Posts tagged with "Maya Angelou"

Art Exhibition illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

A Conversation with Grandmother Edna in Franklin County, PA

Franklin County Visitors Bureau Invites All to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller

Franklin County Visitors Bureau hosts Edna Williams, a fabric artist and storyteller, at the 11/30 Visitors Center on July 17.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites the public to A Conversation with Grandmother Edna: Fabric Artist and Storyteller on July 17 at 1 PM in the Great Room of the 11/30 Visitors Center, on the square in Chambersburg PA. Visitors can enjoy more than a dozen quilts and pillow covers, created by Grandmother Edna and learn how she expresses herself through art to tell stories of her life and America’s history. The art, called Pillow Talk is on display in the lobby of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Centers.

Williams hails from Baltimore and is displayed at the 11/30 Visitors Center through the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s relationship with the African American Historical Association of Western Maryland.

I reach back to move forward. It is the only way to grow, said Grandmother Edna. Her Pillow Talk display includes stories that connect directly to her mother, father, and grandmother as well as highlight her meetings with poet Maya Angelou and actor Harry Belafonte. Others tell stories related to enslavement and civil justice. Williams believes storytelling is a means to connecting people and endorses the importance of history stating, Why create a mountain when you can cross a hill.

Pillow Talk is displayed as part of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center’s Let The Journey Begin…People, Places, Possibilities. In addition to the storytelling quilts of Grandmother Edna, the exhibit looks at the quest for freedom from the earliest European settlers to the importance of the Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Amendment.

A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is free and open to the public. Following the presentation, Grandmother Edna will offer a quilting and storytelling activity to participants who want to learn a little more. To reserve seating, please register here. A Conversation with Grandmother Edna is presented by the Franklin County Visitors Bureau as part of the July 17 Chambersburg Comes To Life Celebration, which includes the living history portrayal and light show depicting the 1864 Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods, and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more and plan a visit at their website or by contacting 866-646-(8060).

Q×A with Grandmother Edna 

By: Emily Bunn

Showcasing over a dozen quilts and pillow covers, Grandmother Edna weaves stories of her own life and chronicles American history into her fabric fashioning. The complex interweaving of Edna’s own life fluidly connects with the United States’ grappling with enslavement, civil justice, and the quest for freedom. Depicting familial relations, as well as Edna’s encounters with Maya Angelou and Harry Belafonte, Grandmother Edna brings history to life with her quilting and storytelling. 360 Magazine spoke with the artist about the success of “Pillow Talk”, what inspires her to create art, and her upcoming CD release.

When did you begin creating fabric art?

Really, I mentally began in the 1950’s [while] sitting on a stairway watching my grandmother quilting. Then, maybe somewhere around the late 80’s, I decided to pick my poems up from midnight brown paper bags writings to hand sewn quilting.

What first got you interested in American history?

Being Black in the 50’s going with my grandmother to be the help/maid. And, in the 60’s, attending an all white school.

If you were to create fabric art to express our current moment in time, what would that design look like?

I have a new quilt on exhibit titled: “There Was A Time When The Universe Was FREE.”

What inspired you to start selling your quilted creations, pillow covers, and fabric art?

First of all, my quilts will never be for sale. My pillow covers sales will I hope help fund my free educational mobile classroom called “A Grandmother’s Pilgrimage, INC.” and my Grace Wisher Reparation Recovery Youth Scholarship Fund, LLC. 

What inspired the name “pillow talk” for your exhibition?

I travel through the country as an invisible soul, no one seems to listen to anything I had to say. I decided to create a nightcap to relax the busy minds of everyone–and just maybe they would have time to hear me.

What has the reaction to “pillow talk” been like?

Amazing, fresh. It’s a newness in the art world.

What has working with the The Franklin County Visitors Bureau and The African American Historical Association of Western Maryland been like?

Exciting, cool and [represents] that change is coming, History being over-hauled. Janet and Ron have been great to partner with. I hope this [exhibit] will … improve that culture sock everyone keep avoiding in this America.

Your fabric art often reflects stories from your own life. What milestones from your life have you felt were most important to include in your artwork?

It’s that front door entry thing for me. The lost traditions of my people.

Are you currently working on any exciting fabric art projects that you can reveal to 360 Magazine’s readers?

Yes, I have my new CD on release. I have a file cabinet packed with poems to be quilted. I have faith the money will come. It’s appears to be easy, but it’s very hard to get paid for a job very well done. This is all fun and relaxing for me. I tell everyone to Just sew your emotions. Thanks 360 Magazine for this new media.

Memorial Day illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

The Meaning Behind Memorial Day

THE MEANING BEHIND MEMORIAL DAY

By: Heather Skovlund-Reibsamen

“How important it is for us to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” – Maya Angelou

Memorial Day, once referred to as Decoration Day, is an American holiday in the United States that honors military personnel along as well as mourn those that we have lost along the way. Decoration Day was for decorating graves with flowers, wreaths, and flags. Memorial Day is formerly observed on the last Monday of May each year. It is a solemn day, but it is also important to reflect upon, appreciate and be thankful for the freedom that we all get to enjoy every day in the United States of America.

Many gather with friends and family for barbeques and celebrating the beginning of summer while others visit cemeteries and memorials to remember their loved ones lost. Each year a national moment of remembrance takes place at 3:00 p.m. local time on Memorial Day. It is important to remember that we are not celebrating the wars, instead we are remembering those who served and those who gave their last breath in order to ensure that the freedoms of our country would be passed on to the next generations. We remember for the price they paid for the cost of our freedom – their lives given so ours could go on.

Memorial Day was originated after the American Civil War, where the United States faced the task of burying and honoring 600,000 to 800,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who died in the bloodiest military conflict in American history. The first commemoration of Memorial Day was held in Arlington National Cemetery on May 30, 1868. On this day, both Union and Confederate soldiers were laid to rest. Over the years, cities across the United States host Memorial Day parades that involve military personnel and members of veterans’ organizations. Americans sometimes wear a red poppy in remembrance of their loved ones, which is a tradition that was born from a World War 1 poem.  

In Flanders Fields” by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

Memorial Day has a different meaning behind it for every American. Here at 360 Magazine, we were able to get a few opinions from veterans in the United States.

  • Kyle Skovlund: United States Air Force – Memorial Day has a different meaning for me. Growing up, my parents would travel to Brookings, South Dakota each year to put flowers on the graves of those they had lost. When my own daughter passed away, I began doing the same thing. Memorial Day, for me, is a day to reflect on those that have been lost.
  • Michael Miller: United States Air Force – Memorial Day means remembering and celebrating. Remembering the great men and women that gave their life for our great nation and celebrating the freedoms their sacrifices have given us.
  • J.M. Skovlund: United States Army  – “Memorial Day means exactly what it was intended for, to remember and honor our fallen. They went above and beyond for our country, for the soldier on their left and right, and that’s something not everyone can say.” “Go out and remember the fallen the way you see fit. Don’t worry about what everyone else is doing. If it’s having a drink in their honor, do that. If it’s going to their grave to chat, do that. Either way, remember the fallen the best way you can, don’t disgrace them.”
Women's Month 360 Magazine by Heather Skovlund

Celebrating the Women of Mango

Writing women back into history has been a top priority at Mango Media since day one. With the majority of our authors being women- including best selling authors Marlene Wagman-Geller, M.J. Fievre and Becca Anderson, we pride ourselves in amplifying the female narrative. From experiencing zero gravity with Kellie Gerardi to finding out that the first recorded poet was a woman from Becca Anderson, we have all learned so much from the powerful women we have surrounded ourselves with. If you are interested in receiving a book for review or interviewing one of our authors, please reach out and join us in the discovery and advocacy of HERstory.

Happy Women’s History Month!

Women Events to Empower

Women & Environment Workshop

March 21 – 9 am PST/12 pm EST

Join author of Like a Tree, Jean Shinoda Bolen and The General Congress of Women for this monthly workshop where women come together to use their knowledge and voices to elevate each of the 12 Interrelated Critical Areas of Concern through the lens of our interdependence.

Living the Faery Life Workshop

March 21 – 4 pm PST/ 7 pm EST

Join Kac Young for her Living the Faery Life Workshop hosted by New Renaissance Bookshop! Learn all about the magical world of faeries and how to bring the magic into everyday.

Recharge this Spring with Polly Campbell

March 31 – 12 pm PST/ 3 pm EST

Join Polly Campbell, author of You, Recharge, to bring in the spring with renewed energy and learn practical strategies to recharge yourself for overall well-being. Check out this event with New Renaissance Bookshop!

Not Necessarily Rocket Science
April 10 at 11 am PST/ 2 pm EST

Join Kellie Gerardi, author of Not Necessarily Rocket Science, with The Museum of Flight as she takes us on a tour of this unique window in history. The event offers an inside look into the commercial spaceflight industry and all those working to democratize access to space and tee up a golden age of spaceflight for scientists, students, and tourists alike!

Inspiring Mango Authors

When Women Run the World Sh&t Gets Done: Celebrating the Power of Women Now by Shelly Rachanow

Packed with stories of ordinary women doing extraordinary things, this book is a must-have for any woman who has ever dreamt of a better world. Shelly Rachanow’s book is full of powerful, courageous women who are getting vitally important sh*t done. Dive into this empowering narrative and read about a trauma surgeon working to stem the epidemic of gun violence, a professor who ran for office to provide a better role model for her sons, an educator raising India’s poorest girls out of poverty, teens fighting for clean water to inspiring future generations, a group of firefighters training to trek across Antarctica to raise awareness for mental health and show young girls that they are strong and can be anything they choose, and activists from around the world fighting the injustices of inequality and patriarchy. One small action can inspire a movement. As these women have shown, a movement can change minds…and ultimately the world. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Women of Interest: The Ultimate Book of Women’s Trivia by Alicia Alvrez

 One of the most fascinating trivia books for women. Did you know that women outnumber men by five to one in shoplifting convictions? Or that researchers at Northwestern University found that men change their minds two to three times more than women? Women of Interest spans history, crosses cultures, ranges from the silly to the salacious to the truly useful, and back again. Designed to delight the feminist in you, this outrageously funny book is organized into ten trivia-filled chapters covering all sorts of humorous histories and fun facts. Ideal for trivia games for adults or feminist gifts, now women really can know everything.

Feminist, funny gifts for women. It’s time to challenge that know-it-all girlfriend, or grab the ultimate bathroom reader for your feminist BFF. Whether you’re searching for feminist books or trivia books, Women of Interest makes a wonderful addition to trivia games and bookshelves alike. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Empowered Black Girl: Joyful Affirmations and Words of Resilience by M.J. Fivevre

Even strong, fearless, and badass Black girls and Black women need affirmations. Now more than ever, we need to practice the art of self-care and give our minds and bodies the TLC they deserve. Author of Badass Black Girl and Happy, Okay? M.J. Fievre brings you inspirational words of wisdom through fabulous Black female trailblazers who have changed the world including Audre Lorde, Lupita Nyong’o and Angela Davis.

Take a deep breath. We don’t always have to be strong. Sometimes, taking a break to focus on our mental health is bravery in itself. We find ourselves needing reminders that we are incredible and more than enough. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Badass Black Girl: Questions, Quotes, and Affirmations for Teens by M.J. Fivevre

Affirmations for strong, fearless Black girls. Wisdom from Badass Black female trailblazers who accomplished remarkable things in literature, entertainment, education, STEM, business, military and government services, politics and law, activism, sports, spirituality, and more.

Explore the many facets of your identity through hundreds of big and small questions. In this journal designed for teenage Black girls, MJ Fievre tackles topics such as family and friends, school and careers, body image, and stereotypes. By reflecting on these topics, you confront the issues that can hold you back from living your best life and discovering your Black girl bliss. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Raising the Resistance: A Mother’s Guide to Practical Activism by Farrah Alexander

On the intersection of feminism and motherhood. Mothers are a force to be reckoned with. After the Women’s March and midterm elections, moms have surely secured their spot in today’s feminist movement. But for those who aren’t ready to make a bid for the presidency, the way forward can seem daunting and unclear. Whether it’s correcting a misinformed family member about gender equality or running for political office, this bold and accessible primer presents active parents with different types of activism they can incorporate into their parenting, no matter how big or small. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Dads for Daughters: How Fathers Can Give their Daughters a Better, Brighter, Fairer Future by Michelle Travis

Today’s dads are raising confident, empowered daughters who believe they can achieve anything. But the world is still profoundly unequal, with workplaces built by men, a massive gender pay gap, and deeply-ingrained gender stereotypes. Dads For Daughters: How Fathers Can Give Girls a Better, Brighter, Fairer Future offers father’s guidance for building a more equal world for their daughters.

Invest in your daughter’s future. Inspired by their daughters, dads are uniquely positioned to become powerful allies for girls and women. That’s where Dads For Daughters can help. With this book, you’ll find concrete strategies for creating a better tomorrow for the girls and women in your life. The text includes inspiring stories from dads of daughters who are already having an impact. Get resources for becoming a stronger male ally in your workplace and community, and advice for engaging other men in gender equality efforts. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

The Book of Awesome Women: Boundary Breakers, Freedom Fighters, Sheroes and Female Firsts by Becca Anderson

Discover some of the most awesome women in history. Now is the time to acknowledge the greatness of women! Sheroes. Women hold up half the sky and, most days, do even more of the heavy lifting including childbearing and child-rearing. All after a long day at the office. Women have always been strong, true sheroes, oftentimes unacknowledged. As we shake off the last traces of a major patriarchal hangover, women are coming into their own. In the twenty first century, all women can fully embrace their fiery fempower and celebrate their no-holds-barred individuality. It is time to acknowledge the successful women of the world.

From the foremothers who blazed trails and broke barriers, to today’s women warriors in sports, science, cyberspace, city hall, the lecture hall, and the silver screen, The Book of Awesome Women paints 200 portraits of powerful and inspiring role models for women and girls poised to become the super women of the future. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Book of Awesome Women Writers: Medieval Mystics, Pioneering Poets, Fierce Feminists and First Ladies of Literature by Becca Anderson
A packed timeline of the greatest women writers. From the first recorded writer to current bestsellers, Becca Anderson takes us through time and highlights women who have left their mark on the literary world. This expansive compilation of women writers is a chance to delve deeper into the lives and works of renowned authors, and learn about some lesser known greats as well. Some of the many women writers you will love learning about are: Maya Angelou, Jane Austen, Judy Blume, Rachel Carson, Nadine Gordimer, Margaret Mead, Joyce Carol Oates, and many, many more.

Explore every subject and literary form women writers have to offer. The works of these awesome women writers vary greatly―each is as unique and significant as the women who penned them. With the help of writers, editors, librarians, booksellers, and more, Anderson has crafted a must-read book for women of every background. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Fabulous Female Firsts: The Trailblazers Who Led the Way by Marlene Wagman-Geller

Societal mores of sexism and misogyny have kept generations of women on the sidelines of history. But in every era, there are women who refuse to sit back in the shadows. Fabulous Female Firsts is a celebration of those women―the role models who proved that with enough daring and tenacity, the impossible can become possible.

Enough is Not Enough. That’s what she said. From rebel girls who refused to let their wings be clipped to the suffragettes who claimed new space for women, each trailblazer in this collection of biographies pushed the boundaries for what was possible for women in their time, even if it meant being seen as stubborn, improper, or a trainwreck. This book is in praise of “difficult women” who made the world a better place. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

Fabulous Women in STEM

Not Necessarily Rocket Science: A Beginner’s Guide to Life in the Space Age by Kellie Gerardi

Follow aerospace science professional Kellie Gerardi’s non-traditional path in the space industry as she guides and encourages anyone who has ever dreamed about stars, the solar system, and the galaxies in space.

Ever wondered what it’s like to work in outer space? In this candid science memoir and career guide, Gerardi offers an inside look into the industry beginning to eclipse Silicon Valley. Whether you have a space science degree or are looking to learn about stars, Not Necessarily Rocket Science proves there’s room for anyone who is passionate about exploration. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

She’s Building a Robot by Mick Liubinskas 

AZ is a young girl who finds herself in a robot building competition. Can she use girl power to overcome crashes, explosions, and hackers to beat the school bully and three-time champ, Dalk? Smart and strong is the new pretty. In this funny, action-packed book about robots for kids, talented AZ fights gender and learns tough lessons on leadership. With the help of her quirky friends, Li and 10, the team builds a feisty robot named Ada. Together, they work hard, solve puzzles, grow in confidence, and learn the importance of friendship and collaboration.

All science girls welcome! Written to raise awareness about the challenges faced by women in science and engineering, She’s Building a Robot celebrates voices from diverse socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds. Perfect for bedtime stories or girls who code, She’s Building a Robot gives young women the opportunity to relate to smart characters, promotes girl empowerment, and shows that there’s room in STEM for girls. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

The Future of Science is Female: The Brilliant Minds Shaping the 21st Century by Zara Stone

From saving the oceans to improving the rehabilitation and job prospects of people struggling in prison, these badass female scientists and entrepreneurs are changing the world.

Take a look at what the future holds—and how women are making it better. In The Future of Science is Female, author and award-winning journalist Zara Stone shares the fascinating, complicated stories of how a diverse group of powerful women got started—from the perspective of those still working it out as they go along. Take 22-year old Dominique Barnes, a female hero of the oceans. She was worried about all the dolphins and whales killed during shrimp farming, so the marine biologist created a tasty, affordable plant-based shrimp alternative. And she’s just one of the sheroes you will discover in The Future of Science is Female. Get to know this amazing author and view this book on Amazon!

 

 

 

Gabrielle Archuleta illustrates Black History Month for 360 MAGAZINE

Black History Month

By Hannah DiPilato

February is Black History Month and 360 Magazine would like to recognize some historic people of color who have become a positive influence on society. In 2020, the Black Lives Matter movement skyrocketed and brought attention to the diversity that still exists within our community. Although society has come a long way from the early 1900s when segregation ran rampant, the movement for equality has a long way to go. From inventors to musicians, there are a number of successful people we would like to acknowledge in honor of Black History Month.

Martin Luther King Jr.
Arguably one of the most important leaders in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. King spent his time preaching for equality in a peaceful way. He will always be remembered for his famous “I Have a Dream” speech and his ability to lead others in this historical movement. Dr. King is one of the most influential

Joseph E. Lowery
Joseph E. Lowery is the grandfather of 360 Magazine’s President Vaughn Lowery and founded the Southern Christian Leadership Conference alongside Dr. King. Throughout his life, Lowery served as vice president, chairman of the board and president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference as well as a leader in the Civil Rights Movement.

George Washington Carver
Many people are familiar with George Washington Carver for his inventive skills. He made over 300 products from peanuts and as an agricultural scientist promoted methods to prevent soil depletion.

Garrett Morgan
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. is to thank for the invention of traffic lights as well as gas masks. Every time you stop at a red light, take a moment to think of Morgan for this essential technology.

Barack Obama
As the first black president of the United States, Barack Obama made an impact as the 44th president and showed young people of color they have representation in politics. He continues to use his voice to connect with the American people.

Kamala Harris
Keeping in the theme of politics, Vice President Kamala Harris is the first woman vice president, the first African American vice president and the first Asian American vice president. She’s giving young women of color everywhere a sense of representation.

Madam C.J. Walker
As the first recorded female self-made millionaire in America, Madam C.J. Walker was an influential entrepreneur, philanthropist and activist of her time.

Frederick McKinley Jones
Frederick McKinley Jones was the co-founder of Thermo King and he brought incredible improvement to long-haul transportation of perishable goods. Jones also won the National Medal of Technology.

Stevie Wonder
Stevland Hardaway Morris, better known as Stevie Wonder, is a musical prodigy that became blind after birth and learned to play the harmonica, piano and drums by age nine. He is now a notable singer, songwriter, musician and record producer.

Lonnie Johnson
Lonnie Johnson is known for his success as an aerospace engineer. He has worked on the U.S. Air Force term of service and has also worked at NASA for twelve years including in the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Patricia Bath
As an ophthalmologist, Patricia Bath was an early innovator of laser cataract surgery. She was also the first woman, African American physician to receive a patent for a medical invention.

Oprah Winfrey
One TV personality almost everyone is familiar with is Oprah. Known for her television show The Oprah Winfrey Show, she has made waves in the world of entertainment. She is also known for co-producing a Broadway musical version of The Color Purple, establishing O, The Oprah Magazine, the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN) as well as creating Oprah.com.

Harriet Tubman
After being born into slavery, Harriet Tubman was a conductor of the Underground Railroad and helped many enslaved men and women escape. She led many people to freedom with her bravery and connection with antislavery activists.

Rosa Parks
Rosa Parks gained her notoriety as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement and is known for starting the Montgomery bus boycott after refusing to give up her seat to a white passenger. She has been called “the first lady of civil rights” and “the mother of the freedom movement” by the United States Congress.

John Lewis
John Lewis was chairman Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) as well as one of the “Big Six” leaders who organized the 1963 March on Washington. He was an essential part of the Civil Rights Movement and ending legalized racial segregation.

Alexander Miles
If you’ve ever ridden in an elevator, you can thank Alexander Miles for the automatic opening doors; he was awarded the patent for this invention in 1887. Mills was riding in an elevator with his daughter and he deemed an elevator shaft door left open could be dangerous.

Mary Kenner
Mary Kenner was an inventor famous for her development of the sanitary belt, the precursor to the self-adhesive maxi pad. However, due to racial discrimination, the idea wasn’t adopted for thirty years. She has five patents for various household items.

Maya Angelou
Known for her many famous pieces of writing, Maya Angelou was a poet, memoirist and civil rights activist. Over fifty years, she wrote a number of autobiographies, essays, poems, plays, movies and television shows. She also received over 50 honorary degrees as well as awards for her writing.

LeBron James
Along with being considered one of the greatest NBA players of all time, LeBron James also started the LeBron James Family Foundation to help create generational change for the children and families of LeBron’s hometown in Akron, Ohio.

Malcolm X
As a popular spokesperson at the time of the Civil Rights Movement, Malcolm X encouraged Black Americans to protect themselves against racism. He preached a much different lesson than Martin Luther King Jr. who preached nonviolence.

Thurgood Marshall
Thurgood Marshall was the Supreme Court’s first African American justice as well as a prominent civil rights activist. He served on the court for 24 years and helped with influential rulings at the time of the Civil Rights Movement such as the case of Brown v. Board of Education.

Jackie Robinson
Jackie Robinson was the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the United States during the 20th century. He broke the color barrier of the MLB when he played for the National League Brooklyn Dodgers as second baseman with the jersey number 42.

Solange Highlight’s African American Disabilities

As we celebrate Black History Month, which takes place every February, RespectAbility recognizes the contributions made and the important presence of African Americans to the United States. It is important to note this includes more than 5.6 million African Americans living with a disability in the U.S., 3.4 million of which are working-age African Americans with disabilities. Therefore, we would like to reflect on the realities and challenges that continue to shape the lives of African Americans with disabilities. The full piece provides statistics relating to employment, education, criminal justice and more.

Some celebrities and business leaders are using their voice to share their stories, educating people about both visible and invisible disabilities. They are defying the statistics and have remained highly successful with their disabilities. These role models make a big difference in setting high expectations for youth with disabilities. RespectAbility will be sharing content throughout this month – and throughout the entire year – highlighting additional African Americans with disabilities, including some personal pieces from our own team members.     

INCREASING DISABILITY INCLUSION IN HOLLYWOOD

Maya Angelou, Legendary Poet and Civil Rights Activist Who Had Disability, Inspires Generations

– Tameir Yeheyes, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

Maya Angelou had selective mutism, an anxiety disorder that causes a child to not speak due to physical and psychological trauma they endured. In the five-year span that she experienced this, her listening, observing and memorizing skills improved and her love of books expanded. This helped her later when she began working in becoming successful in her career.

Halle Berry: Living with Disability While Taking a Stand against Domestic Violence

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Halle Berry is an advocate for ending violence against women, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, and has been fighting for virtually her whole life.

Missy ‘Misdemeanor’ Elliott ‘Works it,’ Serves as Role Model for Young Women with Disabilities

– Julia Wood, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

At the height of her career, Missy Elliott experienced a dramatic and dangerous weight loss; she was diagnosed with Graves’ disease, which attacks the thyroid.

Deafblind Lawyer Haben Girma Advocates for Disability Rights

– Ryan Knight, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

The first Deafblind person to graduate from law school, Haben Girma stated that removing barriers for herself helped in her journey to becoming a disability advocate. Her disability advocacy is not restricted to education; she also uses the media to decrease the stigma in the community.

Whoopi Goldberg: Talented Actress, Comedienne and Talk Show Host Lives with Dyslexia

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Reading scripts and writing books as often as Goldberg does was hard at first with her dyslexia. Like she did in elementary school, Goldberg found it easiest to have someone read to her so she could memorize the lines for her scripts. For her books, she dictates instead of writing before sitting down with an editor to adjust the language.

Actress with Cerebral Palsy Diana Elizabeth Jordan is Veteran of 17 Shows, Shorts and Movies

– Theresa Maher, RespectAbility Fall 2017 Fellow

Diana Elizabeth Jordan, actress, writer, producer and director, is an important figure in the conversation about the inclusivity or lack thereof of people with disabilities in Hollywood. She found a way to get into and around Hollywood, with the help of her faith and self-confidence.

Solange Knowles: Role Model for African American Performers with Disabilities

– Bryan Munguia, RespectAbility Spring 2018 Fellow

When it comes to the traditional expectations of a pop star in Hollywood, Solange Knowles shatters the glass ceiling as a woman of color who also happens to be diagnosed with a disability that affects 10 percent of the U.S. population: ADHD. Knowles has been outspoken about her ADHD, educating people about her disability.

Jenifer Lewis of ‘Black-ish’ has Coped with Bipolar Disorder by Doing the Work

– Litsa Dremousis, The Washington Post

Jenifer Lewis resisted the diagnosis at first and refused to take medication until a self-described nervous breakdown left her convulsing in sobs, a hostage to her untreated neurochemistry. A quarter-century later, she is thriving and happy because, as she says, she “does the work.”

 

Letters Live

Star-studded British show announces the first wave of talent for its American debut.

Jake Gyllenhaal, Jarvis Cocker, James Corden, Minnie Driver, Stephen Fry, Mark Hamill, Anjelica Huston, Catherine Keener, Shirley Manson, Ian McShane, and Annabelle Wallis all confirmed for ‘LETTERS LIVE’ line-up in its US premiere with more guests to be announced.

LETTERS LIVE, in partnership with NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER, is delighted to announce the first wave of performers for its first ever public performance in the United States on February 26th 2018, at the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel in Los Angeles, from 8pm PST.

LETTERS LIVE celebrates the enduring power of literary correspondence by inviting brilliant entertainers to perform remarkable and unforgettable letters to a live audience.

“Hear the best letters in the world read by the best voices” – The Observer

Past LETTERS LIVE shows have included letters written by the likes of David Bowie, Mohandas Gandhi, Maya Angelou, Elvis Presley, Janis Joplin, Kurt Vonnegut, Charlotte Bronte, Tom Hanks, Katherine Hepburn, Richard Burton, Patti Smith, Abraham Lincoln, James Baldwin, and Che Guevara, performed by an array of talent including Benedict Cumberbatch, Gillian Anderson, Ian McKellen, Kylie Minogue, Russell Brand, Thandie Newton, Riz Ahmed, Juliet Stevenson, LeVar Burton, Tom Hiddleston, Sally Hawkins, JJ Abrams, Noma Dumezweni, Oscar Isaac, Jude Law, Nick Cave and Sir Ben Kingsley.

To view a teaser video for the 26 February, click here.

As LETTERS LIVE producer and performer Benedict Cumberbatch writes “Letters Live makes us pause and imagine the lives behind the letters read and the circumstances of their origin. The relationship between the audience, reader and writer on a Letters Live night helps deepen our understanding of these inspiring artefacts of the human condition. They are windows into the love, beauty, pain, and humor of their creators and recipients. It’s a privilege to read this most ancient form of communication to a live audience.”

The February 26th performance of LETTERS LIVE in Los Angeles will be presented in partnership with NET-A-PORTER and MR PORTER. The event will be held in the historic Theatre at Ace Hotel in the downtown neighborhood of Los Angeles, from 8pm – 9:30pm PST.

Tickets for the 26 February LETTERS LIVE performance are available for purchase here.

Ticket prices range from $50 to $200 with all the profits from ticket sales being donated to the two partner charities for the night, 826LA, and Women for Women International.

About LETTERS LIVE

LETTERS LIVE first took place in December 2013 at the Tabernacle in London and quickly established itself as a powerful and dynamic event format that attracted outstanding talents to performing remarkable letters in front of a live audience.

Inspired by Shaun Usher’s international best-selling Letters of Note series and Simon Garfield’s To the Letter, LETTERS LIVE is a live celebration of the enduring power of literary correspondence. Each show always features a completely different array of great performers, reading remarkable letters written over the centuries and from around the world. One of the joys of Letters Live is that one never knows who is going to take to the stage or what letter they are going to bring alive.

The independent publishing house Canongate, who created and developed LETTERS LIVE, subsequently partnered with the film and television production company SunnyMarch to build Letters Live into an even more far-reaching and ambitious project. Their shared vision is to harness the power of letters through curated events of exceptional quality and to develop a multi-media platform that delivers the most memorable letters to people all around the world.

As well as celebrating the pain, joy, wisdom and humour expressed in letters, LETTERS LIVE has from the outset been committed to promoting literacy and to fund-raising for literacy charities. This remains an important part of its activities both in the UK and abroad.

About 826LA

826LA is a non-profit organization with centers in Echo Park and Mar Vista, a Writers’ Room at

Manual Arts High School in South LA, and relationships with Los Angeles public schools. 826LA’s mission is to support students ages six to eighteen with their creative and expository writing skills, and to help teachers inspire their students to write. Since 2005, 826LA has served 65,000+ students. 826LA’s free programs target economically disadvantaged students.

About Women for Women International


With over twenty brutal armed conflicts across the globe and unprecedented levels of violence against women, there’s never been a greater need to support women survivors of war.
Through Women for Women International’s 12-month programme, women learn about their rights, as well as key life, vocational and business skills to access livelihoods and break free from poverty.
Since 1993, Women for Women International has supported over 462,000 women in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Kosovo, the Kurdistan Region of Iraq, Nigeria, Rwanda and South Sudan. They also engage men in their work, to break down prejudices and practices which prevent women from reaching their full potential. To find out more visit: www.womenforwomen.org.uk

Becoming AFI × 50 Years

 “This book puts you directly behind the scenes for a story that began with a dream, overcame constant challenges, and evolved into the institution it is today.”Steven Spielberg

“Documented here by the people who lived it, this is a remarkable tale of how a major institution, created out of whole cloth, wove itself into the American fabric.”

Cokie Roberts, author and political commentator for ABC and NPR 

Becoming AFI Celebrates 50 Years of the American Film Institute


For over fifty years, the American Film Institute has flourished as one of America’s great cultural entities. Its graduates, faculty, supporters, and trustees have included such acclaimed individuals as Steven Spielberg, Maya Angelou, Gregory Peck, Sidney Poitier, Meryl Streep, Les Moonves, Patty Jenkins, David Lynch, Jane Fonda, Edward James Olmos, Shonda Rhimes, James L. Brooks, and many other respected leaders in the worlds of film, television, digital media, and philanthropy.

In their new book, Becoming AFI: 50 Years Inside the American Film Institute (Santa Monica Press/October 2017), Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman provide a candid look at how this remarkable organization brought together aspiring filmmakers, educators, and artists who helped AFI become the foremost national champion for moving images as a vibrant art form.

From its early years operating out of the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC, and the legendary Greystone mansion in Beverly Hills under the leadership of George Stevens Jr., through its incredible growth into an influential cultural institution at its landmark Hollywood campus under the guidance of Jean Picker Firstenberg, to its continued excellence today under the dynamic leadership of Bob Gazzale, the organization and its history are chronicled in Becoming AFI through in-depth essays written by those who have been involved in its adventures, growth, and success.

 “After being asked so many times what our book would be about, we decided to put together AFI’s history as we experienced it personally,” explain Firstenberg and Hindman. “As we structured the book with the stories we wanted to tell from those years, we realized that some of those stories really belonged to other voices. So, we went to several former colleagues and asked them to join our band. Each chapter tells a stand-alone story about an aspect of AFI, but together, they add up to the full picture.”

Becoming AFI provides an insightful, behind-the-scenes look at how AFI, with passionate determination, overcame the hurdles of advancing technology, political shifts, and new audience dynamics to turn its aspirations into a substantial and highly successful organization, becoming a tireless advocate of moving images as one of America’s most popular forms of art, and maturing into one of the world’s most respected educational and cultural institutions. 

“No matter how divisive life in this country may become, the movie theater has always been a place where we can discover what unites us.”

Vernon Jordan Jr., New York Times  “AFI saved our film history. AFI celebrates filmmakers. AFI trains the next generation. Thanks to Becoming AFI for telling us the fascinating story of its fifty-year history. And a big thank you to Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman for documenting all of it! Here’s to the next fifty!”

Edward James Olmos, actor and AFI trustee


About the Authors
Jean Picker Firstenberg served as president and CEO of the American Film Institute from 1980 to 2007, overseeing the development of AFI as one of America’s greatest national, cultural, and educational resources. She received an AFI Life Achievement Award for Service to the Institute and was named president emerita and a lifetime trustee. In 2016, Firstenberg was named to the California State University Board of Trustees by Governor Jerry Brown, overseeing the largest four-year public university system in the United States, with twenty-three campuses educating the most diverse student body in the nation. Prior to serving at AFI, Firstenberg spent four years as a program officer at the John and Mary R. Markle Foundation. She also served as director of Princeton University’s Publications Office. Firstenberg is a summa cum laude graduate of Boston University’s College of Communications. She has served on several boards, including that of Boston University (1984–1996), the George Foster Peabody Awards at Georgia University (1985–1997; board chair 1991–1997), and the United States Postal Service Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee (2002–2014; committee chair 2008–2014). She has won numerous awards and honorary degrees. 

James Hindman, PhD, has spent his career in cinema and performing arts, creating and leading professional and public education programs at major institutions. During his twenty-four years at the American Film Institute, where he served as co-director and chief operating officer, he was provost of the AFI Conservatory, which he nurtured through WASC accreditation. He was also the uncredited producer of the award-winning feature documentary Visions of Light and the television series Starring the Actor. He developed the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center in Silver Springs, Maryland, as well as numerous television projects and international film and television festivals. Subsequent to AFI, he developed and led film schools in the U.S. and internationally, including the Red Sea School of Cinematic Arts in Aqaba, Jordan, and New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute in Las Cruces. He is currently on the board of the New Mexico School for the Arts in Santa Fe, charged with creating a new cinematic and media arts program and facilities for the school. Prior to AFI, he served as head of graduate studies in the Performing Arts Department at American University in Washington, DC, having previously taught at the University of North Carolina. Hindman holds a PhD in drama from the University of Georgia and has served on the boards of the AIDS Service Center and LAMP in Los Angeles. He currently splits his time between Santa Monica, California, and Taos, New Mexico.

Patty Jenkins made history in 2017 when she directed her second film, Wonder Woman, becoming the first woman to direct a studio superhero movie and earning the biggest domestic opening of all time for a woman director. Jenkins wrote and directed her first film, the crime drama Monster, in 2003, launching Charlize Theron’s career with many awards, including an Oscar for Best Actress. Jenkins graduated from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art in 1993 and the AFI Conservatory in 2001.

Dana Gioia was appointed Poet Laureate of the State of California in 2015 by Governor Jerry Brown. An award-winning poet who has published five collections of poetry, Gioia served as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts from 2003 to 2009, and was named a USC Judge Widney Professor in Poetry and Public Art in 2011.

David Lynch, born in 1946 in Missoula, Montana. Eagle Scout. 


BECOMING AFI: 50 YEARS INSIDE THE AMERICAN FILM INSTITUTE

By Jean Picker Firstenberg and James Hindman

Foreword by Dana Gioia

Preface by Patty Jenkins

Afterword by David Lynch

Santa Monica Press/October 2017

Hardcover/$27.95

ISBN-13: 978-159580-094-7


FOR MEDIA INQUIRIES, REVIEW COPIES AND INTERVIEWS CONTACT:

Trina Kaye – The Trina Kaye Organization

TrinaKaye@tkopr.com / 310-915-0970