Black on Campus: An American University Story

Posted in Black Lives Matter with tags , , , , , , on May 4, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

Bananas with “AKA Free” written on them were found hanging from nooses on American University’s campus after the student government voted in its first black woman Taylor Dumpson (a member of the AKA sorority) as president. 

But Black students have been terrorized at predominantly white colleges for years. I remember being at Penn State in the’90s, and nooses were found hanging from the door of two friends who were roommates in the boys dorm. We were only 18. Freshman. Shook by it all. I was the rare black member of the student government and helped create the Diversity Union so we could come together and just be together. As black kids, we didn’t really know what we needed. But we instinctively knew we needed support to deal with the racism. I ended up transferring to a HBCU after my freshman year. I always said it was because of my major that I transferred to Hampton. I wanted to be on the radio and play the black music we couldn’t find in the boonies of Central PA. But today, reading this story, I had a flashback and suddenly realized it was likely those nooses that heavily influenced my decision to leave. #BlackOnCampus

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Looking Forward to This…

Posted in Black Lives Matter with tags , , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

Looking forward to sitting on this panel tomorrow, Thursday April 27, discussing intersectionality with several minds I admire like Shaun King, Hill Harper, and Ilyasah Shabazz. Plus I’m excited about seeing the great Harry Belafonte honored at this year’s National Action Network Convention. #NAN2017

The Spirit Guide Award

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , on March 27, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

Amazing time with family during this weekend’s gala at the Harlem Hospital Center for The Bomb Shelter, an amazing non profit offering free arts programs for talented youth. I’m honored to have been chosen by their members to receive the very first Spirit Guide Award. :+)

Posing with my proud mother

My son Kalel played 12-year-old personal photographer for the event.

My kid took this pic :+)

Gave a speech on an artist’s responsibility to use their art to speak truth and improve the world.

Goodbye Wells Fargo #NoDAPL

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on March 10, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

A few weeks ago, I walked into Wells Fargo, projected my voice and said, “I’d like to close my account.” Faces dropped. A Latino brother took me to his desk. “Can I ask why you’d like to close your account?” “Because of their support of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Aside from the fraud situation, I should have closed my account then. But it’s taken longer than planned.” He shook his head with understanding. After my account was closed, he looked up. “I don’t agree with DAPL either. And we’ve lost a lot of customers because of it.” He slid me his card. “Can you send an email about why you’re closing your account? They read all emails from current and former customers. And know that there are discussions at the top. They’re trying to figure out how to get out of it, but they’re stuck in a contract.” I stared at his card. “Yeah, well economic protests tend to make people at the top pay attention. But it might be too late for them at this point. Just like what happened to Uber.” #NoDAPL

Mayor David Dinkins #BlackHistory

Posted in Black Lives Matter, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on March 1, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

I had the honor of meeting NYC’s first and only black mayor, David Dinkins, at Mayor De Blasio and 1st lady Chirlane McCray’s Black History Month reception. I had a wonderful moment speaking to Mr. Dinkins about what the next generation of leaders should be doing now. He said they should find an organization to partner with and do the work within. He said, “See that turtle over there on that fence? That turtle didn’t get there alone. That turtle got there by standing on the shoulders of those who came before it.” #BlackHistory

Rise of the Woman: #WomensMarch on Washington

Posted in Black Lives Matter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 25, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

I experienced history in DC at The Women’s March on Washington. The energy was electric! The vibe was so warm and nurturing. The speeches were amazing. The march passionately shut DC and cities across the country down. I am so happy to have witnessed and been a part of something that will be in history books. These are just some of the pictures I took. #WomensMarch

I’m never getting rid of this badge. #History

Cheesing with the immortal Angela Davis!

Alicia Keys surprised the crowd

Janelle Monae addresses the crowd

Always good to see Eric Garner’s mother, Gwen Carr

Honored to meet activist and former President of the NAACP, Hazel Dukes.

Michael Moore amped the crowd up.

Jake Gyllenhaal showed low-key support.

Uzo Aduba with her “What Meryl Said” sign

Building with Michaela Angela Davis & Beverly Bond

The largest protest in US history, 1 million strong.

Gloria Steinem (Photo courtesy of Bill Allen)

Jidenna, Janelle Monae, & Jordan Davis’ mother

Angela Davis and Gloria Steinem (Photo courtesy of Bill Allen)

Smiling with Deja Vu (Photo courtesy of Bill Allen)

Madonna brought the ruckus. (Photo courtesy of Bill Allen)

Always good to see the Rev. Jesse Jackson

Women’s March Co-chair, Tamika Mallory, delivering her amazing speech

Co-chair Linda Sarsour delivering a powerful speech.

Co-chair Carmen Perez leading the march on her birthday!

Met these amazing ladies who traveled 10 hours from Flint

Van Jones was in the house.

This elder marched with King on Washington in the 60s.

Senator Cory Booker took this selfie himself.

Maxwell performed for the ladies. (Photo courtesy of Bill Allen)

Rev. Al Sharpton’s daughter, Dominique

Co-chair Bob Bland delivering her speech with her daughter.

The crowd behind me while marching.

L-R Deja Vu, me, Michael Angela Davis, Tamika Mallory, Mark Thomson, Carmen Perez, Linda Sarsour, NY Justice League Family

Jidenna, Janelle Monae, and Jordan Davis’ mother (courtesy of Bill Allen)

Marching from darkness to light. It’s a marathon, not a race. #WomensMarch #OnwardUpward

#MLKDay 2017

Posted in Black Lives Matter with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on January 16, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

MLK Day is not a day off. I was raised to know that today is a day of service. I’m blessed that the work I’m paid to do doubles as community service.

 My #MLKDay 2017 to do and got-it-done list:

 1)  Sent my kid to a youth leadership conference. 

2) Worked on a speech I’ve been hired to write for the Women’s March on Washington. #Speechwriter

 3) Wrote & edited campaign materials for Amnesty International campaigns against Police Brutality & The Syrian Refugees Crisis 

4) Soul food dinner with family.

 Dr. King would be proud. :+) Productive. Busy. Satisfying. Today was a good day.

Thank you, Obama

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on January 11, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

​”If something needs fixing, then lace up your shoes and do some organizing.” – Barack Obama #ObamaFarewell #Beautiful

Research the Habits of Millionaires

Posted in How to Be Empowerment Workshops with tags , , , , on January 4, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

​Want more prosperity? Millions perhaps? Research the habits of those who have it. #WednesdayMotivation #wednesdaywisdom 

Anything is Possible 

Posted in How to Be Empowerment Workshops with tags , , , on January 3, 2017 by Raqiyah Mays

​Anything is possible if you’ve got enough nerve. #TuesdayMotivation