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Nichelle Nichols: Beyond Uhura Comic-Con 2017 Anti-Bullying Panel Member

Nichelle Nichols

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She is a s beautiful as ever. Nichelle Nichols  is the original Star Trek TV series and film character Lieutenant Commander Uhura. Her portrayal filled the screen with beauty, poise and sophistication.

Nicholes’ breakout role generated much discussion when she first appeared. Her character had a rich back story.

Gene(Rodenberry) and I agreed that  she would be a citizen of the United States of Africa. And her Name, Uhura, is derived from Uhuru, which is Swahili for “freedom.” According to the biography that Gene and I developed for my character, Uhura was far more than an intergalactic telephone operator. As head of communications, she commanded a corps of largely unseen communications technicians, linguists, and other specialists who worked in the bowels of the Enterprise, in the “comm-center.” A linguistics scholar and a top graduate of Starfleet Academy, she was a protegee of Mr. Spock, whom she admired for his daring, his intelligence, his stoicism, and especially his logic.1

 

Nichelle Nichols on the TV series Star Trek

 

Her presence inspired young women and girls of all races. In her autobiography Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories, Nichols reveals her realization that there was a lack of minority presence in the United States early space program.

No offense to those fine brave men, but if we tell our children that they can be all they dream, why weren’t there women and minority astronauts? Thousands of fans wrote thanking me for Uhura’s inspiration. Little Black girls and boys, Latino and Asian children had a legitimate right to share in the dream. Things had to change.2

In the next 15 years, as she transitioned from Star Trek the TV series to Star Trek movies, Nichelle Nichols created Women in Motion, Inc. and worked on several government contracts including several  for Nasa with a unique focus on the astronaut-recruitment project.3

She influenced African American astronaut Dr.Mae Jemison https://www.themarysue.com/mae-jemison-space/   and other minorities to consider science and space as a career option.

So, what is Nichelle Nichols doing now? According to this various news stories during San Diego Comic-Con 2017, she is part of a super hero coalition that creating a lot of internet media buzz with their Anti-Bullying campaign.  https://nerdgeist.com/2017/07/21/stars-join-civil-rights-icon-and-actress-nichelle-nichols-at-san-diego-comic-con-to-end-bullying-racism-misogyny/

And the message that a positive, healing, self-affirming nurturing spiritual revolution  may be what is needed to save so many from negative affects from bullying’s toxicity is also generating major new station coverage.     http://www.thecwsandiego.com/story/35947373/anti-bullying-panel-hosted-by-pop-culture-hero

An inspiration to 1960s Afro-futurist youth and a diversity of others  as Lt. Commander Uhura, Nichelle Nichols continues to engage, inspire, and unite beyond Star Trek.

Nichelle Nichols:
inspiration to generations

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thinking back to the early years of Star Trek, my dad did not watch much television other than the news, nature shows, and sports. He enjoyed tinkering around the garage or tending his vegetable garden in a plot of land on the side of the house. Older siblings were too busy with their social life for television. They didn’t sit down with me and watch the show.

My mom however, would sit beside me almost every week when Star Trek came on. We talked back and forth about characters, settings, and plots. We talked especially about Lt. Uhura  from hairstyles and costuming, to her competency at the console.  Lt. Commander Uhura was new, fresh Black woman in outer space. That concept thrilled my mom.  Nichelle Nichols beyond small and big screen stardom is a woman to admire.

Musewoman, Delores Fisher

Delores Fisher Blogger/Lecturer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

END NOTES

1. Nichelle Nichols Beyond Uhura: Star Trek and Other Memories (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1994),  144-145.

2. Ibid., pg. 211

3. Ibid., pg 213

 

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Delores Fisher Comic-Con 2017: A view from Disability Post 2

Delores Fisher and Jedi cosplayer

San Diego Comic-Con is an ever evolving annual phenomenon that comes to San Diego and brings people of all ages, ethnicities, political affiliations, religious beliefs, body types, and disabilities.

Disabilities? Yes, people with challenging situations that are temporary and people for whom life is filled with experiences which require life-long adaptation in addition to everybody else’s on the daily “stuff.” For us, it is what it is; this is who we are. I will probably NOT be politically correct in this post. We who have disabilities enjoy Comic-Con too, and appreciate the event’s servicing all the Comic-Con community and especially for also reaching out to us.

 

Comic-Con Deaf and Disabled Help Desk

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The help desk provided cheerful information and interaction. The event requires a lot of walking. For those with disability  impacted by difficulty walking for long periods of time,  wheelchairs were available.

Wheelchairs ready to assist

Several cosplayers with disabilities and I talked about this newness, this new day of awareness and acceptance. It is refreshing.

 

Tes and friend

If we are blessed, every day through various support systems, although filled with pain and adaptation beyond the majority’s norm,  may be difficult but joyful and fulfilling as we work, relax, worship, interact.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    If we are not blessed, everyday is a hassle without family, without governmental intervention, with religious institutions that do not want us in their congregations, without adequate understanding or support in workplaces, with friends who will not be seen with us, with bullying and sadly with harsh criticism on social media for refusing to be invisible or silent in public spaces.

The cosplayers you will meet in this post all agreed to allow me to post their photos. Although tired near day’s end, they wanted me to convey to their excitement to have their presence recorded as a cosplayer. And, they wanted you know they were having fun too.

 

Fun with a cosplayer (tired, but willing to pose)

People in wheelchairs passed through crowds more easily this year. In various locations, they told me they felt a tangible difference in the crowd’s acceptance of them as fellow fans. A blind man was casually walking, talking, and enjoying the atmosphere with a friend. People with canes and walkers flowed with the crowd, some walking alone, others with friends or family. I even saw several cosplayers with developmental disabilities walking with caretaker/aids near City College. They had gotten off the trolley and were talking tired, but excited, about their day at Comic-Con.

It was really hot on day two and three. Yet along the side streets cordoned off to divert motorized traffic, cosplayers with disabilities were at restaurants and stores.

Cosplaying with friends

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Everyone seemed to remember to hydrate and enjoy our California weather as they went to indoor and outdoor fan exhibits and events.

Star Wars Fighter Pilot

A young cosplayer named Marshall was riding in a batmobile with his mom right next to him. They were strolling casually along the boardwalk in back of the Convention Center. Looking closer, the realization was surprising.  He  was actually riding in a custom made Batmobile wheelchair.

Marshall

Marshall’s mom explained that a company called Magic Wheelchair had made Marshall’s batmobile. They also made several others used by young cosplayers at Comic-Con this year. I went to their tent area and talked with some of the founders and chair makers of Magic Wheelchair and their Magic Wheelchair Justice League custom wheelchairs for children.

Magic Wheelchair Justice League

The kids were happy to be part of Comic-Con 2017. For the chair creators, it was a dream turned into reality. Their labor of love resulted in beautifully crafted chairs to enjoy for the children and for those who admired their custom wheelchairs.

Aqua Girl Wheelchair made by Magic Wheelchair

It was nice to have so many people with visible disabilities and those with hidden disabilities in one area, unified by celebration of imagination and creativity. Personally, it was wonderful to experience kind spirited humanity in everyday reality.

A view from the bridge

The cosplayers with disabilities their family, friends, and support staff that I talked to and photographed wanted me ( a blogger with a visible disability) to say thank you to Comic-Con 2017, the fans, speakers, media, and other cosplayers for a really fun time.

Delores Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Diego Comic Con International 2017: Thank you

One voice among many with disabilities,

Delores Fisher

 

 

 

Delores Fisher San Diego Comic-Con 2017 Post 1

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Delores Fisher and Cosplayer (more Ethnic Cosplayers joining in the fun this year!)

Hello Sonic Tapestry readers. It’s a hot San Diego International Comic-Con 2017 SUMMER! Thankful for a cloud cover early Thursday morning, it got really hot.

Waking up with anticipation, I considered how to cover San Diego International Comic-Con this 2017. Since I enjoy featuring cosplayers from an “outside view angle,” with occasional social commentary, this year seems like a good time to change the game a little, especially on this Thursday July 20th, the first day of events.

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Remember to check out the Interactive Fun Zone with exhibits and Fun Foods!

 
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Delores Fisher and Pac Man Cosplayer

First,  newby Cosplayer photo etiquette:

#1 San Diego Comic-Con is the largest on the West coast so, decide what and where you want to photograph first

#2 Have your camera or cell phone settings ready, also have specific questions ready about how cosplayers put together their attire

#3 ASK to take a picture first-especially family cosplayers with children

#4 Adjust to “cosplayer and general crowd flow,” if they’re walking quickly in the opposite direction, perhaps going to the back of an event line, they may not want to stop to take a picture

#5 DON’T SNAP MID-BITE! Take pictures when they are posing for you—not eating

#6 Don’t touch unless cosplayers offer handshakes, etc

#7 Thank cosplayers for stopping and posing for a photo

And now, a few more first day photos!

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Delores Fisher and 1st official cosplayer of Day 1

 

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With Cosplayer by the boardwalk

Cosplayer 2

Loki and Thor in action!

 

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Star Wars Cosplayer (popular Cosplay theme this year)

 

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Many Family cosplayers this year

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Evening Cosplayer, Walking Dead (He was interviewed on one of the local news stations earlier)

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At evening IMax event

Many more photos and posts. Welcome San Diego Comic-Con International!

Delores Fisher

 

Lacresha Berry as Harriet Tubman: San Diego International Fringe Festival 2017

San Diego Fringe Festival International just completed its 5th year with local, national and international performers presenting their traveling shows to our very appreciative city. Fringe romped through our consciousness from June 22 through July 2nd. With a total of seventeen sites including a Family Fringe at the City Heights Performance Annex http://sdfringe.org/

Actress/educator Lacresha Berry and blogger Delores Fisher

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The City Heights Performance Annex with its indoor and outdoor stage areas, Fringe venue/space #17,  is well-known to most San Diegans in that area. Located on the crossroads of a culturally diverse neighborhood, the City Heights Performance Annex is respected for its embracing of the arts with innovative professional and amateur shows, school ensemble programs, dance festivals, entertainment representative of its surrounding rich cultural heritages. So are two other venues several miles away near Balboa Park. Fringe Space#7 Centro Cultural De La Raza and The World Beat Center Fringe space #8.

Here’s my World Beat Center Fringe space #8 experience.

Delores Fisher (selfie time!!) at San Diego Fringe Festival International 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last weekend, I notice the show “Harriet Tubman” is billed as a re-imagining of the life of anti-slavery activist; it’s playing one of my favorite San Diego world music spots, the World Beat Center. However, I  decide to go see “Kathleen Denny’s Nice Is Not What I Do”  at the Centro Cultural De La Raza and wait another week to see “Harriet Tubman.”

Curious as to what a re-imagining would look like, I buy my ticket and sit down. I am immediately aware of an anxious energy among audience members. The air is crackling with expectation. About five minutes later, a young African American woman in simple attire, white T-shirt, headband, jeans and tennis shoes, walks across the stage before house lights dim.

Lacresha Berry as Harriet Tubman at San Diego World Beat Center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

She takes her place at a microphone and waits for the house lights to go dark and the audience to stop talking. The lights go dark too quickly. The audience,  still buzzing,  becomes quiet. Lacresha has taken her mark on stage, waiting for almost two minutes  in an awkward silence. Then, lights go fast up, Berry pauses and dives hesitantly into an almost frantic monologue. Something is amiss. Who’s on tech?????? A clumsiness of house lights and sound in the opening scenes tempt me to excuse myself and leave. Berry keeps on.

Suddenly, resolutely, her pace relaxes and yet goes taunt at the same time. It feels as if a tightrope artist is battling unseen elements fifty feet above ground.

Then, I see it, that shimmering light, genius and experience,  tenacity and intuitive grit to get one’s voice, one’s message out to the people; Berry, a seasoned, well prepared performer, glimmers above apparent ill-timed lighting and sound cues for the rest of the show. I decide to stay. I’m glad I did. Ms. Berry’s acting and singing is nuanced and at times electrifying.

Berry situates Harriet Tubman in socio-cultural parameters that many young Black girls face today; this narrative strategy divides the play into major sections with several subsection of different characters. She even re-imagines Tubman in the foster care system, placed into the home of a wise care provider, Mama Kit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The young actress’s portrayal of mercurial Harriet Tubman intertwines with her portrayal of a twenty-first century young Black girl who has Harriet Tubman’s childhood and adolescent personality.

Lacresha Berry’s premise is intriguing. Without the romanticized notions of nostalgic history, spotlighted within today’s educational philosophies and biases toward non-compliant young Black female searching for freedom to be who dream themselves into being, beyond preconceived racialized gender narratives—Harriet Tubman might easily be labeled a highly problematic student.

Lacresha Berry as Harriet Tubman in the 21st century

 

In addition, some things come easy to her, others are difficult to learn. She lashes out in frustration. She challenges authority. She has an oppositional personality. She hears voices. She is in special education classes. Let’s be honest, a child or adolescent Black girl in today’s twenty first century society, with Tubman’s unpredictability, she WOULD be in special classes with an IEP.

Through various scenes,   characters, and songs, the audience experiences an illuminating roller coaster ride examining Harriet Tubman from different perspectives, embedded in a multi-lens educational narrative.

Berry has done her research; she uses quotes from leading educational specialists to bring academic substance to her performative narrative, encouraging us to think:what if?

Berry as Tubman re-imagine

 

 

During the Epilogue, Berry allows her audience to consider how past systemic barriers that are historically romanticize can breathe oppression into our contemporary lived-experiences. We must be willing to reflect on and create alternative future narratives based on our past and present in an ongoing expansion of hard won freedom.

Lacresha Berry as Tubman, a poignant reflective monologue

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Other educators in the audience felt a distinct resonance, as Afrofuturist Lacresha Berry, in a Stuart Hall sense, “speaks of truth to power.”

Lacresha Berry and international educator Fannie Garvey

 

If and when this show comes to your city–go see “Harriet Tubman” with Berry. Art at times can interrogate those slippery/dry places of reason and systems, hegemony and obtuse projections toward equity. This show is one of those times.

 

Berry and Pasadena Talk Show Host Debra SMILElady Johnson after show

 

Musewoman, Delores Fisher

Eric Freeman Blues Man

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Delores Fisher (before Summer Break)

Summer blogging. . .

It was only a month before summer break and I was getting restless. I had planned to blog about San Diego’s street musicians again. They are a fascinating group. A few are especially unique. Every now and then, a street musician’s artistry haunts my thoughts.

During weekends in late April along the Broadway pier, I’d look for Eric Freeman. He’s a raw singing blues man with a sound like that which emits from old 33 1/3 vinyl records. The first time I heard him last summer, he was sitting near the Maritime Museum ships playing his slightly worn resonating guitar.

Eric Freeman Blues singer and guitarist

 

He stopped his set and we chatted for several minutes about lyrics, vocal styles,  early blues riffs, how he learned to play as a youth. Then he plunged into another song. I listened for several minutes more, then strolled on.

It is now almost a year later, June, only one month since spring semester ended.

This past week, May grey and June gloom finally stomped out of our atmosphere as playful pre-summer sun partied across the morning sky with much needed warmth. I am getting up AFTER 6:00AM, taking an occasional afternoon nap. reading, reflecting, blogging, playing piano, listening to music.

Listening? Oh yes. Listening. New CDs and artists seem to appear on my radar every day. Some have paid their dues. Some have not.

Unfortunately, unrealistic young musicians generally seem to fade into routine low wage jobs as life in the industry becomes tangibly in-your-face- real.

Today’s 21st century seasoned musicians make ends meet, gig whenever they can, and woodshed frequently to better their chops before they go cyber. They walk, take the trolley, or the bus. I met Eric one morning on the bus, guitar in hand, going to his day job.

Eric Freeman on the bus

We talked about life challenges– painful personal and general events, blessings, and an unsettling desire to positively touch others’ lives with our art. He’s alright for a blues man. He hasn’t gotten jaded like some of them I met years ago while hosting blues night at the old Hot Monkey Love Cafe on El Cajon Blvd right before the turn-of  onto College Avenue. He is cheerful with red-eyed tiredness.

That was the last time I saw Eric doing daily people stuff. It was a good memory.

It’s now 8:25 AM. I’m about a quarter of a mile further along the sitting at a table on the patio of Broadway Street Pier, sipping hot Ginger and Honey tea with a splash of whole milk, restlessly blogging.

Delores Fisher, Early AM

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe I’m just tired from insomnia. I got up early and took a walk to the the waterfront. Great grey herons have returned to San Diego Harbor. One let me take it’s photo before spreading its majestic long wings to glide on air under the pier and out of sight.

Great Grey Heron

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Last night, tired of going to events and blogging, I stayed in and binged watched “Housewives of the Potomac.” So far, its drama/trauma laden story lines are not as messy as most in the genre. This allows me to feel connected and from time to time take sides from a distance with Black women whose societal connections are leagues above mine http://www.lifeandstylemag.com/posts/the-real-housewives-of-potomac-season-2-cast-instagram-snapchat-128970  

 

The current Real Housewives of the Potomac cast June 2017

Yea, I watch the lives of Charisse, Robyn, Karen, Monique, Ashley, and Giselle play out on the little screen especially since it’s summer break and I am intentionally taking a pause to do research. “Housewives of the Potomac” helps me relax. So does sitting harbor-side.

Harborside

Let me describe Eric a bit more.

Eric plays an immediately recognizable raw non-21st century commercial blues style when he’s just jamming without an audience. It’s a style I like and listen to a lot.

We often talked blues during last fall and winter. He easily runs through names like Albert King and Big Bill Broonzy, with a brief demonstrations if you ask. Eric’s voice has been nasal and gravelly since we first met while he was busking;  he seems to be able to play almost any kind of guitar with ease and he’s now added harmonica to his sets . Like I said,  when I first met him, he had a really nice toned resonating guitar. Now, he’s got an old beat up acoustic but its a replacement until whenever he gets his next resonating.

Eric has quite a few youtube videos and faithful listeners who like his raw style.  Late spring, I saw him in a street performance around dusky sunset.  He was sitting on a business’ front steps on 6th street in the Gaslamp Quarter, another San Diego area where buskers perform. He had to correct me when he was talking about his challenges to playing and sounding like he wanted to sound. I was excited to be allowed to take this video. I started listening more closely after that. I wonder where he is now?

Update: July 3rd. I saw Eric looking worn and tired like blues men can. He was southbound, probably Mississippi or Louisiana. He was trying to start up a new gofundme page. He’s ran into a stretch of hard times, looking forward to traveling to find something better. Said he’ll get his instruments out of the pawnshop and head back to slower paced living.

If Eric’s still here in San Diego, hopefully he can get a good gig before he leaves. If you’re in town or visiting, look at club listings, visit the Gaslamp District or Embarcadero/waterfront and  listen for a guitar playing descending plaintive riffs, a harmonica wailing a train whistle, and a nasal/gravelly voice wailing about “Hey, pretty baby, honey knock yourself out” . . . It will probably be Eric Freeman.

Delores Fisher
Musewoman

Percival Everett: Award Winning Author Reads From His New Novel: So Much Blue

April 3rd was an interesting day for many students, staff, faculty, and community members who came to see award-winning author Percival Everett at San Diego State University’s Montezuma Hall.

Award winning Author Percival Everett

Presented by the Beautiful Arts Club and the Department of Classics and Humanities, the reading caught many students by surprise, due to the image flier.

So Much Blue by Percival Everett

Most of the audience thought that Everett’s newest book addressed blues music and Black urban lives. It does not. He humorously noted that the book cover was not his choice, but if it sold more copies . . .well. The story line revolves around a young woman, the color blue, and the Vietnam War. That’s all I’m going to reveal.

Percival Everett

At times the plot sounds like a mystery novel, a  script for a film Noir set in Vietnam, dark, mysterious, looming imagery. Yet, it  also has unexpected splashes of wit and wordplay that sends imaginations soaring into smells and sounds, and memories of unspoken encounters and narratives  The excerpt is full of Everett’s dry wit and satirical irony.

Percival Everett is an award winning author. He works in academe and talks about life with a perspective that to some is “off setting.” To others, it is refreshing.

As an author, he plays with a reader’s sensibilities of gender and race. Often allowing them to believe what they want about characters as they read, often basing their interpretations on daily interactions and expectations. They are sometimes surprised to learn that the characters on which they project their daily reality, are not what they seem.

However, as an academic and a Black male of the 21st century,  Everett is a realist. Asked about race, he stated (I  paraphrase his comment here). Not to be fully aware of how one presents and is “read” racially is folly. The lived experience of being a Black man in America is an everyday reality that does not rule my existence as an overarching oppressive shadow, it simply…is.

Award Winning Author Percival Everett and Blogger Delores Fisher

Everett’s reading from A Blue Afternoon was a quiet, informative, intimate, and nuanced presentation. Blue Lagoon is on the shelves now. If you haven’t read Percival’s Everett’s work, add Blue Afternoon to your summer reading list.

Musewoman

Dr. Sharon Elise: “A Way Out of No Way: Black Women Making Change Then and Now” Lecture at SDSU Thursday March 16th, 2017

Dr. Charles Toombs SDSU Africana Studies Dept. Chair, Delores Fisher blogger, lecturer, Dr. Sharon Elise, CSU San Marcos Sociology Dept. Chair

Hello to all my readers in the US and a special thank you/hello to readers in Norway, Italy, France, Iceland, Bermuda, Spain, and Mexico.

DR. Sharon Elise

It’s always a pleasure to listen to Dr. Sharon Elise Lecture. She is  the current Department Chair of Sociology for CSU San Marcos. Her lecture style draws you into an ongoing conversation. Her topic was one of several presented by the San Diego State Africana Studies Department’s Africana Women Lecture Series founded by award-winning professor and community participant Dr. Antwanisha Alameen-Shavers. This was the keynote speech of the week.

It’s sometimes not easy to think about racial narratives and ways in which they have hindered people’s lives. Stereotypes often create more barriers than access roads to achievement. Dr Elise reminded us that truth about people and lived experiences are multi -layered and never as simplistic as most general history books would like us to believe. After doing “the research” and engaging content with emotion as well as mind, kernels of lived experience begin to nourish. Stories of Black women and the cost of resilience in times of challenge, crisis, danger, devastation serve not only as cautionary/instructive narratives, but also exemplars of positive being. Much needed in today’s world in which accept 15 second sound bites as all that there is to a person’s or topics’ truth.

Dr. Sharon Elise discussing Zora Neal Hurston

Truth is an interesting topic today. With all sorts of terms connected to the concept of reporting, journalism and the word “News.” Dr. Elise encouraged the audience to shine a light into those dark historical corners and illuminate African American women’s lives that have been swept into obscurity. As we inquire into where we’ve come from, today’s young scholars will discover a truth often spoken by elders, “Know where you been so that you can seem more clearly where it is you want to go. Students and faculty were encouraged to remember that as scholars looking for societal or community “change” in Black women’s  lived experiences with reality in order to compare past to present, and present to future one needs  to develop good research skills, creativity, vision, persistence, and patience.

Dr. Sharon Elise, faculty members,  and students after the lecture

I first met Dr. Elise as a poet on the San Diego poetry scene. We shared coffeehouse several stages and many long conversations.

After conversations about family, life, and mates, husbands, I began to appreciate my mother’s love for my father at a time when the world little cared about or respected Black family ties, love and marital commitment. She is referenced in one of my poems about Berry White the singer whose dulcet tones sweetened the hearts of many Black men and women towards each other. Fun songs to sing and listen to–songs that drew me and my mom and siblings together.  http://www.dreamagic.com/cgi-bin/PoetryGen.cgi?author=Delores_Fisher&html=fisher6&title=For_Berry_White&number=0010 

Dr. Sharon Elise and Delores Fisher

Dr. Elise’s gracious conversation, keen analytical eye, and genuine care for scholarly discourse was evident then as it still is now.

Musewoman,

Delores