Did you Know?

Project RACE is an approved charity for donations from Amazon through the AmazonSmile program. Please remember this whenever you buy anything on Amazon. It does not cost you anything—a small percentage of your purchase goes to support Project RACE.

Sign up at smile.amazon.com on Amazon to get started and designate Project RACE as your charity. Then when you buy from Amazon, just log on through amazonsmile.com.

Your Amazon donations and any other donations to Project RACE will be used for operating expenses to keep our organization running and bringing the latest information to the multiracial community. Thank you for your support!

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Are You in an Interracial Family?

Project RACE is very pleased to announce that we have been asked to participate in a photographic project by the amazing photographer Ben Baker! He has photographed the Obamas, many other Presidents, entertainers, politicians, and other famous people.

He is looking for interracial families to photograph in New York this weekend or next. This could be any combination of backgrounds: black/white, Asian/black, Hispanic/white, African American/American Indian, etc. Please email me at susangraham@projectrace.com if you are interested. Let’s help Ben make this a huge success!

It’s Famous Friday!

Chelsi Smith

The pageant world lost an iconic and history making figure this past weekend.  Chelsi Smith, a Houston, Texas, native, succumbed to liver cancer at the age of 45 on Saturday, September 8, 2018.  Crowned Miss Texas, Miss USA and Miss Universe in 1995, Chelsi Smith became the first biracial woman to win all three pageantry titles in history.

Having been raised by her grandparents in southeast Houston, Chelsi was no stranger to wrestling with issues concerning her identity as a biracial woman.  Her mother was white and her father was African-American. While competing on the pageantry circuit, she objected to being identified solely as black. “If people are going to know me,” Smith told the Houston Post, “I just think it’s important for them to know I’m half-black and half-white and that it hasn’t been a disadvantage.”

Among the many things Chelsi Smith will be remembered for is her decision to use her notoriety to combat racism and her courage to call others to acknowledge all aspects of identity concerning biracial and multiracial individuals.

Nadia Wooten

Project RACE Teens Vice-President

 

 

Source for photo: Monty Brinton / CBS

 

 

Project RACE and Nike

Project RACE and Nike

I was in Turlock, California today. It’s where Colin Kaepernick grew up—a multiracial boy adopted by white parents in a city where African American comprise less than 2% of the population. I saw one black person there today in a sea of white faces. I can only imagine that life there was challenging for him. Yet he played football on teams with predominately white players. He made friends and had family; he survived. And he always stood up for what he believed in.

Colin Kaepernick did not set out to make a difference at that young age, but he found himself in the center of a battle as he grew older. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Kaepernick was signed into an ad deal with Nike, which was announced this week.

The gist of the ad is when he says, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

My multiracial son and I started Project RACE in 1990 because we believed that multiracial children needed representation in Washington, in states, at schools, in the medical world, and in many other areas. We were told that we were crazy; that we would never change the way Americans viewed multiracial and biracial people. We did.

We sacrificed. We fought to be heard. My stories of personal sacrifices that I made were many and some were heartbreaking. I heard from parents of children who were dying because they couldn’t get bone marrow from another multiracial person who could be their match. Many of them died. I talked to people who were shamed because their parents were of different races. I stood up as teachers told our children that they could only pick one race. I stood up for them because that’s what Project RACE has stood for and has done for the past 28 years.

You know Colin Kaepernick’s story and how he started a wave of protests among NFL players in 2016 having to do with racial inequality and police brutality. Colin did it because he felt it was the right thing to do, just as we did. His endorsement deal has brought an ugly debate within America. Some people disagree with the original premise and others talk about Nike and Kaepernick being in it just for the money. Yes, Nike is taking a risk, Colin is taking a risk, and Project RACE members take risks.

At the start of the ad, Kaepernick says: “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good. Stay that way, because what nonbelievers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.” He said what I was thinking during the 1990s and beyond.

Project RACE stands with Colin Kaepernick and Nike because this is America and because we can.

Susan Graham for Project RACE

It’s Famous Friday!

Bob Marley 

“My father was white and my mother black, you know. Them call me half-caste, or whatever.  Well, me don’t dip on nobody’s side.  Me don’t dip on the black man’s side nor the white man’s side.  Me dip on God’s side, the one who create me and cause me to come from black and white, who give me this talent.” Bob Marley-1975

Nesta Robert Marley more commonly known as Bob Marley was born February 6, 1945 in Saint Ann Parish, Jamaica. He would grow to become the most successful Caribbean recording artist of all time selling over 135 million total albums in his career.  But despite his becoming a global superstar, most are unaware that he was born to a white father, Captain Norval Marely and a black mother, Cedella Booker.Because of his mixed-race heritage, Bob was bullied and nicknamed “White Boy” by his neighbors in the desperately poor slums of Jamaica. The teasing was relentless, and Mr. Marley would eventually find out that no amount of money or fame could erase the psychological aftermath of being an abandoned child of an interracial marriage in the 50’s and 60’s. This persistent mentality of resentment and embarrassment sculpted Marley’s youth and eventually influenced his music.

Although is musical talent was obvious, it would take almost two decades (1962-1980) before he would reach the status as a music icon. His song “One Love” was designated Song of the Millennium by the BBC.  His 1977 album “Exodus” was named Album of the Century by Time Magazine and he was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. His compilation album “Legend” has sold well over 15 million copies since its release in 1991 and continues to sell over 200,000 albums per year. In 2001, Marley was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammy’s and his continued popularity keep him annually on the top 10 Highest-Earning Dead Celebrities in the world (He earned 21 million dollars in 2017!) His greatest achievement in my opinion was in his receiving The United Nations Peace Medal which commemorates those around the world whose life and work promote peace.

Marley’s music certainly continues to inspire and influence music, fashion, politics and culture around the world. Noting this fact at Mr. Marley’s funeral, Jamaican Prime Minister Edward Searga declared in his funeral eulogy, “His voice was an omnipresent cry in our electronic world. His sharp features, majestic looks, and prancing style a vivid etching on the landscape of our minds. Bob Marley was never seen. He was an experience which left an indelible imprint with each encounter. Such a man cannot be erased from the mind. He is part of the collective consciousness of the nation.”

Alexis Cook

Project RACE Teens Co-President

Photo: Getty Images

New Faces at Project RACE!

NEW FACES AT PROJECT RACE

 

New Project RACE Kids President!

 

Madelyn Rempel is 12 years old and the oldest of three siblings.  She was born in NJ and has lived in Durham North Carolina and now resides in upstate NY with her family.  Madelyn is part of a multiracial family.  Her mom was born in the Dominican Republic and her dad is from Minnesota (Danish and German) “I get to discover different types of cultures because I am multiracial and I get to learn about different parts of the world through my family.”

Madelyn is an excellent student.  Her favorite subject is social studies; she loves to learn about people.  She loves to sing, act and dance.  She recently shined in her role as Scuttle off from the Little Mermaid Junior in her 6th grade school play.  Madelyn loves to help others.  One of her greatest joys has been to start her own business (Helping With a Cup Cake) she bakes cupcakes and sells them to give the money to a non for profit organization to help the poor.

Madelyn wants to bring awareness to her community about being a part of a multiracial family and is excited to join the Project Race youth leadership team as president of Project RACE kids.

 

New Project RACE Teens Vice-President!

 

My name is Nadia Wooten, and I am a senior attending Klein High School located in Spring, Texas. While attending Klein High, I have been an officer in two organizations, such as Bringing Exceptional Students Together, also known as B.E.S.T. and National Honor Society; however, when I heard about Project RACE, I was extremely excited to be a part of an organization  that addresses the issues and concerns of multiracial young people such as myself.  Currently, I am ranked among the top 2% of my graduating class.

Although I am heavily involved in my academics, I also enjoy playing the cello, honing my skills in various disciplines of art like photography, drawing, painting, laughing, traveling, and fashion.  In addition, I play tennis for recreation.  Using my enjoyment of tennis and my involvement in B.E.S.T., I am currently in the process of starting a program, called Love All in the fall.  This program will include basic skills clinics taught by tennis professionals to children with intellectual disabilities.  My objective in starting this program is to help establish a connection with this particular population of students along with their parents with those in the community.

RIP Senator John McCain

RIP Senator John McCain

 

Senator John McCain has been laid to rest. He was the grandfather of a multiracial child, John, son of Jack McCain and Renee Swift McCain. John is their first child and was born in 2016.

 

Photo Source: Beyond Black and White

It’s Famous Friday!

Mildred Loving

Mildred was multiracial and started dating a white male, Richard Loving. At the age of 18 she became pregnant and so they decided to marry. They could not marry in Virginia because of their race so they drove to Washington D.C. to get married. After the Loving’s were married they returned home to Virginia. Mildred and Richard were married only a few weeks before two deputies came into their home in the middle of the night to arrest them for violating Virginia’s Racial Integrity Act, which forbid interracial marriage. They were told their marriage certificate held no power in Virginia. One huge reason states had these laws were because they did not want multiracial children. After serving some jail time and pleading guilty they were ordered to leave the state of Virginia for twenty-five years to avoid prison time. The Loving’s moved to Washington D.C., but Mildred missed Virginia. She decided to sit down one day and write a letter to the Attorney General, Robert F. Kennedy. The American Civil Liberties Union then got involved. The case was Loving vs. Virginia. The Supreme Court struck down the Virginia law in 1967 which also ended the remaining ban on interracial marriages in other states. The judges unanimously ruled in favor of the Loving’s with the chief justice writing “the freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.” This ruling ultimately marked the end of segregation laws in America.

Picture Credit: NYtimes.com

Compare the States

COMPARE THE STATES

A table was recently published by The Chronicle of Higher Education that compared the race and ethnicity of data in degree-granting institutions in the United States that are eligible to receive Title IV federal financial aid. They included the “two or more races” category.

The results are interesting, but not surprising. The percentage of multiracial respondents for the institutions of higher education nationally was 3.2 percent. The state with the lowest percentage was Mississippi (1.6%) and the highest was Hawaii at 25.2%. Please keep in mind that this was not the general population, but only for some of the degree-granting institutions. We are assuming that every student was given the option of choosing two or more races regardless of the state or school.

It’s Famous Friday!

Famous Friday – Lana Condor

“To me, a modern American girl doesn’t look like any one thing,” the author of the book-turned-movie explained. “And when I look at the people I know, so rarely is anyone just one thing and I wanted to acknowledge that and honor it in this story.”

 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a popular new teen romance film that debuted on Netflix this month. It is based on the novel by Jenny Han. The film stars 21-year-old actress and dancer Lana Condor as Lara Jean Song Covey. Lara Jean is the middle of three sisters. The story is about Lara Jean writing love letters to her secret crushes. She does not send these letters, but somehow, they find their way to the boys’ mailboxes.

I chose to feature Lana Condor for this week’s Famous Friday both because of who she is in real life and the character she plays in this film. Lana is biologically Vietnamese but transracially adopted by American parents. The character she plays, Lara Jean, is multiracial, specifically hapa, with a white father and a Korean mother who has previously passed away. While the characters’ ethnicity is a part of who they are it is not a crucial part of the plot. Condor’s costar, Janel Parrish is quoted as saying, “Our lead just happens to be Asian American.” While I agree that our race doesn’t define us, a point of note to the Project RACE community, however, is that the three sisters in this story refer to themselves as the “Song Sisters,” even though their actual last names are Covey. They do so because they say the world sees them as Asian. We know that, despite what some may believe, it is not the world who gets to decide how we identify.

Lana Condor grew up in Chicago but her family moved to Los Angeles when she was 15. She has a brother who is also adopted. She made her big screen debut as Jubilee in the 2016 superhero film X-Men: Apocalypse, but this is her first lead role. Condor must be an amazing dancer because she studied ballet with some of the best, the Joffrey Ballet and the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. She took acting classes at the New York Film Academy and Yale Summer. As a high school freshman, Condor attended the Professional Performing Arts School in New York. She has been accepted to Loyola Marymount University but has several film projects lined up, including the coming-of-age romantic comedy Summer Nights so we will have to see if she ends up going.

-Karson Baldwin, Project RACE Teens, Co-President

Photo credit: Bustle.com