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Tanene Allison
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Tanene Allison is a political and communications strategist, new media innovator, and poet. She most recently worked on launching a start-up focused on diversifying and creatively fueling the national discourse, before putting that project on hold to focus on turning Texas Blue. Previously Tanene has worked at Brave New Films, Think MTV, and at a variety of other social justice outlets.

Tanene completed her Masters in Public Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government. While at Harvard, Tanene edited the Harvard Journal of African American Public Policy, and was awarded a Point Foundation Uncommon Legacies Scholarship. Her undergraduate studies were at San Francisco State University.

http://www.taneneallison.com/

Entries by Tanene Allison

What It Really Means When the Right Attacks Wendy Davis' Bio

(27) Comments | Posted January 20, 2014 | 6:28 PM

A gang of men in Texas are trying to burn State Sen. Wendy Davis on a proverbial stake. Almost as soon as the Davis campaign announced that, over the final six months of 2013, they had raised more money that her opponent, the knives came out. As Texans are beginning...

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The Best Minds of Our Generation, and Keeping Them Alive

(2) Comments | Posted February 21, 2013 | 8:03 AM

"I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness ... Visions! omens! hallucinations! miracles! ecstasies! gone down the American river! ... They saw it all! the wild eyes! the holy yells! ... They bade farewell! They jumped off the roof! to solitude! waving! Carrying flowers! Down to the...
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A Teen Lesbian Couple Is Shot and Left For Dead: What Matters Most Now Is How We Respond

(28) Comments | Posted June 27, 2012 | 7:10 PM

(Originally published on RH Reality Check.)

On Friday night, as the LGBT community and their allies celebrated Pride throughout the nation, a teenage lesbian couple in Texas were both shot in the head and left to die. Mollie Judith Olgin, 19, died from her wounds, and Kristene Chapa,...

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Straight Rapper Takes On Homophobia (With Some Michael Jackson Mixed In)

(2) Comments | Posted May 7, 2012 | 12:30 PM

When was the last time you heard a rapper start a track quoting Harvey Milk?

This video would be the first time that has happened.


If you've followed my writing a bit, you know that there are two things I think are incredibly necessary and powerful as far as creating change.

One is the use of culture and the arts to push the public discourse beyond standard political rhetoric. This form of work so often creates cultural change that precedes any related electoral or policy change.

The second thing history has shown to be particularly powerful is when diverse groups find unity and overlapping support in the fight for all of our rights and equality. (A good example of that work is expanded on in this piece about the organizing around the votes on both the Dream Act and Don't Ask Don't Tell.)

Adair Lion's new video -- "Ben" -- smashes a prior cultural taboo, brings together diverse communities and, on top of all of that, throws a hot Michael Jackson remix into the whole thing.

As a straight, Texan, Latino rapper, Adair approached this work with the full understanding of the risk involved. But his understanding of the need for, and potential power within, the message was a stronger force for him. (For his full thinking behind this track, and the story lines in the video -- breaking down the three dollar bill and why Adair's character isn't acting so decent in his own relations -- he's written up his own background piece.)

This is how things change in our country. Piece by piece or relationship by relationship or, sometimes, by an unexpected hip hop track or country song. (Holla to Brad Paisley's 'Welcome To The Future' as an awesome country song pushing for a more diverse and equal America. Or the Court Yard Hounds' 'Ain't No Son', a country pro-LGBT song.)

Culture and the arts are always on the front line of where things in the country are headed...and then the other forces of elections and lawmaking eventually catch up. I look forward to the day when the message of this video isn't considered groundbreaking. But right now it is. So watch it and get a glimpse of the better country we're in the process of...

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What Happens When SXSW Meets Austin's Homeless

(7) Comments | Posted March 14, 2012 | 4:52 PM

SXSW, the annual gathering of tech, film and music creative leaders in the country, is up in a tizzy over homeless folks. No, the people at SXSW are not in an uproar over the fact that people are homeless. The latest hot topic of criticism is that a New York-based...

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Feminism And The Powers Of Destruction And Creation

(1) Comments | Posted December 9, 2011 | 9:42 AM

Recently, a former professor of mine invited me to guest lecture in a series on the topic of feminism and how it influences various careers. While preparing for my talk, I realized that my idea of feminism -- and how it relates to my career -- is born of a...

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The "End of Men," From One Lesbian's Perspective

(9) Comments | Posted September 30, 2011 | 11:01 AM

As a lesbian, it is always an interesting experience to join a conversation on changing gender roles and the future of the role of men. Quite reliably, these conversations usually only occur with straight female friends who are somewhere in their 30s. Men have never brought this topic up to...

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On Becoming Less of an Outlaw

(2) Comments | Posted June 27, 2011 | 4:04 PM

Friday night's historic vote for marriage equality in New York State was an incredible moment. The vote was a nail biter, it came after previous losses in the state, was done in the first Republican controlled legislature to ever pass such a bill, and it ushered in Pride...

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Rape and the City: Another Side of New York

(5) Comments | Posted February 7, 2011 | 8:19 PM

Jana Leo's Rape New York, published by The Feminist Press, takes what is often pushed into silence -- rape -- and blows it open as a social construct, and something everyone who lives in a community has to inevitably interact with in some form. Leo analyzes...

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When a Country Votes on Your Existence: DREAM and DADT

(10) Comments | Posted December 20, 2010 | 10:10 AM

Today I cannot stop thinking about what it means to live in a country that votes regularly on your basic rights to exist and be equal.

On a gray and cold Saturday in Washington D.C., the Senate voted to expand the possibilities for some and to shut the door on...

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Where are the Progressive (Political) Riot Grrrls?

(0) Comments | Posted November 26, 2010 | 11:33 PM

Elizabeth Wurtzel nails some important points in her recent article in The Atlantic, titled, Sarah Palin, Riot Grrrl.

Much of the online debate around this article is about how Palin isn't a feminist and thus shouldn't be called a Riot Grrrl. I'm not even going to spend any...

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Criminalizing the Poor: A San Francisco Value?

(18) Comments | Posted April 20, 2010 | 1:58 PM

In San Francisco, Mayor Newsom is making a bid to redefine what the nation thinks of "San Francisco values." The Mayor of the City by the Bay has proposed an ordinance that would make it illegal for someone to sit or lie on sidewalks between 7 a.m. and...

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Hate in the Face of History

(37) Comments | Posted March 24, 2010 | 1:36 PM

I thought a lot about Harvey Milk this last weekend. It was gorgeous and sunny in Washington DC, and history was made as Congress passed into law the most monumental piece of social infrastructure legislation in over forty years. Health care is now a Right in America, and soon 31...

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In DC Americans Take On Health Insurance Executives

(15) Comments | Posted March 11, 2010 | 10:38 AM

On Tuesday, I had the pleasure to join thousands of others who took to the streets of Washington DC in support of health care reform and to protest the insurance industry executives who were gathered at the Ritz Carlton. On the same morning, the cover of the New...

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Talking about Personal Finances -- the Final Taboo?

(21) Comments | Posted August 6, 2009 | 10:59 AM

One of the most radical things I've ever seen was posted on construction paper and hung on a wall at a San Francisco housewarming. Two friends of mine had purchased their first home and invited the community to a housewarming with invites entitled: "Two Black Folks Bought A House In...

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The (Zigzagged) Arc of History

(0) Comments | Posted May 29, 2009 | 9:43 AM

The morning after the Prop 8 decision, I woke up in a house of a special legal class. The telltale signs of being in such a home might at first be hard to discern. There was coffee and tea being made. There was morning chitchat occurring. But there were also...

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Follow the Artists to Our New Democracy

(1) Comments | Posted April 1, 2009 | 1:19 AM

"Why am I compelled to write?... Because the world I create in the writing compensates for what the real world does not give me. By writing I put order in the world, give it a handle so I can grasp it." - Gloria Anzaldua

I have been thinking a lot...

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Milk: Hope On The Screen And In The Streets

(2) Comments | Posted November 24, 2008 | 5:00 PM

I meant to write a review of Milk upon watching it, but kept getting halted and hindered in that attempt. Friends would ask for a casual review, but I wasn't able to take the pieces and thoughts and weave them into a coherent retelling. As a young dyke who grew...

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The LGBT Rights Heartbreak and the Great Work Ahead

(16) Comments | Posted November 10, 2008 | 9:27 AM

Too often have I woken up the morning after an election having less rights than I did the night before. If you are a member of the LGBT community, this is a familiar sensation to you. As a lesbian, in 2004 I work up on the morning after the election...

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Why What Palin Doesn't Know About the Supreme Court Matters

(19) Comments | Posted October 1, 2008 | 12:28 PM

It's my job as the Media Campaign Coordinator at the National Campaign to Restore Civil Rights to think a lot about the courts and about how to get other folks to also think about the courts. As someone who believes in and works for civil rights, I think...

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