Morgane Richardson

is a professional feminist, lecturer, freelance blogger and birth doula who addresses race, gender, and sexuality in today’s society... without dwelling on theorists and terminology.

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Separating The Personal From The Doula

Recently, a student from the University of California, Riverside, asked me to be a part of a senior study on doulas. One of the questions that she posed has really stuck with me:

On your Twitter and blog, it seems that you don’t mix your personal with your business. Have you always separated the two?  

I’ve thought a lot about this question as my decision to become a full-time doula has coincided with by hiatus from the feminist world I once devoured. 

When I began the transition into full time birth work, I had to decide whether or not I would bring my very strong political beliefs directly into the lives of the families that I would support as a doula.

Prior to becoming a birth doula, I had a digital media firm working for organizations doing social good and I was a very active in the online feminist and queer communities. As a public figure, and due to the nature of my professional work, everything I had done as an adult could be found online  - protests that I was a part of, courses that I taught as an adjunct professor, blogs about my life as a queer woman of color, tidbits about my life with a woman (who is now my wife), etc.

In some ways, I thought it would surely be easier to gain a cliental of progressive-minded families by using my google-able name and personal experiences. On the other hand, I knew my personal business could exclude families who didn’t feel the same way that I did.

For me, being a doula meant and continues to mean, providing unconditional support. I felt that some women who needed (and deserved) a doula could end up feeling less-then if they didn’t share the same feminist convictions that I had and continue to have. Every family, and every woman, defines him or her self differently and has different ways of moving through the world. The last thing I wanted was a mom to feel as though she wasn’t powerful because she was in a heterosexual relationship, and lived the “cookie-cutter” life – a life that it seemed (at least online) I was protesting.  

I ultimately felt that I would be doing a disservice as a doula, a person who is supposed to hold no judgment, if I unintentionally forced my clients into believing in the same things I did. And so, I made the very conscious decision to keep my personal and political life separate from my work as a doula.

As we live in the age of media and access, I am deeply aware that most of the people who hire me have most likely googled my name and found the work that I am doing/have done. In fact, many of them hire me because they share similar beliefs and will bring it up! But every once in a while I work with a more socially/politically ‘conservative’ family and I am so grateful that they can trust that I won’t judge who they are and that I can support and love them fully in their journey. 

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When we speak we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So it is better to speak.

Audre Lord, (February 18, 1934 – November 17, 1992)

Happy 80th birthday. 

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The Superbowl Ad You Didn’t See (But Should Have)

 

The National Congress of American Indians put together an amazing ad that wasn’t able to run during the Superbowl due to lack of funding. But you should watch and share it anyway. 

You can get involved by contacting the Washington Professional Football Team, the NFL and the Washington Post:


DC Team
@redskins
Facebook.com/redskins
http://www.redskins.com/footer/contac…

Roger Goodell & NFL 
@NFL 
@NFLcommish
https://www.facebook.com/NFL 

Washington Post
DC’s hometown paper is still using the R-word in its coverage of the team.
@WashingtonPost
@PostSports 
https://www.facebook.com/washingtonpost 

(Source: youtube.com)

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From Punishment to Public Health Informational Guide

Yet another information guide that I am proud to share through my work with JustPublics@365!

Over the last couple of months, we’ve (at JustPublics@365) highlighted the ways scholars, activists and journalists work to further social justice by shifting the public policy framework from one of “punishment” to “public health,” or P2PH. As we’ve shown, the research is clear that our policy of mass incarceration of the past 30 years damages our society.  Today, we bring it all together.

The P2PH Information Guide is designed to bring together scholarship, activist strategies, and digital media tools to help you create your own social justice campaign.

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(Image source)

Our goal with bringing this all together is to create a practical, resource-rich, all-in-one introduction to start a social justice digital campaign, whether you are an activist on the ground,  a journalist writing a story or an academic who may want to connect your research to creating a more just society.

We hope that the Information Guide will help you reach you more people by integrating some of the most widely used social networks into your social justice campaign, your reporting, and your research or your classroom projects. 

Click here to download the PDF.  (e-book coming soon)

If you have any questions in planning your campaign, please feel free to contact us atjustpublics365@gmail.com or send us a tweet, @JustPublics365.

Originally posted on the JustPublics365 website: http://justpublics365.commons.gc.cuny.edu/2014/02/03/punishment-public-health-guide

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Stop-And-Frisk Information Guide: Bringing it All Together

I’m very proud to have envisioned and produced this information guide through my work with JustPublics@365.

The stop-and-frisk information guide (or Module Packet) is designed to bring together scholarship, activist strategies, and digital media tools to help you create your own stop-and-frisk social justice campaign.

Our goal with bring this all together is to create a practical, resource-rich, all-in-one introduction to start a social justice digital campaign, whether you are an activist on the ground,  a journalist writing a story or an academic who may want to connect your research to social change.  If you are teaching a class or training people in your organization, you can also use this Information Guide as a tool for teaching and learning about stop-and-frisk.

This Information Guide is structured around three levels of social justice outcomes:

  • Make Your Issues Their Interest: Raising Awareness About An Issue with an Audience
  • Make Your Issue Their Issue: Getting an Audience More Deeply Engaged in An Issue
  • Make Your Issue Their Action: Moving an Audience Towards a Specific Action

Throughout this Information Guide, we cover basic campaigning how-to’s, some of the best tools for collaboration and outreach, and provide examples from the JustPublics@365 stop-and-frisk series.

We hope that the Information Guide will help you reach you more people by integrating some of the most widely used social networks into your social justice campaign, your reporting, and your research or your classroom projects.

If you have any questions in planning your campaign, please feel free to contact us at justpublics365@gmail.com or send us a tweet, @JustPublics365

Click here to download the Stop-And-Frisk Information Guide [pdf]

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Why Are You So Intense All The Time?

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A few years ago, an important person in my life asked me, “Why is it always so intense and emotional with you?” Obviously, the very fact that I have been holding onto this question seems to prove his point, but I’ve recently felt the urge to address it publicly. 

This question is both multi-layered and problematic: For one, it came from someone I care deeply about so, it’s personal and has forced me to dig deep into my actions. But beyond that, it’s a question that women, especially black women and feminists, are asked all the time.

The narrative of the strong black woman stems from slavery and segregation. It is the notion that women of color have made it despite the odds and thus, should no longer be a source of concern. As Prof. Beauboeuf-Lafontant says in Behind The Mask of The Strong Black Woman, “It was part of the justification for treating a group of people like they weren’t human, so you could exploit them without second thought.”  

Certainly not all women of color are “angry” or “intense” but if we are, it’s because we either have to be, want to be or need to be. And how could one not be angry in the face of racism, sexism, and classism in our society? How could anyone remain perky and upbeat if they are grasping for justice and love in a world of inequalities?  

I wasn’t born intense, nor do I think anyone is. It wasn’t until I went off to a predominately white college, and felt the pressures of injustice around me, that I became so at various points. But I didn’t shy away from my concerns or anger - I voiced them. I organized to create social change, I became an activist and sought out likeminded individuals. And though I appeared to be angry to the outside world, I was also consumed with sadness, confusion and anxiety. Feminist activism, and putting on a tough face, were my ways of moving through the muck and finding a path forward.   

So to the person (and future close friends and family members) who ask me, “Why Are You So Intense and Emotional All The Time?” I say this: I am “intense and emotional” with the people I trust most with my heart. You are my place to show fear at the end of the day, and to let go of the calm yet stern face that so many activists must put on each morning to fight for social change. 

I hope the next person who thinks about asking a woman, a woman of color and/or an activist this, will take a moment to realize that even the the strongest person can find themselves in moments of weakness. Even the person who is independent, and yes, sometimes angry, needs a safe place to be “emotional”. 

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How My First Job After College Left Me Financially Unstable In Twenties

This is a story of what not to do if you are about to graduate from college, and enter the workforce. 

I have been meaning to write this post for many years now… the story of how my first job “screwed me over” in the process of being financially stable in my early twenties.  

I graduated Middlebury College in 2008 with an outstanding education, a great CV full of experience, and mind full of determination. Unfortunately, this was also the time when few people had job openings - and even fewer had money - so no matter how great I was (or thought I was), the opportunities were slim.

While the majority of my college friends had rightly decided to play it safe and enter the for-profit world (or, if they were lucky, travel around the world), I was determined to do something that would a. pay of my enormous college loans and b. be a part of something that would transform the world in a deeply magical way (Can you tell that I was a wide-eyed, bushy-tailed graduate who thought you could do both?).

Well, after about 2 months of applying to jobs, I finally got a response, followed by an interview and job offer. I was ecstatic. I was working in a field that I loved - the arts - and with a community that I admired - Brooklyn.  I was so happy to have a job that I didn’t even think to ask how much I was getting paid until after I got hired (Colossal mistake). The result: I earned about $23,000/year (before taxes) for a job that seemed to always add new tasks but no more money.

I loved that job and I loved the people but the reality was that I couldn’t afford my own apartment, pay off my loans, or have savings. Though I felt a bit slighted when I learned friends where making quite a bit more in other nonprofits, it didn’t seem that bad then. I was happy, appreciated by my co-workers and doing work that I loved.

I eventually left because it didn’t fulfill all of my desires, but the reality of that minuscule salary did hit me later on. When I did move out of my home, it was difficult to find a job that paid me what I was worth because of the low salary history I had. 

I have since done consulting work in the fields of new media and gender, and more recently, have begun a career as a doula - both of which support me and allow me to live a good life - but I wanted to share my story so that no woman entering the work force makes the same mistakes I did. 

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I love absolutely love this. A public figure who understands how unacceptable it is to say that nudity and pleasure on TV is pornography (thus a “no, no”) but torturing women on screen is okay. 

jessicavalenti:

daisyrosario:

Ryan Gosling on the MPAA’s decision to give Blue Valentine an NC-17 rating over its inclusion of an oral sex scene. (x)

Ladies, this was the interview that preceded you all knowing how hot Ryan Gosling is. He started talking about this topic and within a few months, ady bloggers were singing his praises. 

Feminism really is hot. 

(Source: howtocatchamonster, via jessicavalenti)

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10 Things I Want To Say To A Black Woman by Joshua Bennett

It’s always beautiful to hear young black men (or any man/woman) speak about the strength of black women in our society. This piece by Joshua Bennett is breathtaking and I couldn’t resist sharing it. 

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