In 2010, the conflict in Somalia was raging heavily and the majority of Mogadishu and the South Central Regions of Somalia were lost to the control of the Al-Qaeda linked terrorist group al-Shabab. Somali-Canadian social activist, Ilwad Elman, living in Canada at the time, left the safety of her new home in North America to return to her home country of Somalia. Even in the midst of terrorism, conflict, and violence, Ilwad has remained in Somalia ever since — working for peace, security, and empowerment in creative and innovative ways.
Today, Ilwad Elman is known for her work at the Elman Peace and Human Rights Center in Mogadishu alongside her mother Fartuun Adan, the NGO's founder. She was voted the African Young Personality of the Year during the 2016 Africa Youth Awards. She is also the feature story in Issue 03 of the Goodnewspaper.
In this conversation, Branden and Ilwad discuss the opportunity we all have been give to live with intentionality and the opportunity to serve our communities. There is joy when we choose to educate ourselves in what is happening in our cities, and collaborate in order to add value.
How do we maintain resilience and consistency in the midst of opposition? The Women’s March was the largest single-day protest in US history—bringing together more than 3.3 million people in 500 US cities. And Linda Sarsour, a rising household name in the United States, was a big reason why that happened. But that doesn’t come without significant backlash and criticism even while promoting a message that advocates for the dignity and respect of all human beings.
Linda Sarsour is an award winning Brooklyn born Palestinian-American-Muslim racial justice and civil rights activist, community organizer, social media maverick, and mother of three. Linda has been at the forefront of major social justice campaigns both locally in New York City and nationally — particularly gaining national attention for her advocacy on behalf of American Muslims and as a co-chair of the Women's March. She is the former Executive Director of the Arab American Association of New York, co-founder of Muslims for Ferguson, and a member of the NY Justice League.
In this conversation, Branden and Linda discuss the power of choosing to embrace diversity — leaning into things that are divisive even though they are uncomfortable.
(Oh, and here’s the link to our Facebook Discussion group that we gave a shout-out to in the episode: https://www.facebook.com/groups/goodgoodgoodco/)
Award-winning writer Esmé Wang knows from personal experience how tough it is to be ambitious and deal with limitation. She is a woman who lives with chronic illness, including late-stage Lyme disease and schizoaffective disorder. She believes that just because one lives with limitations — whether they be caregiving responsibilities, disability, chronic illness, or any other life circumstance that cause you to feel fenced in, doesn’t mean a person can’t leave a legacy of creative resilience.
Esmé Weijun Wang is a novelist and essayist. Her debut novel, The Border of Paradise, was called a Best Book of 2016 by NPR and one of the 25 Best Novels of 2016 by Electric Literature. She was named by Granta as one of the “Best of Young American Novelists” in 2017, and is the recipient of the Graywolf Nonfiction Prize for her forthcoming essay collection, The Collected Schizophrenias. In her blog, The Unexpected Shape, she provides resources that assist ambitious people who live with limitations
In this conversation, Branden and Esmé tackle the question of why people living with illness need both the practice and living-out of resilience in their daily lives — and how boundaries laid out in life’s game can make things more interesting.
Becca Stevens is an author, speaker, social entrepreneur, founder and president of Thistle Farms. After experiencing the death of her father and subsequent child abuse when she was 5, Becca longed to open a sanctuary for survivors offering a loving community. In 1997, five women who had experienced trafficking, violence, and addiction were welcomed home.
20 years later, Thistle Farms continues to welcome women with free residence that provide housing, medical care, therapy and education for two years. Residents and graduates earn income through one of four social enterprises. Becca has been featured in the New York Times, on ABC World News and NPR, was recently named a 2016 CNN Hero and a White House “Champion of Change" in 2011. Her newest book, Love Heals, was published in 2017.
In this conversation, Branden and Becca go deep into the shared humanity, peace and harmony that we all long for — and ultimately, how to create the time and space for healing to happen.