In this episode I talk with D’mitra Smith, a talented musician and singer for multiple bands including Static People and Ex’s with Benefits. She’s also an activist who has worked with a long list of civil rights organizations, and is the former Chair of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights. D’mitra shares about early transformative experiences abroad, the intersection of travel and human rights, and traveling while Black.. She also shares why she decided to move to France, some lesser known truths about the country’s history, and what it’s been like so far to live abroad.
What You’ll Learn:
- About her early travel experiences
- The intersection of travel and human rights
- About the hidden legacy of slavery in France
- Why travel can often feel refreshing for American BIPOC travelers
- About her new graphic novel project
- Why traveling can help you gain perspective on your own country
- Interesting facts about Pontarlier, France
- Her experiences traveling while Black
- What she misses about the U.S.
- How she’s bringing a little bit of home to her experience abroad
About D’mitra Smith
D’mitra Smith is a Seattle native who relocated to San Francisco in 1992 to join marimba driven rock project Fuzz Factor with guitarist Joe Gore (PJ Harvey, Tracy Chapman, Tom Waits). She fronted SF indie electro band Static People, which was picked for Best Punk/Post Punk Artist of 2013 from Artists in Music Awards. D’mitra returned to Seattle to sing in alt/punk band Ex’s With Benefits (featuring members of Green River, Thee Deception and Fires),
whose 2015 debut album Bad Hotel snagged best Pacific Northwest album of 2015 from Northwest Music Scene. D’mitra also leads the Black futurist Siouxsie and the Banshees tribute Voodoo Dolly with drummer Kevin Carnes (Beatnigs, Brown Fellinis).
D’mitra is also a fierce human rights activist. She is the former Chair of the Sonoma County Commission on Human Rights. She was the program manager for the Junior Commission on Human Rights, mentoring over 100 Sonoma County students. She is a co-founder of the essential workers’ mutual aid collective Food for All – Comida para Todos, and Save Your VI, providing education and advocacy for Black students through Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. D’mitra is the author of the first report on racial discrimination in Sonoma County schools and co-author of the groundbreaking 2020 report “Human Rights Violations in Santa Rosa: Policing the Black Lives Matter Protests”.
Dmitra has worked with the California Association of Human Relations Organizations, Congressional Black Caucus Education and Workforce Committee, California NAACP, San Jose State University Human Rights Institute,Southern Poverty Law Center, John Marshall Law School, and the US Department of Education Office for Civil Rights. She is the co-author of AB655 The CLEAR Act (Kalra), the first legislation to address white supremacist infiltration of police in the state of California.
- Begin Again: James Baldwin’s America and Its Urgent Lessons for Our Own
- High on the Hog
- Sonoma County Human Rights Visibility Project
Partners & Offerings
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