2019 YEAR IN REVIEW
Dear AAPF Family,
The events of the past decade have underscored the urgency of using intersectionality to build a more equitable world for people of all genders, races and nationalities.
Particularly during a time of global upheaval, we’ve been buoyed and energized by our tremendous community, and all of us at AAPF are deeply grateful for your solidarity and goodwill. We tip our hats to you, our backers whose support is the cornerstone of all that we do. It’s your engagement that enables all of the triumphs summarized here, and we couldn’t do it without you. With your help, we organize, we bring people together, we raise awareness, we develop leadership, we mobilize arts for activism, we inspire. We fight against the rollback in civil rights, justice, and every effort undertaken since 2016 to reverse the hard-fought victories of the past, and we thank all of our supporters for making it possible.
As 2019 comes to a close, we look back on the journey that fighting for intersectional justice has taken us on this year. We are honored to have you in our corner, and we hope that the gains we’ve made over the past twelve months will inspire your continued support in 2020 and beyond!
Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series
In 2019, we continued our Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series which elevates the stories and experiences of women and girls of color. The series provides women and girls of color with a platform to share their experiences in front of a panel of decision makers and a public audience, advocating for their inclusion in race and gender justice agendas. This year we brought our 14th and 15th town halls to Los Angeles and Minneapolis respectively. With these latest two town halls, we transitioned into a new model in which we incorporated art as a form of activation and coalition building. In Los Angeles, the panels examined issues surrounding public and private policies that have harmed women and girls of color, including gentrification, school privatization, trafficking, deficiencies of the child welfare system, and deportation, detention and immigration. The event concluded with a strategizing session on how stakeholders, foundations, and other organizations can come together to assist in redistributing funds to sustain local community-based and facilitate support from institutions like academia, labor unions, religion, and legal firms. In Minneapolis, the event featured panels on criminal justice, housing, education and health and wellness, which precipitated rich, provocative discussions between community members and policymakers about how best to address the array of challenges that uniquely imperil Black women and girls. With these Town Halls, we have succeeded in developing long-term collaboration with local stakeholders in the cities we have visited and helped develop sustainable policies that uplift women and girls of color from the margins of public discourse. In 2020, we plan on continuing the Breaking the Silence Town Hall Series and have targeted several key cities that are in need of an intersectional intervention.
Her Dream Deferred: A Week on the Status of Black Women (5th Annual)
At the end of each March, in honor of Women's History Month and the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent, AAPF hosts Her Dream Deferred, a weeklong series of activities focused on elevating the crises facing Black women and girls.
AAPF held its fifth annual edition of Her Dream Deferred last March. The program featured seven live events across the Los Angeles area and on the world wide web. The week began with a Black Feminist Homegoing for Aretha Franklin on March 24th. AAPF convened this celebration of Aretha’s life to coincide with the Queen of Soul’s first birthday since her passing, and to expurgate the misogynoir that pervaded her actual funeral service last year.
At AAPF’s reimagining of the traditional earthly send-off, Aretha fans far and wide contributed remarks, art, and performances that recast, reconstituted and reclaimed what she means to Black women. We followed up our Aretha fete two days later with a panel discussion on Black women and the #MeToo movement. The conversation included rapper and television personality Dee Barnes, #MuteRKelly co-founder Kenyette Tisha Barnes, cultural critic Jamilah Lemieux, supermodel Beverly Johnson, actress, writer and producer Rashida Jones and historian Stephanie E. Jones-Rogers. Later that week, AAPF utilized art to channel the spirit of Harriet Tubman with “Harriet’s Political Will: Black Women’s Electoral Strength in an Era of Fractured Politics.” First, a cast of arts-activists staged a performance that explored the life and legacy of Tubman, a civic organizer and political agitator ahead of her time. Afterwards a panel of p
olitical analysts and theorists expounded on the lasting implications of Tubman’s pivotal role in American history. This panel included California State Assemblymember Sydney Kamlager-Dove, Senior Political Reporter Nia-Malika Henderson, and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza.
Her Dream Deferred week 2019 notably featured the world premiere of a staged reading of Say Her Name: The Lives That Should Have Been, an original play written by Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw, Arts and Education Director Julia Sharpe-Levine and Writing Director G’Ra Asim. The multimedia performance imagines the lives that mothers, sisters and daughters may have led had they not been cut short by state violence. To close out the week, AAPF partnered with the Institute for Women’s Policy Research for a timely and morally urgent webinar called Work Supports to Reduce Maternal Mortality, which addressed Black women’s disproportionate rates of death during childbirth.
Say Her Name Campaign
Say Her Name Day of Remembrance Earlier this month, we commemorated the 5th anniversary of the #SayHerName campaign. AAPF first marched under the banner of Black women killed by the police on December 14, 2014, at the NYC Millions March, an anti-police brutality demonstration fueled in part by grand jury decisions not to indict police officers for the deaths of Eric Garner and Michael Brown. Marching together with tens of thousands of protesters, we urged others to join us to “say her name” and politicize the stories of Black women, girls, and femmes who were killed by the police, and whose names were often excluded from dominant narratives around police violence. Since that day, #SayHerName has emerged as a rallying cry around the globe, demanding that violence against Black women is treated with the same urgency and awareness as violence against their brothers.
Original Play After debuting Say Her Name: The Lives that Should Have Been at HDD 2019, AAPF went on to hold a 29-hour workshop with theatre artists in New York in October to refine and revise the performance piece and incorporate new elements. The piece’s evolution celebrates the beauty, complexity and everyday normalcy of the victims’ lives, and to bear witness to and demand justice for Black women and girls. Keep an eye for additional staged readings of Say Her Name: The Lives that Should have Been on both coasts in 2020.
Mothers Weekend The fourth annual #SayHerName Mothers Weekend took place at the end of January 2019 in New York City. The weekend brought the mothers together to reconnect, decompress and collaborate on ways to take the movement forward. The mothers were the special invited guests of Kerry Washington at the Broadway showing of her play, American Son, which deals with a mother reeling from anti-Black police violence. The mothers also had an opportunity to share their testimonies which would feed into the arts and activism components that have become a hallmark of AAPF’s holistic advocacy work.
NY Times Op-Ed In October, Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw published a New York Times op-ed reflecting on Atatiana Jefferson’s unjustified death, other Black women lost to state violence and the enduring urgency of the #SayHerName movement’s imperative to ensure that these women’s stories are not erased.
5th Anniversary Remembrance Ceremony On December 14th, the 5th Anniversary of the campaign, we held a #SayHerName Remembrance Ceremony to ritualize some of what we at AAPF strive to do on a daily basis: honor the lives that should have been. These were lives that were taken by so many points of intersectional failure, and one truly tragic one. These were lives that were taken because our country has not confronted its past, nor properly built towards its future. These were beautiful lives, that are no more. With the ceremony, we were deliberate in creating a tulip planting ceremony where we took stock of what has been and till the soil in preparation for what is to come. At this moment in the movement’s history we want to be deliberate about the quality of that soil, and to ensure that whatever we plant, the memory and vitality of victims of state-sanctioned violence is never far from the surface.
Musical Collaborations AAPF teamed up with Writing Director G’Ra Asim’s band, babygotbacktalk, to create a #SayHerName themed music video for the band’s song “When They Go Low, We Go Six Feet Under.” The collaboration was featured on AfroPunk and The Bad Copy. Historically, the punk movement has mobilized against police brutality and served as a vehicle for feminist consciousness, but the gendered and racial dimensions of state vilence have been largely overlooked. The band’s video and ongoing engagement with the #SayHerName campaign are one small step toward addressing that void.
INTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS WITH KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW
IN FEBRUARY 2019, WE LAUNCHED A NEW PODCAST ENTITLED INTERSECTIONALITY MATTERS. HOSTED BY KIMBERLÉ CRENSHAW, THE PODCAST IS AN IDEA TRAVELOGUE THAT BRINGS THE CONCEPT OF INTERSECTIONALITY TO LIFE BY HIGHLIGHTING THE WORK OF LEADING ACTIVISTS, ARTISTS, AND SCHOLARS. FEATURING ON-THE-GROUND INTERVIEWS WITH SOME OF THE WORLD'S MOST INNOVATIVE ACTIVISTS, ARTISTS, AND SCHOLARS, EACH EPISODE EXPLORES A DIFFERENT TOPIC THROUGH AN INTERSECTIONAL LENS, RANGING FROM THE 1619 PROJECT AND STONEWALL 50 TO #SAYHERNAME AND THE FUTURE OF THE #METOO MOVEMENT. OVER THE COURSE OF THE YEAR, WE RELEASED 8 EPISODES, FEATURING CONVERSATIONS WITH GUESTS LIKE TRACEE ELLIS ROSS, BARBARA SMITH, EVE ENSLER, AND SO MANY MORE. WE’RE SO EXCITED TO SHARE MORE INTERSECTIONAL STORIES WITH YOU IN 2020, AND HOPE THAT YOU’LL SUPPORT US BY SHARING IT WITH FRIENDS, AND BY RATING AND REVIEWING IT ON ITUNES! CHECK OUT OUR PATREON SITE HERE: PATREON.COM/INTERSECTIONALITYMATTERS SUBSCRIBE AND RATE US ON ITUNES HERE: BIT.LY/INTERSECTIONALITYMATTERS
Throughout 2019, AAPF has worked to build international dialogue around intersectional oppression and to generate awareness that the crises facing us here in the United States are inextricably linked to those facing marginalized people globally. We began 2019 by working with institutions in the UK at the London School of Economics and in Paris at the Sorbonne University, where we led conversations about the need for the use of an intersectional lens in their educational institutions. To commemorate the thirtieth anniversary of the advent of intersectionality, AAPF and its co-founder Kimberlé Crenshaw kicked off a summer of globe-trotting both celebratory and revelatory. The sojourn began in Berlin, Germany, where the Center for Intersectional Justice feted intersectionality at a gala for and with Professor Crenshaw, who serves as the Center’s president. Our next stop was in Scotland where Professor Crenshaw delivered the PIR Distinguished Scholar Series Annual Lecture at the University of Edinburgh. The crowd received the lecture, entitled "30 Years of Theorizing Justice: Intersectionality, Critical Race Theory and Contemporary Challenges," with great enthusiasm. We then made our way down to London for Mythbusting Intersectionality UK, a provocative panel discussion including Emilia Roig, Gail Lewis, Daniel HoSang, Barbara Tomlinson, Barby Asante, Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and Sumi Cho held at the University of Westminster. Before a standing- room-only crowd and broadcast into an on-site overflow room where several hundred more Londoners watched via livestream, the esteemed panel combatted common myths about intersectionality and spoke of their own everyday practice of intersectionality. Next came the culmination of Professor Crenshaw's tenure as the Centennial Professor at the LSE Gender Institute with a conference celebrating Intersectionality at 30, where she gave the closing address. The London leg of our
European jaunt concluded at an event held at the Shaw Library at the LSE Law Department where Professor Crenshaw held court with Luke Harris and George Lipsitz about the new book the three co-edited along with Daniel HoSang, Seeing Race Again: Countering Colorblindness across the Disciplines. Professor Crenshaw and her collaborators expounded on the book’s central thesis--that the persistence of racial stigma and racial discrimination require race-conscious solutions--and made a compelling case for why the need to counter colorblindness extends across the pond and beyond. The 30 Years of Intersectionality speaking tour continued in the Netherlands, where Professor Crenshaw delivered remarks at the Unive
rsity of Groningen June 6 about the urgency of grounding the pursuit of diversity and inclusion with an intersectional foundation. We finished up the European tour by giving several talks in Amsterdam. The first was in collaboration with the Black Archives, a collective that is working on documenting the history of Black emancipation and individuals in the Netherlands. Professor Crenshaw followed that up with a conversation with Gloria Wekker in collaboration with the Clara Wichmann Bureau. Their exchange focused on how institutions of power have historically used the Black identity to subordinate people of color in the United States and the Netherlands. The talks in Amsterdam closed with a discussion at the University of Amsterdam on June 11. Each of these momentum-gathering talks leads up to the 30th Anniversary Conference to be held at Columbia University in 2020.
In July, AAPF hosted its annual Social Justice Writers’ Retreat in Jamaica where we brought together academics, activists, and other socially conscious stakeholders to develop intersectional scholarship. In addition, we continue to engage in generative collaborations with our sister institute, the Center for Intersectional Justice in Germany.
The past year has seen an expansion of activities at AAPF’s sister organization, the Center for Intersectionality and Social Policy Studies (CISPS), at Columbia Law School. As part of its mission to facilitate intellectual dialogue between innovative intersectionality scholars and integrate intersectional research and analysis into policy debates and social justice advocacy, CISPS held several events throughout the academic year at Columbia which are listed below. Mythbusting Intersectionality CISPS programming kicked off the Spring 2019 semester with an event entitled ‘Mythbusting Intersectionality’. In the thirty years since the concept was theorized by Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, intersectionality has become a controversial concept misunderstood and misused across the political spectrum. The multidisciplinary panel comprised of Kimberlé Crenshaw, Hannah Giorgis, Daniel Martinez HoSang, Barbara Tomlinson, Sarah Seltzer and Ezra Young exposed and rebutted common myths about intersectionality found in the courts, academy and popular culture. The event was standing-room-only in both the main room and the overflow room, highlighting CISPS’s unique and popular footprint at Columbia University and in New York. Promoting Affirmative Action in Higher Education: Legal Strategy Session With the Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, we conceptualized and executed a day-long session to develop short and long-term legal strategies to promote equity and affirmative action in higher education. The invite-only session brought together leading civil rights advocates, litigators, legal scholars and social scientists committed to promoting the benefits of affirmative action on college campuses. Collectively, the group of thought leaders began to chart a path forward to mount a robust legal defense of race-conscious admissions. The legal strategy session was co-sponsored by Columbia Law School's Center for Intersectionality and Policy Studies, Advancing Justice - LA, NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Thurgood Marshall Institute, and Columbia Law School's Center for Constitutional Governance. A conference in 2020 will follow. Lawyering for Justice in the Aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s Death During the Fall 2019 semester, AAPF and CISPS convened an event called “Lawyering for Justice in the Aftermath of Jeffrey Epstein’s Death.” The discussion brought together Professor Kimberlé Crenshaw, Professor Catharine A. MacKinnon, and Stan Pottinger, the attorney representing over 20+ of Epstein’s alleged victims. The riveting conversation covered the development of sexual harassment law, the ways the law still does not fully support victim’s justice, and the ways that the law could be further developed. The speakers then shifted to a more focused topic: what are the ways Epstein’s victims can expect justice for the harms they experienced and whether Epstein’s death meant that these victims can still expect to have some form of remedy for said harms. This event helped showcase AAPF and CISPS’ unique capacity to curate and stoke pointed debate about topical issues with a cutting-edge intersectional lens.
Recognition of our Work
Awards AAPF Executive Director Kimberlé Crenshaw has been named the recipient of recognition and honors that reflect her commitment to legal scholarship, intersectional advocacy and women’s rights.
Recipient, Honorary Doctorate, York University, June 2019.
Promise Institute Chair in Human Rights at UCLA School of Law, and the Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Chair at Columbia Law School, Summer 2019
Awardee, #DisruptRacism Award, Center for Racial Justice in Education, October 2019.
Recipient, Top 10 thinkers of 2019, Prospect Magazine, September 2019.
Inductee, 2019 Fellow of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences, September 2019.
Media Kimberlé Crenshaw and AAPF have been published in a number of publications and programs this year, including:
The Baffler, “I Believe I Can Lie: R Kelly’s Symphony of Serial Abuse Decoded,” January 17, 2019.