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Wonder: Language creates community – a lesson from Ann Richards

“Language should bind us, not divide us.” ~Ann Richards

I know Ann Richards for her ballsy and hilarious quote, “I’ve been tested by fire and the fire lost.” I want that on a t-shirt. My friend, Sara, posted something that reminded me it’s high time I read Ann’s autobiography. I loved the play based on her life, ANN, written by and starring Holland Taylor. Ann was one of those lights in history that make it possible for so many of us to carve our own paths today, traditional or otherwise.

As a writer, her quote about language is one from her autobiography that is especially powerful for me. In a world of acronyms and exclusivity, I much prefer Ann’s way of thinking. Too often language is used to divide us—by gender, by race, by religion, by education level, by industry, by socioeconomic status. In her book, Ann said that she prided herself on being a straight shooter, someone who didn’t mince words, sugarcoat, or tip toe around sensitive issues. Keep it simple. Keep it honest. Keep it authentic.

Now working in an industry that is full of acronyms and complicated language, I’m going to keep this quote about language close at hand. In my writing, I want to illuminate not complicate, to clearly communicate rather than separate. And I know from Ann Richards that this is possible.

About Christa Avampato

The short of it: Writer. Health, education, and art advocate. Theater and film producer. Visual artist. Product geek. Proud alumnae of the University of Pennsylvania (BA) and the Darden School of Business at the University of Virginia (MBA). Inspired by ancient wisdom & modern tech. Proliferator of goodness. Opener of doors. Friend to animals. Fan of creative work in all its wondrous forms. I use my business skills to create passion projects that build a better world. I’ve been called the happiest New Yorker, and I try hard to live up to that title every day. The long of it: My career has stretched across Capitol Hill, Broadway theatre, education, nonprofit fundraising, health and wellness, and Fortune 500 companies in retail, media, entertainment, technology, and financial services. I’ve been a product developer and product manager, theater manager, strategic consultant, marketer, voice over artist, , teacher, and fundraiser. I use my business and storytelling to support and sustain passion projects that build a better world. In every experience, I’ve used my sense of and respect for elegant design to develop meaningful products, services, programs, and events. While building a business career, I also built a strong portfolio as a journalist, novelist, freelance writer, interviewer, presenter, and public speaker. My writing has appeared in The Washington Post, The Huffington Post, PBS.org, Boston.com, Royal Media Partners publications, and The Motley Fool on a wide range of topics including business, technology, science, health, education, culture, and lifestyle. I have also been an invited speaker at SXSW, Teach for America, Avon headquarters, Games for Change, NYU, Columbia University, Hunter College, and the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. The first book in my young adult book series, Emerson Page and Where the Light Enters, was acquired by a publisher and launched in November 2017. I’m currently working on the second book in the series. A recovering multi-tasker, I’m equally at home in front of my Mac, on my yoga mat, walking my rescue dog, Phineas, traveling with a purpose, or practicing the high-art of people watching. I also cut up small bits of paper and put them back together as a collage artist. My company: I’m bringing together all of my business and creative career paths as the Founder of Double or Nothing Media: • I craft products, programs, and projects that make a difference; • I build the business plans that make what I craft financially sustainable; • I tell the stories that matter about the people, places, and products that inspire me. Follow my adventures on Twitter at https://twitter.com/christanyc and Instagram at https://instagram.com/christarosenyc.

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