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Tamika Mallory on Nationwide #GeorgeFloyd Protests, May 29, 2020

“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.” -- Audre Lorde

Tamika Mallory's speech provides an important lesson and warning about letting other people define with the nationwide #GeorgeFloyd protests meant for us and why you should not allow people to write our story of our actions.
See my full transcription of the speech below.

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Summer in Atlanta 2020: Do Not Let Them Rewrite Our Rebelllion

People will try to rewrite Atlanta's protest history. When they do so, remember this.
— Alyasah “STFH” Sewell aka “Ali”, Ph.D. (@aasewell) May 30, 2020

A 21st Century New Deal

There are a lot of #coronavirus rebate policies floating around. My response considers these policies broadly. The policy we need must have elements that are universal, need-basis, and industry/occupation-targeted. Basically, we need a 21st Century New Deal.
Most of the policies presented are income-based, and the worse are contingent on tax liabilities. The overwhelming majority ignore that need is created both by how consumers actually spend their money and how American workers make their money. Let me explain why such policies ultimately will be inefficient at plugging the gap in the long run. 
Foremost, income-based policies ignore the choking reality of wealth inequality. Assets (e.g., savings, checking accounts) are the primary means people have to cope with financial crises. Yet, a sizeable portion of the American public has little to no savings but this is being completely ignored. 
Moreover, most policies conveniently ignore the outstanding burden of debt liabilities. Even r…

You Can Call Me "Ali"

Dear Folx,

I invite you into a new space that has provided me comfort. About six (6) months ago, I wrote my last blog as a writer without tenure. During that time, I asked people to start calling me "Ali", which is an Arabic root that means, "high", "elevated", "champion". People must have thought me completely obnoxious. "Call me `Ali' Muhammad Ali," I offer. Oh, ohhh, ok: "Ali?!?" "Yeah, Ali," I respond. There is a soft rhyme in the name, "Abigail Ali"..."A.Ali"..."Dr. Ali". Call me "Ali".

Ali, for me, is short for Alyasah, so you can know how to pronounce the name properly: Ahh--lee--ah--sah. Not, Al-Ya-Sah. Not, A-lish-a. Not, Ally-as-ah. Not, Ally, Al-lie. Call me, "Ali". Derived from "Aliaxa", my champion for infinity. How I got here from Abigail is a hard story to tell. It is a story of love, of grief, of misdiagnosis, of asylums, of passi…

Pre-Tenure Anxieties

The evaluation period for my tenure file has begun. The letters have been written and sent in; the documents have been uploaded and updated; the dates have been set. Every school has a different process -- but at Emory University if you are in the College of Arts and Science, tenure is basically a three step process.

First, the department votes on your file and constructs a letter summarizing how they feel about your candidacy. The complexities of your arguments are relayed to the next set of readers through their eyes and the eyes of the letter writers. Supposedly, that process happened yesterday afternoon for me. There are hints that it will be positive. That should ease my anxiety. Yet, here I am at 3:11am, trying to work out my anxiety through writing about the very thing that brings me anxiety -- getting tenure.

Second, the department's letter and vote are sent to the "T&P Committee" for the Emory College of Arts and Science. This is a big group of people -- 9 t…

20 Marks of a Criminal Record [Poem] - A Tribute to Devah Pager

20 Marks of a Criminal Record [Poem]
-- A Tribute to Devah Pager (1971-2018)

I have to  write:  Devah Pager died  of pancreatic cancer  two days ago, y'all —  a write up in the Times spells out an in-depth obituary of some type called,  “When a Dissertation Makes A Difference” —  Wow.  Pancreatic cancer. 
I need to eat better,  one.  Which one  will take me out?  Two.  Why live?  Three. Because you have so much  to give  with only one  lifetime to give it,  four
It is ok  to feel these ways,  right now —  she was that enormous  for everyone,  five.  Why I have to be Ok  with getting up at 3am  and trying to write --  papers do not write  themselves,  six
Because she still with us  through the work she created,  seven.  And, she will always be  because the work lives on  in  and outside  of us,  eight.  I am scared I need  a serious break  from teaching  because I get sick  after sustained contact  with the students --  communicable diseases can kill, cancer mostly does, everyone arou…

Seven Lessons of Financial Literacy 101: Or, If We Do Not Eat, We Cannot Write

Pondering "dollah, dollah" bills right now, as I complete preparation for the first summer gig I have accepted since finishing my Ph.D. program in 2013. It's been four solid years, and I do not regret a moment off the summer income grind. The time typically spent prepping, in office hours, managing emotions, invoices, and PI expectations has been rerouted to strengthening my research in ways that are tractable and contributory. Sunday, however, I fly out to Albuquerque, New Mexico for a week-long course on race, methods, and health co-taught with the ground-breaking political scientist, John A. Garcia, and hosted by the RWJF Center for Health Policy at UNM. In mid-July, John and I team up again in Ann Arbor, Michigan via the RWJF-funded short course on health issues facing vulnerable populations hosted by the ICPSR Summer Program in Quantitative Methods for Social Research. This year, John and I will be joined by one of the leading sociologists of the Great Recession, Sa…