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this is what the worship of silence looks like

“White supremacy has taught him that all people of color are threats irrespective of their behavior. Capitalism has taught him that, at all costs, his property can and must be protected. Patriarchy has taught him that his masculinity has to be proved by the willingness to conquer fear through aggression; that it would be unmanly to ask questions before taking action. Mass media then brings us the news of this in a newspeak manner that sounds almost jocular and celebratory, as though no tragedy has happened, as though the sacrifice of a young life was necessary to uphold property values and white patriarchal honor. Viewers are encouraged to feel sympathy for the white male home owner who made a mistake. The fact that this mistake led to the violent death of an innocent young man does not register; Mass media is worded in a manner that encourages viewers to identify with the one who made the mistake by doing what we are led to feel we might all do to ‘protect our property at all costs from any sense of perceived threat.’ This is what the worship of death looks like.”  ~ bell hooks on George Zimmerman

Malintzin, malinche, mala. Vendida o vendio?

We are not co-opting our movement. We are not dividing our movement. We are not defeating our movement. We are making our movement stronger, better, more durable and able to stand defiantly alongside our values of social justice and  openly confront and dismantle all forms of oppression. Our words may be hard to look at, may be hard to swallow, are not pretty and may make you shudder with unease but are essential in all periods of growth and reflection. Yes, we will be the reflectors of things that go bump in the night and make your heart go pitter-patter. That boogeyman, the cucuy of all those silent screams in the darkest midnight hours from all the womyn who absolutely collapsed from the inside out because no one had faith in her words, because capitalism doesn’t have faith in womyn and capitalism is a sickness we breath into our lungs each and every day.

It’s not about trying to change other people, it’s about building what we want with those who want it too, and not building for the sake of something so light as egos, but building for something that honors all things, all Life, all us- we who have a spark of life in them and who want that spark to grow. This is to those people, who I know sometimes feel that they litter the lands with dreams that they are forced to walk over and over and over.  But those dreams keep lifting, by their own weight they float, and this is to Life we know that wants the better things to grow.

Its 2013 and we have no justice. It’s important to remember the realities of our ancestors, the “justice” system in this country has never and will never protect us. It didn’t protect Trayvon Martin, it didn’t protect Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez, Saleh Elamareen, Brisenia Flores, Carlos Lamadrid, Aiyana Stanley-Jones or Emmett Till. It will certainly never deliver justice to queer womyn of color like us. When and where did we learn to sell out our sisters to protect our ideals? Fuck that, remember who you are, who we are and where we have been. Our legacy of love, rage, sadness, dignity and strength we inherit through our mother’s blood and tears. We are no longer silent and we are not going back. We are growing. We are many. We are strong.  We are not afraid. We are walking the walk and talking that talk. We love ourselves, we love you and this struggle, this resistance, this transformation. We always have and we always will. We are dedicated, we will not back down.  We are your sisters, your mothers, your aunties, your wives, your lovers, your friends, your comrades. We are valid and we are right. We are crazy and we are telling the truths. Don’t ignore us, don’t cut us down, don’t fuck with us or you will only be fucking yourself.

This is to all those (all of them: birds, crickets, rivers, all of them) who want the profane death to stop. How is it that those who want death seem to hold all the power and we have none? Because we forget that our allegiance is with all of Life, All of it.  And all of Life is in alliance with us, so we should stop forgetting, and start again Honoring all that is and could be, was, will be. All of Life wants to live, Trust in that.  

This is for Saleh Elamareen, Aida Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, last wintertime in Palestine,  16 years old, was shot in the head by Israeli soldiers (identities unknown) funded by U.S. Government money while walking along the Apartheid Wall in the Aida Refugee Camp which is now literally hemmed in – like curbside in front of your house – on three sides by this Israeli/U.S. military wall – sniper towers and all. In Palestine the United States government is paying to see death and to see destruction, and it’s a sickness because the U.S. government is trying to destroy the Palestinian people and they have no right to do this, to profane anothers’ sacred land and ways.

This is for Jose Antonio Elena Rodriguez,  16 years old, shot 9 times in the back by  U.S. Border Patrol agents – Identities Still Unknown despite camera footage in the possession of the FBI which is “currently undergoing” a 9month+ (and counting) thorough investigation into the matter with their associates, the Border Patrol. Jose was walking beneath the Wall on the hill dividing Nogales between two colonial governments called the United States and Mexico between whom money flows like bullets do, like drugs do, like war does, and like lies do too

This is for Trayvon Martin, 17 years old, shot by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Sanford, Florida. Zimmerman calls 911 to report “a suspicious person” in the neighborhood. He is instructed not to get out of his SUV or approach the person. Zimmerman disregards the instructions. Moments later, neighbors report hearing gunfire. When police arrived they reported finding Zimmerman standing near Martin, who was lying face down in the grass and unresponsive. Zimmerman acknowledges that he shot Martin, claiming it was in self-defense. Zimmerman was found not guilty.

Remember.   Remember.

This is for

All those who suffer

With hope for a better day

This is for Justice which we know is due, and whose debt must be paid.

Our words speak for all these stories and more, stories projected out through the media to further instill in us  a sense of defeat- a sense that we cannot protect our sons and daughters.
We speak in order to counter these stories regurgitated through mainstream media only meant to remind us, justice will not come for folks like us.
And our words speak for all those stories which never left their community, which never left mouths, which only remained in silence.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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“Why are you so angry?”

How about —

why do you try to hold my anger above me, as if it strips me of any credibility? why do you have to dangle my unhappiness in front of me?

I’ve become the most ultimately unamerican I can be — I’m an unhappy brown girl caught in a white man’s world.

I’m pretty sure if you grew up being stared at or called a sandn***er you wouldn’t be too thrilled either. If you had to wonder whether or not your masjid was going to be shot up or if your mother was going to get cussed out at the grocery store you wouldn’t be so carefree.

My anger isn’t a sign that I’m weak and that my opponents control me. My anger reminds me I’m alive and I’m still here.

20130520-091555.jpg

 
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Posted by on May 29, 2013 in Her stories

 

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A Taste of Power: A Black Woman’s Story

A woman in the Black Power movement was considered, at best, irrelevant. A woman asserting herself was a pariah. A woman attempting the role of leadership was, to my proud black Brothers, making an alliance with the “counter-revolutionary, man-hating, lesbian, feminist white bitches.” It was a violation of some Black Power principle that was left undefined. If a black woman assumed a role of leadership, she was said to be eroding black manhood, to be hindering the progress of the black race. She was an enemy of black people. Her strategy for functioning as a woman was to rely on the membership’s loyalty to Newton, and it worked, to an extent: …I had introduced a number of women in the party’s administration.

There were too many women in command of the affairs of the Black Panther Party, numerous men were grumbling…. It was a given that the entire Black Power movement was handicapped by the limited roles the Brothers allowed the Sisters and by the outright oppressive behavior of men toward women. This had meant little to me personally, however…. And because of Huey — and now Larry — I had been able to deflect most of the chauvinism of Black Panther men. My leadership was secure. Thus, in installing Sisters in key positions, I had not considered this business. I had only considered the issue of merit, which had no gender…. Oddly, I had never thought of myself as a feminist. I had even been denounced by certain radical feminist collectives as a “lackey” for men. That charge was based on my having written and sung two albums of songs that my female accusers claimed elevated and praised men. Resenting that label, I had joined the majority of black women in America in denouncing feminism. It was an idea reserved for white women, I said, assailing the women’s movement, wholesale, as either racist or inconsequential to black people. Sexism was a secondary problem. Capitalism and racism were primary. I had maintained that position even in the face of my exasperation with the chauvinism of Black Power men in general and Black Panther men in particular. Now hearing the ugly intent of my opponent’s words [one of her opponents in the 1974 election of the Oakland City Council, a black man, had denounced her as a lesbian!, I trembled with a fury long buried. I recognized the true meaning of his words. He was not talking about making love with women — he was attacking me for valuing women.

The feminists were right. The value of my life had been obliterated as much by being female as by being black and poor. Racism and sexism in America were equal partners in my oppression. Even men who were themselves oppressed wanted power over women. Whatever social stigma had been intended by the label “lesbian” — always invoked when men felt threatened, I observed with the benefit of hindsight — did not concern me. It was simply the rattle of a man terrorized by a social order dominated by other men. It was a social order I was bent on destroying. But his accusations did wake me. There would be no further impositions on me by men, including black men, including Black Panther men. I would support every assertion of human rights by women — from the right to abortion to the right of equality with men as laborers and leaders. I would declare that the agenda of the Black Panther Party and our revolution to free black people from oppression specifically included black women. I would denounce loudly the philosophies of the Karengas, who raised the name of Africa to justify the suppression of black women. I would lambaste the civil-rights men who had dismissed the importance of women like Fannie Lou Hamer and Ella Baker and Daisy Bates and even Kathleen Cleaver. I would not tolerate any raised fists in my face or any Black Power handshakes, or even the phrase “Black Power,” for all of it now symbolized to me the denial of black women in favor of the freedom of “the black man.” I would claim my womanhood and my place.

If that gave rise to my being labeled a “man-hating lesbian, feminist bitch,” I would be the most radical of them.

Elaine Brown

(pp. 357, 362–363, 367–368)

 
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Posted by on January 19, 2013 in Historical radical pieces

 

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An Open Letter to the Men of the Left, Especially in the Chican@ Community, Especially in Tucson

We refuse to make a choice between our cultural identity and sexual identity, between our race and our femaleness. We are not turning our backs on our people nor on our selves.

— Cherríe Moraga, This Bridge Called My Back

There is one thing that the Left and the Right often agree on: women’s concerns (our rights, our safety, our health, our progress) are disposable, dispensable; they are a distraction from the truly “important” issues. We won’t address the issues of the Right here, but we say to our sisters and brothers on the Left: If you claim to be working for the liberation of your people, and for the liberation of other peoples of color, and you’re still beating or threatening or harassing or raping or assaulting or enslaving women, you are totally missing the point. And you will fail.

No one can be truly free, no one can be respected and have equality of opportunity — and certainly no man can have full personhood — until all women, especially women of color, are safe from the rages and oppressions and depredations/degradations of men, including men of color.

The racism of the world does not make it OK to take out your frustrations on those closest to you. It is not OK to terrorize someone you claim to love. It is not OK to (attempt to) silence women who are speaking our truth, and it is not OK to demonize those who challenge your petty authority (no matter how much you have struggled to wrest that status from the hands of the dominant culture).

You cramp my style, baby

when you roll on top of me

shouting “Viva La Raza”

at the top of your prick.

— Lorna Dee Cervantes, “Baby you cramp my style”

We are calling upon all men of the Left, and today, especially, we call upon the male leaders of the Mexican American Studies and Ethnic Studies struggles here in Tucson and beyond to repudiate the oppression of women in both institutional settings and in our homes and families and in the hard-working rooms of political organizing, la lucha.

We fully expect that those who have taught or claimed to believe in “In Lak Ech” will stand up and say: “Not in my name. No más.” Manifestations of widespread misogyny and sexism must be acknowledged before it can be eradicated — for the benefit of us all, women and men and children. We need healing, but not at the expense of silencing women.

If we are “your other me,” then you must look deeply at how you treat us and yourselves. You must open your eyes and look at the boys and young men who see you as role models and ask: “Am I teaching what I want them to learn?” Your actions must match your words. It is not women’s job to make this abuse stop. Men must stop these destructive behaviors in themselves and in other men. Men must call out other men to walk their talk. Be brave! Stand up for women! Clean up your own house, examine your own oppressor behaviors, demand change from your compadres. Until that happens, no true healing of our community, no true liberation, is possible.

We close this letter with the words of Norma Alarcón: “women are seen not just by one patriarchy but by all as rapeable and sexually exploitable,” and thus “to choose among extant patriarchies is not a choice at all” (“Chicana’s Feminist Literature: A Re-Vision Through Malintzin”).  Dismantling racism also demands a dismantling of sexism. We look forward to statements and actions from the men of MAS, from the leadership of the Chican@ communities, and from the larger Left/progressive communities.

 
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Posted by on January 4, 2013 in Tucson movement

 

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