Learning and loving.

Again, we feel great heaviness and seek great hope. Learning and loving can lead me towards the latter. Though hatred is being displayed, I also absorb wisdom and witness compassion.

While I have new essays percolating, today’s post is made up of announcements – opportunities to engage and invest, learn and love.

Tepeyac Consulting

Trust Black Women

Here is an invitation to what promises to be an excellent webinar next Tuesday hosted by Teyepac Consulting (who I am proud to be collaborating with):

“From Harriet Tubman, who led over 300 people to freedom through the Underground Railroad and led an armed assault along the Combahee River during the Civil War, to activist authors bell hooks and Angela Davis organizing against white supremacist capitalist patriarchy and a radical vision of liberatory love… black women have known that white-led feminism would not ever set them free. But what has emerged from that realization – a black- led feminist/womanist movement – may just set us all free. So, what does it mean to “trust black women” – beyond the “good ally” conversation? And, most importantly, what does it mean to be a person that black women can trust?

Join in on a conversation with Marisol Jiménez and Desiree Adaway as they share their thoughts and emergent questions on the path of building relationships across race while living in a white supremacist society.”

When: Tuesday, August 13, 2 – 3 pm EST
Cost: Free of charge


If you register, you will get a copy of the webinar even if you can’t attend it live. 

Season 2 of Se Ve Se Escucha

Cantrice Janelle Penn

Se Ve Se Escucha (Seen and Heard) is a podcast by the Center for Participatory Change (CPC) about language justice and what it means to be an interpreter, an organizer and bilingual in the US South. Language justice is about interpretation and translation, but it’s also about building meaningful relationships to organize and transform our communities.” The second season of the podcast just launched, with interviews with Cantrice Janelle Penn, founder of Queer Black Editing and Maestre Lourdes Rivas, author of “They Call Me Mix / Me llaman Maestre.” I always learn something listening to Se Ve Se Escucha, check it out on sevesescucha.com or wherever you tune in to podcasts!

Ami Worthen and Sophie Dixon

Celebrating Sophie Dixon

This is a belated congratulations to my friend Ms. Sophie Dixon, who was honored in May of this year as the City of Asheville “Volunteer of the Year” for her work with the Shiloh Neighborhood Association. You can read about her contributions in Shiloh and with the E.W. Pearson Collaborative here. In addition to those accomplishments, I celebrate the almost two decades of tireless service she has given to WRES 100.7 FM (one I the things I love most in Asheville). Ms. Sophie volunteers at the station several days a week, running operations which are essential to keeping WRES on the air. She is a true inspiration to me!

Community Fund for Itiyopiya Ewart

Itiyopiya Ewart
Itiyopiya Ewart

“Please support Itiyopiya Ewart attending Western Carolina University’s Social Work program this Fall 2019! She has been accepted into the program and is seeking support for $16,000 of the $20,000 total first-year cost of the full-time, 2 year Master of Social Work (MSW) program. The cost includes tuition, books and child care for her two children, Trelawney and Tatek (ages 21 -months and 7 years old).

Itiyopiya intends to become a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and will root her work in Adverse Childhood Experiences and Trauma-Related Mental Health. Itiyopiya believes that ‘understanding and healing our own personal trauma will help to grow empathy for ourselves which can be reciprocated to others.’ She demonstrates her commitment to building a just and equitable Asheville through her work within various community social justice movements. Through supporting her vision of obtaining an MSW, we will uplift an already engaged and valued African American community leader.

Councilperson Sheneika Smith says ‘Itiyopiya is a community treasure; a brilliant thinker with a golden heart. The mastery she displays in social policy, government administration, childhood education and community resiliency is invaluable. This degree of passion, forward thinking and bold leadership is most needed at this time. She is so worthy of our support!’

For Itiyopiya’s first Master’s degree in Teaching, she successfully yet stressfully ‘hustled’ her way through school as a single mother of a young child. Our invitation and hope with this campaign is that she will not have to experience similar hardship as she obtains her MSW, particularly in avoiding additional student loans that hinder so many students, and especially students of color. Please join in the support of Itiyopiya as she lives into her dreams!”

The text quoted above is from an online fundraiser that now has a glitch, here’s the updated donation info: contribute through Community Conflict Solution’s PayPal, paypal.me/robinfunstenCCS – indicate it is for Itiyopiya’s MSW Fund in the memo.

I have known and admired Iti for years, and am thrilled to support her pursuit of developing skills that are so needed in our community.

With Marisol Jiménez of Tepeyac Consulting and Bianca Gragg of the Colorful Pages Coalition (and Choco)

Colorful Pages Coalition

Are you hep to the Colorful Pages Coalition? If not, please look them up (they have great social media accounts) and support. I hope to write more about this awesome, necessary-for-the-collective-narrative initiative soon.



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