What’s new…

Hello friends,

I’ve been absent for a long time from the blogosphere…. it can be really hard to stay connected and keep writing when everything feels like it is spinning around you.

The last year has been a huge handful of excitement, transition, journey, adventure, climax, confusion and challenge.  Somethings have been hard and others have been so affirming and I’m in the middle of learning lots of big lessons.

I have lots to share and am going to try and commit myself to sharing more regularly.  I want to give you all some updates about what’s been new, especially in relationship to some of my previous posts AND I want to send some updates about the New Mythos Project.  I appreciate all the support that lots of y’all have given me in my life journey and I’m crafting time to share these upates with you, so I appreciate your ongoing patience.

Looking forward to re-connecting.

This is one of the many images that keeps me inspired. Hope you enjoy it too!

Advertisements

INCITE! Western Mass. reading Group

INCITE! Reading Group. First Tuesdays of the month. 7-9 pm.Food For Thought Books Collective, Amherst. Suggested donation 5.00, absolutely nobody turned away for lack of funds.

Dear To tell you the Truth Community,

As a collaboration between To tell you the Truth and Food For Thought Books Collective, I’ve started a new INCITE! Reading group.  This past Tuesday marked our first meeting time and I wanted to share with you that we had a lovely, inspirational, inter-generational group.  It was a pleasure to learn with the folks who attended and I’m really excited about the process that we’re involved in!  In preparation for our next INCITE! reading group I’m sending out these brief notes about the evening.

It is always touching to share the opportunity to read the words of radical people of color and share our thoughts on liberation and self-determination within a circle of women and gender-non-conforming poc.   Collectively, we read the read the intro of  Color of Violence (the INCITE! Book that we are currently focusing on).  We were all deeply moved by the affirmation that the books introduction offered to us.   We talked about ways that we actively combat imperialism, ways that we build community/ combat the culture of detachment, goals of our reading group (including creating media projects and possibly starting a Western Mass. INCITE! Chapter!).  As you can see, there is a lot to be excited about.   We are excited for other women and gender-non-conforming folks of color to feel welcome to join us, so don’t be shy… come when you can! ❤ !

We agreed that each month we’d discuss a certain section of the book and that each of us would do our best to come having pre-read the section and picked out a piece that we’d like to read aloud and discuss with each other.  In addition, on behalf of To tell you the Truth I’m going to share some media making/testimonio skills with the group.

Here’s the schedule that we think makes the most sense:

August 3, 2010 7-9pm –

Section of the Book: Reconceptualizing Anti-Violence Strategies

Media skill: blogging

September 7, 2010 7-9pm-

Section of the Book: Forms of Violence

Media skill: tbd

October 5, 2010 7-9pm-

Section of the Book: Building Movement

Media skill: tbd

********************************************************************

If you don’t already have the book and are local you can pick it up at Food for Thought Books Collective, you’ll receive 10% off of it if you are a member of the reading group.

Here’s a little info about it:

Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology

In the tradition of This Bridge Called My Back, Color of Violence is an urgent, bold, and essential intervention in the war against women of color, their communities, and, ultimately, us all.

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence, a national organization of radical feminists of color, announces Color of Violence: The INCITE! Anthology, an anthology of critical writings demanding that we address violence against women of color in all its forms, including interpersonal violence, such as sexual and domestic violence, and state violence, such as police brutality, militarism, attacks on immigrants and Indian treaty rights, the proliferation of prisons, economic neo-colonialism, and violence from the medical industry. Color of Violence presents the fierce and vital writing of 33 visionary radical feminists of color. These writers not only investigate the intersecting ways in which violence and oppression exist in the lives of women of color and our communities, they also map innovative strategies of movement building and resistance used by women and trans people of color around the world.

quick note on Haiti.

the situation in haiti is painful, critical and incredibly important.  as someone who came from a country that has experienced its own share of loss and devestation due to active imperialism i see the ongoing issues in haiti as far greater than this most recent earthquake.  i stand in solidarity with the haitian people and our need to support the rebuilding efforts in both immediate and ongoing ways and i ask that we look closely at the leading factors (many of which we contributed towards) that led haiti into the economic crisis it has been in.  i feel so glad to witness so many people who are willing to think critically about the systemic issues that have impacted the country of haiti WHILE simultaneously supporting the people’s of haiti through ongoing fundraising efforts, raising visibility about the current situation,  educating ourselves about the history of resistance that the haitian people have embodied, y’all  and creating spaces for support through community building and sharing resources with local haitian descendents.

here are a few things i’ve found informative and interesting that have been written about the current situation in haiti.  i’ll begin with the one that pertains to this blog’s theme (adoption):

1. a shout out about this ADWATCH article.. my most favorite suggestion (though they are all brilliant) is in the comments:

I’d add – Don’t adopt a Haitian Child. After disasters there is often a heartfelt desire and a rush to adopt “Orphans”.

The problem is they are often not orphans – and even when they are, where possible it’s better for then to be cared for by extended family or adopted within their communities.

At times of disaster when families are trying to reunite and child protection systems are weaker is not the time to “fast-track” international adoptions and remove the important safeguards that should normally be in place to protect the best interest of the child.

2. the always brilliant and **incitefull** sisters of INCITE Women’s Health and Justice Initiative have authored this letter, I love this part:

As many of us work to figure out appropriate strategies to support the people of Haiti, it�s important to note that the people most vulnerable–namely, women, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, incarcerated people, children, and elders–can experience a slower unfolding of specific crises that are consequences of the original disaster and the social conditions that preceded the disaster.For example, women experience the most negative consequences of catastrophic events, particularly with regards to higher rates of injury and death, displacement, unemployment, increased incidents of HIV rates, sexual and domestic violence, increased poverty, and the disproportionate responsibility for caring for others.  This is especially true for women marginalized by race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, health, ability, age, housing, and legal status.  Additionally, in times of crises and environmental emergencies, poor and marginalized women, who are least responsible for the horrific conditions in which they live, are often blamed for their poverty and become subjected to regulatory population control policies through family planning, poverty reduction, and so-called environmental protection programs.
(and some of their suggestions)
EDUCATE YOURSELF & YOUR COMMUNITY!

  • Research Haiti�s amazing history of resistance, resiliency, and self-determination
  • Educate your community on the colonial history of deliberate impoverishment, control, debt, dependency, and neglect in Haiti
  • Educate yourself and your community on the intersections of gender, violence, and disaster vulnerabilities
  • Examine how the crises of disasters and gender-based violence are connected to the social, political, environmental, and economic issues you may work on
  • Analyze how the violence of disasters and colonial legacies (and realities) undermines the sovereignty and self-determination of a people
  • Identify patterns of how women, LGBT people, and people with disabilities are particularly impacted by disaster and conflict situations in, for example, Haiti, New Orleans, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Congo, the U.S./Mexico border, Native reservations

ORGANIZE!

  • Convene organizing teach-ins on the history of Haiti, its historical connection to New Orleans, and the role the U.S. government has played in the underdevelopment of Haiti through invasion, occupation, and neoliberal supported policies
  • Reach out to Haitian immigrants and Haitian-Americans in your community who may need support
  • Support progressive democratic and human rights movements in Haiti and campaigns calling for debt cancelation and those to eliminate foreign aid restrictions that privilege US based contractors over Haitian labor
  • Support the capacity of the Haitian government to rebuild its institutional and physical infrastructure and provide sustainable and equitable public and relief services to it�s own people free of neoliberal mandates
  • Ensure that gendered perspectives are mainstreamed within humanitarian programs and long term recovery, both in recognizing the leadership roles and facilities of women and other marginalized communities to guide these processes and the specific vulnerabilities of marginalized communities in times of crisis and national emergency
  • Mobilize women of color & queer/LGBT people of color in your community to develop and share organizing strategies to address crises like these both abroad and here at home
  • Share organizing models and build skills to strengthen our grassroots organizing

DONATE!

3.  and I have a new-found love for the ILLDOCTRINE blog.. and really appreciated THIS perspective on haiti.


in peace y solidarity y’all.

Every day I am deluged with reminders that this is not my land…and this is my land.

Poem For The Young White Man Who Asked Me How I, An Intelligent, Well-Read Person, Could Believe In The War Between Races

by Lorna Dee Cervantes. Reprinted from Emplumada, a collection of poetry by Lorna Dee Cervantes, printed by University of Pittsburgh Press, 1981.

In my land there are no distinctions.
The barbed wire politics of oppression
have been torn down long ago. The only reminder
of past battles, lost or won, is a slight
rutting in the fertile fields.

In my land
people write poems about love,
full of nothing but contented childlike syllables.
Everyone reads Russian short stories and weeps.
There are no boundaries.
There is no hunger, no
complicated famine or greed.

I am not a revolutionary.
I don’t even like political poems.
Do you think I can believe in a war between races?
I can deny it. I can forget about it
when I’m safe,
living on my own continent of harmony
and home, but I am not
there.

I believe in revolution
because everywhere the crosses are burning,
sharp-shooting goose-steppers round every corner,
there are snipers in the schools…
(I know you don’t believe this.
You think this is nothing
but faddish exaggeration. But they
are not shooting at you.)

I’m marked by the color of my skin.
The bullets are discrete and designed to kill slowly.
They are aiming at my children.
These are facts.
Let me show you my wounds: my stumbling mind, my
“excuse me” tongue, and this
nagging preoccupation
with the feeling of not being good enough.

These bullets bury deeper than logic.
Racism is not intellectual.
I can not reason these scars away.

Outside my door
there is a real enemy
who hates me.

I am a poet
who yearns to dance on rooftops,
to whisper delicate lines about joy
and the blessings of human understanding.
I try. I go to my land, my tower of words and
bolt the door, but the typewriter doesn’t fade out
the sounds of blasting and muffled outrage.
My own days bring me slaps on the face.
Every day I am deluged with reminders
that this is not
my land

and this is my land.

I do not believe in the war between races

but in this country
there is war.

inspiration comes from.

“…what is most important to me must be spoken, made verbal and shared, even at the risk of having it bruised or misunderstood.”  –Audre Lorde

this is the art i’ve been dreaming of. literally.

omygoodness.   I’ve been thinking a lot about the intersections between new media and traditional forms of knowledge and how these intersections can be ways of supporting tradition, innovation, resistance and liberation.  As a media-maker, I’ve thought a lot about non-traditional forms of telling stories and the value of stories to allow us as individuals and communities  to grow and remain in movement.  I want to both  honor our traditions and create space for challenge in order to support growth.   This is particularly challenging when, as indigenos, we are usually FORCED  into the frozen stance (as my sister Whisper says)  of the “American Imaginary”.    Born out of a flat analysis, the “American Imaginary”  boxes us into specific archetypes and narratives that,  though perhaps grounded in truth,  metaphorically and at times literally  “freeze” us and immobilize us from engaging in healthy movement and LIFE.  As a guatemalan-born/ mixed -id’d/ mayan-adoptee I’ve  dreamed about new and innovative ways to create forums and craft form that embodies the intersections of say,  mayan id, transracial queer, working class, single teen mama id.   For example, as a queerasfuck femme I’ve LITERALLY dreamed of beginning a series of corsets created out of huipil’s with stories attached to each… though I have yet to begin work on that.  I am so excited by the thoughts of spaces for dialogue, beauty, challenge & examination of the COMPLEX identities embodies by the our contemporary indigena communities. .  Fierce and phenomenal chicana and radical latina artists  have had HUGE impacts on me but I’ve been hungry to see this come from other guatemelan/ mayan artists.  Today, I got a taste of a  contemporary and GUATEMALAN artist who is  actively engaged in a similar examination!  I came across this blog (and art work)  and it was as if an answer was given to me in the form of possibilities.  A sweet affirmation that this form of mayan/guatemalan  art CAN and DOES exist. From her website:

Maya Escobar is a Guatemalan-Jewish digital media and performance artist, currently living in St. Louis. Her work addresses issues of cultural hybridity, gender, placelessness, and the construction of identity. Rio Yañez is a Chicano curator, photographer, and graphic artist based out of San Francisco. His work utilizes and challenges Chicano mythology and visual iconography.

(In) “Acciones Plásticas プリクラ” (they) challenge and question the thin line between archetype and stereotype.

Check it out:

http://mayaescobar.com/Acciones_Plasticas_Purikura.html

truths that inform me.

“A theory in the flesh means one where the physical realities of our lives-our skin color, the land or concrete we grew up on, our sexual longings-all fuse to create a politic born out of necessity.  Here, we attempt to bridge the contradictions in our experience.
We are the colored in a white feminist movement.
We are the feminists among the people of our culture.
We are often the lesbians among the straight.
We do this bridging by naming our selves and by telling our stories in our own words.”

From Cherrie Moraga and Gloria Anzaldua, This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color San Francisco: Aunt Lute Press, 1981.