Her Thank You Restored My Faith in Strangers

Thank you

Most of my European life has been spent helping others. In no small part because I founded JobsinStockholm.com in 2006. The very purpose of this job board was to help desperate people. I was one of those desperate people, so I knew how they felt. They found themselves in Sweden with English and their native language, foreign degrees, diplomas, and certificates and zero job prospects. At least that is that is what many felt until they discovered my job board. Then the phone calls started coming in the middle of the night from people looking for work in Sweden from faraway places.

“You are not a social worker”, my Swede would moan during those two years.

Up until this day, however, most of the requests I receive for help come from women. They find me through my blogs and communities I created for black women in Europe and expats in Sweden. Most want help finding jobs, or services, or social connections or advice on how to move to Europe or where to go for help. They want my contacts and leads and a lot of hand-holding at times. They want to vent, they want to talk, but most of all, they want something from me.

Thank you

But starting last year I felt my giving-to-strangers’ tap was running dry. I became weary. Most of the people I helped didn’t say thank you. Most of the people never followed up to let me know what happened.

Most of the people I helped didn’t even spell my name correctly.

I decided I needed to let the word no become my default reply. I made a brief list of things I needed to do for myself before I could do anything else for a stranger. I gave myself deadlines. I let those deadlines go without completing one single item that was all about me. Months passed too. I must have forgotten about the promise I made to myself. I ended up helping at least one other stranger. I took another chance and put a woman in touch with someone in my network who trusts me. I did this for someone I do not know just because she asked me in an email. And she sent me a response!

Hi Adrianne 

I have secured (name removed) as an advisor and he will help me get the company setup. 

I cannot thank you enough for this introduction.  

I know you dont know my life story and all I have been through, but you must know this right here is changing my life and opening a door for me to elevate myself out of poverty. I am certainly open to sharing my story with you when there. 

I will be 36 at end of February. I have had so many setbacks. I certainly am not where I thought I would be at 36 and I am also at that age of the ticking biological clock…ha-ha… That is another discussion as I am yet to locate the guy that I consider my “Mr.Right” or those who know me know I refer to him as my “Barack”. I dont discriminate. I date all races as a good man is a good man 🙂 
But yes,

you have altered the trajectory of my life with your introduction and I can never thank you enough for that 🙂

but I hope I can pay it forward or join your efforts in a cause we share 🙂 
Have a fabulous day! 

T.

Reading these words caused my eyes to fill with tears. Was this really happening to me? She had spelled my name right, again. She let me know my lead panned out. She thanked me. She told me why she was grateful. She gave me credit way beyond what I feel I deserve and by doing so she single-handedly restored my faith in strangers. She confirmed what I must have always known. I don’t help others because I want to hear them say thank you. I help others because I simply can’t imagine NOT helping others. Thank YOU, T!

Thank you

But I can’t help but feel that Ms. T has taught me another lesson I can’t quite distill. At least not yet. It has something to do with very carefully choosing whom I surround myself with and distilling why I am a magnet for those in need. Equally important, she has restored my faith in helping strangers.

Black History Matters! Thanks for asking Metro Sverige

Adrianne George, our Founder, talking ever so briefly to Metro Sverige about Black History Month.

She is very grateful her colleagues Sigma Dolins and Alexander Lange – Vice Chair and Chair, respectively of Democrats Abroad Sweden sent them her way.

Black History Month

Here is the full interview from which the article above was written:

 

MS: How come the US celebrates black history month?

​AG: Good question! Black History Month in the US is a celebration of the achievements of African Americans and their importance to American History. It started as a week in 1926 as the brainchild of Harvard-trained historian Carter G. Woodson and Rev Jesse E. Moorland. They founded a national organization to study and document “negro” life and history. They choose the 2nd week of February because, that year, it coincided with the birthdays of Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass. Makes sense seeing how President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation freed the slaves, the predecessors of African Americans, and Frederick Douglass was a ferocious, tireless, and globally acclaimed abolitionist and himself a former slave.

MS: Why is it so important?

​AG: Black History Month is important because black history – African American history – is the history of the United States of America. You can’t talk, think about, study or appreciate the history of the USA without an honest look at how it was founded, how it participated in the Trans Atlantic Slave Trade which leads to extreme riches and extreme horror, or gave birth to the first American Patriot to fall at the Boston Massacre, Crispus Attucks, which lead to the American Revolution. You have to remember the brutality of rape and lynching that lead to The Blues and Gospel music. 

You have to study America’s repressive segregationist laws to see how they lead to the Civil Rights movement and a woman like Rosa Parks and a leader like Malcolm X, Jazz, Bebop, Soul, Rock & Roll and Rhythm & Blues. You have to study how making amendments to the US Constitution, for example, to abolish slavery, and to end segregation in schools were civil right victories for all Americans. And even though Black History Month started as a week in 1926 the world is witnessing the Black Lives Matter movement in 2017-2018 which in itself explains why Black History Month is important.

MS: How do they celebrate it?

AG: Well, there is the political way:
In 1975, President Ford issued a Message on the Observance of Black History Week urging all Americans to “recognize the important contribution made to our nation’s life and culture by black citizens.”   As soon as the organization organizing the week extended the celebration to a month the following year, President Ford endorsed that too. Then in 1986, Congress passed Public Law 99-244 which designated February 1986 as “National Black (Afro-American) History Month.” President Reagan issued Presidential Proclamation 5443 which proclaimed that “the foremost purpose of Black History Month is to make all Americans aware of this struggle for freedom and equal opportunity.” In January 1996, President Clinton issued Presidential Proclamation 6863 for “National African American History Month.” The proclamation emphasized the theme for that year, the achievements of black women from Sojourner Truth to Mary McLeod Bethune and Toni Morrison. In February 1996 the Senate passed Senate Resolution 229 commemorating Black History Month and the contributions of African American U.S. Senators. Since 1996, Presidents have issued annual proclamations for National African American History Month. On February 1, 2011, President Obama issued a Proclamation reflecting on the theme of “African Americans and the Civil War”. In 2017 President Trump proclaimed African American History Month calls upon us to reflect on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans. This year the President said, ” This year’s theme, “African Americans in Times of War,” calls our attention to the heroic contributions of African Americans during our Nation’s military conflicts, from the Revolutionary War to present-day operations”.

And the community way:

This varies by city and State but in my experience includes museum and art exhibitions, concerts and dance performances, school projects across disciplines from social studies to history and art, on all levels from elementary to University. There are business expos and Buy Black fairs and a celebration of food and everything that makes African Americans unique from hairstyles to wardrobe choices. It’s a time to look in the mirror and like what you see, which isn’t always easy for African Americans to do when you’re worried that you could become a poster child for Black Lives Matter if you’re in the wrong place at the wrong time.

MS: Are there any controversies around the celebration? If so, what are they?

AG: I can’t think of any but then again there was pushback from some constituencies in the US about creating a national holiday to remember the life and death of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I’m waiting for the release of the new $20 bill with the face of a slave, Underground Railroad conductor, Union Army spy, Abolitionist and defacto feminist, Harriet Tubman.  The $20 bill would retire Andrew Jackson. Bold, no doubt, and I can proudly say an Obama Administration initiative. Let’s not forget that America is a country whose Presidents owned slaves. Andrew Jackson was one of those. He was also no friend of 1st Nationals in the Southeast of the US. Having Harriet Tubman on a paper bill in US currency would be a first for an African American and the first for a woman in 100 years.

MS: Any specific reason Sweden doesn’t celebrate it?

AG: In Europe, Black History Month is celebrated in the UK. And for good reason. The British colonized many African and Caribbean countries and even though slavery wasn’t legal in the UK her business community profited greatly from the Transatlantic Slave Trade. Certainly, other countries in Europe could recognize a month to celebrate the contribution of blacks in their societies based on their colonial pasts. In 2011 there was a demonstration by Afro-Swedes in Stockholm for Sweden to recognize its role in the slave trade too (https://afroeurope.blogspot.se/2011/05/black-people-in-sweden-demonstrated-for.html).  Afrophobic hate crime rose in Sweden between 2008 and 2012 as reported in The Local, in parallel or because of a vibrant and important black community in Sweden. This community has produced high achieving cabinet ministers, artists, athletes, etc.

But then again I have been to Black History Month celebrations in Stockholm in the past. One was arranged by the US Embassy’s Cultural Department and featured my beloved Alma matter  Howard University’s Gospel Choir. Another event organized by a US Fulbright student from Boston University doing research in Sweden. She arranged an evening with former child prodigy James Bradley, Jr who is a professional drummer in Stockholm.

 

3 day International Conference-African-Atlantic Futures

Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures – 31 Aug – 2 Sept 2018
University of Leeds, United Kingdom

African-Atlantic Futures

Three-day International Conference

At a time when new dynamics are emerging around the issues of justice (transitional, reparative, etc.), mourning and commemoration in Africa and its diaspora, the conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to consider the current historical conjuncture and the extent to which it reveals new questions about memory in the historical, temporal and social contexts of slavery and imperialism. For example, how do the growing calls for reparations and the urge to restructure or challenge the politics of commemoration within imperialist societies point to the emergence of new “conceptual-ideological problem-spaces” (Scott, Conscripts of Modernity) in how African-Atlantic postcolonial communities engage with historical memory? How will an analysis of these dynamics, of the gaps they point to, and of the urgencies they highlight, foster new understandings of the stakes that the particular memories of slavery and imperialism bear within the spaces marked by this history, including the imperialist societies themselves?

In tackling these questions, we wish to consider the valences of performance in the contemporary moment and the extent to which they are cross-fertilising and mediating the most urgent issues in Africa-Atlantic memory. We wish to reflect on how spaces and modes of performance – including, but not limited to, theatre, dance, literary texts, music, visual art and sports – are being used to energise both the particular and the entangled concerns of aesthetics, politics and epistemology within the memories linked to African-Atlantic colonialism and slavery. Are contemporary performances of memory, particularly those that point to African and Afro-diasporic alternatives to Euro-Western modes and models, reflecting historico-political and cognitive shifts in how the relationship between African-Atlantic pasts, presents and futures is conceived?

The three-day international conference “Memory and Performance in African-Atlantic Futures” seeks to approach these issues from a vigorously cross-/inter-disciplinary perspective. We invite scholars, artists, curators and other professionals within fields as varied as literature, theatre and the performing arts, visual art, history, law, anthropology, cultural studies, to engage in a conversation around the dynamics of memory within the historical framework of African-Atlantic slavery and colonialism and the political, aesthetic and epistemological specificities that they engage in the current moment. We hope to underscore how these dynamics, too often overlooked in the critical and theoretical sites of memory studies, are currently shaping, reshaping and (re)mediating the global flows of memory.

We propose two main axes of investigation:

Shapes and forms of memory

How do we think the forms and effects of the enfleshed, material memories of slavery, colonialism and their afterlives and the ways in which these are enlisted in the spaces of performance, be they physical (theatre, dance, ritual, oral performance, etc.) or textual (the different performative manifestations of the written word)?

This question necessarily involves a consideration of how African diaspora time-senses fashion modes of performance of memory and how oral and ritual performance forms impact, shape, record and encode memory in the context of colonial violence. Can African and diasporic forms of embodied memory become tools that combat imperialism? How can the performance of post-slavery/ post-Empire memory shed new light on Western theories of memory that emerge from Holocaust studies or on Western theories of haunting, trauma and mourning?

Epistemologies of memory

What challenges do African diasporic modes of memory bring to Euro-Western epistemologies of justice, History, and the human? How does postcolonial memory call into question the social deployment of memory within the nation and across nations? At a time when the movement for reparations for slavery in the African diaspora is achieving unprecedented momentum, we invite contributions that question settled understandings of the triad of time, history and justice and those that address postcolonial engagements with memory through “corrective” performance practices of justice, “truth-telling” and witnessing. Additionally, in considering institutional marginalization, suppression, and exclusion of postcolonial memories, we seek contributions about practices that challenge the order of remembrance in official commemorations, museums, schools, archives and discourses.

Papers may address, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • institutions of memory

  • memory and the law

  • memory and reparations

  • memory and colonial enlightenment

  • memory and ‘the human’

  • new ‘problem-spaces’ of memory

  • memory and futures

  • Black Speculative Arts Movement and futures

  • Afrofuturism

  • ritual performance and futures

  • decolonising memory

  • decolonising the museum

  • decolonising the curriculum

  • citation as a politics of memory

Each presentation should last no longer than 20 minutes in order to save time for questions and to ensure a smooth program.

Submission Guidelines

Abstracts in English of no more than 300 words should be sent to afroatlanticfutures@gmail.com by Friday, 2 March 2018. Please send abstracts in PDF or Word format, accompanied by the title of the paper and a short biography. ­­­­­­

We also welcome proposals for complete panels, which should consist of 3 presenters. Panel proposals should not exceed 500 words and should be accompanied by short biographies of each of the presenters.

The organising committee will communicate acceptance decisions no later than 9 March 2018.

Conference Conveners

Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant (University of Leeds)

Prof. Maxim Silverman (University of Leeds)

African-Atlantic Futures
Keynote speakers

Confirmed Keynote Speakers

Dr. Louise Bernard (Museum of the Obama Presidential Center)

Prof. Lubaina Himid (University of Central Lancashire)

Prof. Tavia Nyong’o (Yale University)

Prof. Adam Sitze (Amherst College)

Dr. Chokri Ben Chikha (Royal Academy of Fine Arts, Ghent)

Please address enquiries to Dr. Jason Allen-Paisant.

2 to watch in Sweden’s Melodifestivalen

Melodiefestivalen

Mello Week 1

It’s baaack! Melodiefestivalen! In Sweden, it seems you either love it or hate it! I wasn’t sure what to think the first time I watched it, except for it was a really fun night! But it was a fun night because my hosts made it into a party. We had dinner, and then we had a Melodiefestivalen party. Complete with prizes for the kids. And that was the other thing, it’s a family affair!

So now each year I look forward to being able to cheer a little, heck, a LOT harder for the sisters and brothers that look for me in the Swedish Song competition I’m always hopeful they’ll go on to represent Sweden in Eurovision.

So this year I’m cheering for Renaida – ”All The Feels”

and John Lundvik – ”My Turn”.

I’ll be in the audience next week in Gothenburg! I won’t peek ahead to see who will compete.

She’s Swedish-American: Swedish Model Chanelle Törnqvist Is Your New Hair Crush

Source: Vogue.com

chanelle-tornqvist
Photo: Courtesy of Chanelle Coleman Törnqvist / @chanellemademoiselle

With her caramel freckles and cloud of coiled brunette curls, model Chanelle Coleman Törnqvist stands out from the crowd of blonde-and-blue-eyed beauties at Fashion Week Stockholm. And not just because of her soft and sultry look. The 25-year-old Swedish-American is a model, blogger, and assistant fashion buyer at H&M.

“I’m working from Monday to Monday,”

she says of the weekly grind, which takes her from the office to the studio, often donning “sporty chic” ensembles that she pairs with black Timberland boots and little to no makeup. Instead, she’s armed with hydrating creams by the likes of Swedish brand Björk & Berries , Clinique, and Kiehl’s, and sheer products such as Yves Saint Laurent’s Touche Éclat‎ highlighter  for glow. It’s a minimal recipe that allows for her greatest accessory, her freckles, to shine through.

“I never thought of them so much,”

says Törnqvist of her natural embellishments,

“until people came up to me and asked if I had drawn them on . . .”

Read the full article on Vogue.com!

Decolonizing Knowledge and Power: Postcolonial Studies, Decolonial Horizons

School’s in for the summer

Decolonizing summer school

DECOLONIZING KNOWLEDGE AND POWER: POSTCOLONIAL STUDIES, DECOLONIAL HORIZONS BARCELONA, SPAIN – JULY 2-12, 2018

APPLICATION DEADLINE: February 5, 2018

The International Summer School, “Decolonizing Knowledge and Power,” is an undertaking that aims at enlarging the scope of the conversation (analysis and investigation) of the hidden agenda of modernity (that is, coloniality) in the sphere of knowledge and higher education. This course is offered through the Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues, in Barcelona, Spain. The seminar will be held at the UAB-Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Casa de la Convalescencia (Hospital de Sant Pau) .

Affiliated Faculty Members include:

Boaventura de Sousa Santos, Linda Martín Alcoff, Nelson Maldonado-Torres,
Ruthie Wilson Gilmore, Oyèrónkẹ́ Oyěwùmí, Emma Pérez, Chela Sandoval,
Ramón Grosfoguel, Abdul Janmohamed, Houria Bouteldja,
Ella Shohat, Sandew Hira, Kwame Nimako, Stephen Small, James Cohen,
Oscar Guardiola-Rivera, Daphne V. Taylor-García, Lars Jensen,
Salman Sayyid, Tiffany Ruby Patterson and Alejandro Vallega

(More Faculty Info)

About the Center

El Mirador in Barcelona
El Mirador de Colón on the Mediterranean Sea in Barcelona

Center of Study and Investigation for Decolonial Dialogues is a non-profit and non-governmental organization promoting research, knowledge-making, education (through seminars, workshops, exhibits, round-tables discussions, publications and video-making) and public policy to invent and work towards non-competitive horizons of life, of socio-economic organization and international relations. Non-profit and non-governmental organizations emerge from within civil and political society to address issues that are not supported or attended to by government and corporations. Their function is crucial in building futures that are beyond the regulations of States or the needs of the Corporations. In order for civil and political society to become relevant actors in social transformation and pointing out the limits of corporate values and state regulation, it is necessary to create institutions of knowledge-making not at the service of the state or corporations, but to the benefit of the civil society.

For further inquiries and information, please send an e-mail to decolonialknowledge [at] dialogoglobal.com.

3 Things To Kick Off Kicking Butt with Your Finances in 2018 – Ellevest

New Year’s Money Guide Part 1

Create a free investment plan with Ellevest* that crunches the numbers based on the realities of gender-based pay.

Ellevest

“There’s no instant formula to greatness here, no “simple steps,” because
that’s just not how life works, right? But from my years of experience
working on Wall Street, here’s my advice to help you achieve financial
confidence.” — Sallie Krawcheck, Co-Founder & CEO of Ellevest

Roll with life’s punches – Or be a good Girl Scout

Maybe your grandmother called it “Mad Money”; we call it the F.U. Fund (as in Ceelo’s song of the same name). It’s extra cash to make sure you have enough to cover your needs if you lose your job, break up with the person you thought you were spending the rest of your life with and need to move quickly, or any other emergency.

Your F.U. Fund should be 3 to 6 months of take-home pay in cash so that it’s easily accessible. Set up a separate account so that you won’t be tempted to dip into it. (Note: Ellevest offers an easy to access Emergency Fund Goal). But remember: do not start an emergency fund if you have credit card debt — pay that down first.

Master your debt – Don’t let it master you

Most of us will take on some form of debt in our lives, and not all of it is bad. Some debt, when paid on time, and with a low-interest rate, can help you build up your credit score. Think of a mortgage as an example of debt that can be part of a healthy financial plan. How you manage debt should take serious thought. Some people prefer to get debt — even low-cost debt — paid off and done with. One kind of debt that’s always bad is credit card debt: if you are carrying a balance on your credit card that means you are paying interest. If you want to lose weight, drop the debt. Pay it off as soon as you possibly can before you do anything else — even investing. (Read more about women and Debt here.)

Ellevest

Get free money from work – if it’s on offer take it

If your company offers a 401(k) retirement fund and a match, you should be taking advantage of it. Why? Because a 401(k) allows you to invest pre-tax earnings, which saves your tax bill in the long run. In addition, if your company offers a match they are basically giving you free, untaxed money towards your retirement. Make sure you’ve set up deductions to meet any necessary threshold to take advantage of your company match (get clarification from HR if you’re not sure). Now you’ve set up a retirement fund for your future that will compound over time. Boom. Have an old 401(k) from a previous job that is languishing away somewhere? Read what some women have done with their 401K accounts and roll that baby over right away.

  • With Ellevest you can create a free investment plan that crunches the numbers using an algorithm based on the realities of gender-based pay. Do that today if you have a US bank account.
  • Ellevest offers 401(k) rollovers as well as IRA transfers.
  • Ellevest will conduct a review of your current 401(k) plan, including what you pay in fees, your investment options, and will make a personalized recommendation regarding whether rolling over your 401(k) to Ellevest is in your best interests.
  • Ellevest will help you with the rollover process and charges no additional fees to rollover your 401(k).

Do you already have your emergency fund in place? Is the thought of starting an F. U. Fund motivating? My motivation is being able to travel home when needed. I’ve got be able to fly home at the drop of a dime.

“I want you to meet Ellevest because Black Women in Europe Blog™ is super excited to be working with them to start this conversation about women and money, and we may receive compensation if you become an Ellevest client.”

*Ellevest clients must have a US bank account.

Ellevest