Sunday, September 26, 2010

A Letter of Support - Alice Nicholas (aka Alice the Poet)

Recently, I applied for a grant to fund one of my professional development programs through Message Media Ed. I sent out a blanket request on Facebook for my friends to write a letter of support so I could include them in the application. One letter came in that I had to share:

To Whom It May Concern:

I met Shani Byard-Ngunjiri almost a decade ago. We were initially brought together through our works in the creative arts and our mutual concern for social justice. I have worked with Shani’s organization, UrbanRising Entertainment as an independent artist and was featured on the television show, Tha Zone TV; which she co-executive produced and marketed. Those experiences showed me that in the midst of buying and selling images in the entertainment industry, there are those who welcome and advocate for positive, culturally conscious and empowering images of African American artists.

As the co-event producer of the Annual Los Angeles Malcolm X Arts, Culture & Education Festival, Shani conscientiously worked each year to ensure the careful presentation of what soon thereafter became known as the largest cultural tribute to Malcolm X in the nation. As the Literary Arts Village coordinator, I was able to work closely with Shani and was witness to her commitment, organization, and well crafted ideas and practices designed to promote healing and building from within the community.

In 2003, when I joined the efforts of Artists for Justice and Liberation (an organization which Shani co-founded) to save the only remaining African American cultural area in the city, I watched her work tirelessly to save Leimert Park by increasing awareness, rallying the community and seeking answers (and action) from elected officials, all while continuing to support the arts and independent artists. In fact, it was Shani who introduced me to the work I now continue with Theatre of Hearts/Youth First as an Artist-In-Residence/Youth Mentor.

Over the years, I have found Shani to be unshakable in her mission to heal and build the African American community. The Digital Elder project is both relevant and much needed. Shani is primed to make a major change in the African American community by working to ensure that those who are already marginalized will not be further left behind as society moves into a more technological existence. She is working to ensure that as we move forward, using her intergenerational, African-centered approach, we will create leaders and rebuild our communities. I wholeheartedly support her efforts.

I am honored to recommend Shani Byard-Ngunjiri and The Digital Elder Project. 


Alice Nicholas

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Emotional Reflection - 9/9/10

I am privileged... I am oppressed, but privileged to have the opportunity to pursue this education, to craft my voice in the Ivory tower... I am authoring a body of work that will, in print, enter a vast field of scholarship with limited color and provide a foundation for someone else (of color or not) to pick up the torch and add to... I am writing to serve... the struggle is not about me... Ashe.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Emotional Reflection - 9/6/10

After receiving feedback from my dissertation chair this weekend, I am so grateful to have some one with so much experience guiding me through this process of writing my dissertation!  There is such a defined structure and so many rules to the dissertation process, in addition to all the other stuff it takes to attain a doctorate. Crafting a well researched, 200 paged statement on how educators can mentally liberate the African American community is no easy task. It's also not a mainstream piece and needs a support system of culturally conscious, progressive Ph.D's, who get the importance and core message of my voice. I am so thankful that my chair sees the big picture and is able to help me lay the bricks, few by few, towards it. My dissertation committee members are awesome too and I look forward to receiving their feedback once I submit this draft to them. I am truly blessed to have these individuals in my corner. 

I am also thankful for a husband who has become my true partner in our lives' endeavors. The rent is paid and I can continue to focus on this stage of the dissertation process: drafting the proposal for my defense at the end of this month! Nervous, anxious, overwhelmed, but passionate about this challenge of crafting my voice in a way I've never experienced before.

Intellectual Reflection - 9/6/10

Lots of reading this weekend after the phone conversation with my dissertation chair. I will need to re-work chap. 3 of my dissertation, the methodology section. The research study for my dissertation combines African Centered & Critical Media Literacy pedagogies together. Based on her feedback and guidance, a Critical Methodology and Qualitative approach may be stronger, instead of an Evaluation Research, Mixed-Methods approach... Dissertation chair? Methodology? Pedagogy? Critical? Evaluation? Mixed-Methods? Qualitative?  What do I mean by all these terms?  I'll explain later :) 

... In the meantime, just know that when you pursue your doctorate, and even at the masters level, you discover a world of terminology for the stuff you've already been doing in life as an educator, an artist and/or social justice advocate. You might not have labeled them, you may have just followed your gut and just did it! :) lol, just sayin'. 

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Shameless Plug...

Parent? Mentor? Guardian? Come strengthen communication & grow WITH your teen in a supportive, creative space! For youth, ages 13-17, and their role models on Sat. 9/25/10 Where the Art of Media Education Meets Black Culture and Leadership Development :) 

Please share with your family and friends...