Last week, I attended a conference with this name. While there was the inevitable “othering” of Trump and his supporters doing the conference, The four women who appeared at the end of it delivered a powerful message about the experience of being “othered,” making a persuasive case that inclusion is the only reasonable path forward. Alicia Garza of Black Lives Matter, Tara Houska, a First Nations citizen and an attorney who spent months at Standing Rock, and Zahra Billoo, a Muslim-American attorney and activist, through there own stories demonstrated how pernicious a force institutionalized racism and sexism are, how they have infected every relation between the privileged and the marginalized, and how the path forward encompasses not only principled resistance but personal vulnerability. The ultimate solution is comprehension and acceptance of our shared humanity.
The final keynote was from Melisa Harris-Perry, who I had never heard of of but now have a total fanboy crush on. A tenured professor of sociology at Wake Forest and a former MSNBC commentator, she was alternately cutting, brilliant, hysterical, reasoned, logical, impassioned and inspiring. And her point was the same. We, America, will only solve our problems through collaboration, engagement and inclusion. Yet those who believe in these values have to get in the face of those who don’t. Be strong, be compassionate, but be active! Do only what you can do, but do it!
Makes me feel good about what Alliance for Girls is up to; in some ways AFG is right on the curating edge of a lot of these ideas.

Othering and Belonging