September 17, 2020 | Foundations

the artists, educators, and activists that shaped us and our work

Mark Konig

We are possible because of the people, labor, thinking, and movements of those who came before us, such as the Combahee River Collective featured above. and/now’s mission for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) is grounded in racial justice & social healing that calls us to be identity-forward, race-centered. We believe that justice work involves both the head and the heart. Yes, research and theories are essential, and so are lived experiences, histories, and poetry. Our approach is the interlocking of the head and the heart. Here are some of the teachers, activists, researchers, artists, writers, organizers, and thinkers that inspire and inform our work (listed in no particular order).

Toni Morrison and all of her writings, literally.

“This is precisely the time when artists go to work. There is no time for despair, no place for self-pity, no need for silence, no room for fear. We speak, we write, we do language. That is how civilizations heal.”

Frameworks of Practice

Anti-Bias / Anti-Racist Education

Critical Race Theory

Cultural / Structural Competency

Emergent Strategy by adrienne maree brown

Healing Justice by Cara Page

Intersectionality by Kimberlé Crenshaw

Liberating Structures

Racial Formation Theory by Omi and Winant

Trauma Informed Care

Dr. Beverly Daniel Tatum and her work on racial identity development

“…most Americans have internalized the espoused cultural values of fairness and justice for all at the same time that they have been breathing the smog of racial biases and stereotypes pervading popular culture…[it leaves] many Whites feeling uneasy, uncomfortable, and even perhaps fearful in the presence of Black people, often without their conscious awareness of these feelings.”

Gloria E. Anzaldúa and her writings on Chicana cultural theory and borderlands

“This land was Mexican once,
was Indian always
and is.
And will be again.” 

Yuri Kochiyama and her activism on anti-war, reparations, and Asian-Black solidarity

“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.”

Glenn E. Singleton and his work on courageous conversations about race

“I Dream I am from a clash of Color, From an idea of love, modeled for others’ perception. I see me as I am, but am hidden from others’ views. I am who I am, but a living contradiction to my peers. I see life as a blessing, a gift granted to me. Why should my tint describe me? Why should my culture degrade me? Why should the ignorance of another conjure my presence? Too many times I’ve been disappointed by the looks, By the sneers and misconceptions of the people who don’t get me, Who don’t understand why it hurts. I dream of a place of glory and freedom, Of losing the weight of oppression on my back. I dream for acceptance, And for the blessing of feeling special just once. One moment of glory…for the true virtue in my life. For the glimmer of freedom, and a rise in real pride.”

Bryan Stevenson and the Equal Justice Initiative

“Finally, I’ve come to believe that the true measure of our commitment to justice, the character of our society, our commitment to the rule of law, fairness, and equality cannot be measured by how we treat the rich, the powerful, the privileged, and the respected among us. The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned. We are all implicated when we allow other people to be mistreated.”

Bryan Stevenson inspired one of our collective cores to always be proximate.



June Jordan and her poetry, journalism, teachings, and activism

“And who will join this standing up
and the ones who stood without sweet company
will sing and sing
back into the mountains and 
if necessary
even under the sea:

we are the ones we have been waiting for.”


Ta-Nehisi Coates and his writings on race and reparations

“Then the mother of the murdered boy rose, turned to you, and said, ‘You exist. You matter. You have value. You have every right to wear your hoodie, to play your music as loud as you want. You have every right to be you. And no one should deter you from being you. You have to be you. And you can never be afraid to be you.'”

Michelle Alexander and her research and activism on mass incarceration

“Seeing race is not the problem. Refusing to care for the people we see is the problem. The fact that the meaning of race may evolve over time or lose much of its significance is hardly a reason to be struck blind. We should hope not for a colorblind society but instead for a world in which we can see each other fully, learn from each other, and do what we can to respond to each other with love. That was King’s dream — a society that is capable of seeing each of us, as we are, with love. That is a goal worth fighting for.”

bell hooks and her writings on radical love, Black feminism, and freedom

“For me, forgiveness and compassion are always linked: how do we hold people accountable for wrongdoing and yet at the same time remain in touch with their humanity enough to believe in their capacity to be transformed?”

Grace Lee Boggs and her activism and writings on revolutions

“As Jimmy Boggs used to remind us, revolutions are made out of love for people and for place. He often talked about loving America enough to change it. Love isn’t just something you feel. It’s something you do everyday when you go out and pick the paper and bottles scattered the night before on the corner, when you stop and talk to a neighbor, when you argue passionately for what you believe in with whoever will listen, when you call a friend to see how they’re doing, when you write a letter to the newspaper, when you give a speech and give ’em hell, when you never stop believing that we can all be more than what we are. In other words, Love isn’t about what we did yestreday; it’s about what we do today and tomorrow and the day after.”

Audre Lorde and her poetry on sexuality, race, gender, and class

“For the master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house. They may allow us to temporarily beat him at his own game, but they will never enable us to bring about genuine change. Racism and homophobia are real conditions of all our lives in this place and time. I urge each one of us here to reach down into that deep place of knowledge inside herself and touch that terror and loathing of any difference that lives here. See whose face it wears. Then the personal as the political can begin to illuminate all our choices.”

Dr. Joy Degruy and her work on racial healing

“There is no single prescription for protecting people against racism, bigotry and hatred; there is no one-shot inoculation against intolerance or fanaticism. However, it appears that educating people to understand that these things do exist, and about the manner in which they are manifested, can be helpful to those who come face to face with them. Racial socialization can be a process whereby individuals are taught how to identify and deflect the potential negative effects of assaults, overt as well as covert.”

...and so much more!

We are lifelong learners always looking to grow. This list is expansive and to be continued.

and, now