2022 Edition: Things we read, watched, listened to, and laughed at that carried us through last year

Human Impact Partners
14 min readJan 30, 2023

HIP staff reflect on some of the things that moved us in 2022

By Human Impact Partners Staff

Photograph of 22 members of the HIP staff, outside in the afternoon during our 2022 retreat. Staff are assembled in 3 rows, with those in front kneeling on the pavement, the middle row seated in folding chairs, and the back row standing. Staff are making various “silly” poses/faces (sticking out tongues, crossing eyes, scrunching their noses, etc)
Some of the Human Impact Partners staff being serious at our annual retreat, September 2022

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

Photograph of the side of a brown cement building in Iran. There is a stencil of a young girl holding her arms up as if in celebration, with a bouquet of flowers in one hand. Above the stencil, graffiti in Farsi script reads ”What courage was hidden in this land.”
Mural spotted in Iran, October 2022/ Image shared by Karim Sadjadpour @ksadjadpour
  • Women, Life, FreedomThe 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 KeynoteThis 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 SweetgrassThis 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.
Photo of Alice Wong, an Asian American disabled woman in a power chair, against a background of bamboo trees. She is wearing a blue cardigan and sitting in a power chair. She is holding a copy of her memoir, Year of the Tiger, a paperback in yellow and red with a fierce tiger on it designed by Madeline Partner. She is wearing a bold red lip color and a trach at her neck. Photo credit: Eddie Hernandez Photography.
Alice Wong, Year of the Tiger/ Photo by Eddie Hernandez Photography via Disability Visibility Project
  • Year of the Tiger: An Activist’s LifeAlice 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 seriesEd 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.
Excerpt from adrienne maree brown’s “radical gratitude spell”
  • KitchenThis 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 CommoditiesThis 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

Photograph of Mia Birdsong, wearing blue reading glasses and smiling, raising their hands shoulder level in fists as in excitement. Photo is transposed on a teal background, with the podcast title FINDING OUR WAY overlaid in white font.
Finding Our Way Podcast with Prentis Hemphill, Episode 3 with guest Mia Birdsong
  • 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 NoirRepresentation 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 IceBeautiful 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.
Band photo of 6 members of Hit La Rosa. The lead singer sits at center, with 5 bandmates standing behind. The room is lit with orange, red, and green.
Band Hit La Rosa performed live at PVDFest, June 2022
  • Live music! Like Hit La Rosa at PVDFestIt 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 PodcastThis 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 TableThis 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 DoñaLa Doña is a radical Bay Area baddie and her powerful feminist music kept me going this year: Caribbean beats, reggaeton, and hip hop styles!
Headshot photograph of Latinx musician La Doña, wearing bright yellow and red flowers at the crown of her head and holding a trumpet against her chest, looking directly into the lens
Bay Area musician La Doña, photo Thalia Gochez/Courtesy of the artist via npr.org

Watch —clips, Tik Toks, webinars, music videos

Still from Health Equity Awakened: A Story video. The image shows a photograph of the 2022 HEA fellows, seated on the front steps of a building in 6 rows and smiling in the sun. The photograph is mirrored, so the image spans the screen twice. At the top of the image is a white banner, with black text reading COLLECTIVELY SEEDED.
Still from Health Equity Awakened: A Story, directed by Victoria A. Davis
  • Health Equity Awakened: A StoryThis 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 2022This 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-MooreThis 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!
Still from a Tik Tok video of Black disability justice activist Eddie Ndopu. Eddie is seated in a wheelchair, wearing thick-framed black reading glasses, a white blazer, and sweater with a black and white geometric print. He is pictured mid-speech.
Disability justice activist Eddie Ndopu speaks at Global Citizen NOW
  • Eddie Ndopu speaks at Global Citizen NOWDisability 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 personThis 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 perfectionismI 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.
Close-up image of Alexis Nicole (Black Forager) holding a barrel cactus fruit up toward the camera, with a photo of a barrel cactus collaged on top of the image.
Still of Alexis Nicole aka @BlackForager’s Instagram reel, sharing about barrel cactus fruits
  • @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 OneThe visuals in this music video from M.I.A. are amazing and bring me lots of calmness and perspective.
Music video still pictures musician M.I.A. wearing a bright pink top and bottoms, floating on a large lily pad in a sea-green pond filled with pink lotus plants.
Still from M.I.A.’s music video, The One

Explore — websites, spaces, orgs, event series, etc

Flyer for the Healing Project show — black gallery wall with graphic blue posters, beneath a digital image of a blue sky with clouds. The “floor” of the gallery is white and sky blue, with deep blue letters in perspective that read The Healing Project
Samora Pinderhughes’ The Healing Project/ graphic by Clara Liang
  • The Healing Project, curated by Samora PinderhughesIn 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 MonarchsMy 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 removalUrban 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.
Abstract collage piece with holographic-feeling shapes in deep blue, red, purple, black, with bursts of bright red and shades of purple-grey
The Artists’ Grief Deck, Digital Memorial artwork by Cicely Carew
  • 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 landI’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

Photograph of UAW strikers holding signs in front of a University of California building in fall 2022
  • 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 postI 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!
Photograph of Sheryl Lee Ralph holding her Emmy in one hand, and smiling with eyes clothes while her other hand brushes her forehead. Her expression is one of joy and excitement.
Sheryl Lee Ralph wins an Emmy for outstanding supporting actress in a comedy series
  • 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 runwaysWe 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 InstagramResmaa Menakem’s Instagram is amazing. I learn so much and his posts are part of my own hard work.
Artwork by Chiara Acu, @chiara.acu
  • 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 RevolutionaryThis 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.
Photograph of a small, light pink structure with one door and window behind a wooden fence. On the side of the building, ACAB and the anarchy symbol have been spray-painted in dark font.
ACAB painted on the side of a small building on the outskirts of Berlin, Germany / photo by Shannon Tracey
  • 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 JesterComedian 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’ InstagramTony 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 WizardThis 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 info@humanimpact.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.

📌 Did you know? Human Impact Partners provides health equity capacity building to public health organizations. Contact us to learn more about our offerings at info[at]humanimpact.org.



Human Impact Partners

Bringing the power of public health to campaigns and movements for a just society