Dallas Public Voices answer the question: why do you do what you do?

We at The OpEd Project have spent the last three months working with twenty amazing Dallas women, all social justice leaders who were carefully vetted by key stakeholders throughout the city.  Their voices have become a meaningful part of the national dialogue, and have shaped much of the conversation around the July 7 police officer attack. To see a list of their successes in the public sphere, click here.

 

Dallas public voices bring racial and social justice to the forefront of conversation

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For the past three months, we at The OpEd Project have been very lucky to be working on a venture with 20 amazing Dallas women, all civic leaders working for social and racial justice. Our team–Deborah Douglas, Chris Larson and Chelsea Carmona–has organized, edited, and supported these women in their efforts to bring racial and social justice to a fragmented but much loved city.  In three short months the #DallasPublicVoices have produced 25 published op-eds (so far). 


We share their op-eds below, to honor their voices which are desperately needed in the public conversation today.  Many thanks to the Boone Family Foundation for making this possible.

 

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DALLAS PUBLIC VOICES SUCCESSES

April 28, 2016, Fox News Latino
Rebecca Acuna, “Texas would be one of the biggest financial benefactors of DAPA”

April 28, 2016, The Huffington Post
Halima Francis, “More than a moral imperative: Giving to get power and influence a righteous act of self-help”

May 1, 2016, Jet Magazine
Bianca Anderson, “The Secret Life of Black Girls: What the death of Amy Joyner-Francis reveals about young Black girls”

May 2, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Janette Monear, “Dallas lacks enough trees to battle urban heat island effect”

May 3, 2016, Latina Lista
Martha Rodriguez, “States’ argument to deport the undocumented is a lesson in manipulating language for political gain”

May 3, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Janet Morrison-Lane, “How to navigate the DISD magnet application maze (it works best if you are middle class)”

May 5, 2016, Patheos.com
Erin Crosby, “Adult Clergy Abuse Is Overlooked and Misunderstood: Here’s Why”

May 11, 2016, RoleReboot
Teresa Wash, “Is your daughter playing only roles by men?”

May 12, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Michelle Kinder, “3 discipline approaches DISD should use instead of suspension”

May 12, 2016, PBS Next Avenue
Laura Wright, “A Prescription Drug Bottleneck Put My Husband’s Life in Danger”

May 17, 2016, The Hill
Stephanie Farquhar, “Instead of soft-pedaling public option with Medicare buy-in, Clinton should step on the gas”

May 18, 2016, CBS Local (TV)
Tori Mannes, “Impact of new overtime ruling on nonprofits and childcare”

May 20, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Pricilla Collins-Parhms, “One weird trick to retain school principals”

May 26, 2016, The Huffington Post
Janet Morrison-Lane, “Working-Class College Students Need Exposure To Ins And Outs Of Networking For Results”

May, 2016, Association for Supervision & Curriculum Development (Feature)
Pricilla Collins-Parhms, “One weird trick to retain school principals”

June 8, 2016, TribTalk
Tori Mannes, “A Two-Generation Approach to Poverty”

June 9, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Tori Mannes, “Why Texas must improve minimum standards for child care or risk another crisis”

June 9, 2016, NextCity
Lizzie MacWillie, “Putting Your Neighborhood on the Map”

June 13, 2016, The Huffington Post
Rahel Acuna, “We know what works to save juvenile offenders of color, so why don’t we do more of it?”

June 27, 2016, TIME Ideas
Michelle Kinder, “3 Lessons Your Kids are learning from the 2016 election”

July 5, 2016, The Huffington Post
Rahel Tekola, “6 Affirmations for Black Women In Leadership In The Workplace”

July 6, 2016, Take The Lead Women
Rahel Tekola, “6 Affirmations for Black Women In Leadership In The Workplace”

July 8, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Kamilah Collins (Year 1), “The foundation of freedom is virtue”

July 10, 2016, Darryl Dennard’s “Chicago Speaks” (Radio)
Angela Ards, “Problems of police, as well as interracial, violence in the wake of the Dallas shootings”

July 12, 2016, TIME Ideas
Michelle Kinder, “Talking to Your Kids About Dallas”

July 14, 2016, Dallas Morning News
Lizzie MacWillie, “Dallas, where’s the neighborhood pride?”

July 14, 2016, Reuters
Joli Robinson (Year 1), “After the shootings, a black Dallas PD member on how to move forward”

July 18, 2016, TIME Ideas
Angela Ards, “What the ‘First Black Woman’ Librarian of Congress Means”

Pending Publication, Truthout
Collective Effort re:  Dallas shooting

Write to Change the World – Seattle, July 16, 2016

Today we gathered experts in Seattle, Washington to explore credibility, influence, and how and why we can change minds. The program brought together scholars, lawyers, law enforcement, journalists and community leaders from a wide range of organizations and institutions. We can’t wait to see how their ideas shape conversations around the world.

Huge thanks to our friends at Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt and The Seattle Women’s Commission who hosted today’s seminar.

Do you want your voice to be heard?  Come see us in action. We run Write to Change the World seminars in 15 major U.S. cities on a rotating basis.  For more on our upcoming cities and dates, click here.

May and June with The OpEd Project

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Columbia University Medical School on May 21, 2016

Each month, we partner with a number of incredible and diverse organizations around the country (and world). We work with with top academics and social justice leaders through our year-long “Public Voices Fellowships” and we run a number of our “Write to Change the World” programs, open to the public, in different cities every weekend. We also work with a handful of organizations each month that bring our programs to their communities and we wanted to highlight our partners from May and June. It was our honor to work with over 200 experts across institutions and we can’t wait to see how their ideas shape conversations, and the world. Check them out below.

In May and June, we were honored to work with scholars from both the Medical School and Division of Social Sciences at Columbia University; reproductive rights activists with The Mary Wohlford Foundation; literary and faculty fellows with The Whiting Foundation;  information technology leaders and activists at the National Center for Women & Information Technology Summit; Jewish faith leaders with The Schusterman Family Foundation,  and with faculty at The University of San FranciscoSmith CollegeUniversity of California, Davis, Wellesley College, and UCLA.

 

Would you like to bring The OpEd Project to your organization or community? Contact court@theopedproject.org for more information.

WRITE TO CHANGE THE WORLD – D.C., JULY 9, 2016

Twenty underrepresented experts gathered today in Washington, D.C. to explore themes of expertise, credibility and what it takes to create meaningful change in the world.

The program brought together scholars, social entrepreneurs, policymakers, journalists, lawyers and nonprofit leaders from a wide range of organizations and institutions. Experts in the room are shaping the conversation around police brutality, trauma, environmental sustainability, micro aggressions and much more.

Shout out to our friends at Advocates For Youth who hosted today’s seminar. Advocates for Youth partners with youth leaders, adult allies, and youth-serving organizations to advocate for policies and champion programs that recognize young people’s rights to honest sexual health information; accessible, confidential, and affordable sexual health services; and the resources and opportunities necessary to create sexual health equity for all youth.

Do you want your voice to be heard?  Come see us in action. We run Write to Change the World seminars in 15 major U.S. cities on a rotating basis.  For more on our upcoming cities and dates, click here.

 

How to be a Good Jerk

the-jerk-poster-steve-martin-957x540Periodically we share wisdom from our team with our community. The below letter was sent to the Dartmouth Public Voices fellowship cohort from facilitator Tom Zoellner.

A lot of you of my age (and perhaps juvenile sense of humor) will always associate the actor Steve Martin with banjos and songs about thermoses and the movie “The Jerk.” But he’s also a respected novelist, and an occasional essayist for The New Yorker.

His essays are both wry and inventive, and while I can’t link them here because of the magazine’s paywall, check out the first few chapters of his book “Pure Drivel” for a sense of his voice.

He was once asked in an interview about how people reacted to his short essays, and he described a remarkable outcome. He said he usually got a more thoughtful and engaged reaction from a 600-word article that took him two hours to write than he did from a movie that cost $200 million and six months to make. The difference in the “return on investment” was nothing short of staggering.

And even inherently unfair (more on that in a second).

We see this effect all the time at The Oped Project. Taking a page from our own playbook for News Hijackers, I’m going to call it “The Jerk Effect.”

This is when one scholar can spend five years developing a particular idea, backing it up with reams of careful research, hypothesis-testing and rigorous field work. They agonize over comparative models and data analysis. They rewrite their monograph (or book) multiple times and hedge every conclusion. Then comes the time when they’re finally ready to roll out the zeppelin out of the hangar and set it aloft. And perhaps twelve people actually notice.

And then…some jerk comes along, pounds out 750 smooth words (with no data sets!), gets it into a big newspaper and reaps all the credit and the attention for the same idea.

Is this fair? Absolutely not.

Charles Darwin, who knew a thing or two about unfairness, said as much. “In science the credit goes to the man who convinces the world, not to whom the idea first occurs.”

Our founder, Katie Orenstein, likes to tell the story of laboring in Haiti for years and producing carefully-wrought material that got no attention. Then somebody convinced her to spend half an afternoon writing an opinion piece for a small Latin American publication. That led to an invitation to write a letter to The New York Times, and then the oped page. And then she had the attention of the White House.

We at The Oped Project like to ask: “Who narrates the world?” Which is a way of asking which stories are going to be told, and from which perspective. And by who.

More often than not, that narrator is the jerk who decided to bug the Times or the Post or the Valley News with their idea, which can be phrased simply, powerfully and eloquently. As Steve Martin said, it doesn’t need to be a $200 million movie with a cast of hundreds. It doesn’t need to be overthought or a source of agony. It can be as short as this email and written just as quickly. And if you do it right, it can change your life. And it can change the world, just a little or maybe a lot.

Yes, Dartmouth fellows, this is my way of saying I really want you to be That Jerk. Amy and I will do what we can to aid you in your journey to jerkdom.

And now, let’s take a minute to toast the successes in our midst with an especially deep quaff from our thermos (and not an ordinary thermos; the extra best thermos you can buy).

We can all claim credit — but especially Petra — for the “fifteen-minute oped” with the cool Game of Thrones hook that went live the other week. And then there was Irene’s piece on refugees in Turkey. And Ellen made excellent points in her WBUR essay on women in academia.

Here’s to a summer of productivity, contentment and loving jerkiness.

With admiration,
Tom

WRITE TO CHANGE THE WORLD – NYC, JUNE 25, 2016

Fourteen underrepresented experts gathered today at WeWork Soho West in New York City to explore themes of expertise, credibility and what it takes to create meaningful change in the world.

The program brought together scholars, social entrepreneurs, journalists, lawyers and nonprofit leaders from a wide range of organizations and institutions.  Experts in the room are shaping the conversation around environmental sustainability, corporate social responsibility, education reform, racial profiling in law enforcement and more.

Do you want your voice to be heard?  Come see us in action. We run Write to Change the World seminars in 15 major U.S. cities on a rotating basis.  For more on our upcoming cities and dates, click here.