LoveLife: The Disempowerment of AIDS
How do we disempower HIV/AIDS? This lecture attempts to displace the negative stereotypes and mindsets attached to HIV/AIDS, and replace them with positive archetypes and empowered mindfulness. The main aim is to educate the spirit, to burst through the statistical ritual, and learn, at the most basic level, what HIV/AIDS means and how it lacks any real power to destroy love and happiness. The disempowerment of HIV/AIDS is most important for youth, who are developing (almost daily!) ways to look at themselves and the world. This lecture blends facts, figures, narratives, poetry, and hip-hop story-telling.
12 Steps to Appreciating Diversity
- ADMIT TO YOUR HOMOGENEITY, your lack of diversity. Verbalization of the problem creates a fertile foundation for growth.
- KNOW YOURSELF: be balanced, self-confident, and clear-headed; once you know yourself, there is no need to hate or dislike difference. Create a family tree, meditate or fast.
- LOOK FOR COMMONALITIES, NOT DIFFERENCES: re-train your mind to detect commonalities and similar interests with others, not gap-widening differences.
- LEARN & TEACH: use every cross-cultural interaction as a time to learn and teach.
- TRY NOT TO JUDGE
- BREAK ONE CULTURAL HABIT WITH ANOTHER: once a month, exchange one normal cultural experience for a new and different experience.
- YOU ARE BOUND TO MAKE MISTAKES: it's natural, be sensitive, respectful, and apologetic. Stick with it.
- TRAVEL: as much as possible.
- READ: everything! Consciously decide to read books and articles you have no immediate interest in to uncover information you may otherwise miss.
- LEARN ANOTHER LANGUAGE: every facet and nuance of a culture is revealed through its language. A new language helps you to think differently.
- LEARN TO DISTINGUISH BETWEEN PREJUDICE (PRE-JUDGEMENT) & TRUE DISLIKE: use trust as a barometer and foundation for real friendship. Psychic action on the things we’ve been pre-programmed (socialized) to believe.
- TURN TO YOUR SOURCE OF LIGHT: use this inner-power to embrace diversity.
Preference & Prejudice
Do you prefer pink or blue, car or bike-- black man or white woman? When choosing A over B- how do preconceived socio-cultural notions affect our daily choices and what role does prejudice play in our preferences? Preference & Prejudice is a fun, insightful examination of preference and its role in the ways we move toward and away from one another. Using his own personal narrative, Mohammed Bilal blends scholarship, rap and spoken word into a playful exploration of preference and desire, elucidating everyday methods for open interactions.
This presentation starts with a viewing of Toward Excellence, a short film that explores diversity and equity at American independent schools. It looks closely at the problematic 80’s, when many private schools intentionally/experimentally increased admittance of African-American students to meet self-imposed quotas. Through interviews with some of today’s top administrators—Al Adams (Lick-Wilmerding High School), Lucinda Lee Katz (Marin Country Day School) and others—the film offers valuable insights for building vibrant and inclusive school communities. Director Mohammed Bilal, who attended, taught and lead independent schools, facilitates the interactive Q & A, vicariously using the film and personal narratives as tools to unravel power and privilege, race, gender and space.