 'class', 'sexuality', 'race', 'gender', and many others. Many of these groups were afraid of each other. Ask an adult to explain these terms to you; there was also 'religion'. This is a little harder to understand; your local council of learned elders may be able to help explain this. Some of these groups -- large numbers of adults and children together -- formed what were called 'nationstates'. These were like countries, but they were very large and some had hundreds of millions of people, believe it or not. They were ruled by powerful kings and presidents and large, powerful armies, and went to war all the time. Sometimes a nation-state would go to war with the people who lived there.

This started to change in the first hundred years after the internet was discovered in 1969. At first popular with people from a few of these 'nation-states', because a lot of people from certain parts of the world did not have good enough communication (in fact, many parts of the world did not have good enough food or hygiene for billions of people!), it spread through the world and allowed any person to talk to another person from any other group in any other part of the world. You may take this for granted but this was something new and important. People realised that these groups were 'interesting' just as you may find your friends' taste in music or food interesting, but they were not created by nature, or real reasons for conflict. This seems very simple now but it was very different and exciting at the time. The big idea came from a nation-state called South Africa. It was called 'Ubuntu', in a word from one of the languages of the people there, and it was said very simply as this: "I am a human being because I share in the community of human beings," or even simpler, "I am because we are."

I am a single thread in the elaborate tapestry of humanity. I campaign for libertarian causes. I am an elected official, a son, a neighbour, a marketer, an inhabitant of Reading, England, and a peerer into parallel universes. But none of those are me. I am the sum of my relationships. Tweet me @mattplatts. I am Matthew Wolfram Platts.

What is black rock? I’ll start by saying that it’s more than simply rock played by black people, though that’s part of it. Referencing Living Colour gets people in the zone, but doesn’t necessarily tell the whole story. As it was used when I was involved with the Black Rock Coalition (BRC) it was a term that encompasses the total spectrum of Black music—rock, soul, jazz, blues, funk, hiphop, world, etc. But the slightly more complicated truth is that there’s no one sound that defines black rock. Better, I think, is to understand the term as a concept, one that’s in opposition to the narrow view that the music industry (itself a microcosm of American society) promotes of what it means to be African American: Namely, that you’re supposed to know the boundaries and stay within them. More to the point: Black music = hip-hop and R&B. From that perspective, black rock is a term I’ll continue to employ not only in this dialogue that attempts to reconnect African Americans to music we created, but also as a means of mounting an ongoing and worthwhile effort to overcome ridiculous limitations imposed from within and without. In my estimation, the former must come first. The music industry has no incentive to change in this regard, particularly since it’s getting little to no mass indication that there is economic justification to do so. So black rock is, at first, an invitation for African Americans to—here’s a nod to The Matrix—take the red pill. It’s an invitation to break the frame of things we take for granted—what we listen to out of course, avenues through which we can express ourselves, even notions of what it means to be authentically black. Black rock is an invitation for us to be brave.
I am a husband, a father, a Black rock evangelist, and a music entrepreneur living in Brooklyn, NY. I’ve been writing about black alternative music culture for the last three years at I believe in the crazy idea that black rock can save black culture and the world. Tweet me @robfields. I am Rob Fields.


Koseli means "gift" in Nepali; an expression of love for somebody special.

In 1997, five seeds were sown in Nepal. A group of 5 friends got together and created a small kitty of funds with which 5 kids were sponsored to attend school. Randomly picked from streets and slums, the only common factors amongst these children were that they were all school-going age and they had not seen what a school looked like from inside. The program didn’t expand for next ten years until the oldest child of the group finished his high school. For the first time I saw “A Transformed Life.” For the first time I saw how education can completely change a person. It became evident that the child who belonged to the slums was never going back. He had a much better life ahead. And that gave power to my dreams. So from 5 kids we grew to 25 and, come this April, the Shikshantar Outreach Program will serve 250 children.
I am Indian-Nepalese. I just entered the rat race as late entrant working overtime. When my race is over, everybody will emerge a winner. That is the fabric of my life. I am Renu Bagaria.

Those short-listed belong to the most neglected segments of Nepalese society, to the deep wraps of abject poverty. Some are HIV positive and some… directly hit by the armed conflict which has torn the country apart in the last ten years. Children migrated from the mountains only to end up begging in the streets of Kathmandu. Still, there are 800,000 children out of school in Nepal. The number of children that can be served by a centre (a district) is 80-100. A simple calculation tells us we don't need one, we need 8,000 centres to educate them all. Though a picturesque country settled in the Himalayas, my country is one of the least developed nations in the world. We face major problems of population, poverty, political conflict and religious unrest and rural Nepal is still gripped by social beliefs about “untouchability.” This and other forms of "disease" cannot be eradicated by empathy. The only way it can be thrown out is through empowerment. Empowerment comes only through education. We have wasted so many generations, let's save this one with the gift of education.

Mental slavery
History is not the past, it is how we recount the past. The way in which history is told, particularly in the classroom, plays a vital role in shaping our world view. It is precisely because of this sociological influence that it is imperative that history be taught in a complete and honest manner. Unfortunately, history is usually used as a means for local boosterism (at best) or ideological propaganda (at worst). One salient example is how the history of institutionalized slavery during Canada's first 200 years has been kept out of Canadian history textbooks, classrooms, and collective social consciousness. Omitting this substantial part of the nation’s development from the curriculum has deprived and continues to deprive generations of the ability to identify the connection between the practice of slavery and the rise of racism and white privilege. Part of the reason that Canada's slave history is absent to begin with is that early historians left it out.

For example, slavery officially ended in Québec (then known as Nouvelle France) on August 1, 1834. In 1845, François-Xavier Garneau wrote Histoire du Canada—the first book to chronicle the history of the Québec people—in which he describes the practice of slavery as a "great and terrible plague... unknown under our northern sky." Garneau was 25 years old when slavery ended in Québec. He worked as a notary and civil servant, so he would have been fully aware of the institution of slavery; he may very well have notarized some bills of sale for slaves himself! It seems inconceivable that someone could deny something that was so ubiquitous just 10 years prior. Imagine it’s 2005 and a Hutu in Kigali writing that there was no genocide in 1994—madness! Racism is perpetuated by ignorance. Unless we start telling the truth in our history, and not just the bits that make us feel good about ourselves or fit an agenda, there is little hope of fulfilling the real need for a restorative justice that honors our human equity (the wealth found in our connectedness despite any difference)—which is essential in a just society.

I am a musician, writer and independent filmmaker with a particular interest in social justice issues. I regularly blog at and I am currently directing the documentary “A Past, Denied: The Invisible History of Slavery in Canada.” I tweet @apastdenied and I am Mike Barber.

Homeland security
The legal system is not designed for the evolution of man. I have lived in the United States since my mother and I arrived as lawful permanent residents, in 1971, when I was a year old. My parents were born in Haiti, but I was born in the Democratic Republic of the Congo while my father was working there. I served two years in prison for a wrongful drug conviction in the state of Maine. Because the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS) mishandled my mother's application for naturalization, I was not certified as a U.S. citizen, as I should have been, before my eighteenth birthday in 1988. Since neither Haiti nor the Congo would accept me as a citizen, I've spent over 21 months in immigration-related detention in a country I call home. While detained by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) in April of 2009, 70 to 100 other detainees at the Port Isabel Detention Center in

Los Fresnos, Texas joined me and two others in a hunger strike. We wanted to raise consciousness about immigrant detention that violates human rights as well as due process in the U.S. The prolonged immigration detention that I and many others have been and continue to be subjected to is unjust and unconstitutional. Since the vast majority of people detained do not understand immigration or constitutional law their human and civil rights are being violated. Most are detained indefinitely. Many are shipped around the country, in violation of their human rights. They are shipped away from their family and all their legal resources. The government does not provide attorneys. Many American families are being destroyed because of this process. Detainees end up giving up, signing out, and letting themselves be deported, because they cannot deal with detention for 12, 24, 36 months or more. It’s important that people understand that this is a civil process, not a criminal process. My goal is to end immigration detention as we know it.

I am an African American of Haitian descent. I am an immigrantrights activist and a leader outside/within immigration detention centers in the U.S.. I am a multimedia entertainment producer and entrepreneur. Contact me about Activism at the Speed of Thought© at I am Rama Carty.

n Balance

Koyaanisqatsi is a Hopi Indian expression meaning “life out of balance”.

What needs to happen when we have young men among us who stab or shoot someone who ‘looks at them the wrong way’? Who are we, and who do we need to be? I live in London, UK. But I pose this question to all of us – we live in one world after all, don’t we? Some years ago, I went to a show featuring Shaolin monks. I was rapt in their spectacular feats and mental power. They seemed super-human. Afterwards, a beautiful monk was interviewed and took questions via a translator. He said he and his colleagues were highly trained killers. They’d been, from a very young age, intensively and rigorously trained in violence. It stayed with me. We’re all training intensively, rigorously, in something. Collectively, we’ve been feeding our young people what we’re trained in: instant gratification; the fetishisation of consumer goods and unregulated capital. Koyaanisqatsi. Still.

We are responsible for having fed this culture to our young people, some of whom have metabolised it well and are now reflecting it back at us. Magnified, maybe. The young men who have gone the way of the knife and gun deem their retaliation imperative; to them, the ‘bad look’ in their direction is an attack against which they must defend themselves. We are aghast at their behaviour – but I find myself counting the heads of state that modelled this behaviour in the first place. The beautiful Shaolin monk said something else: he and his fellow monks were also equally highly trained in religion and philosophy – training which he said was vital. Vital. Without it, they would be out of control highly trained killers. With it, they were balanced. Maybe being balanced means the monks are empowered to maximise their human potential in the area of the breathtaking martial arts feats of which they are capable. Maybe that’s an essentially human quality – and nothing to do with being super-human at all. Could it be that prioritising being balanced is a simple, yet powerful, human answer? We live in one world. We’re all in it together. And a knife or gun in anyone’s hand is also in yours and mine.

I am a daughter of One People, Out of Many, following the Jamaican national motto. The many includes the UK, where I was born and raised, and all the places I’ve visited so far. I work with young people and I write and observe life. Reach me at I am Heather Imani.

I have suffered with rheumatoid arthritis and asthma since I was a child but despite having to sometimes use walking sticks and inhalers I had a very busy life. I was married with a family and foster children. I was thirty-six years old when my husband and I divorced. I decided to go to university and was accepted at Manchester University in September 1985, doing a social science degree. My sister Katy and my friends had been worried about my health, but I was determined to go. In my second year, it was discovered I had a heart condition. I asked my tutors if I could take my 5pm class in my faculty (or discipline), on the ground floor, where a room was free, and was told “no -- we might need it”. I was forced to climb the stairs to my tutorial, every Monday, on all-fours making my hands and knees filthy. One day, a dozen female students arranged to meet on campus and go for a meal. After some discussion one of the women said, “Lets go into town then decide”. Suddenly they ran across the road and jumped into a group of taxis, leaving just me and another student standing alone. There was no way I could catch up with them on crutches. I asked the other student “why did they do that?” She looked embarrassed and replied, “They’re uncomfortable with your disability”. And these were women who constantly talked about “women’s rights”! I gained my degree and began giving talks on child abuse hoping to continue my studies later. However, one day coming home from a talk at Oxford University I collapsed and was rushed to hospital where it was discovered my rheumatoid arthritis was so bad I would need a wheelchair. I also had diabetes and a problem with my lungs. I was forty-one, had just become a grandma and had been looking forward to taking my grandson to the park. This, coupled with having to give up my studies, was devastating. The wheelchair changed my life beyond belief; I was rarely invited to the theatre or to restaurants, or people chose inaccessible locations. “Friends” who had been frequent visitors to my home now rarely came unless they needed something, and eventually some “friends” told me they “couldn’t cope with my disability” and seemed really shocked when I retorted, “You don’t cope with my disability. I DO!”.

I am a 63 year-old, English woman of Irish descent. I love doing crafting and garden designs. I write so people can read about more than just celebrities. Find me on Facebook in my latest vehicle. I am Sheila Howe.

My mom saved me and four siblings from starvation under the Khmer Rouge in 1976. She used her rudimentary ability to speak a foreign language as our passport into Vietnam. Her ability was so basic that she didn't know she had given the boys girls' names and the girls boys' names until a nice Vietnamese lady pointed out the error. This generous stranger tutored my mom for the next three days before her language exam. When my mom passed away in October 2009 at the age of 73, I realized that for her justice delayed had become justice denied. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but the expression “justice delayed is justice denied” had never really sunk in until her passing. As an observant Buddhist, mom probably had the last word. She always said that no matter what happened to the Khmer Rouge leadership in their current lifetime, Karmic justice would prevail in the next: They would be reborn as cockroaches. I am certain that this belief has helped millions of survivors cope with the reality that, after more than three decades since the fall of the Khmer Rouge, not a single leader has been held to account. When I filed my civil complaint in 2008 with the Khmer Rouge Tribunal, I was required to outline what compensation I wanted. When I said I didn’t want any compensation, that this isn’t about money, it’s about justice for the past and accountability for the future, you could have heard a pin drop. I should have said that I would like my father and brother back but no amount of compensation can do that. Justice in that sense is meaningless. My hope is that in the not-too-distant future the next Pol Pot might have to think twice about genocide. Based on 18 March 2010 NYT Op-Ed "Khmer Rouge Tribunal vs. Karmic Justice".
I am a pentalingual Khmerican, TED Fellow, and professor born by mother Cam Youk Lim and her life-saving languages of love. See Column 14, Row 4 of the PhotoMosaic of images from her life, on the next page, representing a portrait of us in Vietnam. Watch Escaping the Khmer Rouge at Find me on Twitter @sophal_ear. I am the son named Sophal Ear.

Click here to view PhotoMosaic by Sophal Ear in detail. Created with AndreaMosaic freeware.

We need the courage and patience to fill the deadly silence brought on by words like terrorist, heteronormative, ghetto, white privilege, gay lifestyle, illegal worker. Let’s begin to fill that dead zone with words like “from my perspective’” and “why do you believe that?” And then let’s meet those words with what the academics like to call active listening, but what is really no more than simply really listening to another person’s point of view. But as we will fill that cold place with our new words, we must stand there rooted in the promise that we will stay at it until we sort this through and have begun to understand what “others” are saying to us. By no means are we required, or even urged to push for some sort of new found agreement. Simply understanding, though there is nothing simple about understanding, will be victory enough. Besides, I may never be able to agree with you but I sure would like to understand you. Let’s also remember to take baby steps. This may not be the time for finding the right words to string together to form world peace. This may just be the time to get used to having conversations across the fault lines that divide us. And let’s be gentle with ourselves and each other. We’re new at this. We’re bound to make mistakes. There’s a good chance that not all our words will be properly polished. We may also find that the words we speak may not be the words that are heard. And, inevitably there will be times the words will hurt. That’s when we need to face the speaker and ask, is that what you meant? Why does my generation, gender, race, class, geography or different opinion make you want to use hurtful words? Or was it an accident? Did you misspeak? Did I mishear? It won’t be easy, but if we stick with it, perhaps we can create a movement where we replace the dueling monologues with conversations that fill the dead space with the warmth of human interaction.

I facilitate Faultlines. I am president of the Robert C. Maynard Institute for Journalism Education working to help create a multi-cultural multimedia that accurately and fairly portrays all segments of U.S. society. I tweet @djmaynard. I am Dori J. Maynard.

2050: Café Con LEche
Majority minority. Minority majority. Either way, it happens around 2050. What? Whites will be a minority around 2050 in the US. People of color will be a majority. And it’s going to be a wild ride. It’s still called the White House but George Clinton was right—that was a temporary condition. In a country where it’s easier to elect a black Democrat as President than it is to get a majority of white voters to vote Democratic, we have to ask: when faced with the choice between maintaining power and maintaining democracy, what will White Americans do? Even the most recent history of American Whites facing race is filled with disappointing actions: Senator Mitch McConnell, when elected as what had previously been known as the ‘Minority Leader’ position in the US Senate, said he preferred to be called the ‘Republican leader’ because ‘minority’ was disempowering. One member of the Texas Board of Education commented on their recent effort to whitewash history textbooks “They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist.” And when Lyndon Johnson said, “we have lost the South for a generation" as he signed the 1964 Civil Rights Act, he underestimated: it’s been 46 years, at least 2 generations, and counting since a majority of white voters voted for a Democratic Presidential candidate. Where do we go from here? Many White Americans have decided to go the tea party route, seeing any loss of power as undemocratic and even apocalyptic. Others are moving to what Rich Benjamin calls Whiteopias. The rest of us, of every race, have to become more racially literate. We have to beat back wedge attacks that use implicit bias to prey on white racial anxiety. All Americans, especially Whites, have to act as if we indeed have linked fates. Even more than chocolate cities, we’ll be living in a café con leche US. Are you ready?

I am a Bronx-born Haitian-American father, drapetomaniac, Buddhist, scuba-diver, and Prince-lover. Been leading campaigns to change societies for more than 20 years. I'm excited about 2050. Tweet me @ludovicspeaks. I am Ludovic Blain III.

Most adults think there’s only one way to do everything, their way. That makes me and probably other kids sick because we’re always creating different ways to do things but our ideas are ignored. It’s like we’re still in my grandmother’s day when kids were supposed to be seen, not heard. I was in an exhibit at a famous art museum. The artist I was working for does non-material art. His exhibit used people from 8 to 80 to ask others a simple question. “What is progress?” When we asked the question many adults didn’t take the time to let the words out of our mouths. They would pass us by or smile to try to come across as delighted because we asked them to follow and talk to us. Or they’d ask “What school do you go to?” “How old are you?” They didn’t think people as small as us could be asking something so big. They didn’t get the full experience because they didn’t think we could take on their full thoughts. I think by limiting us they limited themselves. How is the world going to get better if we don’t listen to half the people who live here? I am a kid with thoughts and ideas and I am determined to be heard.

I am a third grader at Saint Ann’s School in Brooklyn. I am a budding actress. I am a splash of color and inspiration. I am determined to be heard. I am Corinne Bobb-Semple.

Photo credit: © Syreeta McFadden

The Walkabout
You make your own world. You have all the tools you need. Often times, it’s right in front of you. Sometimes, it just takes a little movement. So I go on walks. I walk everywhere and over the course of my journey, meandering, wanderings, I often figure out a solution, imagine a possibility that I hadn’t seen in an existing situation. I didn’t make this up. This practice is as old as time. Aboriginal peoples called this the walkabout, a rite of passage where young men wandered in the bush for months at a time. The closest thing I’ve ever experienced to that in New York City is when I take my camera and get lost in the City. You can get lost here. We’re surrounded by amazing inventions and this too has worked to the great benefit of us all. However, the great paradox has been an imbalance in how we engage with our natural world and ourselves. We need balance, we need conversation, we need connection. When I feel I’m getting pulled in the undertow of cloudy images, distractions, technology, terrible writing ideas, I take a walk. Sometimes for fifteen minutes, sometimes longer, with no destination in mind. I discover new things about my neighborhood that I’d otherwise miss. I’ve even stumbled on a rather fortuitous strip from a fortune cookie. We’re such creatures of habits and find such comfort in old habits and patterns that we fear change, new direction. So I’m concerned about sustainability of our own natural resources. We are energy. We have to do some self care, we have to recharge. So I go on long walks. Because if I’m not clear or open, how can I possibly expect that my encounters with other men and women could ever lead to the new? Exercise your dreaming mind. Take a walk. No destination. For thirty minutes let your body guide you. Make turns if you feel a strong pull to go in that direction. There is no wrong answer; there are no wrong turns. Listen to your body, it’ll never lead you astray. The last time you almost crossed the street in front of a speeding car, you jerked away. Your body knows how to protect you. You should trust that.

I am a writer and photographer from the dairy state whose motto is ‘forward’, living and dreaming in the County of Kings. Seventh generation American, dreamer for the next movement. Tweet me @reetamac. I am Syreeta McFadden.

Photo/Image Credits:
Courtney Young’s photo courtesy of Allen Breaux Studio & Gallery Inc. Hanifah Walidah’s photo courtesy of Olive Demetrius Kyra Gaunt’s image courtesy of Nokia for the TED Fellows Responsiveness campaign featured in Monocle magazine (09 Oct 2009, p. 097) Mamy Lucy Kamptoni’s photo courtesy of Tim Llewellyn Syreeta McFadden’s photo courtesy of Peter Dressel Tomie Hahn’s photo courtesy of Mark Morelli Image above by Nicolás García

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