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14 April 2021
Greetings from at the Forefront!

Where to even begin? These past few months have been busy in the best way possible. The dual opportunity to highlight the work of Black women globally from Black History Month into Women's History Month has seen us engage with more people than ever before—and we will continue to do so!

In this issue, we will revisit the events that got us engaging in various capacities with our ever-growing community. Most recently, we co-hosted a critical conversation, entitled "A call to end anti-Black racism in Women's Rights & Feminist global spaces" with the Women and Girls Summit Africa. Some of you may remember when we participated in the summit last November by hosting two of the featured panel discussions: "Magnifying the Voices of African Women on the Future of Gender Equality" and "Improving Diversity and Creating Inclusive Spaces for African Women in International Development." Our most recent critical conversation emerged from the overwhelming feedback we received from the latter panel discussion, which led us to launch a call for solution-driven commitment from the international development community to tackle widespread anti-Black racism inherent within its institutions. This was especially significant to highlight in conjunction with the International Women's Day 2021 theme, "Women in leadership: Achieving an equal future in a COVID-19 world." In February, we celebrated Black History Month through our tastebuds in two installments of our Cooking with atF series. We kicked things off making monkey bread with monét cooper and closed out the month with a soul food treat of fried chicken with Mama T!
In introducing herself, panelist Muna Idow said "We don't get to fix the things we're not honest about." This critical conversation served as a vital starting point to a level of honesty that can only aid us in driving solutions to deeply embedded injustices faced by Black people in international development spaces. You can watch the full discussion here:
Kicking off the discussion, our moderator Evelyn Sallah brought critical evidence to the fore to better contextualise the current reckoning in the international development sector, partly due to the increased visibility of the Black Lives Matter movement.

First, in June 2020, over 1200 CDC (Centers for Disease Control) staff members in the US signed a letter calling out "consistent systemic & structural racism" within the agency. You can read more here. Second, last year, UNPAD (United Nations People of African Descent) conducted a survey that sought to uncover issues of racial discrimination and racial bias within the United Nations system. Read the report here.
Additionally, these two books were mentioned during the conversation as valuable reading picks to further the ideas delivered by our panelists. Check out Rage Becomes Her: The Power of Women's Anger by Soraya Chemaly and Decolonizing Methodologies: Research and Indigenous Peoples (Second Edition) by Linda Tuhiwai Smith.
On February 7, monét cooper hosted us for an afternoon making monkey bread! For monét, some of her fondest memories in the kitchen were shared with her grandmother so we were delighted to have made one of her most cherished recipes this time around! Read the blog post about the event here.

If you couldn't make it, we have recordings of the cooking demo and the critical conversation available on our YouTube channel!
On Feb 28, we joined Mama T in making a soul food staple: fried chicken! Her kitchen was packed  with numerous generations of her family and the many other attendees sprinkled across the globe. With the backdrop of a delicious feast we prepared, we got to talking about the health disparities in the African American community on full display this past year due to the pandemic. Read our blog recap here

We have recordings of the cooking demo and the critical conversation on our YouTube channel.
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