Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie says it’s time to “throw the entire rolodex of excuses away” when it comes to not talking about racism, and have the conversation already.

“I do not understand these reactions to non-accusatory statements. How is initiating a conversation about racism deduced to divisive rhetoric? Is it willful ignorance? Banning books and Critical Race Theory from the classroom doesn’t mean The Devil’s Punchbowl doesn’t exist. That’s not how that works.”

Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “I have wasted so much of my time and talent centering the ‘White gaze.’ A term coined by Toni Morrison to explain the concept of catering to and living under the constant scrutiny of white supremacy. It is the ethnocentric lens through which all behaviors pass. A tool used to measure anything to its proximity to Whiteness. The gold standard. Including behaviors, languages, bodies, literally everything. A close-minded approach, and standard we have been forced to uphold for survival’s sake.”

Alek and Doug welcome poet, community activist, voice actor, author, and Watershed Voice columnist and board member Aundrea Sayrie. The long awaited interview with one of Watershed’s founding members doesn’t disappoint as Aundrea talks the origin story of Three Rivers Open Mic, her Black History Month series on WSV and why she decided to change the format this year, her ongoing health concerns and how they have changed her outlook on life, and an upcoming book she’s written about professional voice acting.

Watershed Voice columnist Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Although there has been much recognition of the historical trauma experienced by people of color in this country, there has never been a time that these racist institutions have been tossed out and rebuilt. They have only been reimagined and enforced in ways that continue to oppress people of color. Racial inequalities exist in financial, educational, judicial, medical and social constructs.”

WSV’s Aundrea Sayrie writes, “Worthy causes have always required allies. Thankfully the work of past generations has not been in vain because inhumane and cruel social constructs have been eradicated but the fact remains there is still need for progress on many fronts. There is still a need for advocacy and activism. This is because although the month of February is coming to a close, Black history, Black joy, Black exploitation, Black pain, and racism isn’t over.”

Content Warning: The following contains unsettling and graphic details concerning the life of Sarah Baartman. Baartman was sold into slavery, and put on exhibit as a “freakshow attraction” due to her naturally curvaceous body. She endured unimaginable cruelty as she was sexually exploited for others’ profit. This piece is intended to educate and bring a broader awareness of racist colonial exploitation, and the dehumanization of Black people. Reader discretion is advised.

Zora Neale Hurston is most famous as a fiction writer associated with the Harlem Renaissance. Her most famous book became the 2005 movie of the same name: Their Eyes Were Watching God. Yet this remarkable, and controversial woman was also a notable cultural anthropologist — and a student of the “father of American anthropology” Franz Boas — whose contributions have only recently begun to be appreciated.