The Institute of Women and Ethnic Studies has released “Crooked Room: Stories From New Orleans.”
In 2012, as part of IWES’ community based human recovery efforts, IWES conducted Wisdom Circles with fifty five African-American women of varying age and backgrounds. The circles explored how stereotypes, shame, and racism shape their current sense of self-efficacy and agency. These poignant, beautiful and difficult discussions were analyzed and compiled to create the book.
“Crooked Room: Stories from New Orleans” is a compilation of experiences shared by women of the Crescent City, based on Melissa Harris-Perry’s book “Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes and Black Women in America.”
From the introduction:
“…how do Black women confront the crooked room while attempting to stand straight and strong? What is upright in a post-disaster city such as New Orleans? … These Wisdom Circles were an attempt to temporarily straighten a room for women in New Orleans to feel whole… As members of a stigmatized group, African American women lack opportunity for accurate, affirming recognition of self and hence, true participation in the democratic process. Can Black women ever feel safe and whole?”