The Racist History Behind The BMI

Is there a more perfect pair than racism and fatphobia? The two fit together as if they were made for each other. The truth is the -ism and phobia are inherently linked.  Scholars say the link began around the start of slavery. Before this time, fat was seen as a positive in society. It meant […]

10 Reasons to Support a Moratorium on Charter School Expansion

A scene of an empty classroom. Empty desks face a projetor screen with chalkboards and a map in the background.

The Rochester City School District is still reeling from the fallout of a budget shortfall last year that led to the layoff of hundreds of educators, the closure of 4 schools, 3 programs, which touched all of the 26,000 students of the RCSD in some way.  How did this happen? Many still believe mismanagement but […]

Society Doesn’t Care About Black Mental Health

Young African American woman is on the balcony at sunset

As Memorial Day weekend came to a close and the conversation about Naomi Osaka deciding to forgo press after the French Open went viral, I vividly remember loudly screaming out “YESSS SIS” to the news. I live for anyone and everyone taking a stand and pushing back against the capitalistic and “grind”culture that tells us […]

Trying to Avoid the Trap of Grammar Shaming

We’ve all done this: we see a person type something egregiously racist/misogynist/ableist, but they use “there” instead of “their” in the middle of their rant. Perhaps instead a homonym swap, they use a completely different word, or simply grossly misspell a word. Then we pounce. There is no talking to them, because they can’t even […]

White Privilege Is F****** Hard To Dismantle!

Black teacher with a face mask explaining exam results to elementary student in the classroom.

“This has taken me a few days to write.” I struggled because I am a white woman still dealing with my white fragility. Another white person has just been internally promoted to an Assistant Superintendent in Penfield, from PHS Principal. She is a woman. I have no doubt she is qualified and ready. Internal promotion […]

If Food is Love, Then What is This?

Think back to your favorite meal as a kid… The one that you crave now when you need to feel comforted, safe, loved, and secure. We remember the feelings associated with these comfort foods, and we come back to them throughout our lives because food is a way we express love, and those memories of […]

Anti-Black Racism Is As American As Apple Pie

The dehumanization of the Black body in life and death is as “American as apple pie,” the saying goes. In life or death the Black body is not human so there will always be justification on why WE and OUR lives are worth less and worthless. Nothing new here. White supremacy will always find a […]

Black Maternity/Parent Health: Why are Black Women Dying When Giving Birth?

Black people are the blueprint of the medical field, yet the doctor’s office is one of the most uncomfortable places for us to be.  The mistrust isn’t without good reason and has grown naturally as our bodies were poked and prodded without consent for centuries. Despite our bodies being used to test scientific hypotheses, those […]

Guns and Control: My Love/Hate Relationship with Firearms

“‘Gun Control’ means using two hands in my land…” Every time the topic of gun control breaches the surface in the news cycle (i.e. every time there is a mass shooting in America, so about every few weeks), I cannot help but think of Posdnous’s line from De La Soul’s classic Stakes Is High. Even […]

Be The Kind You Wish to See in the World

close up photos on different color rocks in the sand

540WMain was founded literally with no outside capital, lots of goodwill, personal sacrifice, family support, volunteers, blood, sweat and tears. Many of you have joined me on this journey over the last four years and supported in ways that are simply priceless. I continue to be thankful and grateful for the countless messages, cards, and […]

It’s Our Job to Protect Black Culture

Black people have the right and should gatekeep Black culture. We should question when someone who is not phenotypically Black claims our culture.  During slave times, and for a long time after, you were considered black if you had a drop of Black blood. Your great x4 grandfather could be half black and you could […]

Stopping Asian Hate Means Fighting White Supremacy

Violence against Southeast Asian people is at a fever pitch. Though only 3% of the population, Chinese Americans specifically have endured months of ridicule and blame for things completely out of their control, from spreading disease to bolstering and profiting from vice in the cities. This slowly boiling hatred and resent can be traced all […]

No Education Justice? No Peace!

Portrait of african girl wearing face mask and writing solution of sums on white board at school. Black schoolgirl solving addition sum on white board during Covid-19 pandemic. School child thinking while doing mathematics problem and wearing surgical mask due to coronavirus.

“I have almost reached the regrettable conclusion that the Negro’s great stumbling block in his stride toward freedom is not the White Citizen’s Counciler or the Ku Klux Klanner, but the white moderate, who is more devoted to “order” than to justice; who prefers a negative peace which is the absence of tension to a […]

To Be A Black Woman in a White Newsroom

On Tuesday, the Attorney General handed down the news many of us feared.  None of the officers involved in the death of Daniel Prude will face charges.  We waited for months hoping the Grand Jury would hand down justice, and yet we’re here again in a very similar place.  I heard the decision while at […]

Adultification Bias and Brutality Against Black Girls Must Stop

Adultification Bias and Brutality Against Black Girls Must Stop Rochester almost got through the entire first month of the new year without an incident of the Rochester Police Department (RPD) using excessive force on a citizen in mental distress. This time the victim of that brutality is a 9-year-old Black girl who based on reports […]

Black vs. POC: A New But Outdated Term

Seamless pattern of many different people profile heads

Black vs. POC: A New But Outdated Term I am not a person of color.  I am Black.  This is a sentence that I have said to countless people– each time with more conviction.  When hearing it, I feel as if my blackness is being lumped into a group without notice.  It feels like a […]

Time to Come Together

Time to Come Together By the time you read this, January 20th, 2021 will have passed, and barring another attempted mass insurrection, we will have a new President of the United States of America. I never held my tongue about how dark a chapter was written over the last four years, and I am glad […]

Ernest Flagler-Mitchell Needs to Resign

close up of letter of resignation with a pen

Ernest Flagler-Mitchell Needs to Resign Two phrases that stuck with me the most from a summer of marches and protests: All Black Lives Matter We throw no one under the bus. I felt these in my heart and soul. It is important to not dismiss anyone in our fight for equality, no matter what. And […]

A First Amendment Primer (Since Some of Y’all Are Confused)

First Amendment of the US Constitution text, with other Constitution text above

A First Amendment Primer (Since Some of Y’all Are Confused) The number of adult humans who don’t understand how the First Amendment works and what censorship truly looks like is sad, astounding, and expected all as the same time. This isn’t a Millennials/Gen Z problem, nor is it a Boomer problem (us Gen Xers are […]

The Pandemic Exposed All the Inequities & We Still Got It Wrong

Black Female Doctor sitting on bed with male doctor behind staring out of the window

The Pandemic Exposed All the Inequities & We Still Got It Wrong March 2020, the shutdown comes to Rochester.   The great equalizer. We are all in the same storm. The memes circulate. Thank you health care workers for being on the front lines, thank you essential workers, we see you, we thank you for […]