Growing & Changing With Intention In 2021 – The reFRESH

December 18, 2020

Art by Jen Bloomer of Radici Studios

Written by Jackson Bird

This week, we’re exploring how to sow seeds in the cracks that were laid bare this year and spur growth as we move forward.

What we’re checking out…

Lucy Diavolo beautifully sums up our feelings about looking ahead with intention in her op-ed for Teen Vogue A Better World Is Possible, Not Inevitable.”

The New York Times interviewed several women leaders across key disciplines––tech, healthcare, racial justice––about post-pandemic opportunities to reframe and rebuild systems that better support and empower women.

For a guidebook on finding answers in tough situations and working hard to effect change, check out the many communities and individual heroines profiled in Solutions Journalism’s top stand out pieces of the year.

The global interdisciplinary effort to treat, prevent, and understand COVID-19 has the potential to change science for the better, but only if we apply the lessons we learned this year.

These medical students are already heeding the lessons we long ago should have learned. They drafted a new Hippocratic oath with a commitment to fight racial injustice and misinformation.

Defining the act of assessing the present and working for a better tomorrow is FRESH speaker Alicia Garza’s organization Black Futures Lab. Their reports like the Black Census provide unprecedented data on the reality of Black individuals’ lives and experiences while they additionally mobilize towards building Black political power and transforming Black communities.

Marianne Schnall collected responses from interviews she conducted with women leaders throughout the year (including several FRESH speakers) to curate an eight-point path forward with purpose and power in 2021. 

As we end 2020, we’re looking back for our reFRESHing Talk of the Week to truth-teller Porche Bennett-Bey’s remarks to President-Elect Joe Biden when he visited her hometown of Kenosha, Wisconsin following the murder of Jacob Blake. Bennett-Bey made a last-minute decision to go off-script to speak the truth from her heart, demonstrating powerful lessons both in rhetoric and in social justice. Now named a TIME Guardian of the Year, Bennett-Bey typifies the grief, exhaustion, and resilience of this year while also making a plea for action and change going forward.

The latest from our speakers…

Melissa Lozada-Oliva has a new book coming out next fall called Dreaming of You about Selena Quintanilla, séances, and finding your identity.

Aisha Nyandoro joined Melissa Harris-Perry and Dorian T. Warren on their System Check podcast to discuss her guaranteed income initiative, Magnolia Mother’s Trust, and the realities of systemic poverty.

For anyone starting their new year in a new place, Joah Spearman wrote a welcome letter to new Austinites. While it’s specific to Austin, we think the sentiment can apply more broadly for those embarking on moves, or welcoming newcomers to their community. 

Alicia Garza’s podcast Lady Don’t Take No has been on fire recently with guests including Kimberlé Crenshaw and Jemele Hill.

Speaking of podcasts, Shannon Watts joined Alaa Murabit on her At the Table with Alaa Murabit podcast, packing a double dose of FRESH speakers power. 

Ai-jen Poo was interviewed in SELF about how supporting caregivers and domestic workers will be key to pandemic recovery.

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FRESH Speakers, Inc. is a next-generation speakers bureau, uniquely representing women and people of color--two groups historically left off the public stage. Our speakers range from business leaders to artists, scientists to athletes. They have given ground-breaking TED talks and written best-selling books, but, more importantly, their wisdom comes from real world, lived experiences. FRESH speakers routinely grace the world's biggest thought leadership stages, host nonprofit benefits, and keynote Fortune 100 corporate retreats, university lecture series, leading tech conferences, grassroots organizing convenings, and countless other venues, the world over.
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