Waking Up to the Wonder of Difference

Objects to Remember You By

I grew up in a half white, half Mexican neighborhood in Roseville, CA. My best friend was Hally (Angelica) Rodriguez. Her parents were Mexican immigrants. Her older brother was a cholo and sold drugs from her house. He was a dick. Her older sister was tough and foul-mouthed and her bangs stuck straight up in a great wall of a tidal wave above her forehead. She was so cool, I […]

Dear CEO: Your Feel-Good Diversity Initiative is Undermined By Every Other Way You’re Doing Business

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Last week, I sat in huge ballroom full of entrepreneurs and cringed as a white male CEO gave a TED-style talk on how he solved diversity. Yeah, that happened. You see, he has realized his business – oh! also his industry – oh oh! also his city – were too white and too male, and so he co-launched an initiative to place a one person of color as a paid […]

Mixed-Race with a White Identity

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What happens when a mixed race child only has a white identity and then goes out into the world? I have spent my entire life straddling many worlds culturally, socially and racially. I am a mixed race woman and I am in a family of transracial adoption. (Transracial adoption means adopting children of a different race). My biological mother was a white woman from Dallas, Texas. My birth father was […]

Diversity is Not Skin-Deep

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My parents met at the famous Max’s Kansas City bar in Manhattan, in 1966. A couple of privileged white kids. Him from an affluent family, spending his whole childhood in the town where the Great Gatsby took place. Her, on a full NYU scholarship, hailing from the Bay Area, the daughter of scientists. They actually weren’t that privileged. Dad is Jewish and, during that privileged childhood, a global war broke […]

Art in the Interactive: What is the Nature of “Our” Space?

Marc Bamuthi Joseph speaks at TEDGlobal 2017 - Builders, Truth Tellers, Catalysts - August 27-30, 2017, Arusha, Tanzania. Photo: Ryan Lash / TED

Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Chief of Program and Pedagogy at YBCA—and newly-appointed Vice President and Artistic Director of Social Impact at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.—will use his wisdom and words as Moderator of the ‘re:home’ For Freedoms Town Hall, Saturday, December 15 from 6-8pm, to explore the question “How do creatives show up as humanitarians within the context of democracy?”   Sergio De […]

How to Win at Sports

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  Like many other Americans, one of my defining childhood memories is baseball. Fenway Park was a menagerie of chaos and uncouthness then: the rowdy blue-collar crowd, the swearing, the harassing of the Yankees even if there was no Yankee within a hundred miles, the cult-like chanting to Neil Diamond’s Sweet Caroline. I loved going to Fenway with my father in the 1980s and 90s. Attending a game was a […]

Past Present: Institutionalizing Children, Referees, and Charlottesville

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In this episode, Neil, Niki, and Natalia debate the history of the institutionalization of children, the thankless job of refereeing youth sports, and the legacy of the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, one year after the Unite the Right rally. Here are some links and references mentioned during this week’s show: Coverage of family separation is revealing many abuses visited upon children detained in state facilities. Natalia mentioned this WNYC history of immigration detainment and this […]

Featured Artists: Collect for Change

Nadja Verena Marcin, How to Undress in Front of Your Husband (still), 2016, Video/Performance, 13 min, 4k digital cinema

Inaugural Collect For Change™ Exhibition Curated by Amy Kisch + Danielle Smith + Kimberly Verde + Heather Zises state space, San Francisco, CA Saturday, January 6 – Friday, February 16, 2018 AKArt and state are pleased to present Object Action: The “F” Word in a Post-Truth Era, to mark the inauguration of Collect For Change™—an initiative which collaborates with artists across disciplines, offering artwork with a portion of sales benefitting a charity personally selected by each artist. A group exhibition that […]

A Life of Purpose

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The purpose of life is a life of purpose. —Robert Byrne How do we keep going in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds? How do we overcome the dark forces of self-doubt and self-criticism which can sometimes cripple our ability to create our best, most purposeful lives? How do we rise above the sometimes ungenerous, unkind stories we tell ourselves as we go about our lives? Sitting around the table at […]

Past Present Podcast: LIVE! Antifa, Cultural Appropriation, and Income Inequality

Melissa Murray, they are yours, they are lost, 2012

In this episode of Past Present, Natalia, Niki, and Neil debate the historical origins of Antifa, cultural appropriation, and the role of contract labor in an unequal society.  Antifa We discussed Antifa, which has been popularized by historian Mark Bray’s Antifa: The Anti-Fascist Handbook. Natalia commented on the romanticized assumption of Antifa opponents that there ever was a “perfect” nonviolent protest culture, as explained in this New York Times opinion […]