A Time of Renewal, An Opportunity To Do Better – The reFRESH

April 2, 2021

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Art by FRESH Speaker Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya

Written by Jackson Bird

This week, we’re getting ready to go outside again, but making sure we’ve got the whole community in mind when we do.

What we’re checking out…

America Ruined My Name For Me,” a meditation on identity and racism from Beth Nguyen, and a must-read. 

Volunteers around the world are stepping up to help make sure people in their community can get vaccinated. One of the larger players on the scene is Huge Ma, the creator of the NYC-focused Turbovax. The Cut recently spoke to him about his site and how he’s using his newfound platform to combat anti-Asian racism.

As we enter a cautiously optimistic but uncharted new phase of the pandemic, it’s time to re-examine our friendships. Which ones have we lost? And which are worth saving? Alex Williams considers the state of friendship in The New York Times.

Relatedly, Rachel Miller has some practical tips for returning to small talk and Katherine Cusumano spoke to a panel of experts about resuming in-person social interactions without overwhelming yourself.

Roxane Gay weighs in on the “manufactured moral panic” over the free donuts Krispy Kreme is offering to vaccinated customers.

Cast member Bowen Yang was given a rare platform to speak on a serious topic on Saturday Night Live’s Weekend Update. In addition to his vital message about anti-Asian racism, Yang’s smart and hilarious talk was a strong reminder of how much better institutions like SNL are when they bring in more voices from different backgrounds.

Our reFRESHing Talk of the Week comes from Baratunde Thurston who appeared on The 11th Hour with Brian Williams to comment on the ongoing trial against the police officer who murdered George Floyd. His extemporaneous talk included this powerful line, “Everybody seems to have felt responsible for George Floyd’s death except the one person who’s responsible for George Floyd’s death, Derek Chauvin and the police officers who let him do what he did.”

The latest from our speakers…

Amanda Phingbodhipakkiya has created May We Know Our Own Strength, a place for sexual assault survivors to anonymously disclose their stories. Submitted online, the stories are automatically printed on receipt paper connected to sixteen printers on display in a storefront in New York City. You can read more about the project from Amanda here and participate here.

Brittney Cooper and her Crunk Feminist crew got back together to launch The Remix, which you can subscribe to here.

Susan McPherson’s book, The Lost Art of Connecting, is officially out in the world! Even Nasdaq got in on the excitement by displaying their congratulations in Times Square. Get your copy here.  

Speaking of must-read FRESH speakers’ books, Anna Sale’s Lets Talk About Hard Things will be coming out on May 4th. You can preorder your copy here.

Emily May’s Hollaback also got some Times Square love from Nasdaq this month when they rang the opening bell to honor the work they’ve been doing with Asian Americans Advancing Justice (AAAJ). BTW have you signed up for one of their bystander trainings yet?


Joah Spearman has a new piece in Inc. discussing the inexcusable whiteness of the travel industry.

Jamil Smith wrote for Rolling Stone about how voter suppression is violence.

Thinking about starting a newsletter? Read this interview in Deez Links with FRESH speaker and newsletter curator OG Ann Friedman

Shannon Watts wrote for Elle about the horrifying reality that “returning to normal” in the United States means a return to frequent mass shootings.

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