Social Justice

2019 Begins Again

Textures - Home - Journey2.jpg


& /Forth

I’m expecting this turn around the wheel to be completely new and utterly familiar. As I move forward, I draw from my rich well of experience in theater and storytelling for social change!

What are you expecting in 2019?

Photos by Aidan Un, Presented by Intercultural Journeys, 2018.
Directed by: Rania Lee Khalil, Video Art: Gazelle Samizay, Musician/Composer: Alex Shaw

There is a Portal is growing. Thank you to all the partners who helped develop the work and to audiences who engaged with the interactive dialogue.
Now that folks have said “WE WANT THIS” I am building up the foundation so we can offer it to educational and community spaces that serve immigrant/refugee/diaspora youth. We want this to be a vehicle for youth to create and share their own stories and build spaces of belonging.
Contact me to support this effort.


"There Is A Portal is so profound in its vulnerability, its honesty, its way of opening up and out into the community of witnesses." - Audience Member

"Thank you for a wonderful and inspiring performance. It means a lot to me as someone with American/diaspora stories I hold in my body." - Audience Member

"I hope you have the opportunity to share this with the world. I love how the audience is invited to be so present and inside the experience." - Audience Member

Upcoming Events

February 23-24
Two-day Forum Theater Workshop:
Explore the technique of Forum Theater.

Participants will learn the basic skills needed to create, perform and lead the Forum Theater format for use in their respective communities. We will explore our bodies as a tool of representing feelings, ideas, and relationships and explore collective solutions to everyday problems.


5th Annual Women’s Conference

March 4, 2019
11:00am, Panel discussion: Teaching As Activism
BMCC Main Campus

Muslim Women's Story Lab Info Session



You are invited to a community info session to launch
the Muslim Women's Story Lab!


September 19, 2015
4-6 pm
The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture
515 Malcolm X Boulevard @135th Street

The Story Lab is a collaborative project using narrative tools and the arts for Muslim women's self-exploration and community engagement. The Lab will build participants' capacity to lead culturally resonant community engagement projects using strategies that harness and reclaim Islam's empowerment of women. More information here!

We hope you will join us and help us spread the word about this exciting new project.

Story Circle March 2014, Women in Islam Event photo: Argenis Apolonario

Story Circle March 2014, Women in Islam Event
photo: Argenis Apolonario

In this day and age, the words "story", "community", and "movement" have become buzzwords being used to sell products and to give a sheen of do-good-iness (like Colbert's "truthiness") to all kinds of things.  I'm writing more about how to create and build story and art-baseed projects for social justice and what that really looks like from conception to execution, (my book has great examples) but ultimately it has to involve bringing human beings closer together, into close, connected relationships, to build their own power. Art and story can do that extremely well if the project is well thought of and the strategy is clear.

Speaking of everything old becoming new again, my father came over today and brought two large folders stuffed with memories and writings and poems from my childhood. Among them, two items stood out:

1. A certificate for Storytelling from 1987!

2. A certificate for participating in the racial & ethnic harmony poetry contest. It isn't dated but I'm sure it's from the 80s as well. 

So there you have it folks, I am a natural born ARTIVIST and have the papers to prove I've been doing this work for almost 30 years! I'd love to hear your thinking on making story and art-based interventions meaningful, concrete, and in the service of human-kind.


Certificates from elementary school showing my trailblazing artivism!

Certificates from elementary school showing my trailblazing artivism!

History as Territory

History as Territory

I went to a wonderful talk last night organized by the Grassroots Global Justice Alliance on reclaiming feminisms at the grassroots.  The inspirational speaker, Sandra Moran, spoke about planting.  The first part of creating something new is developing an idea, planting a seed.  To do that, you must reclaim what is yours and decide that territory will be where something new can grow.

Aerial Roots

Aerial Roots

The famous banyan tree in India has aerial roots.  That means small seedlings growing on its branches send down vine-like extensions that upon hitting dirt, take root and anchor the tree.  If left unchecked, a single banyan can expand into a maze-like thicket of its own creation.  A tree intertwined around another tree, creating shadow trees. I’m living in a similar metaphoric spiral right now.  Thoughts shooting straight downward, leading to confusion, leading to pause, leading to insights, leading to growth.

I’m Alright … But It’s Not OK

I’m Alright … But It’s Not OK

I was completely unaware of the attacks in Kabul today until much later in the afternoon.  Our office is far from the areas targeted in a normal, very Afghan part of the city.  No embassies, international NGOs, or political offices.