DC/MD/VA! The Latinegr@s Project is Coming Your Way!!!

Photo Credit: Chester Higgins via The LatiNegr@s Project (http://lati-negros.tumblr.com)

March 29-31 is the Southeastern Women’s Studies Association Conference at George Mason University.

The LatiNegr@s Project will be holding a roundtable for the People of Color caucus entitled:

How Did We Get Here?: Being AfroLatin@ in the Ivory Tower, in Activism and Online

on Friday March 30 at 3:15pm.

Come see us and support us too!

Also, LatiNegr@s Team Member Bianca Laureano will be discussing her experiences surviving the academy and beyond on the same day at 9:00 am as part of ANOTHER panel for the People of Color Caucus: Litanies of Survival from the Ivory Tower and Beyond. She will discuss continuing to have her work and herself survive after being pushed out of a women’s studies Ph.D. program.

Register here. [But if you drop in all guerilla machete style just to come say hi, I promise I won’t tell]

Full schedule here.

Come!  Meet us!  Play!  Touch our hair!  Actually…please don’t.  But do come hang out!

 

 

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The Universe is Speaking

The universe has been throwing a lot at me the last few weeks.  Personal, professional, economic–you name it.  My stamina is running low.  My batteries have no time to recharge.  I’ve had moments that made me question my worth as a scholar, global citizen, net-izen, and friend.  At this point, all I can do is show up–and only because I hear someone’s voice telling me I’d damn well better.

Days like today, I wonder if the #gawds are even listening.

Lo and behold, the universe is speaking.

Happy Birthday Alice Walker!

Kima posting homage on Twitter reminded me that I was about to miss the birthday of the visionary whose words head this blog, who is the namesake of one half of my politico alter-ego, and who has helped me through more hard times than I can count.

Just seeing her presence everywhere reminded me I am more than I am.  I’ve been inspired, calmed, and pummeled by Alice Walker’s words, and by the example she sets as a writer, pacifist, and social justice conjurer.  Gawd bless her.  A world with Alice Walker in it can never be damned.  It’s just a world waiting to be saved.

Speaking of saving, today the always loving Alexis Pauline Gumbs reminded me that I also need to be saving myself.  Introducing Brilliance Remastered:

Calling all community accountable scholars and visionary under-represented grad students!

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Happy Black History Month from the Lati-Negr@s Project

Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, Mexico

From In Motion: The African-American Migration Experience:

“From early on, racial classifications of Latin America and the Caribbean were complex. The criteria included skin shade, hair texture, and social background. The definition accepted in the United States-the only country with such a categorization-is the so-called one-drop rule, which makes anyone with any known African ancestry a black person.

In eighteenth-century Mexico, as in the rest of Latin America, racial mixture was classified in great detail.”

X-Posted at the LatiNegr@s Project.

Follow us on Tumblr, Twitter and Facebook for the Afro-Latino perspective as we celebrate Black History Month.  Honor your ancestors 365 familia.

Honor & Human Rights to Halmeoni (Grandmothers) x 1000

If I was a middle-class white man with too much time on his hands

Never mind.  News about black folks (read: African-American)  is capital these days.  Especially news that appears to cross conversations occurring within the community with the megaphone of an unsympathetic outsider.  I’m not a Google spider, but I can only imagine a certain host website exploded its monthly click and traffic quota this month.  And I won’t help since there are so many amazing critiques floating about.*

What did not get much burn this week was this:

South Korean women forced into wartime sexual slavery held their 1,000th weekly protest outside Japan’s embassy yesterday, demanding compensation and an apology from Tokyo as they have since 1992.

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Hero Work: Leslie Brown (+ Piri Thomas + Clyde Woods) #iRemember

Leslie Brown

Thinking a lot of academy thoughts this week.  Reading Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower.  

Dr. Brown just articulated better than I ever could what it is like being a College Educated Negress:

Where can students of color get intellectual validation that does not require them to so fully assimilate that they lose the best of themselves, their families,and their cultures? It occurred to me that through grade school and high school we had learned to compete, to keep up, but not to surpass; to stand alongside but not in front; to fit in but not to reshape.*

Standing alongside you begin to know the discomfort of ghosts.

And that pressure to assimilate, to choose between where your family is and where you are…well.

Piri Thomas

That feels a lot like the dissonance of being raised under the determined, near frantic optimism of a colorblind, post-Movement, Puerto Rican mother and an African-American father seething with internalized racism in cocaine80s Chicago.

And that feels a lot like wanting things and not having them and striving for things and not getting them, and dotting your i’s and crossing your t’s and still watching the goal move further away again and again and again, and picking up Piri Thomas for help and picking up Cherríe Moraga for help and picking up, good gawd, and picking up and holding close and hugging Gwendolyn Brooks for help and good heavens almighty, it feels like picking up Octavia and picking her brain and reading every word and holding her hand when things were too much….

And it feels a lot like frustration and tastes bitter as blood.  Because Piri is dead now. And it took over 24 hours for an obituary to post.  And I never had a chance to tell him what his work meant to me.  And Gwendolyn is dead.  And she lived in Chicago.  And I, knuckle-head high schooler I was, missed the chance to tell her what she meant to me.  And Octavia is dead.  And she lived half a country away and I was never gonna get to tell her what she meant to me but damn if only I could have.

And….

And it feels like the cold that sweeps across the back of your neck when you realize a mentor you loved like a father…his facebook page is still active.  Active. Alive. Living.  And you want to post something but you can’t.  Because how do you tell someone that you are also active.alive.living now but only because they lived?  How do you tell someone that you have survived this far in part because of what they were and that you are remembering them all the time and regretting every phone call you didn’t make and even that doesn’t make you feel better because you know they knew that they knew that you knew you were loved anyway.  That nothing you could do could lose their love for you.

And it feels like ……..

But is also full of promise.

After all, here I am.  Writing stuff.  Grateful for things like Facebook profiles and black Latinidad Twitter communities and emails from mentors that affirm that “yes, I check it too” and voices who check in with me from across social media to say, “Hey there.  Hey.  Hear my voice.”

I am still here.  Writing stuff.  Thinking thoughts.  I haven’t disappeared yet.

#Lawd

*Leslie Brown, “How a Hundred Years of History Tracked Me Down,” Telling Histories: Black Women Historians and the Ivory Tower, 262

Interlude: Zora Walker Wears Black for Troy Davis

Monica Barrow (left) of California reacts to news of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision with other protestors outside the prison. BarrowJessica McGowan/Getty Images

via the Innocence Project:

10 Things Anyone Can Do To Help Exonerate Innocent People and Prevent Wrongful Convictions

1. Get connected to stay informed and take action

Join the Innocence Project’s online community to receive regular updates, action alerts, in-depth news and analysis, and other information. Registration is free. Click here to join. Once you register, you can e-mail your friends, family and colleagues to ask them to sign up, too.

2. Donate to the Innocence Project

The Innocence Project is a nonprofit organization that relies on financial support from individuals and foundations. Your donation will help pay for DNA tests, provide staffing for case intake and litigation, support our reform initiatives nationwide, and help educate the public. Click to donate online or by mail.

3. Build relationships with elected representatives 

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I don’t understand

Byron Spellman, 16, left, Robert Coleman, 15, center, and Elijah West, 16, right, are a few of the local Savannah youths who stood in front of a crowd Saturday at Sacred Heart Church wearing t-shirts implying that they are Troy Davis. Image Credit: Hunter McRae/Savannah Morning News

I’m not sure what it means when we live in a society that applauds for the murder of 246 human beings by the state.

I’m not sure what it means when we celebrate death and see vengeance as a legit and appropriate response.

When did forgiveness become passé?  Or naive.  Or weak.

I don’t understand.  Where is the strength in taking a person’s life?  How does this build community?  Is someone going to get their house out of foreclosure because Davis is dead?  Is there a cure for AIDS involved?  Will his death prevent a young woman from being raped on her way home from work tomorrow–

[Wait.  Skip that one.  That’s for another post.]

I’m so confused.  And I kinda want to vomit.  Or move to Antarctica.

Instead, I write.  And I call.  Via @aliciasanchez:

Troy davis was denied clemency. keep calling if you can— When you call (404) 656-5651 Listen to the menu, press #5 for “Pardons,” Ask for DA Chisolm, Leave a message.

For more information, ask Zora Walker.

Interlude: The Sable Fan Gyrl Presents….

Todd Heisler/The New York Times

“…Butler’s ostensible prescience, as seen through the environment she constructs for Lauren, becomes increasingly evident with each news item I hear while stuck in Chicago traffic. Butler’s foresight goes beyond the evolution of televisions into flatscreens, which Lauren calls “windows.” Consider, for example, that Atlantis’ return to our atmosphere last month marked the end of the space shuttle program—and the jobs of 1500 employees—for N.A.S.A. How can one not recall Lauren’s concern about the government’s desire to end the space program altogether, and the effects such decisions might have on one of her invented religion’s, Earthseed, core tenets: The Destiny of Earthseed is to take root among the stars?….”

Octavia the Prescient” by Summer Mcdonald at @SpecterMagazine’s Ghost+Blog.  Read the rest….

In the Future, We Kill Our Attackers: Rihanna’s “Man Down” as Afrofuturist Text

YouTube-Rihanna-Man-Down-8

Rihanna’s video for “Man Down”  dropped last week and set the web on fire.  The way justice and rape, innocence and violence work in the video–and the non-sensical responses to it–have already been outlined by better writers than me.

I’m writing this post to take the video to its logical conclusion:

In the future, do we kill our attackers?

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