Taking the Middle Seat next to Steffanie Rosalez

On episode 13 of Taking the Middle Seat, I'm talking to Steffanie Rosalez, Director at the Cook Arts Center which is part of Grandville Avenue Arts & Humanities.  She is a visual artist, a musician, a leader in her community and she has a machete tattoo.  Basically, she's the freaking best. I know her from her leadership at Girls Rock Grand Rapids which is the transformative summer rock and roll camp my daughter has been involved in for the past few years.  Steffanie and a group of other totally rad and powerful women run the camp.  We talk about community and joy.  We talk about tokenism and privilege.  We talk about art and self care.  

The Audre Lorde quote Steffanie mentions is this... "Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare."  Powerful.

Roosevelt Park Neighborhood Association page gives you lots of great information about things happening along the whole Grandville Avenue corridor.

Steffanie has also been involved in the Cultura Collective.  We didn't talk about this during the interview but you should check it out! 

Steffanie loves contemporary art and she's loving the PBS series Art 21

She also loves the UICA.  You should go there on family day or catch a movie.  It is such a cool space.  You get a gold star if you can find the picture of my family and I on their website.

Follow Steffanie's band How to Live Together on their Facebook page.  You'll hear her light up when she talks about her music.  She's a multi-tasking musician.  T-shirts coming soon. ; )

If you're wondering how to help or get involved in protecting immigrant families, I love the organization Together Rising.  

Thank you for listening and I hope you'll spend time Taking the Middle Seat this week.  

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Bri Luginbill

On episode 11 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Bri Luginbill.  She is a photographer and body positivity activist.  She struggled with body image issues for many years but has turned her struggle into beauty and social change.  She is passionate about helping others do the same.  I especially loved all of Bri's resources she talked about and I can't wait for you to connect with her too!   

Bri's organization, Better Body Image Conference, is doing incredible work.  Check it out!

Her next awesome event is an encore screening of The Illusionists on June 13, 2018.  Event details and tickets are here.  Even the movie trailer is powerful!

She's also an INCREDIBLE photographer at The People Picture Company.

Bri mentions Beckwith-Wiedemann Syndrome.  You can read more about it on the BWS Children’s Foundation International website

You can see Bri in action here talking about her Go Boldly, Love Your Body campaign that she did in 2014.

Connie Flachs is Bri's partner in this activism.  You can connect with her here or on Instagram.

Bri talked about the Straight Curve Film.  It looks so cool!  You can see a preview here

Bri truly is a fount of resources!  She mentioned so many cool organizations.  Here are the links:

Michigan Eating Disorders Alliance 

A Beautiful Me - a body positive program for girls.

YWCA summer programs, Activism Academy and Becoming a Girl Boss

Jenna Kutcher - business owner and online influencer.  Follow the link to read about how she walks confidently in her skin next to her very typically-gorgeous husband.

Jessica Honegger (She founded Noonday Collection and talks openly about the myth of thigh gap.  She's clearly awesome.)

In favorite things time, we talk about The Turquoise Table.  I'd paint my table this color.

Bri also roasts her own coffee beans in a Whirly Pop.  She's a total girl boss, you guys.  I found a how-to article here if you want to jump on in and roast some beans.

Bri loves thrift store shopping so that means we need to listen to Macklemore's Thrift Shop.  We just have to.

I think that does it!  Go look in the mirror and love the heck out of what you see!  I just tried on this swimsuit at the mall (normally not a swimsuit tryer on-er because of the bad lighting, bad angles, bad attitude etc.) and loved it!  I did not purchase because I just don't need it right now but I truly let myself just feel beautiful.  No except for's or if only's.  Just beautiful as I am.  Felt pretty damn good.  So go fearlessly and freely into the summer.  I'll be back soon to take the middle seat.

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Taking the Middle Seat next to Julius Hight

On episode 8 of Taking the Middle Seat, I talk to Julius Hight, founder of Reset GR.  He is a father, vocalist, and community activist.  He loves his city of Grand Rapids, MI but he also recognizes the change that needs to happen here.  He has walked through the criminal justice system and knows the disparity and injustice that exists there first hand.  I know you'll hear his passion and I hope you listen intently to his truth and his perspective.  

Follow Rest GR on Facebook

Reset GR needs our support!  You can give financially to the organization at their GoFundMe campaign.  Reset GR is currently working on getting their 501c3 status which costs money so any little donation helps.  Julius also said that they would love donations of computers or iPads or cell phones.  He does all of the coordination for Reset GR on his phone and he could use a computer.  So, if you have one to donate, email him directly at hightjulius@gmail.com.

Julius encouraged us all to learn, learn, learn and I love that!  A great place to start is the documentary film, The 13th.  You need to watch this film.  You can see the trailer here.  If you don't have Netflix, find someone who does and watch it together.  It is an experience we all need to have. 

Julius mentions GRABB which is Grand Rapids Area Black Businesses.  They have a great directory of African American owned businesses. 

He also mentions a bunch of news stories, local and national.  If you're like me, you might not be informed about those so I've gathered some links to get you up to speed.  You can learn about rapper Meek Mill's story here.  

You can learn more about NFL footbal player and activist, Colin Kaepernick at his website.  

We talked about several local Grand Rapids stories involving racism and racial injustice.  The story Julius mentions that happened in Forest Hills Schools is written about here.  

Grab a copy of The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness by Michelle Alexander.  This one is high on my list and I need to jump into it.  I hope Julius and Reset GR start that book club!

Have a comment about this episode?  Let's start a discussion!  You can connect with me on Facebook or Instagram.  I'd love for you to share the podcast with your friends.  The more the merrier. 

Oh, and I mention Citizen, the cool parrot glass restaurant that my husband I went to recently for our "C" alpha date.  If you're local, you should go!

I'll be back soon with another episode but until then, keep taking the middle seat.

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