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Stacy Parker Le Melle
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STACY PARKER LE MELLE is the author of Government Girl: Young and Female in the White House (Ecco/HarperCollins). She is the communications director for the Afghan Women's Writing Project and chronicles stories for The Katrina Experience, an Oral History Project. She served as primary contributor to McSweeney's Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath and contributed to To Light a Fire: 20 Years with the InsideOut Literary Arts Project. Her recent nonfiction appeared or is forthcoming in Callaloo, Apogee Journal, Cura, The Atlas Review, The Nervous Breakdown, The Fem, Entropy, and the The Florida Review where she was a finalist for the 2014 Editors’ Prize for nonfiction. She is the founder of Harlem Against Violence, Homophobia, and Transphobia and the co-founder of the First Person Plural Reading Series. As a GWU student and graduate she served for five years in the Clinton White House, first as a long-time intern in George Stephanopoulos's office, and later as an assistant to Paul Begala. She also worked as a presidential advance person, preparing and staffing presidential and First Lady trips abroad, including visits to Abuja , Ho Chi Minh City, Okinawa, New Delhi, Ankara, Cologne, Merida, London, Moscow, Tokyo, St. Petersburg, & Addis Ababa.

Entries by Stacy Parker Le Melle

Whenever I Call You Friend

(0) Comments | Posted June 17, 2016 | 7:07 PM


Photograph by Mariam Magsi

Sunday morning in Harlem, 2016, and on the radio plays Whenever I Call You 'Friend' the duet sung by Kenny Loggins and Stevie Nicks. Too slick, too sweet I heard critics scoff but I think...

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If You Can Keep Breathing: On Watching UNDERGROUND and Surviving

(1) Comments | Posted April 22, 2016 | 12:22 PM


His name is James, and he has the healthy, plump cheeks of a boy sheltered by his mother's love and her position in the Big House. In the seventh episode of the first season of WGN's Underground, the story of seven...

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'We're Not Victims, We're Fighters': Interview With Flint Water Activist Melissa Mays

(2) Comments | Posted January 27, 2016 | 9:45 AM


Take a shower. Boil pasta. Wash your clothes. Now imagine that the water from your tap is so poisonous as to cause rashes, sickness, neurological damage for you and generations to come. Imagine if your city's unelected Emergency Manager is responsible for policy...

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Harlem Neighbors Call for "Love Not Hate" in Response to Hate Speech and Demagoguery

(2) Comments | Posted November 20, 2015 | 12:28 PM

As parents of a five year old, we take great pleasure in reading to our son. We delight in his growing comprehension of the world of words. His teachers encourage us to point out signs as we walk through Harlem, our home, and speak aloud the names of businesses and...

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Breaking Taboos With Our Pens: Afghan Women Shine in New Anthology

(0) Comments | Posted June 30, 2015 | 2:07 PM

"I talked about taboos and I broke them with my pen."
-- Pari, writer and Dari translator for Washing the Dust From Our Hearts

If you've wanted to hear directly from Afghan women, unfiltered by journalists and uncensored by male relatives, and do so in English, the best...

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Defiance, Confederate Flags, and What to Do Now

(1) Comments | Posted June 24, 2015 | 2:05 PM


It's June 2015 and we reel from the domestic terror attack in South Carolina that took nine lives, perpetrated by a young white male who raged against African Americans and posed for pictures wearing Apartheid-era South African and Rhodesian flag patches.

In the...

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Commissioner Bratton Wants 'Disorder Control' - But Are More Long Guns the Answer?

(1) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 9:04 PM


I consider myself lucky. I am 40 years old, a woman of color, and I have never had a terrible experience with police officers. I also consider myself lucky because I live in Harlem, NYC, and live with the safety net created by...

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When the Answer Becomes 'Start Your Own School': An Interview With Harlem's Voyka Soto

(2) Comments | Posted January 29, 2015 | 3:43 PM

A major deadline looms for New York City parents: If your child is to enter kindergarten in fall 2015, you must submit you public-school applications by Feb. 13. Some parents can breathe easy, knowing that they are zoned to a high-quality public school and should receive placement. But for other...

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Two Words That Could Save NYPD -- and Us

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 1:41 PM


Zero deaths.

Mr. Mayor, Mr. Commissioner, you have the power to say that from now on, our goal as a police force is to be responsible for zero deaths in New York City.

That doesn't mean there won't be deaths. But...

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Learning from Bayard Rustin in Harlem and Beyond: An Interview with Filmmaker Bennett Singer

(0) Comments | Posted November 28, 2014 | 4:00 PM


We are all one, and if we don't know it, we will learn it the hard way. - Bayard Rustin

A few days have passed since the Ferguson non-indictment, making clear how much past is not even past. I think about Bayard Rustin,...

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The Power in the Palms of Our Hands: The Third Annual Literacy Across Harlem March

(0) Comments | Posted September 18, 2014 | 10:31 PM


The ask is simple: if you're in Harlem on the first of the month, #RockThoseReads. And if you're in Harlem this Saturday, September 20th, bring a book and join the march.

For the past three years, education activist Joe Rogers and his organization...

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UK Band Northeast Corridor Teams with Homeless American Teens to Fight Hate Speech

(0) Comments | Posted May 19, 2014 | 1:48 PM

HARLEM, NYC - When English songwriter Nick Hampson of the band Northeast Corridor learned how Harlem parents were uniting to protest homophobic hate speech posted on the ATLAH Missionary Church sign on Lenox Avenue, he knew he must do something. Within hours, he wrote the song...

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Harlem Parents Respond to Local Hate Speech

(0) Comments | Posted April 28, 2014 | 3:37 PM


I am a Harlem parent. For the last seven years, I've lived near ATLAH Ministry, a church that has made itself notorious for posting hateful screeds against candidate-then President Obama, ones that often questioned his birthplace. The signs became so bad that the...

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Belonging to Wyoming, Belonging to the World: An Interview With Author Nina McConigley

(0) Comments | Posted February 23, 2014 | 10:14 AM


I love outsider stories, especially outsider-in-America stories -- the stories of characters that show up in places central casting would never expect them to be. Same for the stories of characters that have every right to be someplace, yet face resistance from those...

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Love, Forgiveness, and Pens With Blue Wings: A Curriculum

(0) Comments | Posted February 17, 2014 | 9:18 PM

What would happen.../If love took over my country?/ Would we become a happy and united people/Where the world hears only happy news about us/All the time, on all the channels?/ -from "What If Love Took Over My Country" by Yalda

Yalda is an Afghan woman, and she wrote...

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The Girls of Our Wildest Imagination

(0) Comments | Posted October 11, 2013 | 2:20 PM

"I am a woman with a wild imagination/puppets and clowns won't steal my will/because my imagination is full of peace." - from "My Wild Imagination" by Mahnaz

What a brilliant day--not only is this the UN International Day of the Girl Child, but this is the...

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Dealing on Her Name, Dealing on Her Life: Afghan Women in Their Own Words

(0) Comments | Posted October 3, 2013 | 11:33 AM

They've been warned. They've been told no one will listen, no one will love them if they speak up about what hurts. They've been told they'll be shunned. They may even be killed. This is what an Afghan woman is up against in many families, in many communities, when she...

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Getting Detroit Right: An Interview with Filmmaker Pam Sporn

(1) Comments | Posted September 29, 2013 | 9:35 PM

"Detroit is not just abandoned buildings, people live here." -Jack Watkins, age 25.

To be a Detroit native is to have felt that catch in the throat, that sheer trepidation when encountering a news story or a film or a play about our hometown--that fear of what is going to...

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Disappearing Acts: Talking Storytelling, Spanish Harlem, and Prep School Suspensions with Author Greg Takoudes

(0) Comments | Posted September 15, 2013 | 6:32 PM

To get out. To start fresh someplace new, someplace purportedly better. This dream has driven migration for centuries. Whether we're escaping the fields, the factory, or the family basement--no matter. We'll jump into the abyss at the chance to make our lives better.

So you don't have to be...

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Quadroons for Beginners: Discussing the Suppressed and Sexualized History of Free Women of Color with Author Emily Clark

(2) Comments | Posted September 4, 2013 | 6:48 PM

"As a historian, I knew that mixed race women and interracial families were everywhere in America from its earliest days. And I knew that most of the free women of color in antebellum New Orleans bore no resemblance to the quadroons of myth." - Dr. Emily Clark

As an American,...

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