Understanding Us in the World — the reFRESH

July 19, 2021

Art by @chakrapartying

Written by Crystal Duan

This week, we’re seeing how we individually function in the world we occupy today.

What we’re checking out…

Harvard Business Review gives a new perspective that for women, “imposter syndrome” is often also a reaction to systemic exclusion and bias. 

Mother Jones has a great breakdown on how the pandemic has made us realize what we need to keep in our lives — and what needs to change. 

The New York Times muses on why there is a lack of urgency when it comes to climate change with quite a title, “It Seems Odd We’d Let The World Burn”.  

Want an explanation on how the Child Tax Credit will affect America’s workforce going forward? Vox has a breakdown on what this means for families.

Art by Maira Kalman

In honor of Ida B. Well’s birthday, a statue of her was unveiled on Beale St. in Memphis, TN. Read more about one of the most influential leaders in the early days of the Civil Rights Movement. 

Fast Company releases an analysis of how tipping and waitressing culture has revealed a staggering 70-90% rate of sexual harassment in the service industry.

An interesting Twitter thread by the founder of Dogecoin condemns cryptocurrency as a scam, calling it an “inherently right-wing, hyper-capitalistic technology built primarily to amplify the wealth of its proponents…”

The Cut breaks down how the legal system still fails the women coming forward about sexual abuse, four years into the #MeToo movement.

Age discrimination in the workforce could be costing the economy, and consumer trends that disregard the elderly are going to be at the helm of its downfall, Business Insider reports.

Our reFRESHing Talk of the Week is consumer researcher Anne Scherer’s words on why some machines get us to open up better than actual people.

The latest from our speakers…

Art by @melaninchildstories

Jamia Wilson’s new book, “This Book Is Feminist,” is a must-read for understanding feminist intersectionality. Check out the profile in the New York Times. 

Aisha Nyandoro explains the implications of the new Child Tax Credit and how welfare gives people agency in a piece with co-author Natalie Foster for Market Watch.

Jamil Smith drops his first episode of VOX CONVERSATIONS with “Heavy” author Kiese Laymon on re-releasing his first two books and the concept of revision in both writing and in American imagination.

Mychal Denzel Smith was recently featured on the Stacks Book Club podcast discussing the book, “The Undying: A Meditation on Modern Illness” by Anne Boyer, and how cancer has been commodified and entrenched in sexism.

Dena Simmons discussed how essential it is for educators to indulge in self care with the American Federation of Teachers.

Dena and FRESH co-founder Courtney Martin will be in conversation on August 5 at 8pm EST for the launch party of Courtney’s new book, “Learning In Public,” which tells the story of enrolling her daughter in a local public school while unpacking racial injustice in the context of school choice.

Ai-jen Poo was recently in conversation with Glennon Doyle on Instagram Live about defining “care”.

Susan McPherson’s “The Lost Art of Connecting” was featured in the Forbes roundup of best books of the year. 

Shannon Watts will be featured on the Rustin Center’s “Social Justice Power Hour” virtual gathering on Monday, July 19 at 7pm EST to talk about Moms Demand Action. 


What we’re checking out…

As Pride Month comes to an end, Refinery 29 looks at how brands “taking a stand” miss the mark and enhance a larger cultural misunderstanding of what accountability entails in today’s capitalism-driven culture:

Emily Esfahani Smith writes in the New York Times about trying to avoid indulging too fast in the urge to party and put the last pandemic year behind you. Instead, we should process what we lost as we readjust:

Art by @nerdybrownkid

Jill Filipovic has striking words on her Substack about one important facet of women and childbearing: when they don’t have the desire. “For a still small but growing number of women, it’s much more complicated….we still lack the language for people (and especially women) who are ambivalent about children, or who see their desires shift as their lives do,” she writes.

In Slate, Hallie Lieberman dives into the world of “dom strippers,” masculinized POC lesbian stripping that appeals both to the LGBTQ community and to a straight female crowd, as a foil to the mainstream white and male demographic.

After fighting her rejection of tenure consideration by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, New York Times writer Nikole Hannah-Jones won her case:

Art by @kahyangni

The Harvard Business Review takes a look at how companies can alleviate single parent burnout, by treating it like a systemic problem rather than an individual issue.

Adrienne Shears writes for Newsweek on the erasure of black creators and its growing prominence on platforms such as Tik Tok.

The Brookings Institute releases a study explaining generational poverty as a demanding issue experienced more pervasively by black Americans — one in five experiences poverty for the third generation in a row, compared to just one in a hundred white Americans. 

Courtney Martin uses four powerful words to reflect on her privilege every time she gets the chance — “How Do I Know?” Read more on her Substack.

In the wake of Missouri lawmakers debating the restrictions of Medicaid coverage of birth control, Molly Jong-Fast unpacks the implications of anti-birth control sentiment as an add-on to the anti-abortion movement in Vogue.In Rolling Stone, Syreeda McFadden covers Blounts & Moore, an LLC run by two powerful black women investing in marijuana businesses as a way to give black communities access to generational wealth.

A 2015 piece by FRESH Speaker Brittney Cooper on the complicated relationship black America has with Bill Cosby feels especially poignant in the wake of his release from prison this week.

Ed Yong writes in the Atlantic on the consequences that the new Delta variants of COVID-19 will have on the world, especially unvaccinated populations: “We don’t think too well as a society about low-probability events that have far-reaching consequences.”

Our reFRESHing Talk of the Week is Khadijah Tribble’s wise words on how marijuana legalization and reform is actually a community solution, paving a path toward restorative justice.

The latest from our speakers…

Art by @liberaljane

Melissa Lozada-Oliva’s new book, Dreaming Of You, is available for pre-order and set to arrive Oct. 26. Check it out if you’re interested in a novel set in poetic verse following a poet who resurrects pop star Selena from the dead.

Jess Morales Rocketto was featured on MSNBC’s The Cross Connection With Tiffany Cross explaining how the support and care communities need must be systemic and unpack what activists mean by, “defund the police.”

Dena Simmons is hosting a virtual launch party for LiberatED on August 4 at 3:00pm EST. Come through to celebrate with a spoken word, a student panel, and a healing conversation about freeing ourselves. 

Mychal Denzel Smith writes in New York Magazine on how the narrative of the January 6th insurrection of the Capitol needs to be properly corrected and held accountable for its roots in white supremacy.

Susan McPherson explains connecting the personal and the professional for GirlScouts.org.

Simran Jeet Singh guested on a panel on media coverage of faith and religion in 2020’s top stories hosted by the Ansari Institute.


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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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