2022 Edition: Things we read, watched, listened to, and laughed at that carried us through last year
HIP staff reflect on some of the things that moved us in 2022
By Human Impact Partners Staff
As public health organizers and movers, our work at HIP — as in all movement spaces — is often heavy. We’re focused on naming, disarming, and dismantling the many systems of violence and oppression that block health equity. Because of that, the rays of inspiration, joy, and collective power that we draw strength from are deeply critical to our practice and our work.
Two years ago, we began a tradition of gathering together at the last staff meeting of the year to compile and share the messages, readings, images, and more that energized us over the past year (check out our 2020 and 2021 editions). It has quickly become one of our favorite HIP practices.
Of course, as our colleague Stephani Tyrance always reminds us, what most inspires and carries us usually doesn’t have a link. It is the love and power of our families and communities that most ground us and allow us to imagine a transformed future. So here are just a few of the ‘linkable’ things that brought us strength over the past year. We hope they’ll resonate with and move you, too.
Read — poems, books, essays, spells
- Women, Life, Freedom — The slogan of collective, broad, and primarily women and youth-led anti-regime movement in Iran — brought to life by the murder of Mahsa Amini. There are way too many articles to link to, so sharing this image (above) and tweet with the quote in Persian/Farsi: “What courage was hidden in this land.” Their struggle/resistance has fueled me and been so powerful to watch unfold.
- St. Louis Racial Equity Summit 2021 Keynote — This keynote speech by adrienne maree brown. amb always talks about how the work of justice and liberation is science fiction; we have yet to experience a world without oppression. And yet despite this, we continue to imagine and work towards a new world that has never existed.
- Braiding Sweetgrass — This entire book by Robin Wall Kimmerer has so many teachings that continue to resonate with me as I center de-colonial practice and teachings. Numerous and deep and intertwined — I cherish and uplift these Indigenous perspectives.
- Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life — Alice Wong’s memoir about her life and work as a disabled activist resonated deeply. Her humor, heart, and ferocity frequently brought tears to my eyes throughout this collection of essays, photos, and conversations. The book’s release — particularly in this moment of abled people “returning to normal” during COVID while disabled people remain cautious — feels particularly important.
- Ed Yong’s pandemic essay series — Ed Yong’s pandemic writings for The Atlantic have kept me going throughout the pandemic, especially in these recent times of “post-COVID” denialism. It isn’t joyful or inspiring, but it resonates and is refreshing to have such clear and powerful writing to counteract institutional gaslighting, and get real about the failures of the US pandemic response.
- radical gratitude spell — After a number of difficult years (hello, pandemic), I have been leaning into gratitude and connection in 2022, and find a lot of inspiration from this spell from adrienne maree brown. We are all enough. I am grateful you are here.
- Kitchen — This book by Banana Yoshimoto (buy it at your local bookstore!) I discovered the beautiful and moving world of Banana Yoshimoto this year. All of her work is strange and delightful and funny, and also grapples seriously with how to stay alive amidst overwhelming loss and deep despair. Deeply comforting
- Communities Over Commodities — This report from The Right To The City Alliance offers powerful visions of what our homes and neighborhoods could be like if we treated housing as a basic human need instead of commodity. And a reminder that successful examples have been won through grassroots struggle.
Listen — podcasts, radio, music, meditations
- Finding Our Way Podcast, Community and Belonging with Mia Birdsong — This podcast series from Prentis Hemphill is about finding our way through these intense times of transformation and change. It felt immediately relevant as climate disasters, war in Ukraine, and other crises unfolded — but what particularly stood out was Birdsong’s observation that the earth can absorb all that you are holding, along with an invitation to dig into dirt, lie down on the grass, turn compost, or connect with a tree. When you are holding pain, grief, loss, sadness, overwhelm — let the earth absorb it for you.
- Orchestra Noir — Representation matters! This year I was finally able to see Orchestra Noir when the group did a Beethoven-meets-90’s vibe collaboration with the Charlotte Symphony. It was so important to see people who look like me, and who have historically been left out of spaces like this, put on a phenomenal show that brought everyone in the audience to a standing ovation.
- Theory of Ice — Beautiful de-colonial pop album from musician, academic, and organizer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. It’s poetic, hypnotic, and tied to rhythms of seasons, ice, melting and hearts. I especially like the cover of “I pity the country,” which looks with such appropriate pity towards the colonial state. Betasamosake Simpson writes things, too, like this book “As We Have Always Done” that I’ve just started.
- Imagining What’s On The Other Side with Makani Themba — “Freedom is individual, Liberation is collective” and “Liberatory is the flow between uniformity and uniqueness/individuality.” This episode from The Emergent Strategy Podcast gave me helpful pause, nuance, and depth for how I think and talk about liberation and accountability.
- Live music! Like Hit La Rosa at PVDFest — It felt so good getting back to experiencing live music outdoors this year at PVDFest, a free outdoor festival in downtown Providence, RI. Hit La Rosa, “Psicodelia Tropical desde Perú,” is an indie folkloric punk Cumbia band with an amazingly unique sound. It was so fun to dance to live in the streets, but you can also get a feel for it through their Tiny Desk (Home) Concert recording.
- Mother Country Radicals Podcast — This podcast hosted by playwright Zayd Ayers Dohrn, son of Weather Underground leaders Bernardine Dohrn and Bill Ayers offers a political history and family history of the Weather Underground and its relationship to the Black Liberation Army and Black Panther Party in the 1960s-1980s. It is beautiful to hear people in their own voices, and Zayd’s perspective as the child of revolutionaries. Made me laugh, cry, and think all at the same time!
- Reservation Dogs Soundtrack — The soundtrack to a deep and funny coming-of-age show, written, directed, and acted by an all-Indigenous crew. The music is a treasure trove of talented Indigenous and Native American musicians whose songs heighten both scenes and characters.
- Crowded Table — This song by The Highwomen speaks to the aspirations I have for a beloved community of belonging: a crowded table, a place by the fire for everyone.
- Break My Soul (but tbh, the entirety of Beyonce’s Renaissance) — Beyonce stated that the album was meant to “be free of perfectionism and over-thinking,” and while every single vocal and dance beat seemed perfect to me, the sonic experience was that of freedom and levity at a moment in time where it felt so needed. Will remain in heavy rotation.
- Music by La Doña — La Doña is a radical Bay Area baddie and her powerful feminist music kept me going this year: Caribbean beats, reggaeton, and hip hop styles!
Watch —clips, Tik Toks, webinars, music videos
- Health Equity Awakened: A Story — This video by HIP’s own Victoria A. Davis! At the third and final Health Equity Awakened Leadership Institute gathering of 2022, fellows were tasked with creating a story that captured their time together. Victoria then transformed the story into video to illustrate the healing, learning, and collective liberation the cohort experienced.
- Lizzo Is The People’s Champion, People’s Choice Awards 2022 — This made me smile because 1) LIZZO LOOKED GOOD, and 2) you can tell that sharing this moment with activists was not only important to Lizzo, but to those who shared the stage. Shoutout to Lizzo also for taking the time to pronounce people’s names and tribes correctly.
- Stop Chasing Purpose and Focus on Wellness, Chloe Hakim-Moore — This TEDxMemphis Talk resonated with me because 2022 — and the past few years — have been characterized by change, and I had to take a moment to reconnect with my body and make sure I was prioritizing my own wellness and joy.
- Santé, music video by Stromae — I’ve been loving Stromae’s new album, especially this song Santé (French for health, the state of well-being, or to say “cheers”). With capitalism no longer pretending that workers are “essential,” I appreciate this piece for centering service workers with dancing and creating space for radical joy!
- Eddie Ndopu speaks at Global Citizen NOW — Disability justice activist Eddie Ndopu shares on the critical difference between providing entry to a space, and what actually makes a space truly accessible.
- We Know Who We Are, Molly of Denali on PBS KIDS — Representation matters! As a parent to young multiracial children, I’m always looking for content that highlights BIPOC kids’ experiences. Molly of Denali is about an Alaska Native girl and is one of my favorites. I love this clip when tourists come to Molly’s hometown looking to see “Native-looking” people doing “Native-looking” things and Molly schools them on identity and accountability!
- How to let go of being a “good” person — and become a better person — This TED Talk by Dolly Chugh describes how the “good person/bad person” binary can stand in the way of us becoming a better person. From this, I reflected upon how releasing ourselves from that binary can position us to take accountability, learn from our mistakes, give and receive feedback, and really grow.
- Virgil Abloh speaks truth about perfectionism — I always appreciate folk calling out perfectionism, but I think the notion of being afraid to try is more relatable. There is no such thing as perfect but ‘not trying’ is definitely a thing.
- @AlexisNikole, @BlackForager — Hopefully you follow @BlackForager (Instagram) and @AlexisNikole (TikTok) by now. Her Instagram handle is pretty self explanatory and discusses foraging as a way of connecting with African and Indigenous traditions — AND she’s uniquely effervescent! Black Forager is equal parts informative and hysterical, and inspires to make use of seasonal ingredients I can get from my own backyard. Her videos make me excited to explore, learn about, and build relationship with the land around me!
- Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever Official Teaser — Ok, but this trailer though. The music. All the feels.
- Nemik’s Manifesto, clip from Star Wars ANDOR — The latest Star Wars show ANDOR tells a story of a burgeoning rebellion in the face of imperial powers. This manifesto from one of the characters captures so much of the energy I’ve drawn inspiration from over the last year: “There will be times when the struggle seems impossible… Remember that the frontier of the Rebellion is everywhere. And even the smallest act of insurrection pushes our lines forward…One single thing will break the siege. Remember this. Try.”
- The One— The visuals in this music video from M.I.A. are amazing and bring me lots of calmness and perspective.
Explore — websites, spaces, orgs, event series, etc
- The Healing Project, curated by Samora Pinderhughes — In March I had the great pleasure of attending The Healing Project’s opening celebration at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts. Samora Pinderhughes masterfully blends art, music, storytelling, and political analysis in this stunning project that explores incarceration, grief, and most importantly, as the name suggests, healing.
- The Radical Monarchs — My daughter joined our Denver chapter of the Radical Monarchs this year. It is incredibly inspiring and humbling how the leaders are engaging this group of girls of color in conversations about radical bodies, consent, radiance, self defense, fat activism, and identity, in ways that deepen our collective self awareness and our family conversations.
- The Motor City embracing freeway removal — Urban freeways have a long history of being incredibly destructive, and the industries that fuel them have a lot of power in Detroit, MI. Despite this, a freeway that — among others — was responsible for the bulldozing of a predominantly Black, culturally rich neighborhood is finally (really!) being removed.
- Resources for processing and integrating grief — Michael Kleber-Diggs’ poem Gloria Mundi, and Pádraig Ó Tuama’s interpretation of it; the activities and reflections in the Artists’ Grief Deck; Malkia Devich-Cyril’s vision of the possibilities when grief is lovingly embraced by social justice movements. These resources helped me understand and integrate grief into the fullness of life, all mixed in with joy, gratitude, power, and collective action.
- Alice Wong’s “Year of the Tiger” Tiger Talks Event Series — Hosted by the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability at SFSU, this disability justice conversation between Sandy Ho and Vu Le, celebrating Alice Wong book, “Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s Life” reminded me of the fun and joy that comes with being fiercely human first, particularly in places and times that prioritize the dominant culture of “professionalism”. I laughed with the curse words, the unicorn onesies, and rejoiced in dismantle-culture; and am adding Alice Wong’s memoir to my book list.
- The returning of bison to Indigenous land — I’ve been following all of the wins on @nativelandnet’s Instagram page. Indigenous nations getting their ancestral land back, accessing lands to grow native plants, reintroducing bison to the land, returning place names, retrieving heirlooms from museums, etc.
View — images, demonstrations, photos, graphics, art
- 2022 UAW srikes (photo above) — This fall it’s been powerful and moving to support the UAW strikes. I was the first in my immediate family to finish college and have been a student worker at three UC campuses in my life, so I know firsthand what equitable (or lack thereof) access means.
- Graphic from @Justseeds— I am reflecting on what loving and organizing amidst crisis looks like, and arrive often at the “small is all” emergent strategy practice and principle. Mass numbers are important, but how we move and connect on a smaller level is essential.
- @yamilrex Instagram post — I loved Wakanda Forever as a piece of art but what moved my spirit was getting to witness Indigenous representation. The joy of witnessing the talent and culture of Indigenous peoples of the Yukatan was everything. Indigenous people plus people of the African diaspora together on screen made my heart sing!
- Sheryl Lee Ralph (photo above)— Sheryl Lee Ralph received her first Emmy nomination and won her first Emmy at the age of 66. Her powerful acceptance speech was an excellent reminder to never give up on yourself.
- Images of climate activists gluing themselves to streets and airport runways — We are in crisis and they are putting their bodies on the line to do interventions where the emissions are coming from. The action I saw in person was beautiful and calm and earnest — serious in a deep way.
- @resmaamenakem’s Instagram — Resmaa Menakem’s Instagram is amazing. I learn so much and his posts are part of my own hard work.
- Graphic by Chiara Acu (above)— This year for me was one of attempting to recover, heal, and try and make sense of the last couple enormous years. This looked like slowing down enough to tap into what my body was telling me, supporting our members in doing this kind of somatic-based healing, and taking in as much beauty through art, music, and nature as possible.
- Wadsworth Jarrell’s Revolutionary — This piece, on display at OMCA’s Angela Davis Seize the Time exhibit, resonated with me because it captured how art and revolution can be so centrally tied. Struggling for liberation is not glamorous, but it can be bold and vibrant as a reflection of inspiration.
- Displays of international solidarity (Image above) — While traveling this year, I spotted ACAB in the rural outskirts of Berlin, Germany, and the first thing I saw in Greece was a pro-Ukraine demo. I am inspired by the ways we are interconnected and visible supporting one another in the many facets of the struggle.
LOLs — as always, we needed these
- The Awkward Yeti on The Buildup — This Awkward Yeti comic about the heart and brain reminds me to pay attention to the heart.
- Hasan Minhaj’s The King’s Jester — Comedian Hasan Minhaj’s standup special, The King’s Jester — the hardest I laughed this year!
- 20 Nonprofit Dad Jokes to Brighten (or Possibly Ruin) Your Day — “Did you hear about the nonprofit that was researching the history of quarters, dimes, and nickels? It was developing a theory of change…Wow that building looks so sturdy. Of course! It’s a capacity building!…What’s yellow and custardy and may help you be more effective over the next three years? A strategic flan!”
- @iamtonytalks’ Instagram — Tony Talks instagram account is a constant source of hilarity and absurdity for me. His reels are genius surrealist comedy/music bits that range from Celine Dion impressions to parenting to customer service. The wigs! The songs! I can’t get enough.
- Police vs Mud vs Wizard — This video is from 2023, but we had to sneak it in here! Clip of German police getting stuck in the mud while confronting climate crisis protestors. A wizard also makes an appearance. Enough said.
We want to know what’s inspired, moved, and resonated with you over this past year! Share the messages that carried you at firstname.lastname@example.org, tweet us at @HumanImpact_HIP, or tag us on instagram at @PHAwakened 💚
Human Impact Partners transforms the field of public health to center equity and builds collective power with social justice movements.
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