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Weekly Newsletter June 2, 2020

We've been struggling the last week with overwhelming rage, frustration and grief but just recognizing these feelings and the injustices that cause them is not enough -- we must take action. We are actively educating ourselves, reading, listening, engaging, speaking out and standing up against the white supremacy and systemic racism that this country has perpetuated since its founding, and we hope that you will join us. We've been sharing resources on social media that we have found helpful or have been recommended by others, we have more below (both new and from past newsletters), and we will continue to share.

Thanks to your support over the last two weeks, we have donated $10,000 to GiveDirectly's Kenya Covid-19 Fund, and starting this week, we will be donating all profits from the sales of our masks to the Equal Justice Initiative which is committed to ending mass incarceration and excessive punishment, to challenging racial and economic injustice, and to protecting basic human rights for the most vulnerable people in our society.

We really want to highlight the power of this community, OUR community -- thanks to your support, we have donated a total of 18,000 masks to vulnerable Kenyans, and now $10,000 that will support 334 people and help them through this pandemic in Nairobi, not to mention the jobs you've enabled us to continue to support through the production of these masks. We are strong and we are powerful when we come together.

Black Lives Matter. We cannot be silent, we must act. Join us.

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Next American Revolution: Sustainable Activism for the Twenty-First Century by Grace Lee Boggs

From legendary activist Grace Lee Boggs, this manifesto lays out her vision for a more compassionate, humanistic future and what we can do to bring it into our present. The world she envisions feels particularly prescient today as are reminded of the fragility and inequality in our social, political and economic systems.

 

 

 

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Black Feminism & the Movement for Black Lives: Barbara Smith, Reina Gossett, Charlene Carruthers

This conversation between feminist scholar Barbara Smith, activist Reina Gossett and activist and organizer Charlene Carruthers is an inspiring primer about Black Feminism and how it has been and continues to be foundational to social justice movements today.

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Code Switch

This podcast doesn't hesitate to talk about race. The hosts, journalists of color, take on all parts of modern life, from pop culture, to politics, to the economy and history, diving into how race plays a role in every aspect of all of our lives.

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Weekly Newsletter May 26, 2020

A Perfect Nairobi Day

Like many of you, we're dreaming of our visiting favorite haunts, so let's take a little journey through our imagination :)

Our first stop would be at Wasp and Sprout for a lazy brunch starting with their yummy masala chai. We'd run upstairs after ordering to browse Angela's latest home goods and shop local brands like Provisions Kenya. With a green apple juice to-go, we'd hit the road for our next stop!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mombasa House is where it all began for us! This fabric market tucked away on the second floor of an unassuming building on River Road in downtown Nairobi is where we bought fabric for the first Zuris, and continues to feel like a home base. We'd pop in to chat with Justine, Josephine, and the rest of the ladies, and see what's new!

 

 

 

 

After a quick bite at Ranalo's for some fried fish fresh from Lake Victoria, we'd head to the Kuona Collective to visit Dennis (above), Shak (left) and the other artists. The space is green and peaceful, and it's easy to while away the hours here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We'd finish the day with sundowners and dinner at the Alchemist. The Alchemist is a hub for music, art and food; and by far one of our favorite spots on "campus" is the savory and very craveable Mama Rocks!  Started by sisters Samantha and Natalie, Mama Rocks makes irresistible burgers (we'd personally recommend the Mango Masai Mama or Fela Supa Fly, but really you can't go wrong). There isn't a better way to end the day than to kick back with a hot Dawa cocktail and Nairobi's newest hits!

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Africa Express Presents Terry Riley's In C Mali

In 1964, Terry Riley composed this minimalist composition with no prescribed instruments and 53 phrases, each of which may be played an arbitrary number of times and if the musicians like, at the same time. Because the phrase lengths are also at the discretion of the musicians, the piece can last between 45 minutes and an hour and a half. This recording by the experimental collective, Africa Express, is one of my favorite ever performances of this composition.  Enjoy!!

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Africa Express Presents: Terry Riley's In C Mali, A Documentary

Africa Express has been one of the most groundbreaking musical forces for the last 15 years. Bringing together musicians of different ages, cultures, and genres, this performance of Terry Riley's minimalist composition "In C" is a truly unique, on-the-spot musical moment, which will never be done the same twice.  This video, set to the piece, offers a behind the scenes tour of the people and places that inspired the performance, and is extremely peaceful to watch.  Take 40 minutes, put on your headphones, and let yourself be transported. To Mali. In C.

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Weekly Newsletter Apr 21, 2020

Happy Earth Day!

We are so privileged to be able to live and work in Kenya, where we have the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the vast outdoors and appreciate its magnificent flora and fauna. We're also profoundly aware that our earth is in peril, and that without action, in addition to causing irrevocable harm to the earth, water and air around us, we will also be causing immeasurable human harm, with the greatest impact on already poor and marginalized regions like here in East Africa. We hope that you will join us today in celebrating our beautiful Earth, and also think about what we can proactively do as individuals to protect our shared planet.

If you're interested in learning more about the impact of climate change in East Africa, we encourage you to listen this deeply researched and thoughtful piece about the human consequences of climate change in Somalia by Laura Heaton and Nichole Sobecki (who also happen to be Zuri sisters!).

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Heather McGhee and Ta-Nehisi Coates in conversation with Chris Jackson

Listening to these three in this far-ranging conversation discussing subjects from the power of imaginative fiction in creating a more equitable future to the all-encompassing costs of racism will energize and activate you! Can't get enough of Heather McGhee? We highly recommend watching her recent TED talk

WHAT WE'RE READING // The Mysterious Life (and Death) of Africa’s Oldest Trees by Jamie Lowe

Baobab trees grow in 32 countries on the African continent and have thrived for thousands of years providing sustenance, spiritual and material, to the communities that live in their shadows. In the last 12 years, 9 of the 13 oldest baobabs have died, and in this piece, writer Jamie Lowe explores why this is happening, and its impact.

 

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Sudan Archives

This album is just SO GOOD. Trained in classical violin, Brittney Parks' music is best described as avant garde R&B (in other words, forget what you think you know about violin, and forget what you think you know about R&B.) She's 25 and she's a dynamo; let's all follow along to see what she'll do next, shall we?

 

 

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Weekly Newsletter Mar 24, 2020

UPCOMING EVENTS // INSTAGRAM LIVE // Artist talk with Dennis Muraguri

Join us on Thursday at 1pm EST for an artist talk with Dennis Muraguri on Instagram Live! You may remember Dennis from the our collaboration to make our Ma3 print, and we're looking forward to talking with him!

Not sure what Instagram Live is? Just sign into Instagram and you'll see a circle at the top where the Stories are that says Live, click on that and you'll be able to watch our live conversation!

PS If you have specific questions you want us to ask Dennis, please email or DM us!

WHAT WE'RE WATCHING // Simone Leigh Artist Talk

Produced by the Guggenheim Museum, this video is a wonderful introduction to Simone Leigh and her artistic process!

 

WHAT WE'RE LISTENING TO // Recording Artists: Betye Saar Working My Mojo

This podcast was produced by the Getty Museum in LA, and features conversations with and about six artists and their relationships with feminism. We especially recommend this episode on Betye Saar, which features interviews with the artist when she was in her late forties. It's incredible to hear about her evolution as an artist, and how the feminist and vivil rights movements around her impacted her work.

 

 

 

WHAT WE'RE READING // What Do We Want History to Do to Us? : Zadie Smith on Kara Walker

All I can say is read this! Here's an excerpt:

"What might I want history to do to me? I might want history to reduce my historical antagonist—and increase me. I might ask it to urgently remind me why I’m moving forward, away from history. Or speak to me always of our intimate relation, of the ties that bind—and indelibly link—my history and me. I could want history to tell me that my future is tied to my past, whether I want it to be or not. Or ask it to promise me that my future will be revenge upon my past. Or warn me that the past is not erased by this revenge. Or suggest to me that brutal oppression implicates the oppressors, who are in turn brutalized by their own acts of oppression."

 

 

WHAT ELSE WE'RE DOING // New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund

If you're able and looking for organizations that you can contribute to during this pandemic, we encourage you to consider the New Orleans Safety and Freedom Fund, which helps post bail for individuals who are awaiting trial, but can't afford the cost and must otherwise wait in jail. Especially as this virus spreads, we can make a difference in reducing the number of people who will be infected unnecessarily and help make New Orleans a safer, more equitable place for everyone.

If you'd like to learn more about bail reform, we recommend listening to this!

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