Michelle and Emily welcome Francesca Passanise to the podcast. They have an enlightening conversation as they cover so many topics.
Francesca shares her reactions to and perceptions of Puerto Rico after a recent visit there. They talk about Francesca's husband's style of art and when asked about her own artistic style, Francesca reveals she is a writer. She talks about being discouraged from pursuing writing as her career because she was always told she needed to do something that would support her. She chose to study business and marketing and has managed to marry her love of writing with her passion for effecting change in our world. She embraces her 'hopey-changey' part of her personality.
The conversation flows naturally into a discussion about leadership differences between men and women, how women have a tendency to undervalue ourselves and our work, and equity vs equality.
Francesca talks about her personal efforts to expand the cultural literacy in her children's school by reading to her daughters' class during story time during Black History Month and Women's History Month. She's been doing it for four years. She shares several books that everyone should read. Links to them are below.
Let's Talk About Race by Julius Lester (a St. Louisan)
Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls Vol 1 & 2 by Francesca Cavallo & Elena Favilli
One Crazy Summer by Rita Williams-Garcia.
They talk about how we hide behind the idea that we are a "polite society" and this irrational fear of making strife isn't helping our country with having open and honest discussions.
Francesca shares an incredibly touching story about one afternoon during their reading of One Crazy Summer when a student asked if the book somehow would show them how or give them advice on what to do when you can tell someone is judging you. This leads to a rich discussion on privilege and removing the 'otherness' we apply to people.
Francesca recommends working with St. Louis organization, WeStories, to develop tools to help create change in our community. She points to two artists who are creating particularly powerful pieces about racism and "other"ing that we should be watching: Myloan Dinh & Myra Eastman