Statement against SB1070 & why I’m supporting the boycott.

I don’t know how much I’ve shared about the organizing work I do locally but, to make  a sort of long story REALLY short, I commit myself to organizing locally, often.

Recently I have been SO completely floored & infuriated by:

1. what is happening in Arizona with the passing of SB1070, a completely racist, xenophobic piece of legislature that targets undocumented folks, specifically latino’s and indigenous folks;

2. the following anti-ethnic studies bill that passed immediately following SB1070, which surely is also intended to specifically target communities of color and, even more specifically, mexican’s and other latino’s, and,

3.  the  ongoing assignment of value to human beings based on completely capitalistic, imperialistic systems that define human beings by dollar values, which, if you’ve been following this blog,  has been an ongoing outrage to me but particularly poignant for me since my latest trip through the southwest (you can read more about that at newmythotour.wordpress.com, the latest entry is actually about NAFTA’s impact on border town and immigrant workers in El Paso)

Therefore, I’m committing myself to organizing locally against SB1070 and joining local residents in making a call to action to our local town to join suit with other cities in boycotting Arizona and becoming a sanctuary city.

I recognize that this is NOT the only means of response that we must take on. In fact, I realize that there are lots of folks who are questioning whether or not boycotts are actually harmful to the very residents we are aiming to support.  I understand those responses and I stand behind this call to boycott for the following reasons:

  • I believe in following the call to actions that have been put forth by folks in Arizona and I support self-determination;
  • I cannot, in good consciousness, advocate sending my resources, or  my communities resources to a state who has implemented racist-hate-legislation against the very immigrants whose labor they have and continue to benefit from;
  • I believe that boycotting has been an effective tool in various social justice movements for various reasons, including;  raising visibility about a particular issue, proving moral outrage, symbolizing solidarity and creating economic pressure, and,
  • I choose organizing from a multi-faceted place, recognizing that many means may be necessary and effective if serving in unison. (I think of this organizing from a place of abundance “and/with” instead of a scarcity “either/or”)

So, with all that said,  I will continue to post about what other folks are doing on multiple levels to respond to and counteract this latest Arizona legislature and  I’ll list sources where you can get more info. Here are a few to begin with:

InciteBlog May 1st: Mobilize for Immigration Safety & Justice

InciteBlog: INCITE! LA Chapter Opposes Arizona SB1070

AltoArizona

toki-wright-by-the-time-i-get-to-arizona-redeux: mix for you!

Oh, and a post about Arizona (and other resources) that I co-authored with my collective bookstore, can be found here.

Below is the statement we wrote.  Per usual,  I’d love to hear from y’all.  What are your thoughts on what’s happening in Arizona? What are some ways that you are responding locally?  What are your thoughts on boycotts?  What are resources you’re using/ following to keep up with what’s happening in Arizona?   What are upcoming actions you’d like folks to know about?  Please feel free to post those here.

Peace everyone.

Statement Against SB1070

By: tk (tanya karakashian) tunchez, Lani Blechman on behalf of No Way SB1070-(local organizing group of Western Mass concerned residents against SB1070)

We have written this statement to address our concerns regarding the SB 1070 legislation that recently passed in Arizona.

SB1070 was signed last week by Governor Jan Brewer of Arizona (the same state that a few years ago denied a holiday for Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.). This piece of legislation allows citizens to sue local police departments if they do not feel like the legislation is being enacted effectively, criminalizes transporting, harboring or shielding anyone if the person knows or disregards the fact that they are undocumented and permits law enforcement to question people about their citizenship, based on “reasonable suspicion”.

We agree with Presente.com (a national Latino network) statement that , “(the law) will authorize officers to pull over, question, and detain anyone they have a “reasonable suspicion” to believe is in this country without proper documentation. It’s legalized racial profiling, and it’s an affront on all of our civil rights, especially Latinos”.

We stand in solidarity with the First Nation United statement released April 28, 2010 that,
“This bill is extremely detrimental to the indigenous communities (including indigenous peoples of Latin American origin), which reside in the state of Arizona as well as those who live throughout the country. The language of the bill states that if there is “reasonable suspicion” that a person is an illegal immigrant, a “reasonable attempt shall be made, when practicable” to check for documents. Such language purposefully promotes the racial profiling of brown-skinned people, and in particular, of people of American indigenous background”.

We are calling on the town of Amherst to join suit with San Francisco in boycotting Arizona and ending any and all contracts with Arizona-based companies and to stop doing business with the state.

We are also calling on the town of Amherst to not only act as a sanctuary city, but also to become a sanctuary city by law. Our town government must take action to ensure that municipal funds or resources are not used to enforce federal immigration laws, and that our police and municipal employees do not inquire about anyone’s immigration status.

We place this call of action to the citizens of this community to stand against this legislature. Please do:

• Flood the offices of Governor Jan Brewer, voicing your dissent against this bill.

This is her full contact information:
The Honorable Jan Brewer
Governor of Arizona
1700 West Washington
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
Telephone (602) 542-4331
Toll Free 1-(800) 253-0883
Fax (602) 542-1381

• Boycott national corporations who are headquartered in Arizona. Don’t book a flight on U.S. Airways, don’t get a domain name through Go Daddy, don’t rent a U-Haul truck AND let them know WHY you will not be supporting their businesses. Other businesses include: Petsmart and Cold Stone Creamery. You can find more businesses and other ways to support by visiting: http://padresunidos.org

• Please do support folks in Arizona who are actively resisting this bill by staying up to date on what is happening and following their leads as they make calls to action.

We will continue to stand against this legislation. If you want to support our efforts to form a local critical resistance to this racist-legislature you can email us at nowaysb1070@gmail.com

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Self – Portrait.

It’s way smaller than I thought but the quote below says:

“By creating a new mythos – that is, a change in the way we perceive reality, the way we see ourselves, and the ways we behave – la mestiza creates a new consciousness. The work of mestiza consciousness is to break down the subject/object duality that keeps her prisoner and to show in the flesh and through the images in her work how duality is transcended.” –Gloria Anzaldua

Statement of Haiti from Adoptees of Color Rountable

* this is the statement I made reference to in my last blog, find it here: http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/ *

Statement on Haiti

This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.

We understand that in a time of crisis there is a tendency to want to act quickly to support those considered the most vulnerable and directly affected, including children. However, we urge caution in determining how best to help. We have arrived at a time when the licenses of adoption agencies in various countries are being reviewed for the widespread practice of misrepresenting the social histories of children. There is evidence of the production of documents stating that a child is “available for adoption” based on a legal “paper” and not literal orphaning as seen in recent cases of intercountry adoption of children from Malawi, Guatemala, South Korea and China. We bear testimony to the ways in which the intercountry adoption industry has profited from and reinforced neo-liberal structural adjustment policies, aid dependency, population control policies, unsustainable development, corruption, and child trafficking.

For more than fifty years “orphaned children” have been shipped from areas of war, natural disasters, and poverty to supposedly better lives in Europe and North America. Our adoptions from Vietnam, South Korea, Guatemala and many other countries are no different from what is happening to the children of Haiti today. Like us, these “disaster orphans” will grow into adulthood and begin to grasp the magnitude of the abuse, fraud, negligence, suffering, and deprivation of human rights involved in their displacements.

We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family”  to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.

As adoptees of color many of us have inherited a history of dubious adoptions. We are dismayed to hear that Haitian adoptions may be “fast-tracked” due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents. We oppose this plan and argue that the loss of records requires slowing down of the processes of adoption while important information is gathered and re-documented for these children. Removing children from Haiti without proper documentation and without proper reunification efforts is a violation of their basic human rights and leaves any family members who may be searching for them with no recourse. We insist on the absolute necessity of taking the time required to conduct a thorough search, and we support an expanded set of methods for creating these records, including recording oral histories.

We urge the international community to remember that the children in question have suffered the overwhelming trauma of the earthquake and separation from their loved ones. We have learned first-hand that adoption (domestic or intercountry) itself as a process forces children to negate their true feelings of grief, anger, pain or loss, and to assimilate to meet the desires and expectations of strangers. Immediate removal of traumatized children for adoption—including children whose adoptions were finalized prior to the quake— compounds their trauma, and denies their right to mourn and heal with the support of their community.

We affirm the spirit of Cultural Sovereignty, Sovereignty and Self-determination embodied as rights for all peoples to determine their own economic, social and cultural development included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Charter of the United Nations; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The mobilization of European and North American courts, legislative bodies, and social work practices to implement forced removal through intercountry adoption is a direct challenge to cultural sovereignty. We support the legal and policy application of cultural rights such as rights to language, rights to ways of being/religion, collective existence, and a representation of Haiti’s histories and existence using Haiti’s own terms.

We offer this statement in solidarity with the people of Haiti and with all those who are seeking ways to intentionally support the long-term sustainability and self-determination of the Haitian people. As adoptees of color we bear a unique understanding of the trauma, and the sense of loss and abandonment that are part of the adoptee experience, and we demand that our voices be heard. All adoptions from Haiti must be stopped and all efforts to help children be refocused on giving aid to organizations working toward family reunification and caring for children in their own communities. We urge you to join us in supporting Haitian children’s rights to life, survival, and development within their own families and communities.


It’s been a long time… I shouldn’ta left ya.. without a…

dope blog to let you know:

Dear truthandhealing readers,

There is SOOO much going on!  As some of you may know, my family has been preparing to make a journey of sorts for quite some time now.  There’s been lots of ups and downs towards this eagerly awaited, hugely anticipated journey and we (especially ME) are/am just realizing that this whole PRE-journey deal is ACTUALLY PART of the whole journey.  Sometimes, even when I feel like I am walking in spirit, I lose sight of all that is happening around me and get lost in the destination.

There’s been a lot of mixed feelings about where we will end up and, to be completely honest, I’m still not sure.  There is a piece of me that wants to follow my heart only and pay  no regard to  very real and scary factors like, well, where will I work? Or, how am I gonna pay the bills? Or, how am I gonna make sure the kids get what THEY need out of this deal?  Or, how safe is safe when you are a queer brown person?  And mostly, are both of my top two chosen communities going to be able to give me (and my kid) the security/community/love/compassion/creativity/plainolqueerness that we need to keep us feeling like good/excited/creative/lovely queers back?

But even with questions looming, I am realizing that this part of the journey is just as valid as  getting to where we are going and finding the answers to those questions  will be.   I guess it’s on this end of the journey that the questions about who we are and what exactly it is we are looking for are coming up.  They aren’t getting answered, at least not in full yet, but they are sitting on the surface of our souls and letting our minds/heart and bodies embrace them.  And, to be honest, in embracing those brave questions (some of which are above and some of which I’ll share with you soon), we are learning to embrace ourselves and our family even more.

How important family/tribe/community/belonging is to me has been a theme for my entire life.  In my life as an “adopted”(stolen) displaced kid there has been no way to avoid wondering, thinking, questioning and almost semi-obsessing about where I came from and WHO I came from.  In my case, by who, I don’t mean literally WHO my biological parents were/are.  Though that piece was definitely important to me, as a little person I hungered SO deeply to understand WHO MY PEOPLE were/are.  All I really knew was that my ma’s last name was Tunchez and that she was Mayan, a tradition and culture that was practically devoid to me once my U.S. (adoptive) parents brought me here (against my will, if I dare be honest).   This experience of wanting to understand my culture, know my people and feel altogether isolated from my own history has been coming up a lot for me lately, especially with the recent (and predictable) case of American’s held in Haiti for attempting to “rescue” (read: take without legal authority/ ie. kidnap) Haitian children.  I have A LOT to say about that as these people were missionaries (as were my “adoptive” parents, who also never had legal papers for me at first, more later) and epitomized the predictable response of American’s/ Wealthy Nation’s  saviour mentalities.  I’ve thought a lot about whether adoption altogether is off the table for me and I don’t have a solid answer for that yet  but I do want to say, that in this case the ease with which these missionaries felt entitled to enter another country and take these children is representative of the larger issues we see in the cycle of ongoing international adoption cases. I’m going to call this cycle the International Adoption Industrial Complex (I’m not sure if I’m actually the first person calling it this and would love to hear if other folks have heard this term before) and it looks like this:   in Haiti, as well as in other countries that experience high rates of international adoptions with children landing/ being displaced to the U.S., we witness a cycle of Economic and Environmental Racism– devastation at the hands of wealthy nations (frequently including, if not headed by the U.S.) that includes the depletion of the countries natural resources and then eventually easily accessible adoptions (read: displacement and  removal) of the countries (brown) children into the hands of eagerly awaiting (white) American parents.   Now, the fact is, the country has been depleted of most of its resources, so, in some cases, the  families and mamaz of these children may feel like a better alternative to keeping the children in ongoing poverty is to put them up for adoption.  There’s no debating that. However, what becomes an issue is that, instead of working to create a world were resources are shared more equitably and where families can stay unified and are not at threat of being torn apart due to lack of resources, environmental and economic devastation (including corporate led/ funded wars)  the U.S.  benefits by contributing to these devastations and then in-sourcing children and ultimately, making these children one more imported commodity.

What does it feel like to be cast into a world where you are viewed as an  imported commodity?  Well,  I think that is what a lot of international transracial adoptees are talking about.  Here’s some examples:  it’s being brought to school for show and tell by your brothers and sisters (yes, that still happens) or having people impose their ideas of what was happening in your country ONTO you or being told your exotic or having folks expect that you know how to cook that food they eat “over there, where you’re from”.  It’s all of those things PLUS it’s being the only brown kid in your school or the only brown kid in your family circle, it’s realizing one day that your parent’s don’t have any other brown friends or being taken to African dance class each week for your  “cultural exposure”, when you’re from say, GUATEMALA… (just sayin, it happens people)… it’s not seeing positive reflections of yourself and having to imagine what a powerful brown person (who comes from the same geographical location as you do) even looks like, talks like, dresses like.. and I could go on and on.

It’s painful. It’s hard and it can leave you feeling pretty vulnerable until you actually find YOUR people. Now, as I mentioned, my family is on a journey to find home. It’s something that we are trying to open our hearts, spirits, bodies, souls to.. and part of that quest for me (24 years after being brought here) is still about finding positive reflections of me.. of my kids.. for us all.  As a parent, I am walking with spirit in understanding that THIS  IS the responsible thing to do and also, as a parent, I want to demand that  U.S. American (white) parents who continue to bring brown children from their countries and into their homes,  figure out a way to support their children in THEIR identity development, finding spaces where they can see positive reflections of themselves, encouraging them to discuss the very real, every day experiences of racism and other oppressions that they will experience in the US, preparing to be strong allies (learning what that even means) and really truly being prepared to support that kid when they want to go home and find the essence of who they are, were they came from and how they can make home again.   Finally, I  believe that it is important that these parents really examine what role they play in, and how they’ve benefitted from,  the International Adoption Industrial Complex.

Last month I signed onto a statement on behalf of the Adoptees of Color Rountable.. I’ll post it above and link to it here: http://www.adopteesofcolor.org/

Please check it out.

So, dearest readers, please bear with me as I continue down this journey, even when I am taking breaks and know that I am committed to this blog and to continuing to write about adoption, home, journey, figuring out next steps and so much more.

xo.

Haiku for Journey #1:

paths to home within

pass over body, heart, soul

through spirit we land

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.

adoption article.

As an international “adoptee”, I have frequently thought about what it would have been like to grow up with a family in Guatemala.  It isn’t the adoption itself that I have struggled with, per se… it’s the fact that the family that “adopted” me did not prepare themselves to responsibly handle the needs of a  transracial adoption.  For them, it was their needs that were being met but they didn’t have the insight or tools to realize that bringing a child from another country and displacing them in another culture, surrounded by a predominantly white and economically privileged community, would bring up issues for the child(me).   There is a lot more to say about this… and I will… but for now I’m sharing this part because of the article I’m citing below.  The Guatemala govt. will be re-opening adoptions to international families in 2010 with new ideas on how to regulate the adoption trade. This article brings up some really interesting points and ideas about adoption including more what appear to be more thorough desires to keep Guatemalan adoptees in Guatemala.  Hope you all get a chance to check it out.

“People said Guatemalans don’t want to adopt, and they certainly don’t want to adopt other Guatemalans. This breaks that myth,” Solorzano said. “Guatemalans did want to adopt. They just couldn’t compete financially with Americans.”

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/the-americas/091222/guatemala-adoptions

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