Tag Archives: Conversation

Sally & Melita dancing

Sally Ember, Ed.D.: Featured Guest for Chat #1 (Season 2)

Season Two launched with a special guest we met along the way during our Celebration Tour!

Season Two officially launched with special guest Sally Ember, Ed.D., author, educator, and HOA host of Changes: Conversations Between Authors.

We celebrated live on Thursday, September 17, 2015, by webcasting on Blab!

Check out the replays:

  • Look at the live comments and watch the video of our 55 minute chat here.
  • Listen to the audio recording here.
  • Watch the video clip here.

    Video Clip: Defining Sexual Identity

    Video Clip: Defining Sexual Identity

Connect with Sally here.

What We’ll Be Talking About in Season Two
Each month in Season Two, we’ll be diving deeper into our discoveries from the Celebration Tour 2015.

To launch our new season we wanted to explore some of the most common questions we covered last year in Season One, give you insight into the many reasons we align ourselves with the rainbow, and lay the groundwork for our next-level conversations focusing on the Celebration Tour.

Click here for a Rainbow Video Clip Q&A with Melita about DSG

Click here for a Rainbow Video Clip Q&A with Melita about DSG

Get all the Censored2Celebrated news to your in-box:
Sign up for emails here.

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Day 3: And Tango Makes Three

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DAY 3: May 17th
And Tango Makes Three
by Justin Richardson, Peter Parnell & Henry Cole


With gratitude to Amy Pittel for donating this book that has allowed  so many individuals, libraries, and communities to move From Censored to Celebrated!

Amy writes:
“I’m thrilled to be able to help bring stories like these to kids who so need to find characters with whom they can identify.”


Day3_Tango_Tulip Lavender_Censored2Celebrated_YouTube

Three is a powerful number in this book due to baby penguin, Tango, born to Roy and Silo, a family of male penguins, at Central Park in New York City.  According to the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF), in 2014 it was also third on the list for attempting bans in communities across the USA. And it is my pleasure to celebrate And Tango Makes Three on Day 3 of our #aBookaDay preparations for the Celebration Tour in June.

I have to admit that I was surprised when I realized the extent that Tango had been censored, not just in its early years, but even through 2014. The reasons given for challenging it are listed as follows: “Anti-family, homosexuality, political viewpoint, religious viewpoint, unsuited for age group….and promotes the homosexual agenda.” For these reasons, “Tango ranked as ALA’s most frequently challenged book for a record four years in 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2010.” Check out this timeline from the American Library Association for a visual history of banned books in the US.

As I mentioned, my family and I read this book without realizing thow much it has been banned over the past 9 years. Given that my daughter, Tulip, was born in 2008, and that she has a mother with a Master’s Degree in Sexuality Studies, it is not surprising that she didn’t find this book to be controversial or unusual. We both loved it, and had a great chat about it here.


While Tango engaged both my 6 year old and 16 month old, it also had the added benefit of finally helping us name our very large penguin – a much beloved and bemusing gift from Grandpa. (Our family penguin is now, yes, “Tango Lavender.”)

Tango also allowed us to further explore how families can grow and thrive when they have a safe environment where their strengths, innovations, and connections are recognized, and, yes, celebrated.

My Favorite Quote
Out came their very own baby! She had fuzzy white feathers and a funny black beak. Now, Roy and Silo were fathers. “We’ll call her Tango,” Mr. Gramzay decided, “because it takes two to make a Tango.” 


Many people have read this book on video. Here Tango is engagingly read by staff at Seattle’s Sanislo Elementary School during Banned Book Week: 

Here’s a fun, more adult video clip with staff and visitors to the Central Park Zoo about how Roy and Silo became a committed couple, and had baby Tango.

Finally, I appreciate the sentiment shared on this version of the video
“Everyone should have the right to see themselves & their families in the books they read.”


How Do You Celebrate Diversity?

  • Do you have a favorite book that celebrates diversity?
  • Have you read the And Tango Makes Three?
  • Why do you think it’s been challenged so often?

Share in the comments how this, or another book, has changed – or even saved – a life. I will be highlighting your celebratory quotes about books I feature in my a-book-a-day blog.

Click to find out how you can support the Celebration Tour.

Thank you for your generosity!

In celebration~
Melita

PS: Click here to gift this book, or another book, to a library along the Celebration Tour!

Tulip Lavender on Libraries

Support Libraries & Librarians by Supporting our Celebration Tour!

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Talking Diversity with Alaina Szlachta

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Check out this video with Sexuality Educator & Researcher: Alaina Szlachta, MEd, PhD.C
Alaina Szlachta You Tube Image 05.12.15 #Censored2Celebrated

Watch right here.

Sign up for future After Party chats & other Exclusive Opportunities here.

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Geeking Out with Kate McCombs

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Geeking Out in April 2015
I had a fantastic time talking with Kate McCombs about how it came about that she started Sex Geekdom in 2012. We also chatted about the importance of “linguistic precision” including the difference between being sex mandatory vs. sex positive. And I couldn’t wait to hear what a Tea & Empathy party looks and feels like! There were so many gems in our chat that I encourage you to watch the whole interview – multiple times.

If you’re short on time, skip right to the video clip.

What is Sex Geekdom?
Watch here as founder, Kate McCombs, talks about what Sex Geekdom is, where the hubs are all over the world, and what the events are like.
Kate McCombs_Sex Geekdom_Video Clip Image 04.14.15 #Censored2Celebrated

Who is Kate McCombs
Kate McCombs, MPH is a NYC-based sex educator and speaker who’s geeky about empathy and connection.

Ultimately, all of her work is about helping people feel more comfortable talking about sex and feelings. She believes that meaningful conversations and accurate information can help us create a healthier and more joy-filled world.

To that end, Kate writes articles and facilitates workshops on how to build amazing relationships. Click here to find out more about Kate McCombs & SexGeekdom.

What is Emotionally Alive in You_Kate McCombs quote_April15


Check out the #Censored2Celebrated interviews all in one handy place right here.


 

Want access to exclusive opportunities, and insider info about our upcoming Celebration Tour? Get it all right here.

Celebrate All the People in Your Life_c2c

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Tulip & Azalea Lavender on the #CelebrationTour

Introducing Tulip Lavender

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It is a pleasure to introduce my daughter, budding author, Tulip Lavender!
6 year old Tulip Lavender has been working on a trilogy for the past few weeks. She sat down with me in her writing chair, and again in our garden, to talk about her writing, libraries, and where we’re going on our Celebration Tour this summer.


Celebrating Geography in the Kitchen & on Car Trips
Tulip is also a big fan of geography, and writes about her passion for studying time changes as well as longitude and latitude at school. She tracks every state she and her sister have visited on our kitchen map with color-coded stickers.

In this photo, you can see Tulip telling Azalea about our trip from Austin to the Bay Area last summer. (In case you’re wondering, “Azalea” is her little sister’s pen name. Tulip wanted them both to have flower names. As explained in the interview, Tulip Lavender is also a self-selected pen name.)

Tulip is very excited not only to meet more librarians, but also to add some colors to this map by visiting more states and provinces during our Celebration Tour car trip this summer.

Celebration Tour with Tulip Lavender

Celebrating libraries & authors from Austin to Montreal!

Gardening
As you can tell, we are a family that enjoys reading, talking about maps, and traveling. We are also a family that has collectively gotten excited about gardening this year. (For the record, my partner, Javi, has always been a wonderful gardener. It is the rest of us who have grown green thumbs this spring.)

You can see our thriving garden behind Tulip in this video clip interview. Here’s a little bit more about how we started, and what we’ve been growing in our personal and professional gardens.

Growing Our Garden

Where are we going on the Celebration Tour?
This is a question we’ve been getting a lot recently. Tulip shares a few of the places we’ll be visiting, from Austin to Montreal, during the interview. These are just the seeds of our trip as this Celebration Tour has been growing new blossoms every day!

We hope to share more of the blossoms with you in the next week about our Celebration Tour path!


Tulip on the Last Day Celebration Tour
(And now she’s 7!)

How can I help support #Censored2Celebrated with the Celebration Tour?

Thank you for asking! There are two ways you can help support us celebrate libraries, librarians and authors of books about Diverse Sexuality & Gender

  • Buy a book and gift it to your library!
    8 Steps to Gifting a Book Celebrating DSG

Click here for 8 Easy Steps to gifting a book to your local library

  • Celebration Tour needs supporters and funding.
    We are in the start-up phase, and gratefully accept monetary donations to support our celebration of diverse sexuality and gender. ($7 and $20 are our most popular donation amounts – every little bit helps!) 

Celebration Tour Support Levels

  • DSG  (count the letters)    $3.00 USD
  • LGBTQIA  (count the letters)    $7.00 USD
  • Number of…Countries worldwide with marriage equality    $20.00 USD
  • Number of…US states with legalized same-sex marriage    $50.00 USD
  • Number of Driving miles from…Burlington, VT to Montreal, QC    $94.00 USD
  • Number of Driving miles from…Vass, NC to Philadelphia, PA    $464.00 USD
  • Number of Driving miles from…Austin, TX to Boston, MA    $1,965.00 USD

PayPal - The safer, easier way to pay online!

How can we celebrate you?

  • We would like to give you a shout out online about your support when you donate funds and/or donate a book to the #CelebrationTour

Laverne Cox on "I Am Jazz"

Do you have questions for Tulip Lavender, or would you like to see me interview her about a particular topic?

She loves being interviewed, so let me know!

In celebration~
Melita

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Growing Our Green Garden_Melita and Javi_April15

Growing Our Garden in Austin, TX
Four springs ago, my life partner, Javi, and I officially became business partners at the Javier López Cantú Artworkstudio. Our romantic relationship began in 2006 when a mutual friend suggested that we get together for coffee. She told me that Javi was a big supporter of her sexuality education non-profit, and that he was also doing an amazing job raising two teenage daughters.

When I saw his vibrant website at JavierLopezCantu.comI knew that I wanted to know the man and father behind the art. I bypassed the meet-for-coffee plan and immediately emailed him to ask for a tour of his Artworkstudio – located on South Congress at the time. There’s more to our love-at-first sight story, and I’m happy to share. But let’s just say that the rest is history – and includes a lot of tasty homemade breakfast tacos (which are a Javi specialty).

Fertile Ground
Austin has been fertile ground for many artists, and Javi has been creating art here since 1999. What I didn’t realize when we met is how challenging it can be for a community to know how to support its local artists. I also didn’t realize how challenging it can be for artists to know how to meet the community members who will and can support them.

What happens when you have a gorgeous garden, but no one comes to see it? What happens when people come to see and enjoy it, but don’t know how to help the gardener sustain it?

Javi is passionate about making his art accessible to all – especially by making it affordable.

Javi and our youngest daughter

Javi and our youngest daughter

As Javi says:

“Each artwork has its home, and when a person sees the piece that grasps their heart and squeezes, I want to do everything I can to support that artwork findings its way to its true home.”

 

 

 

 

Planting A Seed
When we decided to deepen our roots by planting the seed of co-ownership in the fertile garden that is his Artworkstudio, I was committed to create as many opportunities for friends, family and our community to see Javi’s gorgeous garden of artwork.

I lovingly planted this seed with hope and a prayer for abundance to sustain and grow his work as a artist while also growing our family. We dreamed that, together, we would be able to blossom Javi’s mission to make thought-provoking art accessible to all while doing good in the world.

The Challenges & Joys of Growing a Garden
Four springs later, I know a lot more about the art business, and a lot more about my life and business partner. Believe me when I say it is not always easy to work with your life partner! And yet, planting these seeds at the Artworkstudio have been powerful for us as a family, and in our communities. I have learned from Javi that there is power in following your passion.

After a few (very challenging) years of Javi trying to create art in a makeshift studio in the garage, we uprooted his art supplies and original paintings and relocated the Artworkstudio to a lovely space in East Austin with a courtyard.

Courtyard at JLC Artworkstudio during EAST

Courtyard at JLC Artworkstudio during EAST

In this physical space and online, we have experimented with new business ideas and strategies. We have also had the opportunity to visit over 25 art museums in the US, Canada and the UK.

Courtyard Artworks May 2015We have been proud participants of the annual East Austin Studio Tour (EAST). We have forayed into the art event world with Art on the Roof benefits for non-profits in Austin and Boston. We have donated art, prints and gift certificates to non-profits doing great work around the country. Most recently, we have embarked on hosting the collaborative community art event – Courtyard Artworks –  this spring with Wade ArtRoom and art therapist DeAnn Acton.

Can you blossom without passion?
Clearly, we have a garden with deep roots and some lovely blossoms. What we didn’t have was an Art Business Manager – that would be me – who knew what her own passion was. I don’t know about you, but it’s a challenge for me to support another person – even my life partner – as they follow their passion when you don’t know yours.

It created conflict as Javi watched me withering while trying – and failing – to nurture our Artworkstudio garden. With the conflict came frustration, decreased inspiration, and a need to step back from this particular garden to focus on other parts of our life. When does a gardener know that it’s time to pause or move to a new garden, to find new soil and new seeds to plant?

I knew I had been planting lots of seeds throughout my life, but it never occurred to me that I had been planting a professional garden. For example, Javi has known that he was an artist since he was 3, illustrating the family encyclopedias with his drawings. I’ve always been good at lots of things, and been proud of all the good work I’ve done in the world with schools and non-profits. But what passion did I have that could ever match Javi’s passion for creating art?

Planting Another Garden
What happened next surprised both of us. And it all started with a few conversations.

Convervations Spark Celebrations Video

Last year, I planted a new batch of seeds, and my passion bloomed – right along with the creation of our much-anticipated second child.

I coordinated and facilitated a comprehensive sex ed class for middle and high school students at our church – aptly named Wildflower Church.

Then, with Javi’s blessing and support, I attended a conference in California, while hugely pregnant, and had a conversation. Then I went to another conference in Austin, as a new mama leaking with milk, and had another conversation.

thehumanempathyprojectorg_logoThen I had lunch with a former colleague, with our 6 month old baby in my arms, and had another conversation.

These conversational seeds quickly blossomed into joining the Board of The Human Empathy Project.

After all of these conversations, my passion for amplifying the conversation around diverse sexuality and gender became clear.

 

In September 2014, I officially launched my business From Censored to Celebrated where I explore diverse sexuality and gender – one (webcasted) conversation at a time.

Censored2Celebrated banner

Click here for more info about my joyful work with #Censored2Celebrated.

Vibrant Abundance
The crazy thing is that although I am busier than ever with 1 life and business partner, 2 young kids and 3 businesses to nurture, I feel myself blooming with happiness and purpose. Connecting with my professional passion, right along with the birth of our second daughter, has felt like vibrant abundance.

Enjoy Spring at Courtyard Artworks

Celebratory Art Created at Courtyard Artworks

In and around all of this vibrancy, I have reconnected to my strong desire to support Javi in his passion as an artist. As a team, we have reengaged with our mission to make thought-provoking art accessible to all while doing good in the world. We are especially excited to connect with other local artists and the East Austin community through the collaborative Courtyard Artworks events this spring.

Growing Our Garden

 

Growing our Garden at Home

On top of all of this springtime growth and blooming, I have actually gardened for the first time since I first moved to Austin as a single woman in 2004. I keep wondering if all this professional seed planting has been the inspiration to plant our own vegetable, herb and wildflower garden with the kids. Regardless, I cannot wait to see what our gardens will grow this year and into the future.

What’s Growing in Your Garden?
As you may be able to tell, I am all about the conversation. The blooms resulting from such conversations inspire me to do good in the world. I invite you to connect with me to see what celebrations will be sparked by our conversation.

1. What’s growing in your personal and professional gardens?

2. What makes art, and artists, feel accessible to you?

3. What makes you want to celebrate your passion?


I invite you to come and enjoy our Artworkstudio garden this May. I look forward to hearing all about your garden.

When you RSVP here, and private message or email me, I will have a specially chosen, complimentary JLC Art card with your name on it at the event.

Courtyard Artworks in #ATX May15

  • RSVPs are requested so we can ensure having plenty of art supplies and snacks for all.
  • The event is free to community members of all ages.

Finally, I want to give a BIG thank you to each and every one of you that supports Javi and other local artists, musicians, dancers, celebrators and all kinds of creative types. Our gardens are inspired by our connection and conversations with each of you, and grow abundantly because of your support.


WHAT IS JLC*ART?
The Javier López Cantú Artworkstudio mission is to make thought-provoking art accessible to all while doing good in the world. Javi’s work may be purchased in a variety of formats to fit your budget: original paintings, posters, art cards and with donations to benefit a non-profit that is a difference-maker in its community.

We invite you to opt-in for
JLC Artworkstudio news & special offers by email.

Join the JLC Art email list!

Click here for interviews with the artist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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