Category: Books and Writers

5 Songs For The End of The Week

Grand Dame Queenie. Amy Sherald, 2012.

Smooth as silk. Sweet like honey. Made for the moonlight. Brighter than sunshine. There is no voice like Ms. Dionne Warwick’s. If you haven’t already dipped into her catalogue of hits, it’s time to get into it. Here are five of my favorites for the end of the week.

Congressman John Lewis was a joyful warrior. In celebration of his birthday, here is the essay he wrote to be published on the day of his funeral. Every word of this essay is worth reading. It is a call to action and a reminder that even in times of great despair there is hope.

“Ordinary people with extraordinary vision can redeem the soul of America by getting in what I call good trouble, necessary trouble. Voting and participating in the democratic process are key. The vote is the most powerful nonviolent change agent you have in a democratic society. You must use it because it is not guaranteed. You can lose it.”

-John Lewis

Thinking of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison

“If I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people’s fantasies for me and eaten alive.”

-Audre Lorde

“I know the world is bruised and bleeding, and though it is important not to ignore its pain, it is also critical to refuse to succumb to its malevolence.”

-Toni Morrison

Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison gave us so much. Their words wind through hearts and minds giving solace and stoking imagination. With exquisite precision and unyielding brilliance, they crafted hearty vocabularies capable of holding and expressing the universalism of their own experiences. What Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison wrote were truths Black women and Black people knew in their bones, but rarely saw in print. They eviscerated the intellectual and moral smallness of the American cultural imagination that relegated Blackness and specifically Black women to the margins.

We have been blessed by their inextinguishable light. Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison’s words are talismans, full of magic and protection. They hold up our wholeness in the face of a system designed to smash every facet of our humanity. To be Black in America is to be too much and never enough. To be Black in the words of Audre Lorde and Toni Morrison is to be complete in the complexity of ourselves, and that has always been enough.

Nina Simone “Feeling Good”

“Sometimes we have to do the work even though we don’t yet see a glimmer on the horizon that it’s actually going to be possible.”

— Angela Davis

Gerald hanging out in the casual carpool line before things got ugly. Source: Meghan Bennett

“He had this habit of loitering by the stairs of the garden, almost daring you to walk up or down,” said Maria Hunt, who has lived near the garden for more than a decade and was attacked by Gerald two separate times in 2020. “Gerald was like a winged boogie man, a Cerberus of the rose garden who would have been comical if he hadn’t been so menacing.”

“All we could do was run”: the strange story of Gerald, the turkey who terrorized a city