Two Shameless Feminists

When my friend Angela Altus—of Bushwick Daily and Shameless Photography—spread the word that she was looking for volunteers to man up in front of the camera for a project called “This is What a Feminist Looks Like,” I was all ears.

“The purpose of the project is to showcase the many faces of feminism, and how shared values span gender, age, race and so much more,” she wrote. While my combined characteristics peg me as just about the most predictable feminist in the world, I still wanted to represent! Thankfully, so did my fabulous husband.

Feminists in bike helmets

In our bike helmets, OF COURSE

The shoot took place at Shameless’s awesome space in an old industrial building in Dumbo earlier this month (site of countless body-positive boudoir photo sessions!), and has so far resulted in some gorgeous documentation on the studio’s website and Instagram; I wouldn’t be surprised to find some of these brilliant shots on billboards soon!

Big ups to all the ladies and dudes involved in this uplifting creative project. The organizers said it best themselves: “No matter our differences, if we can come together around equality, we can accomplish great things for the world.”


Also: My friend Kaitlin Archambault of Incendiary Designs recently redesigned Angela’s website. Wonderful, isn’t it?

Celebrating the first-ever National Day of Racial Healing

Seems like an apt annual holiday to instate, doesn’t it?

I collaboratively penned this article about one facet of the puzzle—the role of structural racism in our neighborhoods, and how resident-leaders are turning back its tide—with the wise and wonderful people at ioby.

ioby neighborh vacant lot project

You can get more info about the National Day of Racial Healing, an initiative of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation with support from over 130 other organizations, on its website or with the hashtag .

A tryptophan-laced Quote-n-Meme-fest

According to some possibly-reliable source I just encountered on the internet, “tryptophan [the notorious turkey-derived soporific] is an essential amino acid needed for growth and development, producing niacin and creating serotonin in the body… Lots of other foods contain as much or more tryptophan as turkey, and do not cause drowsiness.”

This is especially good news given that I’m a longtime vegetarian and haven’t cracked into a T-Day turkey since high school. Conveniently, tryptophan-heavy pumpkin seeds, soybeans, and lentils are all staples of my everyday diet already. Niacin, here we come!

All this talk of chemically-induced healthy sleep and stable moods is leading up to something other than a series of funny turkey memes, though…

Hillary Clinton turkey gif

Albeit there will be those, too.

Mostly, I wanted to leave you for the upcoming holiday weekend with three quotations I’ve read or heard in the past couple of weeks that have helped me envision the path forward after this upending presidential election.

First, from ioby, a revolutionary platform for starting and supporting neighborhood-based projects (and one of my favorite clients):

We believe that getting to know our neighbors, and working together to solve problems, is a transformative act of healing.

We need to remind ourselves that democracy is not just about voting and protesting; democracy is also giving, leading, doing, and inviting others to participate in building the social and physical fabric of our society. The neighbor-led change we support every day is civic engagement. If we work together, we can — and will — heal and shape the future of our communities.

Older man with turkey hat gif

Next is the venerable Malcolm Gladwell, with his podcast Revisionist History. I listened to episode 10—”The Satire Paradox“—at the gym today and enjoyed its parting shot:

Nothing of consequence gets accomplished without courage.

[Speaking to the stories in the first 10 episodes of the series:] You can’t educate the poor without making difficult choices, without giving up some portion of your own privilege. You can’t be a great basketball player without being willing to look stupid. You can’t heal your church without sacrificing your own career. You can’t even drive a car properly unless you’re willing to acknowledge that you sometimes make mistakes: stupid, involuntary, dumb mistakes.

The path to a better world is hard. Is that depressing? I don’t think so. I think what’s depressing is when we ignore everything history is trying to tell us.

Psychedelic turkey gif

And last, a quote -slash elegy for the late, great Leonard Cohen, who I learned over the years to revere, if not always like. This one came to me from my internet buddy Pooja at Life’s Fine Whine:

Leonard Cohen quote

Hope you enjoy the holiday, everyone. See you on the other side.

Last week’s Mashable Social Good Summit was pointless

I’m sort of cringing at that snippy, click bait-y title, but it really was not good.

I’d heard about this annual social good event for the past few years, but hadn’t had occasion to go. Then a friend of mine, who’s launching a new design and social good conference in Portland next year, asked if I would attend this year’s program in her stead and give her notes.

I was genuinely interested. Also, I’m sure I don’t need to say that when you offer a freelance writer a free ticket to something, she’ll always go. So I went.

A (good) freelance writer will also always try to show-not-tell you about their experience. So here’s what I saw, as reported to my notebook during the event:

At least they had one of those celebrity backdrops you could stand in front of.

At least they had one of those celebrity backdrops you could stand in front of.

  • “Objectively meaningless two-minute video where the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal flags are waving around groups of ethnically-diverse children.”
  • “Opening ceremony = brief introductions to each of the SDGs by celebrities Victoria Beckham, the clock/”bomb” kid, Adrian Grenier, a taped speech by Jennifer Lopez… This is not helpful or interesting! Just a parade of celebrities.”
  • “The Digital Media Lounge appears to be a room with a bunch of tables where people are using laptops and there’s a screen projecting the live program happening in the auditorium. The lounge is where the coffee and snacks are, too, which was not explained to us before.”
  • “Did the conference website crash, or is the wifi in here just getting deluged? Been 10 minutes and it hasn’t loaded.”
  • “Moderator: ‘These kids will be leading this summit 15 years from now.’ Yawn.”
  • “Panel participant: ‘Social media is used by young people, who are going to be the ones driving change for the next decades, so we need to use and pay attention to social.’ Is this news??”
  • “There is a panel called ‘Champions of the Earth.’ “
  • “I see people with pizza, and I smell pizza. I guess we got pizza! No instructions or explanations. It’s like a secret!”
  • “I’m not sure who’s here, or why. There was no chance to network—other than waiting in line for the bathroom, which I did—and I’m left with no sense of who would come to this. Starting to think it was just a bunch of UN moles!!”
  • “Closing remarks were compassionately brief. We were asked to leave the auditorium immediately afterward.”

I could go on, but I don’t want to embarrass anyone, exactly. And there were some gems:

A deservedly tired Bill McKibben spoke about, among other things, the similarities between tobacco and oil companies when their jigs have been up.

Moxie Marlinspike issued the very interesting thought that laws should be difficult to enforce: “How would we know that public opinion and demand was swaying in support of same-sex marriages if no one had ever seen an ‘illegal’ same-sex relationship in public? Same goes for marijuana legalization in Washington and Colorado. We need to see how people act outside of what they’re told to do by laws in order to see what they’re really like; what they really want and need.”

Lara Logan was a tough and smart moderator who brought needed rigor and vigor to her discussions.

But overall, I was surprised by how much time and care went into something that wound up being so banal and providing such little value. My peanut gallery tips to conference organizers of the future:

  • Make it concrete, not conceptual. Statistics and stories can be useful; platitudes are not.
  • For the love of god, build time to network into your schedule. No one wants to go to a conference, sit for six hours, then go home. Networking is half the point.
  • Either tell us to bring a lunch, or tell us there will be food (and preferably what and where and when, too). Also for the love of god.

That’s it. No hard feelings, Mashable (although I can’t recall seeing anything on your site that’s really grabbed me, either). Just… sayin’.