i went back to oklahoma for the weekend and had a chance to pick blackberries and make fresh jam!! i also got to pack some of that blackberry jam + share it w/ my lovely coworkers @ Buzzfeed NY! it’s such a blessing to share the things that my grandma has taught + showed me since childhood✨the jam was a hit y’all 😭😍🌈
I was lucky to be invited to the University of Oklahoma’s Teach Out on Race where I co-facilitated a talk on a few of my favorite topics: technology, land, black futures, indigenous ways of being, imagination, and storytelling. Needless to say, this is a pretty extensive slide deck. The above screen captures are only the highlight reel. For access to the full deck please email me! :]
Talk Description: Remembering Technologies // Imagining Futures is a community-centered talk & workshop rooted in Afro // Indigenous Futuristic Pedagogy. The talk begins by breaking down the very definition of technology: we move from basic ideas like “technology as a smartphone” to more complex ideas like technology as cornrows, tortillas, plant medicine, and dance. Next, we cover the thought leaders behind Afro // Indigenous Futurisms & the many concepts/questions/ideas their work proposes through music, film, and gameplay. The workshop ends with a meditation where attendees are called to use their past/present to begin imagining healthier futures. At this workshop, imagination is our starting point.
A few weeks ago my Portalux team and I were chosen to compete at Pitch Texas @ SXSW. The whole experience was all expense paid and honestly a dream come true since I’ve always wanted to attend SXSW!! <3 Even though we rocked our presentation, we didn’t advance to the last round. Nonetheless, I’m sooo proud of us for placing top 16 out of 250+ teams!! The experience was amazing and I made so many new friends along the way!
1 Million Cups Norman has officially launched! How lucky was I to be their first presenter ever?! Today I had the opportunity to share the story of BLOOM: how we started [in a social entrepreneurship class], obstacles we faced [like making it to launch], and wins we accomplished [like launching a language course for Cherokee Nation]! When it comes to entrepreneurship, product development, whatever you want to call it — sometimes there is a clear path and other times there isn’t. Through BLOOM my team and I have had a chance to forge our own path, create a community-driven technology, and learn a whole lot about drives us along the way [passion vs motivation vs dedication]. Although I was the only one one up on stage speaking, my team of  linguists, designers, and engineers living in Oakland, New York, and San Francisco deserve immense credit for the love that they’ve put into building our first language course. As do the OG’s — our collaborators at the Cherokee Language Master/Apprentice Program [CLMP] who have helped us design a holistic language technology that offers news learners a strong introductory path to fluency! I’m excited for what’s next as we continue to grow!
I have to say: building resources for Oklahoma youth is the BEST job out there!!! I had a great time dropping by a 3rd-6th grade special education class today at Kendell Whittier Elementary School to talk about career paths in technology. After my presentation, we all spent time learning the Cherokee language together via BLOOM + ended with a group activity where students had a chance to imagine, draw, and share what a technological future in Tulsa would look like to them. The children’s vision for the future deeply inspired me. BLOOM has brought me to Tedx stages, across the region for pitch competitions, and to New York University. But it's in classrooms where I feel transformative change is closer than ever. All of thes children are the future. Their minds + their educational opportunities + their perspectives matter to me. BLOOM, above all, is an ode to them. [pictured: me and a Chickasaw child talking about the future of Tulsa, OK].
I had an amazing time sharing BLOOM's technology at St. Philip Neri's 3rd grade class in Midwest City. The kiddos were SO eager to learn Cherokee in a classroom setting + play with our technology - which to them felt like a game (OUR GOAL HAS BEEN MET!). Children have such open minds and they pick up on language so quickly. Today's biggest takeaways: (1) I'm now really adamant about BLOOM being used in Oklahoma K-12 school systems and (2) BLOOM's curriculum will soon offer audio-based instructions, so that young children who are not of reading age can still play with our tool. I learned so much today and I am thankful. Wado to these influential young people! Let's continue learning together.