22 April 2013

Earthday Reflections & Spring Catch Up!

Still riding high on the wave of the publication of my book Saltwater Healing! I'm thrilled to announce that my New York launch is coming up on May 2nd at Bluestockings! I've been blessed with help from one of my former NYU students - Jessica Lynne - who took a class with me in Spring 2009. And she offered to help me organize this event - and she has been amazing! (Thank you Jessica!) She will be the host for the event. And I'm really excited to share the stage with my fellow poet sistren - Charan P Morris and Gabrielle Civil - who will be sharing some of their work. Also Sonia Farmer - editor/founder of Poinciana Paper Press will also be there! Can't wait to celebrate with my NY community!


This winter was a rough one for my island blood - hence, I've been in hibernation mode. Although this is my fourth winter, I still ain't use to the cold... and so winters are hard for me still. And each year brings another set of challenges as the planet responds to / is deeply affected by climate change and the weather gets stranger and more severe. We are all affected yet experience it in different ways. But the reality is sinking in for many of us around the world - we in trouble. Seriously... we are at a critical juncture and finally - since Superstorm Sandy, the U.S. mass media is paying attention. I went to the climate change march protesting the Keystone pipeline on 17th February in Washington, D.C. - ironically on the coldest day ever - and in spite of the frigid weather - thousands of people marched and carried signs and participated in this public outcry calling for change - to stop the pipeline, to cut emissions, to create a carbon tax, support cleaner and greener alternative energies, etc. While I generally feel that "the march" is no longer the most effective way to create change, what I do find valuable is the sense of solidarity that can be built during such a protest. There is something magical that happens when people come together united and in solidarity around issues that are a common or shared experience and/or concern. I believe in that power and possibility. I believe it helps us to feel more united and less alone in the struggle. But I also believe the real work happens before and after the protest. 

Some thoughts and reflections during the snow and stormy madness of these winter months. I've also been hard at work on my scholarly book Resisting Paradise - revising, re-working, and editing. And then there's teaching - the day to day of prep work, reading, grading, more grading. Through all this, climate change and what are we doing and must do differently weigh heavily on my spirit. And so today - Earthday - is just another reminder, but also a moment to reflect and pour so much love and light into the earth - and use these moments to take action. We each have a part to play in how we can help save this/our planet. I've spent many years doing different kinds of organizing work, but most of all, I make great efforts to live in the most ethical and sustainable ways as I can. 

I've spent the past two years developing a social and environmental justice curriculum for high school and college courses based on Hurricane Season with a team of educators and activists. I created and taught the college course at Susquehanna University for the past three semesters - and its been a journey! There have been challenges and successes as I introduce first year college students to issues like state violence, mass incarceration, gender-based violence, the water crisis, climate change, environmental injustice, disaster capitalism, and displacement through the lens of Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans and the earthquake in Haiti. After teaching over 120 students this curriculum, I have to say that regardless of the difficulties they have in getting some of the material, most of them leave the course understanding the environmental crisis we are in and how this affects all of us. My main goal in this course is to help them to think more critically about the world, to see the relationship between social and environmental issues, and to get them to be engaged in learning, reading, and writing about these issues in critical and solution oriented ways. Teaching and preparing for these classes keep me in up to date and in constant search for new ideas and information. 

And this year's winter hibernation kept me focused. Now I am coming up for air and spring time, ready for summer heat, and wanting to share more on conscious vibration about what I've been up to these past months.

Soon come - full report of my inspiring time with the brilliant Carole Boyce Davies, who has been an important mentor to me since I was a graduate student. I asked her to do a lecture at the university where I work - and the event was amazing!

All this and more brought me out of my winter hibernation into spring bloom!

1 comment:

Lici said...

Girl, you have a LOT going on. Kudos to you for taking it on and rocking it out!
Congrats again on Saltwater Healing, and getting it out there to the people. I'm sure the NY launch will be lots of fun, especially with cool writerly types to share it with.
And a scholarly book in the works? Well, well, well! Happy creating! :)