Imagining Futures…

WATERCOLOR ART “Amethyst SkyWay” BY STEPHANIE TAYLOR

I am a student of storytelling. As I begin this blog I am just over halfway through an MFA in Creative Writing at California College of the Arts in San Francisco.

I make a point to give credit to those who have done the work before me, and as doors are opened in front of me, I do all I can to make sure those doors stay open for others.

In this spirit of being a Creator-Connector, much respect is given to those who have been doing this work and those who are actively paving the way for our futures.

My first inspiration for imagining futures was Octavia Butler’s Parable of the Sower. Her storytelling planted a seed in my heart, mind, and spirit.

As an emerging writer and student of AfroFuturism, I asked “Who is currently doing the work?”

What follows is just the beginning of a list of Futurist Scholars and Storytellers:

  1. Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes. Their online course “Intro to AfroFuturism” has been a major inspiration.
  2. Dr. Lonny Brooks at California State University, East Bay is the Northern California venue host for the Black Speculative Arts Movement Festival.
  3. Nnedi Okorafor spoke at  The Futures of AfroFuturism Symposium at University of Tennessee Knoxville on March 30-31, 2017.
    Other speakers at that symposium included:

 

Please add a comment below to add names and URLs of those who inspire your work in imagining futures!

About AfroSurreal Writers Worskhop:  Mission and Members

Founded by Rochelle Spencer, this Oakland-based group is actively increasing exposure for local Black and POC writers and artists by connecting them to platforms that are making their creative work accessible to larger audiences.

Learn more about the AfroSurreal Writers Workshop here: About: Mission and Board

 

Black History Tribute to My Father

In my nonfiction narrative projects, I have been sharing my father’s stories about joining the US Marine Corps in the late 1950’s, during the transition to full racial integration.

I offer this text-image hybrid piece (see link below) as a tribute to my father and his resilience in overcoming the particular, peculiar challenge of USMC bootcamp in 1957.

The initial phase of my “Chutney and Chitlins” project is wrapping up with this piece, and the story continues with how he went on to become one of the first Black US Embassy Marine Security Guards and met my mother at the US Embassy in Rangoon, Burma.

The picture tells a million words, and the text did not seem right on its own.

Thank you, Daddy, for your service. I love you so much.

One Black Marine: A Black History Tribute to My Father

Today is “Find Your Tribe” day!

Love this post from Steven Barnes!

Steven Barnes

Thursday is “Find your Tribe” day.

If you have connection with your own heart, genuinely love yourself, you will have a happy life. If you find one other human being to love and treasure, you have the most basic “Mastermind” level (one other person with whom to function in a spirit of perfect harmony).   These require you to forgive and understand your flaws: you have done the best you could with the resources you had.  So have we all.  Want better results?  Get better resources, either within you or from outside you.

Way to compensate for a lack of resources, talent, even intelligence is to create “Mastermind” partnerships with other people, adding ONE PERSON AT A TIME to your circle until you have the power you need to accomplish your goal.  Basically, the larger your goal, the more people you need in your circle.  Remember that every legal, ethical  dollar…

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Nextdoor shuts down freedom of speech? I don’t think so.

So that I can stop repeating myself when people talk about Nextdoor censoring freedom of speech, here is the truth about Nextdoor’s new product fix.

Nextdoor is working to set a standard that other social media platforms would be wise to follow. The endgame for Nextdoor’s ground-breaking product fix will no longer allow for cultural bias to be reflected on their social media platform.

When reporting about suspicious behavior in the crime and safety section of Nextdoor, users will no longer be able to list perceived race/ethnicity/skin color as the ONLY physical description of an individual.

But why? Isn’t that censoring freedom of speech?  It’s like they are putting a muzzle on neighbors trying to do the right thing by reporting suspicious behavior!

Nope, not at all.

It is short-sighted to consider this HUGE step forward as censorship. To ensure that historical biases are not perpetuated in online spaces, Nextdoor is setting a precedent as a first among ALL social media platforms to basically say “Tell me MORE about that description” so it is in fact the OPPOSITE of censoring, it is an invitation to expand on your freedom of speech and expression.

The goal is to ensure that the individual(s) being described can be properly identified in a crowd, so that an entire group of people with similar skin color is not targeted falsely.

The good intentions of those reporting suspicious behaviors on social media sometimes lead to unintentional negative impacts on innocent folks who happen to match a vague physical description, so here is a feasible solution to hone in on actual criminals.

This product fix does not say to not include perceived race/ethnicity/skin color, but to ADD even more details to that description to protect the innocent who may look similar to the person in question.

The public safety of our innocent neighbors is the crux of the matter.

Read the full story in this Buzzfeed article.

About Audrey

Audrey is a multi-racial, multi-cultural Writer working in San Francisco and living in Oakland. She identifies as Black American with Anglo-Indian and Burmese heritage.

She has been interviewed on the topics of race and class in America on KQED‘s So Well Spoken, KALW’s Philosophy Talk, as well as in the SF Chronicle and East Bay Express.  

Her writing focuses on sharing personal narratives based on her experiences, family history and ancestry to speak to today’s social justice issues.

Focused on the power of truth-telling to bring awareness to the need for racial healing and inclusion via social media as well as identity formation and resilience for multi-racial youth, she is working on an MFA in Creative Nonfiction at California College of the Arts.

Audrey’s media interviews follow justice issues from the intersection of race and class in Oakland neighborhoods to global human rights concerns.

Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.


Miscellaneous

LitQuake author page for Audrey


Excerpts from book-in-progress:

Chutney and Chitlins: A Hybrid Family’s Memoir