This April will offer an array of awesome events related to equity and inclusion in Asheville. A range of opportunities to listen to and learn from local (and national) African American and Latino leaders and creators. I’ve compiled a list of suggestions to use as your plan your month.

First, I want to share two recent, relevant pieces in our local media.

Diamond-Alegra-Nater

Artist Diamond Alegra Nater. Photo by Leslie Frempong.

Young Society
Young Society is a new series on the Mountain Xpress website. As Xpress describes: “Christina Geneve and Makeda Sandford, the creative minds behind local lifestyle and fashion blog Let It Be Yours, have been a voice of 20-something perspective for more than a year. The blog’s content runs the gamut from personal style and reflections on social topics to the environmental-human connection. Those ideas, and the motivation to spread positivity, are what readers will find in The Young Society — a twice-monthly collaboration between Let It Be Yours and Xpress. Through text and photography, Geneve and Sandford seek to ‘reach the young, vibrant, artistic underground culture and amplify voices from people of color.'” Click here for their latest post on Asheville’s young creatives.

Carolina Siliceo Perez

Carolina Siliceo Perez. Photo by Angeli Wright.

A Citizen of Nowhere Living in Asheville
In this story in the Asheville Citizen-Times, writer Beth Walton interviews a few of our undocumented neighbors and shares statistics related to immigration.

Excerpt: “’The reality is that (President Trump) can do whatever he wants, and he has shown us that he will,’ [Carolina Siliceo Perez] said.

‘I have to have more faith now in my community in that they will stand for what is right. The power is not with somebody sitting in the White House,’ she added. ‘The power is with each one of us.'”

Yes, we have power and responsibility to keep our neighbors safe.

UPCOMING EVENTS
Now you can get out your calendar….

WNC DEC’s Stand Against Racism
Tuesday, April 18, 
5:30 pm, Bhramari Brewhouse
“There will be a brief presentation of some of the work that the WNC DEC is doing to combat structural racism in the workforce followed by networking and socializing. Come ready to connect with other professionals in the community that are committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion.” Click here to register.

word on the street at edington

Members of Word on the Street

Word on the Street Celebration!
Friday, April 21, 7 pm, Edington Center
“The Word on the Street Squad invites you to join them in a FREE tropical-themed celebration of all the youth who have submitted their art to this bilingual online arts magazine visioned, created and led by youth of color. They’ve been receiving submissions from across the country and working hard to review and publish them. There will a fish fry and side dishes prepared by Chef Clarence Robinson of Cooking with Comedy as well as readings, performances and artwork shared by local contributors. Interpretation for English and Spanish speakers will be provided and the event is family-friendly.” Click here for the Facebook event.

marison-jimenez

Marisol Jimenez

Beyond Diversity Lunch and Learn
Hosted by the WNC DEC
Tuesday April 25th, 
12 pm, MAHEC
“Marisol Jimenez, an accomplished equity and inclusion organizer, facilitator, and advocate with Tepeyac Consulting, will lead this workshop that serves as an opportunity for participants to develop language and frameworks for advancing equity within your organizations and communities. Together, we will look at how history, culture, policies, and resource distribution uphold a structure of power, privilege, and oppression that can only be interrupted by strategies that move beyond diversity. Lunch will be provided.” (Marisol is one of my dear friends and biggest inspirations. This will be powerful, I’m sure!) Click here to register.

The Ripple Effect- How we all shape community (2)The Ripple Effect with Mia Birdsong
Tuesday, April 25, 6 pm, Diana Wortham Theatre 
“Mia Birdsong is a family visionary and acclaimed community advocate who speaks about the value of community and self-determination. She is best known for her TED Talk: The story we tell about poverty isn’t true, which has now been watched over 1.5 million times. Please join us to be a voice in the community conversation on how individual actions can create systemic positive change. Simultaneous Spanish interpretation will be provided.” To RSVP follow this link: The Ripple Effect

iindia pearson

Iindia Pearson

Women of Color Taking the Lead
Thursday, April 27, Grant Center, 6:30 pm
YWCA of Asheville hosts Women of Color Leading Change, a panel discussion highlighting local WOC who are leading grassroots efforts towards equity and inclusion. The focus of our public Stand Against Racism event will be on challenges faced and success stories from WOC leaders along with words of wisdom for others looking to make change in their communities.” Panelists include Marta Alcalá-Williams, Dewana Little, Phyllis Utley and Iindia Pearson. Click here for the Facebook event.

Standing on the Shoulders of African American Women Pioneers
Sunday, April 30, 3 pm, Edington Center
“The MLK, Jr. Association of Asheville and Buncombe County’s Stand Against Racism Program in partnership with the Residents Council of the Asheville Housing Authority.”

Food For Thought
To wrap up today’s post, I would like to share these editorials with you.

How America Fails Black Girls
By Morgan Jerkins for the New York Times
Excerpt: “Claims that black girls leave home voluntarily, if not coupled with an examination of all the reasons they might feel they need to leave, encourage the public to see black girls not as children in need of protection but adults responsible for their own predicament. As a result, few in authority do anything for them.”

Why White Women Must Make the Equal-Pay Fight More Inclusive
By Brittany Packnett for NY Mag
Excerpt: “Now can be the era when white women decide to be better than their ancestors. Now can be the awakening of privileged people of all stripes to not simply feign equality, but behave equitably.”

Until next time! Peace. 

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