31 December 2011

Blessings for 2012 & Ayiti Resurrect Updates!

Greetings friends/family/kin!

I hope your holidays have been filled with joy, peace & blessings! Wishing each of you a beautiful new year and so much love as we bring in 2012!

I am heading to Haiti on January 4th - for Ayiti Resurrect's second delegation! Most of you know about my work in Haiti, and so here are some updates. And for those of you who don't know, here is an overview. I am sending out positive and conscious vibrations for your continued support and belief in our healing collective -- AYITI RESURRECT! This collaborative work with my sistren Beatrice and Naima has been an amazing journey for the past year and a half -- and I would truly appreciate any help you can offer in the coming days -- by spreading the word, sharing links about our work, and checking out all the ways you can contribute (donations, supplies, indiegogo campaign, sponsor a delegate, etc.):

Ayiti Resurrect is a grassroots collective that formed in the aftermath of the earthquake based on principles of solidarity, creativity, and collective resilience. A team of visionary artists, community builders, and holistic healers with bloodlines in the Caribbean and African Diaspora, we have organized ourselves to work in collaboration with local Haitian organizations to facilitate psychological and spiritual healing for earthquake survivors.

Here is a description of our January 2012 Delegation: Ayiti Resurrect has assembled an incredible team of holistic healers, artists, musicians, dancers, yoga instructors, permaculture gardeners and environmental innovators who will be traveling to Haiti during the first two weeks of January, working in collaboration with artists, healers and community builders living in Haiti, to implement a Mental Wellness & Stress Relief clinic, initiate an environmental sustainability education project, and facilitate art and music therapy workshops with and for quake survivors. Workshops and sessions will be organized by Haitians and international allies through collaboration and shared facilitation, and the coalescing of our energy, creativity and wisdom promises to be powerful!!!

Fundraising Efforts: We have hosted three amazing fundraisers this Fall - one in New York, another in California, and a third one in The Bahamas. Thanks to everyone who made these possible and supported these events! We also have an internet based fundraising campaign through IndieGoGo -- which ends TODAY, but there are still many more ways to contribute and help the delegation - check the main website and/or get in touch with me!

*** A Special Thanks to my folks/kin in The Bahamas and to The Hub for a beautiful fundraiser in Nassau on Dec 16th! -- especially to all the performers who shared their talents, words, and music -- Erin Greene, Artist Javan, Mark Bethel, Helen Klonaris, John Nutt, Red Eye, and Maz & the rest of the members of Foreign Sound! *~* More special thanks to Margot Bethel for donating the Hub and its resources and making it all happen! And thank to all those who donated during and after the event!!! ***

Learn more about our delegate team, what we are offering, and our strategy for sustainability at www.ayitiresurrect.org. You can also find out more details about our history, past work, and the partnerships we have here and in Haiti. Here is a powerful video produced by core collective member Naima Penniman about our journey and work with AYITI RESURRECT. Please watch and share with others!

We are making a final push for our fundraising efforts to make sure that our January delegation will go smoothly and effectively!!!

We are a grassroots endeavor of two communities coming together across bloodlines and continents to facilitate healing from within. We are not an NGO with foundational or institutional backing, we are representatives from our hometowns, our neighborhoods, and our lineages. Your support means everything as we engage in this all volunteer work dedicated to cultivating genuine people-to-people solidarity among members of the African diasporic family while reinforcing the strength and autonomy of the Haitian community.

Thank you for taking the time to read about this work and for your continued support! GIVING THANKS to all of my friends/fam and kinfolk who have believed in me and have made all this possible through your donations, through your prayers, and through your love. I am so grateful to be able to do this work - and I am able to do it because of all of you!

As we bring in the new year, let us do so with such positivity and abundance that 2012 will bring us all what we need and desire!!! This year will bring in a Dragon Year, which is my year to spark and renew!!! It also ushers in the dawning of aquarius... new forms of consciousness rising and embracing us all!!! 

with peace, love & conscious vibration!

Angela Davis at Occupy NYC

I dropped off the blog posting this fall...  to much goin on... but as I do at the end of year, I am catching up and posting thangs that have been on my radar and on my mind that I want to share and keep on the conscious vibration...

Major Highlight from Occupy Wall Street for me was Angela Davis speaking and blessing the movement with her wisdom. I spent much of the Fall immersed in people of color caucus - in between my other projects and teaching...  I remember her speech today as we wrap up the year.

Angela Davis spoke at Occupy Wall Street Washington Square Park in October - she urged the movement to embrace a "complex unity" within the concept of "99 percent." She evoked Audre Lorde in response to her question "How can we come together in a unity that is complex and emancipatory? Differences must not be merely tolerated but seen as a fund of necessary polarities between which our creativity can spark like the dialectic."

occupynyc on livestream.com. Broadcast Live Free

10 November 2011

notes from my summer gypsy travels & fall journeys

I've been deep in the throws of adjusting to a new place and new job... and at the same time, keeping up with all my other work... The summer was incredible... and the fall has been more hectic than usual, but I'm coming up for air and grounding...

I've been writing in my journal, but my musings, thoughts and ramblings haven't made it to the blog... and so now I play catch up with myself and my public writing sphere... Here are notes and the beginnings of poems from my travels this summer:

Moon Rise in Ayiti - July 2011

There is nothing else except this moon, this moment
She calls me with a wisp of wind
cooling my sun kissed skin

I am driving with a friend in Leogane
We are talking politics, the earth, and Ayiti
His home, his country, the place
that reaches underneath my skin

connected through my Caribbean-ness
through my homeland, The Bahamas,
my forging better, ethical relations
with the place, the people, our people

The road is a reflection of slow recovery
I look up after hearing the moon's call
the clouds clear a path for me to see her shine

She calls forth my light, beaconing me
for healing and embrace, her voice lingers in the night sky
glowing with dimensions of gold and yellow hues of white
beaming in her full glory, a reflection of us

I can see the world through her fullness
I can see just how small we are, how connected we are

There must be life out there on other stars
What could our world be if we took this moment
only to love and be loved

Mantra - healing for Ayiti - July 2011

flowing through us is light, goodness & love
we share blood, We share stories, We share histories

flowing through us is power, unity & resistance
we share in this growing
we share in this knowledge building
we share in community

we share, we build, we heal (with each other)
flowing through us many languages, peaceful voices, sharing light
we speak, we listen, we create

The more I (need) learn - Ayiti - July 2011

My tongue is held captive here in this place where I don't know
her language, I want to know,
but my mind is tired and failing at retention

I hear and read words from my Kreyol book, longing to keep them
in memory, but I feel at capacity... like nothing else can fit
the most difficulty part of this journey...   is language
the thing that separates... is the thing I love and inhabit

I am supposed to be good at this - the learning of new things
 - the study of language and words - Kreyol - so resilient,
filled with power of syncretic vision and survival, no matter what

How I long for your touch on my tongue, to dream in Kreyol,
to speak with ease, to overstand
I feel trapped in translation,
trusting others to relay messages and emotions
of solidarity and healing and plans for next time

Patience is cultivated as I wait and my tongue fumbles,
thirsty in my desert of knowing
I am making another promise under a breathtaking star-filled sky
this time in Sodo, a place of healing and celebration

The starts are dancing with possibility and knowing
I feel humbled once again to be here
I promised to speak and to listen
I promised to do something

and I am doing that something
yet I must have my tongue informed, ready for action
it is time and I must


* Poetics of Resistance Workshop  * Detroit, August 2011

I led a workshop for Detroit Summer and had the most amazing time building, learning, and sharing with a brilliant group of youth. One of the writing exercises I had the students do was to respond to an Audre Lorde quote. I picked quotes that offered insights and a reflection of all that Lorde was up to as a warrior Black lesbian poet and activist. I also wrote with the students.

"Our feelings are our most genuine paths to knowledge" - Audre Lorde

Knowledge is built through all of us
years of memories, remembering and re-writing,
re-telling and transforming through histories and herstories
we build stories and lives out of collective knowledge,
feelings and intuition from our ancestors
who share with us through dreams, in our spirits
and vision of the past and future

We feel the movements of our ancestors through genetic memory
they rustle through the wind and trees
and burst forth in the rain on a stormy day
they speak through thunder and snaps of lightening
through my third eye

I see feelings and touch them with a slight caress
just to remind myself that I am alive
and I am here with purpose
this is knowledge
this knowing this being and becoming self

Our paths become illuminated through exploration of feelings
They drive my vision and desires for change
to build a better and just world
to live and love freely as June Jordan says
to recognize, celebrate, and build across differences as Audre Lorde says
these two sparks offer an ocean of feelings


And then the Fall brought with her changing leaves, the largest social movement(s) of my lifetime... and since mid September... I've been wrapped in its grasp and promise... consensus building, democratic process unfolding and embraced, the work of resistance, and the sustained critique of capitalism...

Talkin bout a Revolution... or I Stay Woke... 
* New York, 26 Oct 2011

this new moon in october vibrates through the echos 
of change, we want now
i obsess over websites, occupy blogs, live streams, and democracy now!
in between my weekend visits to new york
i join the people of color working group at occupy wall street

diving right into the work and organizing of this
wondrous and complex movement
changing like fall leaves
we must be like the wind to keep up

and i ask how can we rise as a people (of color)?
long experienced in lack: marginalization, disenfranchisement, police/state brutality, deportation, criminalization, displacement, dehumanization, economic and social injustice... the lingering effects of slavery and colonialism... globalization and immigration policies... interlocking systems of oppression... we have long been occupied...

(Communities of color, the poor and working class, immigrant communities, formerly & currently incarcerated, trans people, undocumented workers, and others who are marginalized have long known what so many people are waking up to now... 
yeah, we know this shit ain't right...)

the revolution is here
the revolution is now
it is, more than possible
all over 
the world

rising, rising, rising 
out of the lies and false promises of capitalism
out of so-called free trade and free markets
out of corporate wutless'ness and greed
out of corporate controlled, puppet-like governments
out of the privatization of natural resources
out of environmental crisis and degradation
out of unemployment and debt
out of poverty
out of state violence
out of the prison industrial complex
out of gendered and trans violence
out of class exploitation
out of immigrant struggle
out of despair

out of hope
for something better
out of belief in each other
out of belief in community

our world torn and divided by so much
yet the complex unity of this 99%
experiencing various levels of inequity and injustice
lack of opportunities, seeing the hierarchies that bind us

raising our fists, hearts, and minds
together in a revolution hard to name
but one that was/is inevitable

talkin' bout a revolution 
sounds like a whisper...  
don't you know... 
one day we gonna rise up 
and take what's ours!

this is our time 
this is our world
this is the most important thing

rising up in solidarity 
to take back what is ours
to re-make our world

to re-create in our own image, thought, word
to re-invent, to re-start, to stay woke
people of color, yes! 
let us / stay woke #together


13 July 2011

summer of phoenix

I've been off the radar again for the past few months... and too much has transpired to really "catch up" on my blog writing...  too many juicy and important things to respond to and critique...  and oh so much to share... And so I'm starting from summer and highlights of what's been going on in my world. I celebrated and brought in my 35th earthyear in June :) - feeling extra grown and sexy, cultivating beauty, goodness, healing, spirit, and love for this year and many more to come.

This summer brings transformation, radiant light, challenges, and new opportunities. I just moved from Connecticut after a two year visiting gig at UConn, and I am pleased and blessed to begin a new job - assistant professor of English at Susquehanna University in Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania! So I am in transition/limbo for the month of July - and I move into my new place and start my new job early August! And with all this fyah I'm burning bright and sharing my light with all those around me. 

Spring was rough in all kinds of ways... but I have moved, grown, and pushed through it all - as one of my closest and best friends said to me today - like a Phoenix! I feel it too - emerging from the ashes of disappointment, difficult times, and rough spaces...  feeling re-born in these times of major shifts in our planet and time on this earth. This year is serious for all of us - especially those of us who tap into the universe and our spiritual connections with each other and the earth. I have received so many blessings these past few months - deepened friendships and loveships, worked on and sustained many community projects, and with all of that - having the space to write, create, teach, and build. I am doing what I love to do in so many ways - and I continue to be grateful for my community, my chosen families, my ancestors who guide me, and all those who sustain and nurture me.

My work continues with Ayiti Resurrect - and I am actually on my way to Haiti this week for a ground work trip - preparing for our second delegation scheduled for January 2012. Check out the website for more info - and this link for an update on our fundraising efforts.

Ayiti Resurrect is a grassroots collective of visionary artists, holistic healers, and community builders with bloodlines in Haiti and the African Diaspora, working in collaboration with local Haitian organizations to help address the psychological, spiritual and emotional healing of the survivors of the January 12, 2010 earthquake. Our continued work and efforts to build sustainable programming in the community of Comier, Leogone is contingent upon raising enough funds. We are in the midst of major fundraising efforts. And so in the spirit of conscious vibration, I am asking for your support! Please donate and/or spread the word about our grassroots collective healing workDonation page

My work with Caribbean IRN has been incredible and we have had an amazing spring into summer of important collaborations, presentations, webseminars, and events. We have established and been promoting our digital collection on the Digital Library of the Caribbean - and launched the Jamaica Gay Freedom Movement Archive in June. We hosted a historic event with Larry Chang and Thomas Glave based in Brooklyn and over the web with host sites in The Bahamas and Jamaica - Preserving our Stories: Caribbean LGBT Histories and Activism on June 21st. It was a beautiful diasporic event! And I was thrilled to include my people in the Bahamas for such an important conversation and exchange. I am working on a piece about this event, which will be featured in a prominent Caribbean journal at the end of summer. So more on that soon soon. Please check out the links above to see all the fantastic work and community building I have been fostering and dedicated to for over three years.

I am heading to Haiti today with my comrade in the struggle Naima. Please keep us in your prayers, thoughts, and meditations as we make this journey to build and organize for January 2012. And let us all hold ourselves (and each other) close this summer - during these months of transformation, blooming, and heat... Let us tap into all the extraordinary energies that are circulating and offering blessings and possibilities for growth and change. Let us keep looking up and letting the universe and the moon guide us. 

Under an orange moon in North Carolina in mid June, I let go of so much - and by doing that, I found SPACE to breathe, release, and expand - spirited evolution and creative blossoms fueled by the elements - exfoliating in golden sand, bathing in greenish blue salty ocean, embracing full moon blessings, soaking in high tides, building with chosen family, and carving space to be who we are. 

I Give Thanks.

28 April 2011

Sharing Knowledge about Caribbean Sexualities

As part of my work with the Caribbean Region of the IRN (International Resource Network), I have organized events and been working on several projects that bring together activists, artists, scholars, and writers who engage with the lives and concerns of sexual minorities in the region and in its diaspora. I have had the great opportunity to build with and support the amazing organizing happening in the region. And I have had the honor to help bring awareness to the complexity of our lives at home and abroad. I have the pleasure of being on the board of the Caribbean IRN since 2008, and I co-chair with my friend and colleague Rosamond King - and we are on the board with Colin Robinson and Natalie Bennett - and our coordination consultant is Vidyaratha Kissoon. This has been some of the most rewarding community work I have been a part of -- work that challenges the divide between academia and community, work that consistently challenges us in the diaspora to ground ourselves in the local/regional, work that reminds us of the common and different struggles we face as sexual minorities -- lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, questioning, queer, and all the names/unnames we give ourselves.

I wanted to spend some time on conscious vibration sharing two of the exciting projects we are in the process of building and bringing to fruition.

1) Open Source (free access) Digital Archive Collection with Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC) - in the past two years of collecting resources and sharing information among our networks, the Caribbean IRN has been building a general collection of information, reports, resources, data, creative, and scholarly work on issues related to diverse genders and sexualities in the Caribbean. We are also digitizing and preserving a beautiful collection of materials from the Gay Freedom Movement (GFM) in Jamaica (active from 1974-1983). The general collection is up and available for review on our page on the dLOC website. And the GFM Collection will be available sometime late June. We are also hosting an event to launch the GFM collection on July 21st that will be hosted in Brooklyn and also broadcast on the web with hubs in the region. I will post more details on this important event soon! In the meantime, PLEASE check out and spread the news about these important collections we are building on dLOC.

2) Theorizing Homophobia(s) in the Caribbean Project - articles, essays, non-fiction, fiction, stories, poetry, activist reports, visual art, music, interviews, and other works that will reflect on the complexities of homophobia(s) in the Caribbean and to expand awareness about Caribbean LGBT lives, experiences, and activism in the region and its diaspora. (Deadline for proposals is April 30th!!! - an abstract/description and a bio - see details below.)

Background for this project: During the first Caribbean Sexualities Gathering in Kingston, Jamaica sponsored by the Caribbean IRN in June 2009, we brought together over 30 activists, scholars, and community workers from inside and outside the region. One of the issues raised during our workshop meeting was the need for a defining and re-defining of homophobia in the Caribbean from a variety of perspectives, and more specifically, the need for theorizing about the different kinds of homophobia(s) across the region. A year later, the Caribbean IRN facilitated a workshop on Strategies to Confront Homophobia at the annual Caribbean Studies Association conference. We expanded upon this issue by highlighting the realities of sexual minority organizing, offering possible sites and contexts for exploring this issue, and creating space for scholars, artists, writers, and activists to exchange.

Call for Submissions
The Caribbean Region of the International Resource Network (IRN) seeks to connect academic and community-based researchers, artists, and activists around the Caribbean and in the diaspora in areas related to diverse sexualities and genders. The IRN is housed at the Center for Lesbian and Gay Studies at the City University of New York, funded through the Ford Foundation, and located on the web at http://www.irnweb.org.

Homophobia in the Caribbean has received a lot of given international attention recently. Certain Caribbean countries have been targeted by international organizations because of publicized violence committed against LGBT people and the apparent absence of public condemnation. However, the public and international human rights discourse that describes Caribbean homophobia rarely includes the larger contexts of poverty, structural adjustment, neocolonialism, and violence in general within the region. It has been accepted that homophobia in the Caribbean has its roots in laws, religion, and social perceptions of gendered identity. But LGBT activists and others living in the Caribbean have also recognised that there is a complex range of viewpoints and attitudes that must be accounted for in our defining of homophobia. Some scholars and activists have argued that what we need is a new set of theories, writings, and understandings of the kinds of homophobia(s) that exist across the region, and clear distinctions among Caribbean island-nations in terms of the work being done on the ground and the various cultural landscapes and shifts regarding LGBT identities. These theories, writings, and understandings should necessarily include discussions about gender performance, hetero-sexism, and transphobia that encompass homophobia(s), as well as the economic and social contexts mentioned above.

Questions we hope to address in this project include: How is homophobia perpetrated and experienced in different Caribbean communities? What have been the strategies for organizing against homophobia and homophobic violence? What are the successes and challenges in this work? What new strategies do we need? How is the Caribbean shifting in terms of tolerance and acceptance of diverse genders and sexualities? And why? How do we bridge the gap between theory and practice, home and abroad/diaspora, policies/law and cultural norms?

To that end, we propose a collection of articles, essays, non-fiction, fiction, stories, poetry, activist reports, visual art, music, interviews, and other works that will reflect on the complexities of homophobia(s) in the Caribbean and to expand awareness about Caribbean LGBT lives, experiences, and activism in the region and its diaspora. We seek to disrupt the divide between academia and community, while locating theories and knowledge in multiple sites and discourses.

This collection will be edited by the Caribbean IRN coordination consultant Vidyaratha Kissoon and its board members Natalie Bennett, Rosamond King, Angelique Nixon, and Colin Robinson.

Themes that may be addressed in the collection include:

  • Caribbean Sexual Minorities, Citizenship and the State (Island-Nation)
  • Religion and LGBT citizens in the Caribbean: Condemning the Sin or the Sinner
  • Contextualizing Caribbean Homophobia: Religion, Colonialism, Neocolonialism, Poverty, and/or Structural Violence
  • The Impact of Global LGBTQ Movements on Homophobia and LGBT activism in the Caribbean
  • The Language of Homophobia: Caribbean Nuances, Silences, & Stigmas
  • Politics of “coming out” and being publicly LGBT: concerning safety and visibility inside the Caribbean and its diaspora (Can we be safe and visible?)
  • Symptoms of Homophobia: violence within institutions and popular culture (ex. music specifically Dancehall as scapegoat, often seen as cause of violence itself, without nuance or discussion of other aspects of Caribbean culture, particularly outside the region - i.e. “murder music” campaign)
  • Costs of homophobia in the region: violence, gender-based violence, hyper-masculinity, heterosexism, transphobia, bi-phobia, lesbophobia, etc.
  • Caribbean LGBT anti-violence work, community organizing, and human rights discourse
  • Migration and Diaspora: Politics of Asylum Discourse inside and outside the Caribbean
  • Intersectional Analysis of Caribbean LGBT Violence (relationships among various kinds of violence - patriarchal violence, youth violence, child abuse, sexual abuse, LGBT violence, bullying, etc.)
  • (Emerging) Queer Caribbean Diaspora(s) and its relationship to home
  • Imported Homophobia: how non-Caribbean movements against homophobia are targeting the region
Works can be accepted in digital text format, digital audio (mp3 or OGG format), digital image format or digital video. Abstracts of no more than 500 words should be submitted in MS Word or Open Document Format by April 30th with a short bio of the authors/producers. For those submitting creative work (visual, literary, audio, etc,), please send a short description of the creative piece(s) you plan to submit along with a bio. If you have completed pieces, feel free to submit those on April 30th. Please submit proposals via email to caribbeanirn@gmail.com. If accepted for detailed review, the completed work will be due by July 1st and it will be shared/published through our Internet platform in the Fall 2011. Eventually, we plan to approach a journal and/or publisher for a print publication.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We would like to represent as much of the region as possible. We acknowledge the limitations in asking for proposals in English, yet we seek to be inclusive and representative. While the primary language for the collection will be English, we plan to translate the collection into Spanish, Dutch, and French. And we are specifically looking not only for pieces that engage the English speaking Caribbean, but also the Spanish, Dutch, and French speaking. To that end, we are accepting proposal is these languages. Also, we are working on translating this call for submissions into Spanish, French, and Dutch, and we are looking for translators for the final submissions.


Please share & spread the word! 
with peace, light & conscious vibes!

22 April 2011

Defining Earth Democracy & Rights of Mother Earth

Blessings & Healing Vibrations for Earth Day! While so many of us celebrate the earth everyday and live our lives in ways that are sustainable and green, this day should still serve as a collective reminder of how much work there is to do. Given the urgency of this struggle to save the planet (quite literally) from human-made destruction, we must do whatever we can to spread awareness, raise consciousness, and hold leaders accountable. People of color around the world and countries most affected from environmental degradation in the Global South have already taken the lead in these movements for environmental justice.

Democracy Now took time today to reflect on these very issues:
As the world celebrates Earth Day, Bolivia is about to pass the world’s first law that grants nature equal rights with humans. The Bolivian delegation to the United Nations urged the global body to adopt a similar law during this week’s Harmony with Nature conference. This week also marks the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill; next week, the 25th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster. Radiation levels around the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan remain high. As these disasters multiply, Latin American countries such as Bolivia have taken the lead in adopting measures to protect the environment. Ecuador has also adopted a resolution protecting nature.

We speak with two renowned environmental justice activists: Maude Barlow and Vandana Shiva. Maude Barlow is the head of the Council of Canadians, Canada’s largest public advocacy organization. Barlow is also co-founder of the Blue Planet Project and chair of the board of Food and Water Watch. Vandana Shiva, world-renowned environmental leader, feminist and thinker from India, is the author of many books, including Earth Democracy: Justice, Sustainability, and Peace and Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development.

Earth Day Special: Vandana Shiva and Maude Barlow on the Rights of Mother Earth

Let's take time to reflect on the work of these amazing women - and honor them and the earth. Let us think about what it means to define the rights of the Earth and what it would really mean to protect these rights or what we can call Earth Democracy. In this interview, Amy Goodman asks Vandana Shiva what "earth democracy" means, and she defines it this way:

For me, earth democracy means, first, recognizing the fundamental fact that we are part of nature, that human rights and nature’s rights are not separate, because we are just one strand in this amazing mystery and miracle that the earth has created in terms of life. But earth democracy also means democracy in the everyday life of people, exercised daily by ordinary people, not the once in a five-year or four-year election, because everywhere around the world, we are seeing, you can bring someone to power, and they don’t represent your will anymore.
So, democracy under corporate control has mutated from "of the people, by the people, for the people" into "of the corporations, by the corporations, for the corporations." In this country, I watched how Wisconsin suddenly became a playground for destruction of democracy and destruction of the fundamental rights of collective bargaining and public services and public domain, only because there is this corporate pressure on privatizing everything and preventing people from exercising their democratic rights.
So, it’s the democratic rights of the people and the earth versus the fictitious corporate rights that corporations have assigned to themselves, and now they’re costing the earth and people too much. They’re bringing nothing in return. It used to be the case that when General Motors put out a car, it gave employment. It even gave salaries so people could buy that car. Today, the corporations give nothing back to society. They just take from nature, take from society, and want to rubbish this planet and rubbish our lives. And I think people are getting fed up. The entire rising in the Arabic world is part of that fed-upness.

14 April 2011

"after winter... must come spring"

My heart is heavy as I write on my blog for the first time in months... I've been on a blog hiatus... overwhelmed with teaching, writing, deadlines, community work, and everything in between. Since December, it has has been ridiculously hectic for me - and the time has flown by, as it does...  and we are now deep into the double ones (yes that's 2011 :) and there is so much to say... so much to share... and even more importantly so much to do.

(I started writing this on April 1st...  and just finished it today...)

I've been immersed in the news of revolutions and resistance across North Africa and the Middle East since December. I've been devastated over the tsunami and earthquake in Japan... and the nuclear fallout...  So much so that I haven't been able to write about it... only posting news articles on facebook. As I continue to send prayers and healing thoughts to the people of Japan, I am astonished at what is happening... and how quickly this disaster has faded from mainstream news. I consider the differences between Japan and Haiti: clearly there are major differences - they are after all on completely opposite ends of the political and economic spectrum. Nevertheless, both places have been suffered unspeakable loss and pain... yet they are discussed and represented differently. We should ask ourselves why. Why do we use differences to place value and moral judgments? What is at the root of these differing representations and why?

I am thinking about the number of news/opinion pieces on "Why the Japanese don't loot" with comparisons to Haiti and New Orleans. I am thinking about the paternalistic attention / relationship to Haiti in the United States. Perhaps it is what Elizabeth Alexander discusses as "the Black body in pain" being a symbol of both racial conflict and American unity. One could argue that U.S. media is obsessed with the Black body in pain - as it is captivated with the "morality" and culture of Japan. These dichotomies are nevertheless grounded in new forms of racism that still serve white supremacy. 

I feel and hear the pain and loss of our Japanese brothers and sisters... entire communities of people who have lost everything... who churned through dust, rubble, and radiated air to find loved ones... who must be trying to make sense of all this loss and the fears of another nuclear catastrophe...  who wait to identify bodies...  who must fear the mass graves just as our Haitian brothers and sisters did and continue to suffer through the anguish of not being able to properly honor their dead.

I don't want to have a conversation about why Japanese people aren't looting... so that mass media can perpetuate racial stereotypes of model minorities versus looting Black folks...  I don't want to hear the blame conveniently placed on Japanese plants who were somehow supposed to be prepared for a massive earthquake of deadly proportions.  I don't...  and I can't...  (Indeed, there are cultural differences which can account for different responses to disaster, but these exist within larger structural and economic forces and frameworks.)  

divide and conquer still
proliferation of war at the expense of life in the guise of peace
the earth speaking and we turn our backs on her
ignore her, pretend that these catastrophes are natural or unrelated
as she tells us through tremors and waves, heat and ice, 
dead dolphins on beaches, birds falling from the sky,
radiation spilling into air, water, and living cells,
that she is tired

She speaks through our bodies and the land on which we live
She tells us to listen and rise up with the movements & struggles
coursing through her deserts, hills, cities, and oceans

How will we live through these changes?
How can we create a better, livable future?
How do we build community with less and less resources?
How do we take back our lives from corporate interests and war machines?

These are the questions that occupy my consciousness as I keep my ears and heart to the ground. I honor those deep in the struggle and fighting for their very lives. I am humbled to be a witness & warrior.

Revolutions & Uprisings
     Tunisia, Egypt, Algeria, Bahrain, Libya, Syria, Iran
Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Palestine, Cote d'Ivoire
Labor Protests & Attacks on Workers Rights & Women's Rights
     United States - Wisconsin, Ohio, Florida, Indiana, Kansas
(Un)natural disasters in Haiti, Chile, Japan

I hold space
prayers, blessings, light
in these dark troubling times

"change will come eventually"

(I'm back from my hiatus... more reflections soon come on conscious vibration...)