I was so fortunate to have been invited to participate in Crip Camp by the late Stacey Park Milbern. It was really important to me that my contribution pushed a conversation about disability and Blackness and I think I achieved that. I also got to meet and fan-girl over Alice Wong and her incredible book and collection, Disability Visibility. Here’s the recording in case you missed it!
I had the pleasure of speaking with Monica A. Coleman and Tananarive Due on the 6th episode of their Octavia Tried To Tell Us podcast Saturday. I was a guest to the show alongside one of my favorite Black feminist thinkers, Dr. Farah Jasmine Griffin.
1. What are you looking forward to at MIT? I’m excited to be connected to feminists who are actively exploring the sciences. My course, “Black Feminist Health Science Studies,” [WGS.S10, offered Spring 2021] is really designed to make some critical connections between feminism, science, technology, and society. I really can’t think of a better group of students with which to explore these topics.
2. Your new book #HashtagActivism came out at a poignant time with Covid-19 keeping us home more. What are the crucial hashtags you are looking out for in the “new civil rights movement?” Unfortunately, I think we will continue to see hashtags that point to the public health crisis that is racism in the form of the names of extrajudicially killed Black people. I am excited about the hashtags that help expand our advocacy to behavior changes like #StayTheFuckHome and #MasksSaveLives.
3. Favorite song? If the class had a theme song it would be “Brujas” by Princess Nokia.
Join authors Sarah J. Jackson, Moya Bailey, and Brooke Foucault Welles to look at how marginalized groups use Twitter to advance counter-narratives, preempt political spin, and build diverse networks of dissent. Learn more about the book: https://bit.ly/35DTLt4
Queer and allied students of Spelman College at the March for Women’s Lives in 2004.
The “Notorious BGS” strikes again. While the rest of us were wringing our hands about the latest far right homophobic attack, Beverly Guy-Sheftall has been quietly working to build institutions that will support us beyond reaction. I pride myself on staying up to date on the happenings of my alma mater but when my Spelman sister Ruha Benjamin forwarded me THE announcement I was shocked! Not only was I shocked by the incredible news, I was shocked to find that I was sitting in the same room with two of the people who made it possible at the moment it was announced, Evelynn Hammonds and of course Beverly Guy-Sheftall.
The significance of this gift cannot be understated. By establishing an endowed chair, the person hired for this position is freed from the institutional bureaucracy that is often used to silence progressive and radical thought. The person in this position will be free to develop curriculum, programs, and events that support Spelman College and other HBCUs in the vitally important work of gender and sexuality justice.
HBCUs have long been leaders in fomenting racial justice minded graduates but this position has the ability to build on the incredible work that the Women’s Research and Resource Center (WRRC) is already doing to equip these same graduates with a liberatory framework around gender and sexuality. It was less than 15 years ago that the first queer theory course was taught at Spelman or at any HBCU, by alumna Layli Mapayan, and just last year that the WRRC announced the development of a Gender and Sexuality Institute. BGS has been busy.
When folks ask, what’s next after marriage equality, I hope they will look to Jon Stryker’s gift as a possibility model. This is what solidarity looks like and this is what it looks like to use your privilege in the service of others. It’s clear that ally is measured not in word but deed. I couldn’t be prouder of my Spelman sisters Beverly and Evelynn’s radical commitments to Spelman College.
Sarah J. Jackson, Brooke Foucault Welles and I wrote a book!!! Here’s an article based on one of our chapters. I can’t wait for the book to be in the world!
From the earliest feminist press to Twitter, women have used technology to create and sustain narratives that demand attention and redress for gendered violence. Herein we argue that the #MeToo boom was made possible by the digital labor, consciousness-raising, and alternative storytelling created through the #YesAllWomen, #SurvivorPrivilege, #WhyIStayed, and #TheEmptyChair hashtag networks. Each of these hashtags highlight women’s experiences with interpersonal and institutionally-enabled violence and each was precipitated by high-profile news events. Alongside an examination of Twitter networks, we consider the social and cultural conditions that made each hashtag significant at particular moments, examining the ideological and political work members of these hashtag networks perform. We find that feminist hashtags have been successful in creating an easy-to-digest shorthand that challenges and changes mainstream narratives about violence and victimhood.