Casey Ericka Bruce, 25, was born in Alabama, U.S. and has six siblings, with their Father a now-retired Colonel in the Army her family moved all over the United States until settling in the state of Georgia, Casey identifies here as her home and calls herself “a Southern-progressive Belle”, claiming her upbringing has given her a broader perspective on life and the importance of building a diversified community. After attending the University of Georgia Casey graduated in the summer of 2011 with a Bachelor’s of Arts in Journalism and a Bachelor of Arts in film studies.
Working currently at a political and internationally-focused non-profit in Washington, DC, where Casey now lives and manages all of their traditional and digital media efforts. Although it is only the beginning of this budding journalists career her articles articles and essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, For Harriet, Red & Black Newspaper, Eidé magazine, InfUSion magazine, Georgia Nonprofit NOW, Atlantablackstar.com and Pink magazine. As well as being a founding member of Eidé magazine. In 2014, Casey published her first book, “The 365 Project: The Year of Getting Back to Me,” which was a collaborative effort between herself and five friends.
“I started writing at a really young age—three to be exact. I would carry around a journal, and jot down notes about what I observed—I guess you could say I still do that now, though it’s through a global perspective. I attribute my writing gift to my beautiful mother, who was a college professor and taught English. I loved the English language, and the way you could manipulate words to tell incredible stories. When I started blogging and writing for newspapers, I didn’t think what I was doing was “art.” My screenplays, and plays, yes, were definitely art. But until recently, I thought of it plainly as examining the issues of my world. A friend started calling what I do “art” and I guess I agreed with her.”
What motivated you to deal with the subject of Feminism in your art?
“When I was a junior in college, I was offered an opportunity to intern at the Sadie Nash Leadership Project, which is a feminist non-profit focused on high-school girls. After I spent the summer with those girls, and the powerful interns and staff of the organization, I began identifying as a feminist. That was five years ago. I started my blog, Creme de la Femme, in retrospect to that, and I thought it would be interesting to explore feminist and pop culture issues from a twenty-something’s perspective. I’ve been doing that ever since.”
Tell us why you chose this submission?
“I love Women’s History Month. It is such a joy to have a month dedicated primarily to acknowledging and celebrating the advancements of women. As I delve more into gender and race issues, I thought it was important to detail what it’s like to be a woman and a person of colour in 2015. I wanted to talk about something I’ve never explored or seen written and really detail what it’s like to be the other, or the lesser gender as some would say. I wanted to explore inter-sectional issues—what it means to where multiple identities and be a part of a movement that you can sometimes feel excluded from. I also thought it was important to discuss how the feminist movement can really transcend all movements and be for everyone if we let it.”
Here is Casey’s Submission
Why have you chosen the medium you use for your art?
“I love writing. The ability to weave words and observations together is such a powerful way to affect change and to communicate thoughts. Words are powerful. They can be used as weapons for good, or to destroy. They have the ability to awaken the spirit, to move someone to action, to bring knowledge and to create tangible change. Writing has influenced my life in such a passionate way, and I’ve seen how words can affect people deeply. Telling stories is infinite..words have no expiration date.”
What is your process when creating?
“Wow, this is a difficult question for me, particularly because my creating process deals heavily with current events, and what’s happening in our world. While I try to go to writing retreats, and spend time in Starbucks, Barnes and Noble, or other writing-centric venues, the majority of my work is informed from reading the news and talking to friends. When I’m not working on fiction pieces, I have to constantly stay up-to-date on what’s going on in the news, in pop culture, the latest academic journals, etc. I like to stay informed and to keep educating myself, which informs a lot of my writing. Even if I’m writing a fiction work, I try to make it a social commentary on an issue I feel needs to be explored, or something I feel passionate about. I also read a lot, which I believe helps my craft. So, I guess I don’t have a really sound process, but my process of creation happens every single day as our society is changing, and as I read about.”
Who are you influenced by? What inspired you and your art?
“I’m a huge reader and film buff. Some of my favourite writers are Zora Neale Hurston, Valerie Boyd, Anita Diamant, J.K. Rowling, Paulo Coelho, Hillary Jordan, Gillian Flynn, and bell hooks. I also am a huge fan of Julie Dash, Ava Duvernay, and Nora Ephron.
Because I’m a journalist, I’m also very influenced by cable news anchors, such as Brooke Baldwin and Soledad O’Brien at CNN, and Marc Lamont Hill at HuffPost Live. Some writers that I adore and read frequently are Jamilah Lemieux, Imani Gandy and Soraya Chemaly. I’m also really inspired by my parents, who are both imaginative and very logically-inclined people; my late Grandfather who told me my dreams were worth chasing; and my boyfriend of six years who is a dream boat.
My art is really inspired by what’s happening every day…I can’t particularly say it’s one thing because I write about a multitude of issues. In terms of my fiction work, I’m really inspired to tell unconventional stories about people of colour and women.”
What does feminism mean to you and do you consider yourself to be a feminist?
“YES. I am a feminist. Like any other identity, sometimes I struggle with it, particularly what it means, how it has helped/hurt me, or what it’s given to me. But it’s given me so much.
Feminism to me is a belief in equity, which is even further than equality. Where equality promotes the idea that everyone should have the right and ability to obtain the same things, equity moves further beyond that idea by seeking to understand and give people what they need to enjoy life and be happy. Both seek fairness and justice that is unbiased, but equity can only work if everyone starts on the same playing field. You can’t achieve equity until you have equality, and feminism as a movement, what it stands for, and what it can be for so many people, gives me a foundation to start with to fight for, and ultimately help achieve equity in our world.”
Do you feel women have to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously? Do you have any experiences of this?
“This is a difficult question, because although I don’t believe (strong emphasis) women need to conform to social norms and stereotypes to be taken seriously, we do. I do it, we all do it. It’s an unfortunate by product of patriarchy and the expectations of women in our society. My experience with this is everyday… I’ve been privy to the advantages and a victim of the challenges that these stereotypes present for women. Whether that’s taking advantage of a cab over a man who was present first, getting a tab paid at a restaurant by a random stranger, or even being given a seat on the train while heading to work. But there are also the disadvantages…not being taken seriously in the work place or a board room, having my opinion scrutinized or even deemed untrustworthy, or being told what to wear at certain social functions. Stereotypes and social norms affect all women, for the good and bad.”
Do you think that women and men are equal in today’s societies around the world? Have you any experience of this?
“Men and women are not equal in our society. I talk about this a lot in my piece for the Art Saves Lives International magazine. The fact that this is even a question reminds me that we are not equal.”
What causes and world issues are you passionate about, campaign for, volunteer for etc…..?
“I’m extremely passionate about women’s and girl’s rights, civil rights and voting access, family planning and reproductive healthcare, LGBTQ rights, poverty issues, systemic and institutional racism, and media portrayals of women and people of colour, education resources. I currently work as a mentor to middle school girls in Washington, DC. Prior to my current job, for two years I worked with two organizations, AmeriCorps NCCC and AmeriCorps VISTA, as a volunteer, living on poverty-level wages and working with non-profit organizations to provide support and build capacity for projects that would help their communities. I’m very passionate about community and grass-roots organizing as” well.
What made you want to get involved with our non-profit ART SAVES LIVES INTERNATIONAL mission?
“I love the Art Saves Lives mission. It’s incredible to see a non-profit working to give a platform for lesser-known and independent artists to showcase our work and talent. I am also a huge fan of the campaign work ASLI does—for instance, dedicating an entire E-magazine to Women’s History Month, and providing a space for all art mediums to express their ideas and thoughts on issues specific to women. I also believe the world can be enriched through art, and it’s so disheartening to see various schools and educational centres underfunded in the arts and humanities. I think it’s so important to support non-profits whose aim is to provide a space and create a community that supports and challenges our world. I am a strong advocate for the arts, and ASLI is obviously as well.”
What does the statement ART SAVES LIVES mean to you and has art in anyway “saved” your life in any way?
““Art Saves Lives” is a powerful statement. For me, it literally means it can save lives. Studies have shown that the arts and humanities foster social justice and equality; it teaches empathy; it challenges you to think intellectually about the world; it helps us learn about culture and history; it makes you a more informed citizen; it gives you moral and spiritual values; it fosters creativity; etc. There are dozens of other reasons and information about the importance of arts education as well, but ultimately I believe that the arts has the ability to transcend the empirical…it makes your imagination work in a way the sciences and maths cannot. I believe the arts and humanities make you a more proficient learner, more appreciative of differences, and a more empathetic person. Because art does all of this, it not only saves lives, it creates new life.”
How can your art be used to create change and is this something you want for your art?
“I want my art and my writing to give people the knowledge they need to advance themselves and their communities, as well as draw attention to issues-areas to ultimately achieve justice and fairness.”
What are your goals with your art?
“I hope that my writing can be used as an educational and informative resource and as a catalyst to jump-start new public policy and debate. I also hope to create works of fiction that inspire people to chase their own dreams. Lastly, I hope to tell stories of real people and to give a voice to the voiceless.”
What is your next project or piece that you are working on?
“I’m currently working on a young adult fiction series; as well as a short story narrative about police brutality and the African American community.”
And is there anything you would like to add to your interview?
“Thank you for this incredible opportunity.”If you would like to find out more about Casey Bruce please follow these links:Website/Blog: http://caseybruce.tumblr.com/Twitter: https://twitter.com/CaptCaseyBruceInstagram: https://instagram.com/captcaseybruce/LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/caseyebruce/enGoogle Plus+: https://plus.google.com/+CaseyBruceWritingLife/postsAbout Me: https://about.me/caseybrucePublished Work: http://caseybruce.tumblr.com/publishedwork