Workshops  |  Consults  |  Shop  |  Contact
Openness is our greatest human resource.

Rebecca Walker Blog

ABC News

ABC News

Hey check out my webcast on ABC News today on Hillary and Obama.

Short, but sweet.
February 5th, 2008

Modern Beauty

So today I got an email from a young high-school student in Australia, Patricia, doing a report on Third Wave and Women's Magazines. Because she heard somewhere that I founded Third Wave (true), she sent some questions and I did my best to answer. How'd I do?

1. What is your personal definition of "modern feminism"?

Any act or thought that leads to a safer, healthier, more equitable and enjoyable experience for women and the people who love them.

2. How do you think mainstream girls/women's magazines have impacted upon "modern" feminism?

Girl's/Women's magazines impact women positively and negatively. They provide a sense of community, a location for fantasies of glamour, a shared generational visual language, a heightened appreciation for fashion, and content that is relevant and helpful for girls and women, i.e. articles on breast cancer prevention, body-image issues, and the plight of women in other countries.

However, the magazines are at odds with their own goals of befriending the reader. By defining beauty in a limited way-white, thin, rich, overly-sexualized, and objectified-the magazines manufacture in girls and women a desire to alter ourselves, or, even worse, to question the worth and fabulousness of our own (i.e. not white, not thin, not rich) lives in comparison to those portrayed in the magazine. And because models don't speak, their fabulousness is all about how they look, not how they feel. The reader begins to see herself that way, to focus more on the external, "Do I look okay?' than on the internal, "Am I okay?"

Lately, my biggest concern with women's magazines is the rabid obsession with consumerism they espouse. It's not just about looking like the model, sharing the same silhouette or hair style, it's about being able to buy the two thousand dollar pair of shoes, the sublimely supple three thousand dollar handbag. The paper is slick, the photography flawless, the styling outrageously seductive. The end result: Where is my credit card? How can I make more money? What do I have to do to get that? All of which can undermine financial stability, career options, and self-esteem.

That said, as a sporadic reader of women's magazines, I believe readers can, with a healthy dose of restraint and mindfulness, have an interactive relationship with a fashion glossy. That is, the reader does not have to be a passive absorber of the messages of the magazine, but can pick and choose, based on their level of insight into these matters, which ideas and images to integrate into their consciousness. Readers can also read/look with a sense of irony and critique, changing the offensive material into a piece of cultural matter to be engaged and partially rejected, and not mindlessly shaped by. This line of thought is consistent with the Third Wave idea that women are not only victims, but agents in our own lives; our work as Third Wavers is not just to diminish victimization but to amplify agency.

3. What do you think of the direction that these mainstream magazines are headed in? Negative or positive and why?

Mainstream magazines depend on advertising dollars to survive, which is why the magazines reflect so directly the interests of those advertisers. Make-up, pharmaceutical cosmetics, fashion, etc., will continue to claim more pages, and meaningful, unsubsidized content will continue to fall away unless there is significant intervention.

As media empires are driven toward healthier trends by consumers-like green products and conflict-free diamonds-I believe we will see some positive change. Supporting the Dove campaigns for Real Beauty is one way to apply the needed pressure for change. Dove is having an incredible impact on women, girls and the industry at large by expanding the standard of beauty in their models, and initiating dynamic public discussion about the right for women to feel good about themselves as they are.

4. Is there a counter balance to whatever effects these particular mainstream magazines have? Any examples?

Women have to take responsibility for loving and accepting ourselves, period. There is an old Langston Hughes poem about a woman looking for her reflection in a sink full of dirty dishwater. We will never see ourselves if we keep looking to the wrong places for glimpses of our beauty. We live in an amazing moment. Never before have there been so many incredible women at our fingertips. From Frida Kahlo to Anais Nin, Yoko Ono to Angela Davis. With a simple Google search we can see some of the most brilliant and fashionable women in the world. These women of history should become our magazines, our friends, our mentors across time.

Other measures for counterbalance include education: readers should know who profits from the magazines and how the mags function as pieces of pop culture. Feedback about beauty and everything else should come from reliable sources that know and love us. Women and girls need to be involved in cultivating dynamic lives. I am learning French, swim as much as I can, study Tibetan Buddhism, travel as much as possible, read, cuddle with my partner and son. There is so much with which to build a life filled with happiness. The magazines can be an alternate world, almost like a drug, that delude one into thinking that happiness is in there, in that make believe world, rather than out here, in the life you have. Not true!

Exposure to international standards of beauty is also helpful. In Mali a woman is not considered beautiful unless she has a large forehead. To realize that different cultures have different ways of defining beauty helps us to understand that ours is also just cultural, just local, and not universal. This can be quite liberating.

I could go on and on, but we should also remember that women and girls choose to read women's magazines. Why not research what they like about them, and then create a magazine that includes those aspects while transforming the others. SASSY magazine was very successful at this, partly because young women made it themselves. What about non-profits or patrons coming forward to support pro-woman, content-positive pages in women's magazines without losing some of the other elements that make the mags pop?

What about enlightened beauty product companies, again, like Dove, nudging editorial in a more healthy direction? Or maybe Dove can found a magazine in the same way Oprah did, based on their already successful campaign concept? I'd read that.

5. Do you believe that magazines aimed at teenage girls/young women encourage them to foster unrealistic expectations? If so, what?

I am troubled that glossy mainstream women's magazines suggest that by dressing, looking, and spending a certain way, the girl/woman will be assured respect, love, success, adoration, and attention; in short, a fabulous life. In real life fabulousness is more about balance, choice, access, safety, opportunity, intelligence. It's way more complicated than the way it looks in a magazine spread, and it takes a lifetime of hard work-internal and external.

6. Any extra comments/ remarks?

It's important to remember that the adornment and objectification of female beauty is an ancient ritual; women's magazines are only contemporary versions on a theme dating back to before Nefertiti donned her exquisite crown and applied her dramatic eyeliner. Critiques of the magazines are absolutely justified, but should be carefully considered. Female beauty will always be powerful, we just want every woman to feel and own that power.
February 3rd, 2008

Outsiders Within Introduction

 

Here's some video about the collection on transracial adoption mentioned in my last post: Outsiders Within...

January 21st, 2008

Double Blood

Thanks Ayo, who wrote yesterday that she's transracial. Even though the term has primarily been used to describe of color adoptees adopted by white famillies, I love the potential for the term and I've been pondering it quite a bit in the last year. It's much closer to how I feel than biracial. I belong to many "races" rather than feeling an outright, pure allegiance to one or two. And isn't that the future we all want, one that's fluid, one that identifies with struggle, but with the transcending of that struggle as well? This, fundamentally is a discussion about home. Where it is and how we define ourselves within it in a way that is empowering rather than disempowering.

On a similar note, at one of my lectures in Amsterdam last month, many in the audience were part Dutch, part Surinamese, and when I spoke of being "mixed" they shared their term: Double Blood. And when the daily paper in Amsterdam, Het Parool, did a spread on me, that was the headline: Double Blood, and I was thrilled by the shift. I feel we are finally at the place where our two or three or four sided identity can be seen irrefutably as a place of power and not victimization. Why not claim it all?

We have two traditions, we are not half of anything; we are transracial, we are not bifurcated. I like too, how transracial is different from postracial; it doesn't deny that ideas of race exist, it just chooses a different position towards those ideas. I also like that the term is open and inclusive, all people can embrace it, not just people of color or of many backgrounds, thus allowing allies to use it rather than feel perpetually on the outside. I really think transracial is a term of the future.

Thanks Ayo and all of my Dutch Afro-Surinamese sisters. You've given me a new way of seeing myself. The best present of all.

Check out both Ayo's blog: www.rainbowfriends.net and also the blog for Outsiders Within, an important discussion regarding adoption that I find especially relevant as I have received so much criticism for my statements in Baby Love about the desire of some adoptive parents to erase the reality of biological parents by denying the difference between the two.

And of course, this seems a particularly important discussion to be having on Martin Luther King Jr.'s official birthday. I'm sure he would approve.
January 21st, 2008

Writer Alice Walker Endorses Barack Obama

 

My mom's made up her mind...

January 19th, 2008

Strike One for Team Hillary

Running on my Huffington Post Blog Today:

The Fence

As a bi-racial, Ivy-League educated, thirty-something feminist who campaigned for Bill Clinton, the election has me squarely on the fence. I love Barack's vision and know intimately the mosaic of ideas and experiences that helped shape it. I also feel a profound loyalty to Hillary who, after much sacrifice, has the chance to shatter the glass ceiling once and for all.

Gloria Steinem's op-ed in the NYTimes didn't help Team Hillary [full disclosure, GS is my godmother]. It crystallized for me that Hillary, no matter how symbolically potent, runs the risk of being seen as a Second Wave candidate. She's one of the first women to gain power and access, and may be one of the first with power and access to ignore the criticisms of women of color, progressive men, and many young women, all of whom have been sending clear messages to Second Wave feminist leadership for well over a decade.

Messages like:

Women are not only victims, but active participants in the shaping of their lives. It's not Hillary's gender that may keep her from winning this election, it's her lack of preparation. If she had an inter-generational, multi-racial, digitally savvy, globally inclined machine behind her, crafting electrifying rhetoric like The Audacity of Hope and The Power of Now, she'd be swept into the White House by a landslide. Hillary wasn't forced into the number two position in Iowa, she made decisions that put her there. New Hampshire is a case in point; she made different decisions and got different results.

Racism and classism are as definitive as sexism. Did Steinem insinuate that Barack's gender, and not his talent, put him in the top spot? I thought black men were capable of performing at his level without an irrationally granted advantage. And the idea that black men always reach the Promised Land before white women? Forty per cent of black men don't finish high school in America, and one in four are incarcerated. Hillary, and her feminist supporters, are not going to win this election by glossing over the realities of African-American men.

Men are not the enemy. Steinem claims that sexism is responsible for Hillary's loss in Iowa, implicitly accusing men-at-large of devaluing women, while many of them may simply be more inspired by a candidate who happens to be a man. This type of divisive discourse that judges and alienates the many men who support the women in their families, communities, and the civic sphere every day is not only bad for women, it's bad for Hillary's campaign. Obama is running as a uniter. Hillary needs to avoid re-inscribing historical divisions in order to gain ground.

And, finally:

Young women are not stupid. The idea that young women are too naive to realize the pervasiveness of sexism is an old Second Wave trope used to dismiss and discredit an entire generation, many of whom now support Obama because he doesn't insult them. As a result, there are a few women lining up behind the "feminist" placard, but many more running in the other direction.

Far from being ungrateful or unintelligent, these women know that confrontational political labels and a religious fixation on gender aren't productive. They, rightly, choose to enjoy the rights they should have had all along, and find other, more complex approaches to righting the rampant injustice in the world. Hillary's gender is not enough to win their vote, and she needs to show them that she knows it.

So while there's still plenty of time for Hillary to win me over, Obama is looking pretty good at the moment. He's listened to what many of my generational peers and I have been saying for the last decade, and his momentum proves it.

January 14th, 2008

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

The Story of Stuff with Annie Leonard

So a few weeks ago, Katrin Sandberg from ZenTV in Sweden wrote me an email asking for an interview. She was in LA and I was in Hawaii but I told her I'd love to talk to her, and could she find a way to come over?

She did.

Today I got in my truck (we use ethanol here!) and drove down from the volcano into the lush jungle of Haiku, down a little dirt road into a beautiful dharma temple filled with Buddhas and views of the ocean from every spot. All bamboo, all sustainable, one hundred per cent off the grid.

Kartin and I talked for a couple of hours and then Kutira, who created the amazing eco-retreat, came in and we spent some time talking about, what else, Obama and Hillary and changing the world. We all agreed that we wanted an Obama-Clinton ticket, or a Clinton-Obama ticket. Then Kutira said she had to show me an amazing short video.

And so we sat in the bamboo temple with wind blowing and the ocean crashing, watching this little video on her Mac (solar powered, of course).

I know everyone is talking about elections, Kenya, and Britney Spears, but here's another way to look at the whole situation. Smart, educational, and empowering, The Story of Stuff is good for the whole human family.

Thanks Katrin, for moving with it. Thanks Kutira, for being open. Big day.
January 10th, 2008

More Election 2008

Hey all, just stayed up writing a response to Gloria Steinem's NYTimes Oped piece, but I sent it to the Times so can't post here. What I can post is an interview I've just finished for the Italian daily paper Corriere della Sera about the election and Obamamania:

1. Did you already make your choice as far as the upcoming presidential election?

Like many in the US, I am undecided. Because the outcome of this election is so critical to the future of humanity, I am approaching the race with great caution and respect.

2. As a feminist and at the same time a Jewish and Black American do you find this a particularly difficult choice to make?

I can say that in an ideal world, I would be able to vote for both. It would be a great victory for America and the world if the winner takes the loser on as VP. That's the real winning ticket.

3. Which of the Democratic candidates best represent your many souls?

If I had to choose one whose message resonates the most, I would choose Obama. Like me, he's biracial, ivy-league educated, and believes deeply that he can bring his faith in humanity to the table and make profound, lasting change. But there's a reason I'm not a politician. The global political stage is a tough place for optimistic human beings of integrity. Hillary's got a lot more experience holding up under the pressure of right wing henchmen.

4. How do you explain Barack Obama's stellar ascent? Is he really a better candidate than Hillary? Why is America so in love with him?

Barack Obama is more in tune with where we are going than where we've come from. He transcends racial barriers, has a powerhouse wife, and says he wants all Americans to have a chance, no matter how rich or poor. It is unclear at the moment if he is a better candidate than Hillary, but we can definitely say his rhetoric is better. The audacity of hope. The time is now. One America. In a country of consumers, it's all about the advertising, and he's got that in the bag. Americans also love Obama because this is fundamentally a Judeo-Christian country; most Americans believe that either the messiah is coming, or the meek will inherit the earth. Obama represents both.

5. Is Obama really equally loved by both black and white Americans?

This is hard to say. I know some black Americans who aren't enthusiastic about him and some white Americans who are. It appears that race is not a handicap for him at this point.

6. Some African-Americans at the beginning attacked him as more white than black, citing his mother's race and the fact that he does not share the pain and suffering of their ancestors brought to the American shores in chains. What do you think about this argument? Do you have to share a common history of slavery to be called a true Afro-American?

I don't subscribe to the idea that you are not black if you haven't lived in a shack or shined white men's shoes your whole life. I do think it is important for all candidates to be able to speak with gravity and sincerity to those who have.

7. What do you like most about Obama? What do you like most about Hillary?

I like Obama's wife, Michelle. I like Hillary's husband, Bill.

8. If Hillary were to lose again tonight in New Hampshire what will happen to her campaign?

She won.

9. Which strategy would you advise her to follow to rescue her campaign?

Hillary needs to let the American people into her heart. She needs to let people know she feels their pain and has the medicine to make it go away. She needs to show that's she a mother, a wife, a friend, a multi-dimensional human being who has a calling to make America and the world a fundamentally better place for everyone. It's tough because in order for her to get where she is, she's had to play like a man. That moment is gone, however, and this political moment calls for her to act like a woman.

10.Do you know how your parents will be voting?

I'm fairly certain that both of my parents will be voting for Obama, but until the moment of truth it's a toss-up.

January 9th, 2008

Election 2008--Salon

Hey, just wanted to share a short clip I've got in Salon's round up about the 2008 election.

Election 2008

Truth be told, I'd like a Hillary-Obama ticket, just like on Rod Lurie's Commander-in-Chief. We all know Jim Gardner, the brilliant and loyal black Chief of Staff, was the real Vice to Mackenzie Allen's principled first woman Prez. I want that in the White House next year. Not just a little tiny piece of change, but the whole fucking enchilada. That's the only way out of the godawful mess we're in.

But that's playing it safe, isn't it? And the real point of these round-ups is to see how those of us with so-called split allegiances are going to manage the calculus of this watershed moment. Do I want the woman or the half-black man? Dare I turn my back on the almighty Oprah and support Billary? What is a biracial girl to do?

Of course I could always roll out the who has more experience yadda yadda yadda. I could have my virtual assistant in India pull up every single vote Hillary and Barack ever cast, and make my determination on the issues. But that would be silly, because we all know this race is about emotion. It's about change. It's about the time being now. It's about multi-generational work. It's about outrageously powerful power couples. It's about being married to the answer.

Like most Americans, I am going to keep my vote to myself because it's my right to do so, and because I love going into the voting booth, pulling the curtain shut behind me and facing the moment of truth. Until then, nothing is for sure.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
January 5th, 2008

Benazir Bhutto 1953-2007

Hello everyone,

Like you, I am devastated by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. She stood as one of the very few woman leaders with the political power to make lasting change on behalf of women, families and humanity at large, especially in this charged political environment.

After losing her father and brothers to military extremists, Bhutto continued to believe in the democratic process, and continued to draw strength from her belief as a young woman that she could, in fact, become Prime Minister of her nation.

While in office, Benazir Bhutto brought electricity to the countryside of Pakistan and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing, and health care her top priorities, and spoke with determination about continuing to modernize Pakistan. While she was clearly not without controversy, her intellectual brilliance, passionate pursuit of human rights, and fierce optimism will be her enduring legacy.

I deeply hope that her death will not be in vain, and that leaders and cultural workers everywhere will be emboldened to follow her lead of unwavering faith in the good of humanity in the face of tremendous evidence to the contrary.

I also hope that in the coming reflections on her life, the fact that Bhutto was a woman is not overlooked or downplayed. Her assassination is a clear sign of mounting aggression toward women leaders who believe in a humanitarian --and not purely militaristic-- response to unfolding events.

I hope that female leaders everywhere will use this opportunity to continue to articulate and further the struggle for the global empowerment of women. Bhutto's assassination marks a critical moment, not only for the stability of the modern world, but for the safety of women at large.

I send love and continued hope to Benazir Bhutto's children and extended family, and to the women, men and children of Pakistan. And of course, to all of you.

Rebecca

December 28th, 2007

San Miguel Atencion

Hey here's an interview I just did for the paper in San Miguel de Allende about the upcoming writer's conference. Hope someone out there comes up and says hi. This interview was with Gina Hyams, editor of the Searching for Mary Poppins:

1. What is your writing schedule like? Do you have a favorite place to write or any creativity-inducing rituals?

Since having my son, I have had to throw a lot of my ideas about where and when to write out the window. I now write anywhere I can charge my laptop: the bed, the sofa, a chair in the backyard. I also write in hotels more lately, and try to build a few extra days for writing into my lecture schedule. My other trick is to wait until I really know what I want and need to say. Then I add a few months onto that until I can't contain it anymore. The urgency makes me write faster.

2. You have been extremely brave about delving into and revealing your complex personal truths in your memoirs and you have paid dearly for doing so. You wrote in Baby Love that your mother was so furious about what you wrote in Black, White, and Jewish that she disinherited you. Was it worth it? Is it worth it?

Well, it certainly wasn't the best financial decision I've ever made! Because my mother is such a powerhouse in the industry (think Oprah and many, many others) and people take sides, the estrangement has had a serious impact on my career and the resources available to me.

Access aside, as millions of people know, my mother is a tremendous human being and I love and respect her deeply. The rub is that, like her, I'm a writer: my life is my material. It's an issue all writers deal with: Is it possible to tell my story without hurting others? What happens to the world of letters if writers only write what is acceptable? What is the point of writing if you can't be truthful?

Some of my favorite memoirists, women like Anais Nin, Simone de Beauvoir, Audre Lorde, Diane DiPrima, Marguerite Duras, Susanna Kaysen, bell hooks, Lucy Grealy, asha bandele and others, didn't write what made everyone comfortable. They wrote what they needed to write, and the truth of their expression stands the test of time. I hope my work does the same.

So I guess that's a yes. It is worth it. And the cost is tremendous. I often tell writers in my workshops that their biggest fear about telling their story can come true: you can lose the people you love the most. But, as many of those same writers like to tell me, the opposite is also true: you can become closer to the people you love; telling your story can be a cathartic place of healing. I thought that would be true for me and my family. So far, not so much. But there is still time. I'll never close the door.

3. You have edited three non-fiction anthologies and contributed to at least twenty others. Why do you think anthologies as a genre became so popular and do you think the publishing trend is over? What is your new anthology about and when will it be out? I hear there is a local author in it.


The first anthology I read was This Bridge Called My Back by the late Chicana writer Gloria Anzaldua, and my all-time favorite is We Are the Stories We Tell. The genre endures because it fulfills a human longing to see the world from different points of view, all at once. And then there is the fact that collections are like parties for introverts: you meet the most fascinating people without having to leave the house. It's the original virtual community.

My new anthology is about new family configurations. It is called Walk This Way: Introducing the New American Family. It's about all the ways people are living these days: from birthing at home without a midwife, living polyamorously, and inviting the nanny to be a full-fledged family member, to co-housing, transracial adoption, and intercultural ex-pat life. SMdA resident Susan McKinney de Ortega is covering that last topic, and I'm thrilled to include her essay about moving to San Miguel, falling in love and starting what to some may seem like a non-traditional family.

4. Have you been in San Miguel de Allende before? If so, what is the first experience you look forward to having (place to go, etc.) upon each return?

This will be my first trip to San Miguel de Allende, though my mother owns a house in Mexico and I've spent over two decades going back and forth: the country is in my blood. I'm looking forward to speaking Spanish, a language I love, and eating carne asada with beans and rice. I'm looking forward to the light, the warmth of the people, and the focus on family rather than consumerism. I'm looking forward to architectural beauty and diversity. And of course, I am looking forward to meeting some wonderful writers.
December 11th, 2007

San Francisco Bay Guardian

San Francisco Bay Guardian : Article

Hey everyone, I've got so much to report, from talks with students about sex after pregnancy in Florida to hanging out with beautiful Surinamese-Dutch women in Amsterdam, it's been an amazing ride. As soon as I'm rested, I will catch you all up, but in the meantime, this article about the parenting boom in SF Bay Guardian caught my eye as I was walking down the street here in SF today, and I thought I'd share the article and the note I wrote the writer:

Hey Amanda, I don't have a brilliant quip or raging critique to throw your way, just simple appreciation for a well-written and dead-on article about our generation's ridiculously overwrought and self-absorbed approach to parenting. Like you, I have been a victim of baby as accessory and felt tremendous shame about belonging to such a self-righteous tribe of breeders. I have long-since sold the Bugaboo stroller and let go of the idea of keeping my kid McDonald's free for life. I sometimes even let him watch tv for more than two hours! More important, I am learning to relax with him, to not be so precious about his every gesture or word, and to try to keep my love for him from drowning us both in a sea of mother-gush. It's too much pressure on me, but especially on him. Forcing him to play the role of the beloved, adored, golden child began to look and feel like its own form of child abuse. And yes, there are so many without. How can we raise our children to see, let alone care, about others who don't speak their language, literal or material? Thanks for the reminder.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
November 24th, 2007

Viva el Fox!

Hey!

Yesterday I spent the morning with the students of the Kingswood-Oxford School in Connecticut. I was invited by Yom Odamtten, a beloved English and History teacher there, and hosted by the Head of School Dennis Bisgaard and his wife Monica Bisgaard. I spoke about identity, what it is, where we get it, and when and how we can change it. Then students in Yom's literature class asked me tough questions about Black, White, and Jewish. I enjoyed my time there, and am so glad to have K-O on the mental map I carry with me everywhere. Wonderful place.

Today I participated in an incredibly powerful women's conference in Charlotte. I did a talk on the New Face of Feminism and afterwards had the opportunity to spend some time with former President of Mexico Vicente Fox and his brilliant and passionate wife, Marta Sahagun de Fox. Together, they spoke about the tremendous social reforms they are working on through their new Presidential Library. One of the four items on their agenda: Gender Equality.

It was a delight to hear President Fox talking about his deep love and admiration for his wife, and how together they believe that the 21st Century is destined to be led by women, who have the compassion, love, and efficacy the future demands. They were deeply inspiring. Having grown up part-time in Mexico, I feel a particularly strong bond with the couple responsible for bringing greater transparency to the Mexican government, at least attempting to resolve the stand-off in Chiapas, and more attention to education and health care in the country.

Also, I'm usually not one to gush over corporate sponsors, but the conference was sponsored by Wachovia, an extremely woman and mother-friendly company. After spending some time with Shannon MacFayden, head of Human Resources for Wachovia and her co-workers, I'm thinking of switching banks! Also, Marie and the rest of the folks at the Tribble Group did an AMAZING job of making it all flawless.

More news from the next stop: Eckerd College in St. Petersburg. I'm looking forward to the sunshine.

Hope you're happy where you are.

Peace and love,
Rebecca
October 31st, 2007

FANNIE LOU HAMER (1917-1977) BEAUTIFUL, ALSO, ARE THE SOULS OF MY BLACK SISTERS

Hey everybody,

When I was growing up, my mother spoke reverently of Fannie Lou Hamer and her critical role in the civil rights movement. We had a photograph of her in our home, and every time I sang the spiritual "This Little Light of Mine" I imagined myself singing alongside Fannie Lou Hamer at the Democratic National Convention of 1964.

I was happy to come across this entry on her life and work, and wanted to share it with you.

Long live the Fannie Lou Hamer in us all.

Love,
Rebecca
October 24th, 2007

Ka'iulani: The Highest Point of Heaven

Hi,

Since I've been living in Hawaii, I have become even more aware of the struggles of Hawaiian people in the face of "statehood." I have been particularly inspired by the half Hawaiian and half Scottish Princess Ka'iulani, heir apparent to the Hawaiian throne when the US declared Hawaii a protectorate.

The video is very moving and provides, in just eight minutes, a very good overview of the final years of Hawaiian independence. For even more info (and an image of one of Princess Ka'iulani's beautiful paintings), read her story on Wikipedia.

Much aloha,
Rebecca

October 16th, 2007