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Gratitude is a Must

2021 has been a year of years. It is hard to find words to describe the extent of the turbulence, trauma, loss, and threats to freedoms that characterized the months that are now behind us. But, we can also find and speak of the moments that are worth celebrating, moments of justice and truth-telling, times when we moved together and had each other’s backs, when we saw the possibility of change for the better, and when we delighted in the ordinary expressions of living and joy. Each of us has stories so be sure to share them. For all that we have weathered, let’s make time to express gratitude for those who have walked with us and helped make the way more clear, more possible to navigate. To quote Koffee, one of my favorite singers, gratitude is a must!

In that spirit, let us take a moment to be grateful for the life of bell hooks, whose writings and critical voice have shaped how generations think about feminism. In the days and months to come, we will hear from so many whose lives were changed by her books including Feminism is for EverybodyAin’t I A Woman: Black Women and FeminismFeminist Theory: From Margin to CenterAll About Love, et al. If you have not read her work, now is a good time to do so. We are thankful for the life that how she lived and what she taught us about the importance of speaking truth to power and the right of women of color to define a feminism that we can own.

Here are other books that build on what bell hooks taught us. Some of them will be the focus of next semester’s programs at WLRC:

At the request of students, here are some podcasts to check out (available on most platforms):

If you are spending time in Chicago, do see the Black Girlhood Altar exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA); it is up until Sunday, March 27, 2022. The exhibition was created by A Long Walk Home’s artists Scheherazade Tillet, Leah Gipson, and Robert Narciso to raise awareness about the missing and murdered Black girls and young women “who are disproportionately victims of racially motivated killings, domestic violence, police shootings, sex trafficking, and sexual assault and harassment.” The altar is part of the retrospective show of Los Angeles-based feminist artist Andrea Bowers.

We encourage your support for Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration (MUAVI) in their annual #HolidaySolidarity drive. This year, MUAVI wants to send toiletries (soap, shampoo, deodorant, and lotion) to survivors inside. Donate what you can:

From the staff and students of WLRC, we wish you a restful and joy-filled holiday season that is spent with loved ones and in service of love, community, and justice.

Take care of yourselves and each other,

Natalie Bennett