DMP Podcast, Episode 6: Sister Outsiders Building Solidarity: A Conversation with Isabel Ballester & Morgan Spivey

DMP Podcast: Episode 6

In this episode, DMP collaborators Jaelyn Taylor and Juan Diaz Mercado interview Davidson alumnae Isabel Ballester and Morgan Spivey about building community, finding your people in white dominant (academic and other) spaces, and (re)discovering identity through immersive, newfound knowledge gained in both in/formal educational settings. They stress the importance of diversifying the faculty and supporting professors of color and interdisciplinary programs, as these are often key sources of support for students of color. Isabel and Morgan elaborate upon how they have continued to harness knowledge and empowerment through their positionalities as Black and Afro-Latina queer women beyond their undergraduate education. They talk about Black imagination, hope, happiness, freedom, affirmations, and starting where you are to make moves in the struggle, including why we should all move beyond passive not-racist pledges and be actively anti-racist. Isabel and Morgan describe microaggressions as a language of hate entrenched in systemic macro-issues. Tune in to hear this dynamic duo explain the ‘step up and step back’ method to deal with, confront, and overcome microaggressions.

Isabel Ballester

Isabel (ees-ahh-belle) Ballester is a Philadelphia-born, Afro-Latina queer with a special interest in civil rights and the law. She graduated from Davidson College in 2018 with a degree in Gender & Sexuality Studies. While at Davidson, Isabel spent her time in several student organizations including the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity (SIAD) and the Black Student Coalition. She joined the Sigma Psi chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc as a junior in 2017. Isabel also served as a student representative on the President’s Diversity Advisory Committee and was a co-founder of the Davidson Microaggressions Project.

Currently, Isabel lives in Philadelphia and works for District Attorney, Larry Krasner (the only prosecutor she’d ever work for). She is passionate about prison reform, social justice, and equity-based legal practices. When not in the office (or working from home these days) you can find her reading a book from her endless list of liberation texts, in the kitchen cooking or baking, or watching The Office on Netflix. She is also applying to law school to be a criminal defense lawyer.

Isa’s Resource Recommendations:

Books: Pleasure Activism by adrienne maree brown; Just Mercy by Bryan Stevenson; With The Fire On High by Elizabeth Acevedo

Podcasts: The Read; Code Switch; In The Dark; Okay Now Listen

TV Shows: Pose; Watchmen; When They See Us; Little Fires Everywhere

Morgan Spivey

Morgan Spivey is a scholar, educator, activist, and entrepreneur. While at Davidson, Morgan was an esteemed Presidential Scholar and Resident Advisor, and spent her time in several student organizations, including the Student Initiative for Academic Diversity (SIAD), the Black Student Coalition, and Virtuous Praise Gospel choir to name a few. Morgan is a proud Spring 2015 initiate of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., having served most notably as the Sigma Psi chapter Vice President & Programs Chairman and Membership Chairman.  After graduating from Davidson College with a bachelors in Africana Studies, Morgan continued her endeavors at West Charlotte High School, advising students on how to best actualize their dreams through higher education. Morgan is currently growing as a strategic communications professional at the Center for American Progress in Washington D.C., where she amplifies the needs of marginalized populations on the federal, state, and local levels. She is guided by the words of Queen Audre Lorde, “The master’s tools will never dismantle the master’s house,” so she continuously finds creative ways to refine & thrive personally and professionally. She is the founder of the Seeds of M.A.G.I.C mentorship program for Black girls and a digital platform for self-identifying Black & Afro-Latinx women, called Sister Outsiders. When she’s not giving my energy and attention to my mentees and the policy world, she can be found reading, advocating for Black girls, or celebrating the growth of my herbal plants.

Morgan’s Resource Recommendations: 

Books: Nobody by Marc Lamont Hill, any James Baldwin, Eloquent Rage by Brittney Cooper, and Sister Outsider by Audre Lorde

Podcasts: hey, girl by Alex Elle, The Read, Side Hustle Pro, and Okay, Now Listen (Spotify)

TV Shows: POSE, Real Housewives of Atlanta (lol), and Insecure