The coming storm…

It has been a year of loss and as the doors begin to open, it will be the opening of more than just the physical locations…

How will our hearts grapple with the pain?

Who will we be remembering?

What did we give up?

What did we let go?

We must prepare for the coming storm, like the changing seasons, the winds will come, the rains will pour, our hearts will endure a pain that defies solace…

We must find each other again, feel again, hold again. Indeed we must find empathy again.

We will find our way through the storm, as long as we do it,

Together.


Two years ago in Edmonton, Alberta — I had no idea what the future would bring… Photo by By Kieran Leavitt, StarMetro Edmonton

We were planning for 2020 to be an auspicious year for The Center for Higher Education Leadership (CHEL). In January we had updated our website, added new courses, and we were ready to launch our new offerings at SXSW EDU. My partner Shelley Seale and I had set up a series of meetings with potential clients and investors. I was excited to be getting back to Austin and was planning to visit with many of the friends I had made during the 12 years I was at the University of Texas at Austin.

It was early March, the week before…


Photo by Terri Givens — Redwoods National Park

Today I finally felt it. I felt the weight come off of my shoulders and I felt like I could see the light again. It has been a tough four years, and it has been much worse than I could have ever imagined four years ago. Although I still feel like we are in the middle of a nightmare with a raging pandemic that is threatening lives across the nation, today I felt hope.

The day of the election and the days after unfolded like so many of my political scientist friends…


You have to decide who you are and force the world to deal with you, not with its idea of you.” James Baldwin

The birthday cake has been eaten, and the champagne bottle is empty. Today is my birthday, I am 56 years old. I was born in 1964, a time of great change in this country. My life is a testament to that change…but we have not gone far enough, in fact it seems that we are always in a mode of two steps forward, one step back.

I was the first in my family to get a 4…


Dear Andrew and Brandon,

Your generation is living through one of the greatest upheavals our country has faced since the early 1900s. Apparently we haven’t learned the lessons of global war, racism and pandemic. We have spent a lot of our time on vacations learning about history in Europe and here in the U.S. I hope that the education we have given you will help you find a path through these difficult times.

I cried in 2016 when Trump was elected. I happened to be in South Africa on election day, so I called and all I could think to…


An African American woman and her two sons
An African American woman and her two sons

In the Sea of White Supremacy

One analogy that has helped me conceptualize the lack of understanding that most people have about racism and discrimination is that white supremacy is the ocean and we are the fish swimming in it. For white people, it is hard to recognize that they are living in a world built for them and non-whites may have trouble understanding that the institutions around us are often designed to keep us from succeeding in life. Another example is the fact that if you are reading a typical book or article, unless it is explicitly stated, the…


Truth and Reconciliation Commission must come after COVID-19 and Trump

Terri E. Givens

The hits keep coming during the COVID-19 crisis — the Supreme Court ruling that the Wisconsin primary must go forward despite the fact that it potentially puts voters’ health and well-being in danger. African Americans in places like Milwaukee and Los Angeles dying at a disproportionate rate from complications of the coronavirus. And of course, ongoing corruption in the White House. …


Ash falling onto our bikes — it is pitch dark at 4:30 in the afternoon

As I sit Here in Quarantine, 40 Years Later, I think of my Mother

It seemed like a normal day, a typical Sunday in our household. After breakfast, my mother and I headed to the fabric store, I was working on making a skirt and jacket from a pattern I had gotten from one of my sisters. The day had started out bright and sunny, but we noticed the clouds coming in as we entered the store.

We happened to run into our weatherman, Bob Soper, who worked with my sister at the local TV station. “Hey Bob, I thought it was supposed to be sunny today!” He shrugged his shoulders and said, “It…


March 14, 2019

UT President Bill Powers was a proponent of diversity and reached out to the East Austin community in a variety of ways.

I’ll never forget the first time I met Bill Powers. He was the Dean of the UT Law School at the time, and I was the Director of the Center for European Studies. I was looking for funding from the law school for a conference I was working on. I went into Bill’s office and there he was, larger than life, chewing on a cigar with his feet up on the desk. Needless to say, I was a bit intimidated, but he immediately put me at ease.

Little did I know that in only a couple of…


Downtown Doha at night (photo by Terri Givens)

The 18th annual Doha Forum took place on December 15–16, and although I am not an expert on politics in the Middle East, I was intrigued to go and see what was going on in Qatar, given that the country has been under a blockade for 18 months. I was invited because of my expertise in the politics of populism, but also as an American, at an event where there weren’t very many American officials in evidence. A few conservative outlets have focused on the few Republican and Democratic officials/former officials who were there. This was definitely not a U.S.-centric…

Terri Givens

Founder/CEO Brighter Higher Ed. Political scientist & consultant. Higher Ed, Radical right parties, immigration politics & European politics

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