A Midweek Meditation on Ava DuVernay’s “13th”, Political Self-Education and Spotify’s Progressive Move

Midweek Meditations is a weekly column written by Julia-Elise Childs where she rounds up her favorite happenings in fashion, art, culture, and beyond. We figure that despite living fast, we should probably catch our breath every now and again.

Social responsibility. It is our responsibility to be educated on matters that don’t only affect us. This is how we preserve integrity, as individuals and as a society. Acting on this responsibility is more than scanning headlines. It is deeply educating ourselves, even when it is uncomfortable. Even when we are tired. Even when we are scared. It is asking questions. It is voting. It is taking action.

This week, I offer a meditation on collectively finding hope.

Ava DuVernay’s 13th Is The Wake-Up Call You Need


13th, named after the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, is 100 minutes of hard-hitting information about mass incarceration in the United States. Perhaps that sells the film short – it is 100 minutes about what it means to be a person of color in the U.S. Brimming with brilliance from thinkers like Angela Davis, Van Jones, Jelani Cobb and Michelle Alexander, 13th challenges our definition of freedom. If more than 2 million Americans are incarcerated and 1 in 3 black men will go to prison during their lifetime, who’s free? Furthermore, DuVernay curates information that speaks beyond black and white, noting how current immigration laws are mimicking previously employed modes of oppression. There is no excuse for willful ignorance. 13th is now streaming on Netflix.

Get In-Formation


Our upcoming election isn’t just about Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. It’s about state propositions that directly affect you. In California, our current state propositions include things that directly affect plenty of the common public like weed, plastic bags, porn, education, and the death penalty. I’ll be the first to admit that I’ve been guilty of scanning through the propositions, narrowly remembering facts as I hurriedly fill in bubbles. I don’t want to spend another election voting mindlessly and you probably shouldn’t either. Let’s do better. Californians, study up here.

 Spotify Hosts Shaun King at NYC Headquarters


Shaun King, journalist at New York Daily news and prominent voice within the Black Lives Matter community, shared that Spotify invited him to speak at their NYC office last night. Companies are beginning to ask how they can align themselves with progressive change. A famous tech company asking a man who consistently pushes out quality race-related journalism and is in the midst of organizing a nation-wide boycott to come speak at their company? This is important. It both educates employees and sets a positive example for other companies. It may not ignite a storm of change overnight, but it is a step in the right direction.

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