Know your Lecture Board candidates: Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors

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From left to right: Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi

In July 2013, George Zimmerman was acquitted from the charge of second-degree murder of 17 year-old Treyvon Martin. In response, Alicia Garza, an organizer and special projects director for the National Domestic Workers Alliance, took to her Facebook page to write a “love letter” to the black community, and a plea for all to recognize that “black lives matter.” Her friend, Patrisse Cullors, head of an advocacy organization for incarcerated people, repeated the phrase from her own social media accounts, adding a hashtag.

Opal Tometi, executive director of Black Alliance for Just Immigration, remembers reading Garza’s post after leaving a screening of Fruitvale Station and hearing that Zimmerman had been acquitted:  “Within this formation Alicia basically said, ‘Hey, we need to come together to understand this moment and provide some shared guidance, a reading, as well as a call to action for our people.’ Black Lives Matter is how she’d been talking about it. That really resonated with me.”

Together, the three women made #BlackLivesMatter a national mantra, dubbed by many the start of a second civil-rights movement. While the hashtag began as a way to promote demonstrations and rallies around the country in response to police brutality against black individuals, today Black Lives Matter is an organization with 26 national chapters. “Rooted in the experiences of Black people in this country who actively resist our de-humanization, #BlackLivesMatter is a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society” reads the organization’s website.

Although the movement began in response to the issues of police brutality, today Black Lives Matter is fighting for a greater cause, that “goes beyond extrajudicial killings of Black people by police and vigilantes.” Garza describes the organization and phrase as, “an ideological and political intervention in a world where Black lives are systematically and intentionally targeted for demise.  It is an affirmation of Black folks’ contributions to this society, our humanity, and our resilience in the face of deadly oppression.”

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The Lazyman’s Guide: Avoiding chores this Thanksgiving

For a lot of first years, this week will be the your first time home since the summer. And while you may have gotten used to having your only mug, which you drank tea from once at the beginning of the semester, unwashed, gross and chilling on your desk, your parents are not. You won’t only have to clean up after yourself (what does a bed look like when it’s been made, anyway?), but you can probably count on being asked to “help out around the house.” For the laziest of us, to whom the simplest chores may seem as difficult as running a marathon, here’s a guide to (dealing with) getting out of them.


  1. Play the Friends Card

Always, always, always have plans. When your dad asks you if you can rake the yard, say “Oh, but Sheila and I were going to catch up over coffee and my guess is it’s going to be a looooooong chat.” Emphasize how much you’ve missed your hometown friends, and how, because the break is so short, you want to pack as much time in as you can with as many people as possible. Don’t forget to throw in some long bit about how sad it is that the times when you are home will become rarer and rarer.

  1. Or Play the Sibling Card. It’s Even Better 

Parents are suckers for seeing their kids spend quality time together. If you have brothers or sisters, pay attention to them. Watch movies, give them lots of hugs, take your younger sister to lunch, etc. Pull at your parents’ heartstrings until they are afraid to ask you for help because it would disrupt your wonderful newfound fondness for your brother. And actually, sibling time can be really fantastic anyway– don’t take it for granted.

  1. Be one with the P-Set

So a lot of us may actually have a significant amount of work this Thanksgiving. Every time you are home and sense your mom might be about to allot you a chore, make sure you are working intensely on your APMA problem set. Take on the homework and take out the home work.

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A (Dorm at) Brown Thanksgiving


This year, East Side Marketplace ran a special where, after spending a certain amount of money from late October to early November, customers could turn in their receipts for a free turkey. My roommates and I, as four students off meal plan and with a kitchen, were able to get two after our weekly grocery trips. In other words, I finally had the perfect excuse to want to take on the challenge of cooking Thanksgiving dinner in a dorm room kitchen.

11:00 a.m., Sunday We head to East Side Marketplace, picking up our free turkeys (one of which we gave to another friend for her Thanksgiving dinner). It turns out the free turkeys were frozen, which would never thaw in one day, so we took a voucher to get $20 off of a refrigerated turkey breast (which cooks faster and was cheaper, so win-win there).

11:08 a.m. A very nice woman at the deli counter calls me “papa.” It’s going to be a good Thanksgiving indeed.

11:20 a.m. We pick up the other necessary items: stuffing, potatoes, cranberries.

11:33 a.m. It takes two employees plus myself to find gravy in a jar.

11:35 a.m. Found it.

11:55 a.m. We return and unpack our groceries. One of my roommates is a vegan and has prepared well for dinner later (see below).


Ah, Tofurkey.

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Pollerbears: Cranberry edition


Cranberries-1024x801Regardless of whether you’re staying on campus or headed elsewhere, your Thanksgiving break has officially arrived!

Want to know what’s on our mind? Cranberries. In honor of Thanksgiving, we want to know all about your cranberry consumption. How will you be celebrating your break in ~cranberry style~?

How will you be consuming cranberries this Thanksgiving break?

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Know your Lecture Board candidates: Fred Armisen


If you’re ready to laugh, then vote for Fred Armisen for Brown Lecture Board’s spring speaker.

Armisen was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi, and moved to New York as a baby. Armisen dropped out of the School of Visual Arts to begin his career as a professional rock drummer. He started drumming with the hip 80’s band Trenchmouth (we just started listening and they’re awesome), but his interests soon switched to acting. In 2002, he became a featured player on Saturday Night Live, and in 2004, he was promoted to repertory cast member. His famous impersonations include Steve Jobs and the Californian Stuart.

In 2003, Armisen met his platonic soulmate Carrie Brownstein. In 2005, the two began producing the hilarious web series ThunderAnt. ThunderAnt became the basis of their hit show Portlandia (*inspiration for blog’s own Brunonia*). As its name suggests, the show is set in Portland. It is based around a variety of paired characters played by Fred and Carrie, including femininst bookstore owners Candace and Toni and “Fred” and “Carrie” themselves (genius). In 2011, Portlandia won a Peabody award, which is a prestigious award recognizing public service in radio and television. (Note: Armisen also won one in 2008 as part of the Saturday Night Live political satire cast. Could he be any cooler??)

In addition to Portlandia (sixth season premieres January 21, 2016), Armisen keeps himself busy as the current bandleader of the 8G Band, the house band on Late Night with Seth Meyers. He has a number of new projects coming down the pike, including “Blue Jean Committee,” a fake California-based band with buddy Bill Hader.


Now that we’ve described his career in mere words, we’re going to let his varied and hilarious work speak for itself.

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Crunchy leaves to crushing solo cups: Fall then and now

As we approach the final month of the year, I realized that I dislike months ending in “-ber.” When did this happen? What is the common denominator here?

Fall. Autumn. Whatever.

Join me as I take a good, hard, overly-critical look at some aspects of Fall and see how the beautiful process of maturing has ruined and/or devalued them.

FALLen Leaves:

Then: As a kid, you may remember watching your parents exhibit god-like levels of self-control as you would throw your youthful body into the piles of raked leaves aka the fruits of their labor. Grabbing armfuls of leaves and throwing them into the air/at your siblings was truly joyous. Stepping on a leaf and hearing it crunch beneath your mighty child-sized light-up Kmart sneakers was incredible. You are powerful! Walking is no longer monotonous now that there’s a goal (crushing) and a soundtrack (crunching).

Quick! Someone call AFV!

Now: Ah, yes let me propel my aging body, with all it’s odd aches and markings (all diseased, as per WebMD) into this pile of dead-tree scraps and possibly upward-pointed sticks. Wet leaves, various creepy crawlies, DIRT–who wouldn’t want to catapult themselves into nature’s dumpster??? I was wearing a V-neck the other day and a leaf flew down my shirt. Making eye contact with a passerby as you proudly reveal the leaf you removed from your nonexistent cleavage is just so freakin’ seasonal. Now whenever I wear my knockoff Birkenstocks (#confusingweather) leaves stick to my socks (don’t judge me). Deliberately treading on crunchy leaves? Eh, if you step on a littered Solo cup it makes the same noise.

I feel so young and alive!

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