06: Disrupting the Church Narrative About Sexuality and Spirituality (Robert Van Repta Caro)

“So a few things, one of the things that really surprised me, when I did that transition and shift from not being myself, to accepting myself; I did have a couple of people, from my old church, reach out to me via text, and just, ya know, pleading for my spiritual health, and I should turn to God, and here’s all these Bible verses. And I’m just thinking, ‘Girl, do you not know that I was raised in the church?!“

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05: Motherhood, Inclusion, Joy, and Urgency (Rebekah Borucki)

“It started with my oldest son who was born with a visual impairment. So both my boys have a genetic visual impairment that causes blindness, so they’re legally blind, but functioning. They can’t drive cars and they’ve lived with this their entire lives since they were babies. My oldest daughter has a genetic condition that affects her mobility so sometimes she uses a wheelchair, sometimes she uses a cane and it is very much an invisible illness on other days because she’s walking. But she does have to have a handicapped spot. And having these children, and let me specify, I’m not saying being transgender is a disability, but having these kids and seeing how they navigate the world and learn to advocate for themselves, and didn’t listen to people saying, ‘No, you can’t do that.’ They tried it on their own and discovered whether they could or could not do, allowed me when Sunny at a very young age, like from the time he could walk and talk and express himself and say what he wanted to wear and what he didn’t. And he started expressing that he wanted to be a boy. I let him lead. I didn’t project any of my fears, cause I had them. My confusion, cause I certainly was confused, right? I didn’t project any of that. It was a lot of asking questions. ‘What do you mean you want to be a boy? Or what does being a boy mean to you?’ Right and like, ‘All boys don’t have short hair. So do you think having short hair means that you’re a boy?’ There’s a lot of things I had to grapple with within myself, but I recognized the whole time that it was about me.”

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04: Spiritual Activism and Overthrowing Systems of Oppression (Rachel Ricketts)

“Another one that continuously comes up is, white women who want to include me in their, ya know, online symposium, interviews, blah blah blah, whatever, because they’re trying to collect Black people and they one, want me to do it for free. So no. And two, don’t, again, it’s this lack of, care or thought and don’t read my responses even. I just had a woman ask me to speak on her online symposium for free. And she was like, ‘It’s a marketing opportunity.’ No, it’s not a marketing opportunity for me. I don’t need your marketing opportunity, I’m just, like if you want my offerings, service and education, then pay me for my time. Period.”

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03: Resisting White Supremacy Right Where You Are (Kenrya Rankin)

“Understand that the most impact that you’ll be is right where you stand. So, where are you right now? And what can you do in your immediate environment to move the needle? And that there’s, everybody doesn’t have to be an organizer on the front line, everybody doesn’t have to be holding a picket sign and have their arms linked. And while that is a valuable form of resistance and that’s gotten us a lot of places. That there are a whole lot of other things that we can do, in the place that we are, that helps us all get there.”

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02: Legit Feminism, Finances and Intersectionality (Kara Perez)

“And yet I was debt free by June 5, 2015 and in 2015 my taxable income, it was like $23,000, ya know, not very much money. So you could easily point to my story and say, ‘Well, she did it. She bootstrapped.’ Ya know, now I have a business; I make middle class income. I control my time and I can easily be seen as a success story. But the flip side of that is well, I’m white-passing, I’m able-bodied, I speak unaccented English. When people look at me, they trust me so it was easier for me to get a job. I was healthy enough that I could work five different part time jobs seven days a week, I didn’t have a child I needed to care for. I was able to take these risks and do this sort of scrappy (laughter) debt pay off journey because of the layers of privilege. So I like to say, ‘I call bullshit on my own bootstrap narrative.’”

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01: Disrupting the Narrative of Women's Limited Usefulness (Agnes Netunze)

“…was really something that I wanted to be apart of. To be a change that I wanted to see in my own country, in my own community, in my own home. Where, in my family, I have an extended family, so there are very many girls, and only a few of us had the will and the zeal to stand up and say, ‘No! I don’t want to get married, I want to go to school,’ so you find that most of the times it’s hard for other girls to say that.”

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Chidimma OzorComment
10: Disrupting the Convenient Church Narrative (Andre Henry)

“Now look at how that translates to Black Lives Matter protests, right? They note Black people are angry. But they don’t think it’s a righteous anger, they think we shouldn’t be angry, we shouldn’t be displaying anger in that way. We’re so on and so forth. But the thing that we’re angry about, ya know? Cause there’s not really a strong concept in evangelical faith that God, that God gets angry at injustice. Even when we see Jesus do that. You know and evangelicals have a a very high view of who Jesus is. You know that Jesus is God. So, you know, Jesus is supposed to be telling us something about what God is like. And if, Jesus gets upset at the poor being exploited in a religious establishment then that means, you know, for those who claim to have evangelical faith, that you have to accept that God gets upset at the poor being exploited.”

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09: Disrupting the Fashion Industry and How to Do Better (Aja Barber)

“How can you really practice feminism if the people at the top are not diverse. Is this? Let’s look at where the money is going and if it’s not going back into the pockets of women, and people of color, and non-binary people, and people all over the world. Is this really, truly diverse? And I would argue that it’s not. We’re just keeping the flow of money going in the same direction it’s always gone in. Ya know? It’s just another brand of white supremacy and patriarchy to see that the people who hold the power are profiting off of these concepts that we’re all, ya know, really trying to sort of insert into our lives in more equitable ways. Basically I see a lot of brands that are using the phrase, but not walking the walk at all and I think we should be more aware of that as consumers.”

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07: Why Language and the Inclusivity of English Matters (Anne Curzan)

“When we think about a pronoun like ‘they’, it’s fundamentally about respect for other people. And if someone says that is my pronoun then the respectful thing to do of another human being is to say, ‘Of course I will use your pronoun in the same way that I will use your name' because that’s who you are and I respect you as a person so of course I will use your name and your pronoun.’”

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06: From NYC to LA and Why You Need to Show Us Your Room (Lisa McQuillan)

“Sometimes it takes a bit of a process for us to like feel like we have permission to call ourselves creative. I think that was part of my delay in becoming a writer. I was like, ‘Am I allowed to be a writer?’ I felt like I needed to be granted permission or anointed and I felt like I called myself an aspiring writer for longer than necessary. Like if you’re writing, you’re a writer.”

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05: Speaking Diversity and Inclusion in the Sseko Ssisterhood (Carisa & Taylor)

“So I feel, and I’ve been doing a lot of research as far as reaching out to my black friends and family and finding out. do they have a bad taste because it’s direct sales, or is it Sseko or is it the mission? What exactly is preventing them from wanting to join or be a part or be a customer of Sseko?” {Carisa Montgomery}

“Yeah Carisa when you were just talking about the solution of the problem being inviting more people to our community and being more inclusive, I’m thinking about two of the aspects of Sseko which are one of my favorite parts of being a Sseko Fellow which are our Design and our Impact Councils. So on the Design Council we get to offer our suggestions for future catalogs. A lot of the things we are making now are a direct byproduct of the suggestions that are being made in that space. And we also have an Impact and Connection Council where we talk about the best way to foster connection between the women who are involved in Sseko here in the United States and our women in East Africa.” {Taylor Trenchard}

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Accidental Podcaster

I started to shoot high in terms of folks I would invite to be guests on the podcast and I got an opportunity to speak with some well known people. I also spoke with so many every day people that helped me understand what it is like to live with mental illness, recover from substance use disorder and survive sexual assault and/or domestic violence. Each guest has taught me more about life and about myself. They have shown me how beautiful humanity is.

There were times I was the guest and talk about vulnerability, authenticity and baring your soul not only for the world to see, but to judge. And yet I couldn’t afford to think about that too long because by showing up in all of my glory, I gave permission to others to show up in all of their glory.

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Chidimma OzorComment