Courage to Survive: A Monologue Show

In her latest blog post, 2011 Social Justice Camper Akhila Kolisetty talks about her own experiences with poetry and an upcoming event that combines poetry and themes of social justice and advocacy.

Poetry has always been a big part of my life; growing up, I shuttled back to Hyderabad for summers to spend time with my grandparents, and one on summer, my grandfather handed me the biography of Rabindranath Tagore (amongst many other books about India’s freedom fighters and inspirational leaders). This proved to be a formative moment for me, as I went on to devour the nobel laureate’s beautiful works. To this day, his poetry evokes memories of my childhood India and Tagore’s soothing words give me snippets of spirituality, forcing me to slow down and appreciate the beauty of life, love, and the magical universe we have been born into.

The Asian/Pacific Domestic Violence Resource Project is putting on “Courage to Survive,” a monologue show that highlights real stories of survivors of domestic violence…

And be sure to check out Akhila’s blog post about her experiences with Social Justice Camp and the unconference format :) Not sure we ever got a chance to thank her publicly!

Community Forum on Youth Violence 6/21

Partnering with both the Latin American Youth Center (@THELAYC) and the
Columbia Heights Shaw Family Support Collaborative, the Northwest Columbia Heights Community Association is holding a community forum on youth violence in DC in a couple weeks.

The idea is to create a community based working group on youth violence…

TOPIC: Community Building – LAYC Listening Session on Youth Violence

Tuesday, June 21, 2011
6:30 PM to 8:30 PM
St Stephen and the Incarnation Episcopal Church
1525 Newton St NW, Washington, DC 20010
Upstairs Auditorium

Please come and share your views on youth violence when the Latin American Youth Center conducts listening sessions for our community.

This WAPO article discusses some of the changes taking place in youth crime in DC, particularly the shift away from stealing cars to stealing electronics and breaking into houses:

“Stealing cars got too hot,” said a 21-year-old man who as a youth spent time in the former Oak Hill detention center. “You can grab a phone and go.” He spoke on the condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals at his job.

Snatching smartphones has a somewhat similar appeal to stealing a car: The thief can enjoy it for a while, make calls or access Facebook. Then he can sell it on the street for instant cash. On Craigslist, iPhones sell for about $250.

The focus on truancy as a preventative measure is interesting:

One tangible way to cut down on juvenile crime, Lanier said, is to reduce truancy. If youths are in school, they’re not committing crimes, she said. She estimated that 80 percent of the city’s home break-ins by teens happen during school hours.

“Truancy is a gateway crime,” Lanier said. “It leads to gang activity, and it leads to crime. It is a huge, huge contributor to juvenile crime.”

New to the Neighborhod

Recently came across this interesting piece on gentrification in DC by a white woman who moved to a neighborhood in NE Washington, DC called Rosedale:

The very origin of the word “gentrification” to describe the process by which an urban area is rendered middle class is not neutral. The eminent sociologist Ruth Glass is credited with coining it in 1964 to decry the changes in working-class London neighborhoods. Though the word has only been in circulation for a few decades, gentrification has become another of the litmus test issues that define who we are on the political and—in the eyes of some—moral spectrum.

The lines of conflict are readily apparent in the comments readers leave on blogs that cover Washington’s transitional neighborhoods. Some writers are angry that the neighborhood is changing at all; others are angry that it isn’t changing fast enough. Some want to control the change, ensuring that a curated mix of businesses is established—no chain stores, please, but nothing too “ghetto,” either. And some want to curate the people. Gentrification, though driven by economic change, often boils down to issues of race, even among diversity-celebrating gentrifiers.

As I prepared to write this piece, I was struck time and again by people’s willingness to talk to me, a gentrifier who had moved into their neighborhood and was, in essence, asking how they felt about it. Thelma Anderson, a retiree who has lived in the house a few doors down from me since the 1980s, told me she is glad that whites are back and that they don’t show fear. But several longtime residents I spoke with expressed ambivalence. They’re happy to see the neighborhood improving but unsure what their place will be in the H Street neighborhood of the future.

It is a little long, but definitely worth the read…

Other links to some good content on gentrification:

Confessions of a Black Gentrifier

The first chapter of There Goes the Hood, Lance Freeman’s book on gentrification

Lance Freeman talking about his book on NPR

New YWCA National Capital Area Video

From YWCA National Capital Area‘s Communications folks:

Last week the YWCA National Capital Area debuted a new organization video to help bring awareness to the necessary programs offered and the participants impacted. We have received great feedback and are asking for your help in spreading the word to your readers and followers. Please feel free to post or embed the following link of the video to your blogs, websites and/or social media networks.

The Race

Playwright/Performer – John Milosich

Director/Dramaturg – Regie Cabico

An autobiographical solo play incorporating original music, movement and film, The Race explores a white man’s awareness of race and racism. Portraying himself and a host of characters that are at once hilarious and infuriating, John confronts his own racism, calls into question his position of racial and social privilege, and challenges the apathy and prejudice that characterized his racist upbringing.

“Milosich is superb at acting with his body … candid and compelling as he describes his own fumbling struggles with race … he knows the white man’s experience of racism, and understands important things about the relationship between fathers and sons.” – DC Theatre Scene

“Milosich gave a heartfelt performance discussing his coming to terms with race in America.” – ShowBizRadio

“Highly recommended … deserves full houses for the entire run.” Critic’s Choice and Best Acting – All Arts Review 4 U

Through MAY 22, 2011
Thursday, Friday and Saturday at 8pm
Sunday at 2pm



$10 general admission, $5 for seniors, students and Montgomery College faculty and staff
Call the box office at (240) 567-5775 or order online.


The Studio Theater in the Cultural Arts Center at Montgomery College
Silver Spring / Takoma Park Campus
7995 Georgia Avenue, Silver Spring, MD 20910


Free behind the Cultural Arts Center or in the campus parking garage at the intersection of Georgia Avenue and King Street. Metro: Red line to Silver Spring.

For more information, email

Deconstructing White Privilege – 5/1/11

Deconstructing White Privilege:
In Support of YWCA Stance Against Racism
Presenter: Mr. Lex Musta

Sunday, May 1, 2011
11:00 am at the DC Baha’i Center
5713 16th Street (@ Montague), NW

A champion for the oneness of humanity, Lex volunteers at the African-AmericanCivil War Memorial, gives tours of the sites visited by Abdul Baha and organizes events to honor Louis Gregory’s father.

An avid historian, Lex has done extensive research on the history of the Baha’i Faith, the life of Louis Gregory and African-Americans in the Civil War, as well as Abdul Baha’s historic visits to America.

For the calendar with the latest speaker information and directions please visit  The Washington DC Baha’i Center is located at 5713 16th Street NW, (202) 291-5532.

I have had the opportunity to hear Lex talk on two occasions and he is dynamic and informative.  Highly recommend checking this out…


Tonight! 7:15pm @ Howard University

Andrew Rankin Memorial Chapel
Howard University
Sixth Street & Howard Place, N.W.
Washington, DC 20059

Followed by a reception with dinner and dessert

Hosted by the Washington DC Bahá’í Community and Howard University

There’s going to be spoken word and a talk from a Georgetown prof…and me and my housemate PJ made a 3:30 minute video that’s gonna to kickoff the event. Check it!


The consequences of the sexualization of girls

A blog I’ve been following for a while (run by a communications prof out in Washington State) recently linked to this executive summary of an APA report on the sexualization of girls while discussing media consumption among adolescents:

…evidence…points to the social, psychological, and ecological harm caused by massive exposure to a steady stream of expertly-crafted messages designed to influence behavior by manipulating emotions. Consider, for example, the American Psychological Association’s report on the sexualization of girls, or the American Academy of Pediatrics statement on media impacts and the need for media literacy education.

In a section called “Cognitive and Emotional Consequences,” the  APA report summary discusses a study with very disturbing implications in terms of the sexualization of women (Frederickson et al, 1998):

While alone in a dressing room, college students were asked to try on and evaluate either a swimsuit or a sweater. While they waited for 10 minutes wearing the garment, they completed a math test. The results revealed that young women in swimsuits performed significantly worse on the math problems than did those wearing sweaters. No differences were found for young men. In other words, thinking about the body and comparing it to sexualized cultural ideals disrupted mental capacity.

That sexualization disrupts mental capacity was not surprising…but I was a little surprised that the effects appear to be so strong when one is perfectly alone.

As objectification theory posits, “girls and women are typically acculturated to internalize an observer’s perspective as a primary view of their physical selves” (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997).

Interestingly, the dressing room study concludes that the costs of the sexualization of women are in no way limited to women:

The consequences of the cultural practices of sexually objectifying women’s bodies are not limited to problems for girls and women. Men are also negatively affected, in ways they may not even realize. For instance, across a series of experiments, Kenrick and colleagues have shown that men exposed to pictures of highly attractive women view the women with whom they are romantically involved as less attractive (Kenrick, Gutierres, & Goldberg, 1989) and their romantic relationships as less satisfying and less committed (Kenrick, Neuberg, Zierk, & Krones, 1994).

These findings prove very interesting in light of ongoing conversations about how men are becoming less willing to take on responsibility, whether in terms of their professional or romantic lives.

I wonder if the ubiquitous sexualization of females might be a contributing factor.



Fredrickson, B. , Noll, S. , Roberts, T. , Quinn, D. , & Twenge, J. (1998). That swimsuit becomes you: Sex differences in self-objectification, restrained eating, and math performance. Journal of Personality & Social Psychology, 75(1), 269-283.

Fredrickson, B. , & Roberts, T. (1997). Objectification theory. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21(2), 173-206.


Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls

New Discoveries Suggest That Sexual Objectification Is More Damaging to Women Than You Might Think