The point of my Patreon is to help keep me off budget for the work that I do in the community so that those resources can remain in the community, I can continue to get my writing done, and I can, you know, keep making my bills. Thanks to your support, here’s what I’ve been able to do.

The bulk of my work in the community has been through the Kheprw Institute, a grassroots think tank and community organization that works to create a more just, equitable, human-centered world by nurturing youth and young adults to be leaders, critical thinkers and doers. They see the people in any community as the most valuable assets and are committed to working with marginalized communities to bring about change that leads to empowered self-sustainable communities. Under their umbrella I participated in:

Community Innovation Lab: A partnership between the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Groundworks Indy, and EMC Arts, I was the artist facilitator for this community project. The purpose was to explore the challenges in Indianapolis to economic empowerment and human agency faced by two particular groups of our fellow citizens – women “returning citizens” (formerly incarcerated) and youth aging out of foster care. Through interactive and artistic activities, we unpacked some of the complexity around these issues and why the Lab’s “adaptive response” approach is particularly well-suited to uncover new efforts aimed at systemic change. One of the things that came out of the lab was the…

Superhero Workshop: The hunch we were exploring was the possibility of using story to work through trauma issues of Returning Citizens. As we didn’t want to “experiment” with RCs, we opted to work with a group of community leaders who had worked through their traumas and felt comfortable exploring them in new ways. The new way: designing a workshop where we’d use story to explore and work through a person’s trauma. The conceit would be that after we’d worked through their stories, we’d pivot and, as many superhero origin stories are rooted in trauma, use their stories as the basis for origin stories of them as a superhero. It’a about reframing their narrative and lives. It’s been well received and we’re looking at expanding it in 2019.

Because we partnered with the SPIRIT & PLACE FESTIVAL, I ended up a part of two events:

1) The Intersection of Equity, Land, and Power – I was part of an Afrofuturist re-imagining of land use. I was been paired with an architect to bring different visions of designed community possibilities to life. And letting folks design the worlds they wanted to see.

Dear Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes

2) Afrofuturism in Action – This is a special edition of Afrofuturism Friday. October was a jump on point in our discussion, with Tananarive Due and Steven Barnes answering the question “What is Afrofuturism?” Now we apply it to community work with Tobias Buckell. But let me back up…

Afrofuturism in Action: A Conversation with Tobias Buckell (Updated with video)

Afrofuture Fridays: On the second Friday evenings of the month, I’ve been leading a community discussion on Afrofuturism and adapting the mentality of the artists/practitioners to community work.

The Build is a movement of art & culture led by Indianapolis artists coming together to share ideas and resources to sustain and grow their creative work. We share our experience and thoughts on the current and future state of the Indy music/art community. Coinciding with Chreece, the largest hip hop music festival in the city, we did a panel discussion focusing on refining and redefining success; the power of relationships; and skill mastery.

I did some work outside of Kheprw, too. While out and about, your support helped allow me to do:

Mo*Con: This is a mini-convention that I host built around food, community, and conversations (typically around the topics of spirituality, art, and social justice). Basically imagine a barcon that’s the focus of an entire weekend. I partnered with the Kheprw Institute, Spirit & Place, Empowering Cuisine, and Sip N Share Wine, all grassroots organizations doing a lot of work in the community.

Creative Writing Club: I ran an after school Creative Writing Club with some of my middle grade students. We covered plotting, brainstorming, voice, dialogue, beginnings, middles, ending, scenes, and revision, culminating with our celebration event. We did readings of work produced during this time (me included).

Asante Children’s Theater: Partnering with the Indiana Writers Center, I did a world-building workshop with them. We used an Afrofuturist lens to create new worlds rife with vibrant ideas (basically, I provided the prompts and then got out of the way). Three generations of writers in that room and listening to what they created made my heart full.

Open Bite Night: Runways and Reels: Open Bite Night launched by my sister and her husband to encourage local businesses and artisans. Held outside, block party-style at and around the Flanner House and Watkins Park, it showcases the gifts and talents of neighborhood poets, artists, and local entrepreneurs. The proceeds go toward GRoE, my sister’s non-profit which provides after school meals to children in the neighborhood. This was the fifth Open Bite (and I am now the Director of the Open Bite Board).

Mentoring: Among others, Bella, one of my (former) 8th graders who went through my creative writing club. I also mentor through the Kheprw Institute and SFWA.

As for this month’s round up of the levels:

At the Awesome Pics level, well there’s Ferb. And more Ferb. I might post a couple behind the scenes photos from this year’s Broaddus family tradition (we make home movies for our themed Christmas party. We start filming the day after Thanksgiving).

At the Awesome Blog Post level, looking back, the most demanded blog was Grants for Writers. This month, I talk about the Value of Rejection (or, What Failure Teaches Us). Plus sprinkled through the month will be answers to questions from my mentees. Speaking of mentees, I adjusted a level on Patreon for folks looking for some quasi face-to-face mentoring time.

At the Awesome Pimpin’ level, from this level up, supporters (should have, if the mail system hasn’t failed me) received a surprise gift in the mail. I’m also continuing a couple of works in progress: Wrath of God (co-written with Wrath James White) and Serpent (co-written with Jason Sizemore).

At the Awesome Community level, there is a mini-profile on local hip hop artist Diop Adisa who also happens to be the son of the founder of the Kheprw Institute. We’re working on a project that’s a mix of being his autobiography, the story of an artist (his music currently featured in the Spike Lee show She’s Gotta Have It) and the philosophy/framework of how KI does its work. Which is handy as Kheprw begins to look to next year with its theme of “Creating the Future.” And I’ll discuss the writing residency I am in the middle of constructing.