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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 workshop director for the Afghan Women's Writing Project and chronicles stories for The Katrina Experience, an Oral History Project. She also served as primary contributor to McSweeney's Voices from the Storm: The People of New Orleans on Hurricane Katrina and Its Aftermath. 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

Two Words That Could Save NYPD -- and Us

(2) Comments | Posted December 4, 2014 | 2:41 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 | 5:00 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 | 11:31 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 | 2:48 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 | 4:37 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 | 11:14 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 | 10:18 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 | 3:20 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 | 12:33 PM

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 | 10:35 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 | 7:32 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 | 7:48 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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The Girl Who Spoke to Flowers: The Stories and Dreams of Afghan Girl Writers

(1) Comments | Posted September 2, 2013 | 2:40 PM

"Sometimes I talk with flowers
And I know they hear me.
Most people don't know
That flowers can hear us.
Flowers are always quiet
Because they are listening."
-Madia, age 14

In her poem "Talking With Flowers", Madia writes about fighting and...

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About That Nation of 'Mutts': A Response to David Brooks

(34) Comments | Posted June 30, 2013 | 8:24 PM

David Brooks is on my mind. In his latest New York Times opinion piece, "A Nation of Mutts," Brooks argues that with or without the new immigration bill, America is headed towards a demographic reality where no one group dominates by numbers alone. Brooks posits the following:

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She Was a Child Bride and She Has Something to Tell Us

(4) Comments | Posted June 13, 2013 | 5:20 PM

"I have forgiven all--parents, husband, the government. I am happy. My baby laughs and I laugh. Life laughs, and I am happy." -Massoma from "Forgiveness: A Prose Poem"

I know that forgiveness is crucial to human harmony. I know I'm supposed to forgive my trespassers. But when called...

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To Be Free Like Malala: The Dreams and Fears of Afghanistan's Teen Girls

(6) Comments | Posted May 21, 2013 | 3:06 PM

On Saturday, lawmakers in Afghanistan's parliament refused to vote on the Law on the Elimination of Violence Against Women. When enforced, the law protects girls from child marriages, wives from abusive husbands and rape victims from being charged with adultery. The law also bans women and girls from...

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Detroit Is for Lovers: Talking Home, Family and Basketball Dreams With Poet Matthew Olzmann

(0) Comments | Posted May 9, 2013 | 2:28 PM

If you're not writing about love, you're not writing.
-Peter Markus

Yes, poet Matthew Olzmann writes about love in his recent debut Mezzanines, winner of the 2011 Kundiman Poetry Prize. But he also writes about fear, cruelty, Spock and Mountain Dew. The thing is, when...

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Writing About Love in Afghanistan

(4) Comments | Posted May 2, 2013 | 5:17 PM

I have hidden a world in my small heart,
A world full of love and feelings,
With hidden desires and wishes,
Wishes that make me write.

From Hila's "Small Heart":

Don't write about love. As a young writer here in America, I heard this message...

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When the Bigamist Is a Woman: Talking Love and Polygamy With Novelist Miah Arnold

(5) Comments | Posted March 15, 2013 | 12:29 AM

In Miah Arnold's engaging and enjoyable first novel Sweet Land of Bigamy, protagonist Helen cannot stop her husband from going to Iraq to chase big money as a contractor. Soon after he leaves, Helen falls in crazy-making love with an Indian poet. When the poet's mother falls so...

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When Afghan Women Write of Fatherly Love

(9) Comments | Posted February 26, 2013 | 2:40 PM

A father's love. Some of us are blessed to be nurtured by our fathers from birth. Some of us find this love later in life, from fathers, or from father figures. Some of us spend a lifetime chasing after this mysterious force. Some of us will never know what it's...

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