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race

“That Kind of Mother” Takes on the Challenges of Race and Motherhood

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Rebecca Stone desperately needs help with her newborn and Priscilla, a La Leche nurse from the hospital comes to her rescue. Having experience being a mother herself when she was a single, teen mother many years ago, Priscilla leaves her job at the hospital to become the nanny for Rebecca’s baby. Rebecca feels extremely close to Priscilla, confiding her fears, the hopes and dreams she had for herself and has for her child. She looks at Priscilla as a source of stability in her life, all while learning how to care for a child, and just what it means to be a mother.  Priscilla ends up changing the way that Rebecca looks on not only motherhood, but also the world…

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‘Green’ by Sam Graham-Felsen Explores Friendship and Diversity in 1990s Boston

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It is the 1990s and Dave, son of Harvard educated hippies, is one of only a few white kids in his Boston middle school.  Having a difficult time connecting with the other students, he becomes drawn to Marlon, a black kid from the projects who seems to have similar interests: video games, the Boston Celtics and getting into the better high school.  They become friendly but both are ashamed of their home lives and there is always a distance between them even as they become closer.  Still, they spend hours watching vintage basketball games and have conversations about lots of subjects. I felt compassion for both Dave, as he struggled to fit in, got pushed around on the bus, wanted…

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Rion Amilcar Scott ‘Unapologetically’ Broaches Racism and Oppression in ‘Insurrections’

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Last night I was walking down Prospect St. in Stamford, Connecticut and I found myself trailing behind a black man wearing a black hoodie. My pace was significantly quicker than his. As I was about to turn to the front door of my apartment building, I was almost on the guy’s heels. I saw his shoulders tense up and he slowly turned around to look at me. I gave him a blinking nod. There was relief and frustration written all over his face. His eyes said, “Really? You got me all worked up like that for nothing.” He turned around as I pulled out my keys. I didn’t think much of this encounter until I realized that I was white…

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Go Team USA: Inspiring Books to Get You in the 2016 Summer Olympics Spirit!

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Ahhh, the Olympics: the magical time of year when you’re allowed to chant “USA! USA! USA!” un-ironically with your face painted like Old Glory. But while this week marks the kick off of the 2016 Summer Olympics, this year’s Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro seem a little different, amidst controversy about the water in Rio, concerns about the Zika Virus, debates about nation-wide bans due to doping and anxiety over event security, these Games seem more than a little hectic and apprehensive. Despite the (valid) trepidations many have over the Summer Olympic Games, fundamentally, the Olympics are a time to celebrate. The world is already pretty crazy, so it’s helpful to remember that people are, in fact, capable of coming…

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Race in America: Could You be Prejudiced Without Knowing It?

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Over the rest of this century, judgments about the prominence and impact of race in American society will need to take into account a series of recent critical events. The outright social rebellions in Ferguson and Baltimore, the racially motivated massacre in Charleston, and the ever-continuing series of unarmed black men, women, and children being killed by police will continue to have important ramifications. The shocking truth is that these events have occurred while the residents of the White House were an African-American family. Once, undisguised expressions of prejudice and racial antagonism were rife throughout American society, but since the Civil Rights Era, racial vitriol has virtually withered away. Today, only a small minority of Americans endorse any form of…

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Spartan Up! Monty Halls Reveals Our Inner Savage

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When you take away the comforts of home, what is left? That’s the question Monty Halls set out to answer when he stranded himself on a remote Scottish island. It wasn’t long until Halls learned that in order to survive he’d have to look at his surroundings and trust his own instincts. After all, as Halls points out, we’re never more than seven meals away from becoming a savage. For his full experience, listen to the Spartan Up! Podcast above. ABOUT SPARTAN UP! THE PODCAST: Every day, Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race and a New York Times bestselling author, inspires millions of people all over the world to get off the couch and take on any obstacle, on an off…

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Spartan Up! Mimi Anderson’s road to self-discovery

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No one is more surprised by Mimi Anderson’s accomplishments, than Mimi herself. An ultra runner and holder of three world records, Mimi started running as a way to sculpt her legs. It wasn’t until a suggestion from a friend, that she found her calling running Ultra distances, or 100+ mile marathons.The co-founder of Freedom Runners, Mimi sat down with Spartan Up! to chat about discovering a new life path, breaking world records and the constant need to push her endurance. For more on Mimi’s inspiring story, watch the Podcast above. ABOUT SPARTAN UP! THE PODCAST: Every day, Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race and a New York Times bestselling author, inspires millions of people all over the world to…

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Spartan Up! How Jeff Clarke is changing Kodak’s fate

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When Jeff Clarke stepped in as CEO of Kodak Film he had the daunting task of rebuilding and reimagining a brand that was quickly becoming extinct. From digital cameras to smart phones, taking pictures has never been easier, but that has also brought about the slow death of a once-thriving industry. How do you turn that around? Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race, talked to Clarke, who explains that much like a Spartan Race, it takes both strength and endurance. Watch the podcast to hear more about how Clarke is tackling such a challenge. ABOUT SPARTAN UP! THE PODCAST: Every day, Joe De Sena, founder and CEO of Spartan Race and a New York Times bestselling author, inspires millions of people all…

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I’m Glad I Did: Songwriter Cynthia Weil recreates her early years in the business

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Rules are meant to be broken. Or at least that’s what Grammy-winning songwriter Cynthia Weil proposes in her latest young adult novel, I’m Glad I Did, a book that rides on the back of the Peace Train, giving voice to issues of racism, sexism and war. It was 1961 when Weil first walked down the street toward the Brill Building in the heart of New York City. She could not have known at the time that this was the beginning of one wild career at Aldon Music. Flanked with black marble pillars and a blazing brass edifice, Weil crossed the music building’s threshold and took those first steps into songwriting that would one day lead her to become only the…

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Publishing is losing the race at depicting race

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I was raised in the day before the full corporatization of the publishing industry. Back then, mention publishing, and immediately names like John Updike, Joan Didion, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Toni Morrison came to mind. Publishing was among the intellectual gentry of the art forms—ahead of the curve, daring, pushing the socio-intellectual envelope. Today publishing houses are subsidiaries of multinational snack food manufacturers and they’re expected to return an ever-growing profit to shareholders. So, mention publishing, and you think fan fiction, self-help books and comics. Among the ugliest outgrowths of fiction publishing’s evolution is its growing segregation and retrograde assumptions on race. More than a decade ago, publishing houses spun off black imprints, essentially creating separate and supposedly equal spaces…

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WIN: The Talk Show. Using the power of fiction to change hearts and minds

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Jack Winthrop, the main character of Joe Wenke’s new novel The Talk Show (Trans Über, 2014), is an award-winning New York Times reporter—and someone is trying to kill him. Throughout the novel, we watch as Winthrop lives his life amidst the seamy underbelly of New York City. We follow him to the Tit for Tat, the strip joint that serves as his second home. We meet Winthrop’s friends: Father Rita Harvey, the transgender ex-priest and LGBT activist; Donna, the stripper turned entrepreneur; Slo Mo, the Tit for Tat’s massive vegetarian bouncer; and Abraham Lincoln Jones, the outspoken media personality striving for radical change through his controversial “Emancipation Tour” across America. In short, The Talk Show isn’t your father’s hardboiled noir…

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