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*LET’S KEEP LIFTING EACH OTHER UP: American democracy finally passes the Bechdel test

By Monica Hesse in The Seattle Times

The promise of a Joe Biden presidency was a return to normalcy, but 62 seconds of Wednesday’s inauguration ceremony were quietly revolutionary. Not the soar of Amanda Gorman’s poem, or the thunderous power of Lady Gaga using a golden microphone to belt the national anthem. In a ceremony filled with artistic creations specifically designed to arouse emotions of patriotism and pride, the 62 seconds that did so most effectively were from a bland, scripted oath of office, administered with the same exchange of words for more than a hundred years. But never between two women. CLICK FOR MORE


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*QUESTIONS, IDEAS & HEADSCRATCHERS Remote learning is transforming sex education for teens — and adults

Advocates say changes are here to stay, from greater accessibility to totally new curriculums

Suzannah Weiss in The Lily , an. 16, 2021

Last spring, Mary Jo Podgurski taught her usual sex education course to sixth-graders in Washington, Pa. — usual, except one thing: It was over Zoom. Because the kids took the class from home, many of their parents participated as well, so Podgurski decided to include exercises to help parents and children communicate about sex.

“Mary Jo helped me build trust with my mom and classmates so if I have any questions in the future, I feel safe asking,” says 13-year-old Cicely Sunseri, one of the students. CLICK FOR MORE

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How the Smithsonian and Other Museums Are Responding to the U.S. Capital Riot

Leading institutions have started collecting artifacts and working to contextualize last week’s violent attack

Last Wednesday, a mob of far-right insurrectionists stormed the United States Capitol, forcing lawmakers to flee for safety and temporarily delaying Congress’ certification of November’s election, which will put Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Kamala Harris in the White House.

Over six hours of chaos, the insurrectionists assaulted law enforcement officers, ransacked offices, stole objects, smashed windows and smeared what appeared to be blood across a bust of President Zachary Taylor. Rioters also erected a wooden gallows near the Capitol Reflecting Pool; footage captured at the scene showed some members of the crowd chanting, “Hang Mike Pence!” In total, the attack claimed the lives of five people, including a police officer reportedly struck with a fire extinguisher.

In the wake of the January 6 riot, museums and cultural institutions across the country have responded by condemning the violence, collecting artifacts linked to the attack and beginning to place the events in a historical context. CLICK FOR MORE

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The culture is ailing. It’s time for a Dr. Fauci for the arts.

by Peter Marks in Washington Post

When a president calls a meeting of the Cabinet, most vital sectors of the economy — from soybean farmers to auto manufacturers — have an appointed government representative in the room, a secretary of agriculture or transportation, to speak for them.

You know what doesn’t get a seat at the table, and never has? The arts. And in this crisis moment, when a pandemic threatens ruination for museums, theaters, concert halls, opera houses, dance studios, cineplexes and amusement parks — and the 5.1 million arts workers who staff them — the time has come to rectify this glaring oversight. CLICK FOR MORE
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Unpack Middle Eastern stereotypes in Hollywood
By Ida Yalzadeh in the Anti-Racism Daily
We’ve previously written about the ways that Hollywood whitewashes film and television to prefer stories represented and made by white people. Also crucial in this conversation is how Hollywood has consequently represented the Middle East throughout its history.
The Southwest Asian/North African (SWANA) community is one example of a group that has faced harmful representations and stereotyping in Hollywood. CLICK FOR MORE
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Vaccines are on the way. What does that mean for pregnant people?

By Chelsea Cirruzzo  in The Lily

Major trials have typically left out those pregnant and breastfeeding.

Jaely Turner describes herself as “covid-conscious” and pro-vaccine. She and her young son are up-to-date on all of their shots. Turner wants to keep it that way.

But, as the United States inches closer to making a coronavirus vaccine available to the public, Turner says she won’t be rushing out the door to get it for herself. That’s because the Virginia-based doula is 10 weeks pregnant. CLICK FOR MORE

Featured Sculpture by Darlene Berndt, 2002

 


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*WOMEN’S LIVES: FEDERAL AND STATE COURTS MAKE IMPORTANT RECENT RULINGS: Reinstate DACA and Provide Equal Protection for Same-Sex Domestic Violence Survivors

(Asheville, NC) – – Two different December rulings by federal and state courts are resulting in life-changing protection – – both to DACA “Dreamers” and also to same-sex domestic violence victims. Nonprofit Pisgah Legal Services (PLS) provides free, civil legal aid in Western North Carolina, and is working with clients affected by these recent changes in the law.

On December 4, a federal judge ruled that the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) must fully reinstate the Deferred Action for Childhood Renewals (DACA) program. Not only will current DACA recipients still be allowed to renew their participation in program, new applications will now be accepted for the first time in three years.


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*WOMEN’S WORK : The Vice President, and Cabinet Picks of top-level appointees

Vice President of the United States

Kamala Harris, in full Kamala Devi Harris, (born October 20, 1964, Oakland, California, U.S.), American politician who was elected to the U.S. Senate as a Democrat in 2016 and began her first term representing California in that body the following year. She was the first Indian American to serve as a U.S. senator as well as the second African American woman. Harris previously was the state’s attorney general (2011–17). In November 2020 she was elected vice president of the United States on a ticket with Joe Biden.


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IN HONOR OF DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING

Honoring the legacy of a civil rights icon, groups across the mountains began celebrating the birthday of the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday morning, the MLK Association of Asheville and Buncombe County hosted a virtual prayer breakfast.

It had been recorded at New Mt Olive Baptist Church in Asheville and featured gospel singers, sermons and testimonials.

ASHEVILLE’S 40TH DR. MARTIN LUTHER KING JR. CELEBRATION MOVES ONLINE


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The CIVIL CONVERSATION PROJECT & THE PAUSE – Krista Tippett & John Paul Lederach

THE PAUSE 

Given the events of recent days, we asked our friend and teacher John Paul Lederach to offer a reflection for this week’s Pause. He’s spent his life walking with people in many cultures through violent conflict towards transformative change. I’m so grateful for the perspective he opens here, and the fierce/gentle way he invites us into the truth of our time and ourselves.

— Krista

From John Paul:

The images of this week remain seared in our minds. While painful, they will not and should not be unseen, precisely because they help us look more carefully at what peers back at us from our national mirror.

We are not looking at a fringe few. We are gazing upon ourselves. CLICK FOR MORE

 

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OnBeingCivilConversationsProjectSpeaking together differently in order to live together differently.  The Civil Conversations Project seeks to renew common life in a fractured and tender world. We are a conversation-based, virtues-based resource towards hospitable, trustworthy relationship with and across difference.

We honor the power of asking better questions, model reframed approaches to entrenched debates, and insist that the ruptures above the radar do not tell the whole story of our time. We aspire to amplify and cross-pollinate the generative new realities that are also being woven, one word and one life at a time.

Civil Conversations Project  –  Listen

How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes?

The Civil Conversations Project (CCP) is an open, ongoing conversation offering tools and resources for renewing civic discourse at every level and nourishing common life. It includes audio, video, writing, and guides to help ground and animate new conversation and relationship across the differences of our age.

CLICK FOR MORE

Photo Credit: Mae Mu

 


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*ASHEVILLE NEWS from Our City – Arts, Energy, Racial Equity excetera

Look ahead: City of Asheville projects and initiatives for the new year, 2021

Asheville residents can look upon the new year with optimism. Together, we’ve weathered a pandemic and a vaccine will be available this year. Even so, the City of Asheville’s response to COVID-19 will continue in the new year, in coordination with the state of North Carolina and Buncombe County.

Residents can look forward to advances in social change in 2021 as well, as City staff incorporate Advancing Racial Equity in Asheville into the budget, reimagining public safety and all the other work that will go into serving this community in the coming year. CLICK FOR MORE


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*BOOKS THAT TRANSFORM: The Lily Book Chain – We asked authors what to read in 2021

Story by Neema Roshania Patel
Illustrations by María Alconada Brooks

In The Lily Lines by The Washington Post

For our look at books coming out in 2021, Team Lily wanted to try something different.

I  reached out to Torrey Peters, author of “Detransition Baby,” which came out on Jan. 12, and asked her to share the title of a book she is looking forward to this year. She told me about “Girlhood,” by Melissa Febos. Then, I asked Febos what book she recommends — and so the author book chain was born.


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*SUSTAINABILITY: The United States Will Rejoin Paris Climate Accord

By Theresa Machemer  in Smithsonian Magazine

The move is one of several climate-related actions taken by President Joe Biden on his first day in office

On his first day in office, President Joseph R. Biden Jr. signed 17 executive orders, including one stating the administration’s focus on addressing climate change and rejoining the Paris Climate Accord. The international accord goes into effect for the U.S. in 30 days, on February 19.


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*CHANGEMAKERS: Amanda Gorman reads poem ‘The Hill We Climb’ at Biden inauguration

By Amy B Wang and Stephanie Merry in Washington Post, Lifestyles

Yes, we have a new president, but the real news is that America has fallen in love with a poet named Amanda GormanThe 22-year-old Harvard graduate, who describes herself as “a skinny black girl descended from slaves and raised by a single mother,” captivated the nation on Wednesday when she stood on the inauguration dais and recited her poem “The Hill We Climb” (watch).

Accolades poured in from millions of new fans, including Barack Obama, Lin-Manuel Miranda and Hillary Clinton, who tweeted that she can’t wait for the young poet to run for president in 2036. Gorman was wearing jewelry from Oprah: a pair of earrings and a birdcage ring, an allusion to “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings,” by Maya Angelou, who performed at the 1993 inauguration. CLICK FOR MORE


Dance Ballet Los Angeles

*PERFORMING ART: DANCING BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY – A Three-Part Series

DANCING BEYOND THE GENDER BINARY

Posted by Nancy Dobbs Owen

In this three-part series for LA Dance Chronicle, I am studying the various ways that bullying and gender interact, affecting leadership, individual success and failure, mental health, and representation in dance. If you are coming to this series fresh, you can read the introductory article here. The second piece looks at bullying and the gender gap in leadership. This final piece addresses gay, lesbian, gender fluid and queer representation in dance, both how dancers who don’t fit into the binary have been quashed and how the dance community is finally expanding and starting to include all voices and stories, both in and out of  mainstream companies.  CLICK FOR MORE


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AMI WORTHEN: Community Care During Coronavirus

This information from Asheville Blade was originally published in March 14, 2020 by Leigh Cowart.

With a pandemic upon us, here are some links and notes that I hope will be of use. Much love as we take care of ourselves and those around us.

The reality

Thanks to the Asheville Blade for this informative article, Preparing for COVID-19 – definitely worth reading and sharing widely.


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ASAP: Winter Farmers’ Markets

Bundle up! With pandemic precaution still critical, winter farmers tailgate markets are mostly staying outdoors (or partially indoors with ample airflow). Though there are fewer of these markets, you can still find a solid mix of seasonal fruits and veggies. Expect to see plenty of storage crops, like sweet potatoes, potatoes, apples, winter squash, turnips, beets, and carrots. Some farms make use of greenhouses or high tunnels to continue producing salad mixes, lettuces, and dark, leafy greens throughout the colder months. Meats, eggs, cheeses, bread, and artisan foods are also widely available.


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A NOTE FROM ELIZABETH MCCAIN: A Lesbian Belle Tells Southern Stories of Family, Loss and Love

Happy New Year, Everyone,
I hope you had a restful holiday season. 2020 was certainly a difficult year. And 2021 is already intense. I have been shocked and outraged here in the DC area by the recent violent mob of rioters at the Capitol. May we all make room in our hearts for all of our emotions. Deep breaths.

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