Raise Your Hand!

raise your hand

A ten year old came up with a solution to a problem I’ve been having since I can remember. Junior Alice T. came up with the Raise Your Hand Campaign after she noticed the boys in her class participating more than the girls. This is her message to all girls to help us be more confident as leaders.

Her campaign went viral. Read Alice’s Op-Ed in the New York Times.

Now it’s our turn to get involved! Here are the steps you can take:

  1. Click here to download a printable version of the Raise Your Hand Pledge, or sign it online.
  2. Recruit other girls to join in on the movement and sign the pledge (if you want to earn the patch, recruit 3).
  3. Take a picture showing us how you raise your hand, and upload it to Facebook.com/gscnc using #gsRaiseYourHand. In the caption, share how the challenge went.

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So I challenge you to: Be Bold. Be Brave. Raise Your Hand.

The Raise Your Hand patch is available online here.

 

Evan Glass for Montgomery County Council!

I have exciting news to share! Evan Glass, someone who has been very influential in my life, is launching his campaign for Montgomery County Council At-Large Rep. I am ecstatic to offer him my support for his campaign.

Evan Glass is the Executive Director of a program called Gandhi Brigade Youth Media. Gandhi Brigade Youth Media is a pioneering afterschool program that empowers young people in the Washington, DC region to use multimedia as tools to promote community building, multicultural understanding and the common good.

I have been working with Gandhi Brigade since the beginning of last summer, and through it Evan has provided me with so many opportunities to learn and grow. He guided us through the production of the film: To Serve and Protect, which can be viewed here:

Evan has been a community activist for the last few years as well. His passion for fighting for equal rights is inspiring, and this will translate well into County Council. I am thrilled that Evan is expanding his reach to more people, and therefore more youth.

Check out his website for more information about him, or to get involved!

And mark your calendars for his campaign kickoff on September 16th at El Golfo!

For more information please email info@evanglass.com.

Girl Scout Gold Award: To Serve and Protect

This past year, I have been working on my Girl Scout Gold Award called To Serve and Protect. It focused on two things– police accountability, and connecting youth to adults (especially police). The first step of the Gold Award Take Action process was completing a documentary (view it here!) focusing on police accountability in conjunction with Gandhi Brigade Youth Media. Creating the documentary took the majority of the time. We started off with research on the topic, and gathering statistics. After this initial research period, my team split into doing different tasks. These tasks included graphic design, music, interviewing people, scriptwriting, and editing. We even got to attend a protest! Even though all of these things took a lot of time, seeing the outcome made it worth it.

After publishing the documentary, the next step was planning the panel discussion. It was hosted on June 5 at a church. Participants in the panel included:

Eddie Ellis: Motivational speaker and founder of One By 1, Inc.

Minister Kenyatta Gilbert: Homiletics Professor at Howard University, author of A Pursued Justice: Black Preaching from the Great Migration to Civil Rights

Thomas Nephew: Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

Julian Norment: County Executive Liaison to the African American Community (Montgomery County Collaboration Council)

Officer Ana Hester: Montgomery County Police Department

Rick Hart: Maryland State NAACP, Youth and College Division

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From left to right: Alix, Dr. Kenyatta Gilbert, Thomas Nephew (back), Rick Hart, Julian Norment (back), Officer Ana Hester, Eddie Ellis

Please view this recap of the event and panel discussion:


Two articles were written about the event. View them here:

Montgomery County Media

Montgomery County Civil Rights Coalition

For teens who were not able to attend, here are some tips:

  • Stay calm.
  • Do not curse at or try to fight police.
  • Do not joke around with police officers in serious situations.
  • Do not run away– the police are more likely to think you did something wrong.
  • You are able to report police to their department if they treat you unfairly.
  • You are not obligated to answer questions unless you have a parent or lawyer present.
  • You have the right to film a police officer.

I am very honored to have completed this project and hosted this event. I hope to plan and host more in the future!

Voices of the Gayborhood: People.

The Gayborhood is a section of Center City, Philadelphia, with a vibrant, thriving gay community. These are its people.

Lauren Edited.jpgLauren Roatche
Age 33
“It’s given me everything in the past year.”

Aaron Edited.jpgAaron Nutt
Age 30
“I chose my work space because it was in this particular part of the city.”

Chauntae Edited.jpgChauntaé Bell
Age 17
“We have a lot of LGBT who come in, and it’s great to get to know them because they’re great people.”

Anon Edited.jpgAnonymous
“I don’t think of myself as part of the gay community…so I don’t… I mean I’m gay but–”

Drew edited.jpgDrew Cicatelli
“That’s what it’s all about. Being safe. Together.”

Robert Edited.jpgRobert
How long have you lived around here?
“How long have you been alive?”
17 years.
“Much longer than you’ve been alive.”

Jim Edited.jpgJim MacMillan
“You’ve heard, it’s had some challenges– much like other neighborhoods– around integration, but people don’t stop trying. It’s about peace. And justice. And freedom. And everything that Philadelphia stands for.”

Nick Edited.jpgNick Greiner
Age 40
“I’m doing it because Planned Parenthood in San Francisco saved my fucking life.”

Alix Swann, JCamp Reporter 2017

Meet Trae, also known as A$hy Black Thug

Here is the original link to the post in Novice Magazine through Apple News, since Apple News is not available on the computer!

Meet Trae, also known as A$hy Black Thug.

Trae started rapping when he was 16– at least, that’s when he learned how to structure songs and words on a beat. It’s taken quite a while for him to gain momentum in this business– after all, he just became a “famous rapper” 4.5 months ago, which is approximately 8 years later.img_7409.png

To be a young black artist, a lot of the time, is hard. Of course Trae feels this, but he also puts a positive spin on it.  One of the most important things he said to me was “it feels good to know I’m a part of whatever we decide to create. Obviously, most of pop culture, if not all, comes from young black artists. So to know that I’m at the forefront of whatever shit is bout to sound like, whatever people bout to be wearing, whatever car people gon’ wanna drive… to be a young black rapper, I know I’m gonna be at the forefront of all of that.” Throughout all of the struggle and hardship, our blackness helps us survive in this world, and convey that we’re here to stay.

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Even though his main art form is rapping, he occasionally delves into the poetry world. Trae started writing poetry because of a former love interest, who was a DC youth poet. He realized there were things he couldn’t rap about, specifically the situation he was in at the time. The vulnerability in his life shows up in his poetry.

As Trae says, “the hottest new shit is from young black artists.” So check him out on Apple Music, Spotify, and Soundcloud. Don’t forget the $.
#thuglivesmatter

DC’s Hottest “Bi- Monthly” Dance Party – Novice Magazine

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Here is the original link to the post in Novice Magazine through Apple News, since Apple News is not available on the computer!

Glow End Theory popped up on my twitter timeline one day, alongside countless other promotions for art shows that take place all over the DMV. I assumed that this one would be pretty much the same, but Glow End Theory is a result of observing the concerns and calls to action from friends, peers, and various people within the DC art scene (and beyond) for a platform like this.
XiA XiAnne Freeman— business developer, mentor to Nappy Nappa (one of Novice Magazine’s favorites), and owner of YOUNGWEALTHDC — is a woman of many trades. She’s also the co-creator of Glow End Theory. She guides Glow End Theory with its creative direction, and also works with public relations and production management. XiAnne was able to tell me a little about Glow End Theory, but I know I’ll be missing out until I attend.
Glow End Theory is a community-based event that focuses onIMG_7406 supporting the creativity of women of color, in addition to those who identify on the LGBTQ+ spectrum.
It may sound like a typical DMV art show, but it has much more to offer.
A typical Glow End Theory show at the Black Cat would go a little like this: The resident DJ, Kryptk , is there, playing her own mixes. You’ll see live projection mappings, incredible stage design, and variations of performances between the DJ mixes, which can include dancing, rapping, and singing from a multitude of female artists. You’ll see passion being emulated from these women on stage, in front of an audience that could be 100% new. You’ll see this new audience interacting with the performers in a variety of dialogue, rants, and speeches. Maybe there’s a guest DJ playing a set somewhere in there. Sounds impressive, right?
Don’t think that men aren’t allowed just because the goal is to empower and support women. Glow End Theory is a co-ed environment. Men coimg_7405.jpgme to enjoy the performers, but also to engage in looking at women in a light of respect. Enough attention is not often given to their female counterparts, but, these women are just as much competition, and definitely as equally deserving of respect.
Besides empowering women, one goal of Glow End Theory is to give local artists the chance to perform in a similar capacity and venue as more mainstream artists, while also letting these artists bring what they want to the table. In addition to this, there is an opportunity for their old content to be pushed out, as well as their new content. Combine this vision with a totally awesome dance party, and you have an event that satisfies performers and fans alike.
With all of this pushing behind and into each Glow End Theory show, what should we look forward to next? In the future, you may see live art installations, music videos from the artists playing, and more layers to the live projection mapping. That sounds pretty damn awesome.
Come out to the Black Cat for Glow End Theory 004 on March 30, and be here putting on our black sisters and other women of color. Make sure they know that they are just as much valued in our community. Be surrounded by a village that is pushing to make this a comfortable environment for self-expression. And don’t forget to enjoy the dancing!
Follow @GLOWENDTHEORYDC on Twitter for updates about the next show.

Talent of the Night

Sugg Savage is a rapper hailing from Fort Washington, MD, is up to big things with a new project called “Summer Baby Water Sign” with HYMN. Look out for her “feel good, hip hop, r&b, gospel, cookout blend” at the next Glow End Theory show.
DJ Ducky Dynamo is a Baltimore native, born and raised, who’s entrenched herself in the local music scene for nearly a decade. She takes pride in showcasing the sounds of her city. Her goal is to make the floor an outlet to forget, and for the audience to be in a space made for our healing and power. Expect to hear her interpretation of what a good time at home in Baltimore is: “black and beautiful, ratchet and unrefined, bold and bass heavy.”
DJ Kryptk is the resident DJ for Glow End Theory. She’s excited to bring in a fusion of vogue and southern trap for her second time performing at the series. Be sure to come out and see her set, because no two of her sets sound the same!

The Dangers of Social Media

Social Media has become a major player in the lives of many young people.

I am technically part of Generation Y/Millennium, since I was born in 2000. Unlike my parents, I grew up in a digital generation, so computers existed earlier than the time I was born. Even though I was born in a digital age, my parents tried to ration my

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Baby Alix & Parents

exposure to technology as much as possible. But today’s generation, born in 2001 and after, called Generation Z/Boomlets, were born attached to their screens. A common characteristic of this generation is that parents hand off their cell phones to their babies to keep them quiet, and it works. This includes my sisters, and I have definitely seen the difference.

Now this innovation isn’t all a bad thing. Technology makes our lives easier. It helps us find things that our parents would have had to spend hours in a library looking for. Technology is also a useful way adults can connect with youth.

But, there are things to fear from the internet. One of those is adults manipulating young people. And there are plenty of stories of this, one of which happened to a Girl Scout from my Service Unit. It was scary to hear, because usually when I hear these stories they’re so far removed from my life, and could never happen to anyone I know. But, when I hear about this one, I decided something needed to be done.

The first thing I did was talk to my Service Unit Manager about what I could do. The two of us came up with the idea that I could create a class to teach about the dangers of social media, and help girls figure out how to navigate it safely, since there’s not really a way to get them off of it.

I taught this pilot social media class at World Thinking Day, Screen Shot 2017-04-09 at 1.39.57 PMwhich is a Girl Scout event for all ages. The age group taking the class was 10-13, which is the age many kids are getting involved on social media nowadays. The girls in the class seemed receptive and said they learned a lot, so I am taking the class to another level, and beginning to teach it in other settings. I welcome any requests for the class PowerPoint and materials, or even if anyone wants me to come out and teach it. Fill out the form down below with any questions, requests, or anything else that may come up!

Stay safe.

Trump is Our 45th President. Now What?

This week has hosted a whirlwind of changes that seem like they would occur only in a fantasy world, or maybe in 1940’s Fascist Germany. It is the job of the youth to step up and fight this fight, so here are some ways you can help.

Things You Can Do to Fight Trump:

Donate to the ACLU

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) is a national organization that works daily in courts, legislatures and communities to defend the individual rights and freedoms of the people in this country. They need the support of people like us to fight the fights they aclu.jpgneed to, which includes providing lawyers for Muslims who have been detained at the airport this past week.

Support Planned Parenthood

Planned Parenthood, one of the organizations Trump is pptrying to abolish, is in need of help now more than ever. If extreme politicians get their way, 2.5 million patients per year will lose access to care at Planned Parenthood health centers.

Here are 7 ways you can support Planned Parenthood.

Let Congress Know How You Feel

Without knowing how we feel, Congress will continue making decisions without our input. Here is where you can find your Representative. And here is where you can find your Senators.

VOTE!

Nothing will get done if we do not come out to support what we believe in.

Support your local LGBTQ+ organizations, and fly the rainbow flag.

Pence’s opposition to LGBTQ+ obviously isn’t right, and it’s our job to show rainbow-flaghim. While
we’re showing him, we also have to offer solidarity
to those that he is targeting with legislation, which does not only include LGBTQ+ people, but other minority groups as well.

Get involved in your local legislation.

Local legislation matters, even though it may not always be visible. Our local legislation is what directly impacts us, and therefore we should care about it. To get involved, you can go to town halls, testify at hearings, lobby, and talk to your local officials.

I hope you will take some of these suggestions and turn them into action.

23rd Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase

Last week, I was invited on an all-expenses paid trip to Hollywood for the bherc23rd Annual African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase. At their Youth Diversity Short Film Festival, I showed a Gandhi Brigade Documentary I worked on, entitled To Serve and Protect. The film festival was put on by the Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center. Founded in 1996 by Sandra Evers-Manly, BHERC is a non-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of blacks in film and television.

 

Opening Night- “A Great Day in Black Hollywood”

The first event we attended was “A Great Day in Black Hollywood,” where past and current filmmakers were honored, and the weekend’s festival was introduced. Nate Parker (Birth of a Nation) was in attendance,  and he presented an award to Preston Holmes, who was the Associate Producer of Hustle and Flow, among other notable projects. Street Corner Renaissance performed a tribute to one of the award winners, Lillian Benson; Anthony Richardson performed a monologue; and XclusiveMovement danced. That event was a great way to open the weekend.

Youth Diversity Short Film Festival

Saturday morning was kicked off with the Youth Diversity Short Film Festival. After being interviewed on the red carpet, img_5805we showed our film, and answered questions. There were many wonderful youth films shown, my favorite (other than ours) of which was named Daisy, by Hands4Hope LA. Hands4Hope LA provides support to at-risk youth ages 8 to 18 from low-income, predominantly minority households, and gives them creative outlets and skills for the future.

 

An Evening of with Films With A Purpose

This event was on Saturday night, and it premiered two short films, and showed an encore img_5830presentation of another. We dressed up to view the films, and watched all of the wonderful directors, writers, actors, and actresses up on stage, proud of their exquisite work, and basking in their blackness.

Wild Roots by Terrell Wormley, Writer/Director

Wild Roots was my favorite of the three films, although the production quality was not as impressive overall. The film focuses on the life of a young reformed gang member, who is just recently out of jail. He wants to change his life around; but his old life holds a strong force over him.

Child Support by Alcee Walker, Writer/Director

Child Support was my second favorite film. Loosely based off the 2016 death of Amy Joyner-Francis, the film revolves around a young girl who is continuously bullied. It highlights how young girls struggle to find emotional outlets in adolescence, and sometimes find it through violence.

Forgiveness by Satie Gossett, Writer/Director

Forgiveness had excellent cinematography. In Forgivenessthe President of the United States holds an essay contest, in which he will grant one wish. He ends up formally apologizing for slavery to the people of the United States.

I am very thankful to have had this opportunity to travel to Los Angeles, and I would also recommend watching all of these films, not only to support the filmmakers and BHERC, but also to support black art.bherc

A Quick Run-Down on AAVE/Ebonics

Here is the original link to the post in Novice Magazine through Apple News, since Apple News is not available on the computer!

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Have you ever been told that you speak “improper” or “ghetto” for speaking the wayScreen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.02.40 PM.png you’ve known how to for your whole life? You were probably speaking Ebonics, or African American Vernacular English (AAVE). AAVE, or Ebonics, is not just Standard English with mistakes. The term “ebonics” is a combination of the words ebony, which means ‘black’, and phonics, which means ‘sounds’. Dr. Robert Williams, the psychologist who coined the term, defines ebonics as “…linguistic and paralinguistic features which on a concentric continuum represent the communicative competence of the West African, Caribbean, and United States slave descendant of African origin” (Williams, 1975).  In short, this means Ebonics is the language that was formed from the fusion of various African and Caribbean languages that black people used to communicate.
Now let’s talk about the origins of Ebonics. When the first native Africans, brought over as slaves, came to America, obviously none of them spoke English. These first native Africans probably did not learn English as well as their American-born children did. Once they had screen-shot-2017-01-12-at-11-02-30-pmchildren, their children were able to speak the languages of their parents, as well as English. This generation taught English to their own children. These grandchildren of the native Africans learned some of the “African tribal languages” in secret, since their slave masters forbid slaves from speaking them.. The words they knew from their grandparents’ languages formed into commonly used words over time, which resulted in Ebonics.
Screen Shot 2017-01-12 at 11.02.35 PM.pngBut wait, let’s back up a minute. Who did the native Africans learn English from? Well, they learned from their white slave masters, who, by the way, did not speak “proper English” either. They spoke southern variations that their parents spoke. On another note, since it was illegal for slaves to learn how to read and write, they would not be taught Standard English from books or by teachers. With all of this dense history, why is it expected that we forget the language that we were forced to create as a result of the circumstances imposed on us by the white man?
So to all of my friends and young people who have been chastised or made fun of for speaking the way you learned, I want you to be proud. Be proud of the history of our language. Be proud when you are speaking it. You are channeling the spirits and languages of our ancestors that were kidnapped by white men. You are channeling the spirits of all of the people who used this language when they were speaking to fight for our civil rights. Our language is unique. Our language is beautiful. Our language is ours, and we shouldn’t ever forget it.