Are you a young Filipino Canadian who is passionate about climate justice?
Would you be excited to make a life altering trip to the Philippines?
The Canadian Youth Climate Coalition, 350 Pilipinas and Canada Philippines Solidarity for Human Rights are supporting two Pinoy Canadians on a journey to Powershift Pilipinas a national climate convergence in Cebu City on March 26-29, 2014. Once there you will join with 200 committed youth activists living in the Philippines to learn, share, strategize, bond, celebrate, empower, and collectively build a unified climate justice movement. Participants will also be immersed in the concrete conditions of disaster-affected communities in the Philippines in the week following the Powershift Conference proper.
350 Pilipinas with its network groups are seeking a qualitative leap in the climate movement’s struggle in the Philippines, particularly issues and concerns of communities directly impacted by climate change. It is also a clear response to the impacts brought by Super Typhoon Yolanda (international name: Haiyan) as the foremost climate issue the country faces today.
We cannot afford another super typhoon wreaking havoc on our dreams and future! If you believe this generation can make a difference, join us take this movement forward! With our voices raised together, we can reclaim power and climate justice. Sulong!
“someone can be madly in love with you and still not be ready. they can love you in a way you have never been loved and still not join you on the bridge. and whatever their reasons you must leave. because you never ever have to inspire anyone to meet you on the bridge. you never ever have to convince someone to do the work to be ready. there is more extraordinary love, more love that you have never seen, out here in this wide and wild universe. and there is the love that will be ready.”—nayyirah waheed
Yesterday we confirmed the news of Lucia Vega Jimenez’s death while under Canadian Border Services Agency’s (CBSA) custody. Migrant communities and activists are still reeling from the news of this tragic and shameful death and we send our prayers, rage and condolences to her family members and loved ones.
2) If you have five more minutes, please call these numbers directly to pressure for an independent investigation and an end to cruel and punitive conditions of migrant detention.
Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner: 604 660-7745 Barb McLintock, BC Coroners Service: 250-356-9253 Steven Blaney, Public Safety Minister: 613-944-4875 or 613-992-7434 Roslyn MacVicar, Pacific Regional Director CBSA: 604-666-0760 John Dyck, Metro Vancouver District Director CBSA: 604-775-6790
3) If you have a few hours to come honour the life of Lucia Vega Jimenez and to demand justice, come out on Friday January 31, 2014 at 5:30 pm in front of CBSA offices at 300 West Georgia for a vigil and community gathering by community members, No One Is Illegal, and Latin American Committee for Refugees and Migrant Justice.
Lucia was a 42-year old Mexican migrant who worked in Vancouver, Canada as a hotel worker. She was arrested by Transit police for an unpaid bus ticket and then transferred to immigration authorities, who detained and incarcerated her at a provincial prison pending deportation. From there she was transferred to the detention holding cells at the Vancouver International Airport on December 19, 2013, and on December 20, 2013 she was rushed to the hospital.
On December 28, 2013 Lucia died at Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital, while still under CBSA custody.
Three people, including Reverend Eduardo Quintero, confirmed that Lucia’s death was a suicide. Lucia hung herself in detention with a shower curtain during the early morning hours of December 20, 2013. Reverend Quintero, of Vancouver’s Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, administered her last rites at Mount Saint Joseph Hospital.
Lucia’s death was kept secret by CBSA and pubic officials for over a month. Lucia’s sister Maria was forced to sign a non-disclosure secrecy agreement with authorities when she arrived from Mexico to Vancouver to arrange the release of her sister’s remains.
Despite the attempted cover up for over a month, community members and migrant justice advocates such as Karla Lottini started hearing stories of a Mexican woman’s death in a detention center. Karla herself fled Mexico after receiving death threats for being a whistle-blower journalist and recently won refugee status in Canada after a prolonged legal battle.
Lucia had also previously made a refugee claim in Canada. According to Karla, “I want to know Lucia’s story. I can imagine the despair she must have felt facing a deportation order. We all need to know what happened to her while she was in the custody of Canadian Border Services Agency. This is not the first death or suicide of a migrant in detention or while facing deportation.”
Richmond RCMP, another law enforcement agency, was tasked with investigating this incident and have already completed their investigation. They found ‘no criminal cause’. Police-on-police investigations are completely inappropriate and incomplete. CBSA must be held accountable for this, and any other, tragic and shameful death resulting from exclusionary and violent policies of detention and deportation.
Last year there were over 9,000 migrants detained, including 289 children. We say: not one more death, not one more detention, not one more deportation.
TO: Minister of Public Safety Steven Blaney, Canadian Border Services Agency, and BC Coroners Service
1) We urge you to immediately order a full, transparent and independent civilian inquiry and investigation into the tragic and shameful death of Lucia Vega Jimenez while under CBSA custody.
2) We need independent civilian oversight and a comprehensive review of migrant detention policies.
3) Cruel and punitive conditions of migrant detention, such as indefinite detention, as well as new regulations under the Refugee Exclusion Act that permit mandatory detention and a two-tier refugee system, must end.
ayer confirmamos la noticia de que Lucia Vega Jimenez ha muerto mientras estaba detenida por Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA). Las comunidades de inmigrantes y activistas todavia estan impresionados por la noticia de esta muerte tragica y enviamos nuestras oraciones, rabia y condolencias ha su familia.
2) si tienes cinco minutos mas, llama a estos numeros directamente para pedir una investigacion indepediente y para pedir el fin de las condiciones crueles de detencion
Lisa Lapointe, Chief Coroner: 604 660-7745 Barb McLintock, BC Coroners Service: 250-356-9253 Steven Blaney, Public Safety Minister: 613-944-4875 or 613-992-7434 Roslyn MacVicar, Pacific Regional Director CBSA: 604-666-0760 John Dyck, Metro Vancouver District Director CBSA: 604-775-6790
3) si tienes unas cuantas hora ven a recordar la vida de Lucia Vega Jimenez el viernes 31 de enero del 2014 a las 5:30pm el frente de las oficinas de CBSA en 300 West Georgia en una vigilia organizada por No One is Illegal y Latin American Committee for Refugees and Migrant Justice.
Lucia fue una inmigrante mejicana de 42 anos quien estuvo detenida y encarcelada en una prision mientras esperaba su deportacion. Ella fue trasladada a las celdas de detencion en el aeropuerto internacional de vancouver el 19 de Diciembre del 2013 y el 20 de diciembre fue trasladada al hospital. El 28 de Diciembre del 2013 Lucia murio en el hospital Mount Saint Joseph todavia en custodia de CBSA.
Tres fuentes, incluyendo al Reverendo Eduardo Quintero quien administro su extramauncion, han confirmado que la muerte de Lucia fue un suicidio. La muerte de Lucia fue guardada en secreto por mas de un mes. La hermana de Lucia, Maria fue forzada a firmar un acuerdo con las autoridades de que no iria a compartir esta informacion.
El RCMP de Richmond, otro cuerpo policial, fue responsable de conducir una investigacion, la investigacion ya ha concluido. Ellos no han encontrado ninguna “causa criminal”. Las investigaciones de un cuerpo policial sobre otro son inadecuadas e incompletas. CBSA debe de dar cuenta de sus actos y tomar responsabilidad por esta y cualquier otra muerte que haya sido el resultado de estas violentas detenciones y deportaciones.
no mas muertes, no mas detenciones, no mas deportaciones.
A Mexican woman desperate to remain in Canada hung herself in the Canada Border Services Agency holding cells of Vancouver International Airport rather than face deportation. Lucia Vega Jimenez, 42, used a shower curtain to strangle herself on Dec. 20, a day after being placed in the stark holding facility. She died eight days later at Mount St. Joseph’s Hospital in Vancouver.
A migrant woman, Lucia Vega Jimenez, died while incarcerated in detention last December. There is little information about why and how - all the more to hide the cruel realities of the racist and fatal immigration system in Canada. End migrant detainment! Migrant justice now!
after seven years, no matter how precious the stories they are given to carry, every cell in the body is replaced. they must pass on their ache somehow. your name still quivers my desire. and yet, i can imagine finding someone else while you cry in my arms, what love looks like at its most beautiful: our oldest wounds kissing each other out of firestone, un-lonely
as the stars. i’ve never touched your heart but you beat inside me, and with your fists against my chest. last time we argued, the scratch you dragged across your forearm knotted my stomach, pulled my tears out, but didn’t slice my skin. almost in unison, breath to breath, we once said, i’ve been looking for you since the beginning. we scrap like we are locked inside the thing we know could free us.
a list poem for working-class girls trying to grow up and into themselves
1. It is okay to leave anyone and anything and anyplace that makes you feel like shit. It’s hard, but it’s okay. And fuck explaining anything to anyone, unless you want to. Let them fucking wonder.
2. Know who the fuck you are. Not just on some touchy-feely fuzzy pretty-on-the-inside tip, but knowing who you are racially, culturally, in relationship to your sexuality, gender and your class- is a source of your power. You define that for you. Don’t ever let anyone else tell you who you are. This may change in time, as you grow and learn more. That’s okay. Manage any shame or guilt you may feel through acts of accountability.
3. Be accountable for what you do. This means owning up to how you fuck up, just as much as it means owning and defending the contested space you fill. You will fuck up, and only you can seek atonement for this. You will need to defend yourself, and rarely will anyone do that work for you. Acknowledging both your mistakes and your rights as equally important.
4. They will call you crazy. You are a woman. There is no way of going through the world in the moment we live in and not get called crazy by someone, often someone you wish would see you as deeply sane. You are not crazy. The world is fucking crazy. If you are affected by this imbalanced, unjust world, it only proves that you are a sentient being with some sense of empathy.
5. Empathy is built. You need to learn to really listen. This means listening without thinking about how it relates to you, or planning the next thing you are going to say. This means seeing everyone, regardless of who they are, as a human being. You cannot really be a human being unless you regard everyone as such, even your greatest nemeses and the gravest perpetrators. All of our damage comes from somewhere. Yours and everyone else’s. Learn to listen to others. Learn to listen to yourself. Empathy cannot exist without really, deeply listening first.
6. You are going to have moments of unbearable pain. It takes time to learn how to heal yourself. And healing sometimes still leaves scars. Healing is sometimes incomplete. Think of your scars as battle-wounds – evidence of how much wiser you are now- maps of where not to return. Cherish these scars and honor them. There will come times when they are the only reminder of where you have been, and how much you still need to grow.
7. You are going to have moments of unbearable loneliness. You need to learn how to love being with yourself, because ultimately, no one has the potential to love you like you can. It is beautiful to love and be loved, but these are just hints as to how to regard yourself. If you regard yourself highly, and learn to turn loneliness into soothing solitude, you will be capable of giving and receiving truly transformative love.
8. Find something that makes you feel like the world makes sense, even if you can’t justify it intellectually to yourself or anyone else. Personally, if I don’t rock a wall, get up, get laid, get down on a dancefloor, read a good book, write a poem, listen to a mind-blowing record or have a soul-shaking, satisfying conversation at least once a week, the world doesn’t make sense to me and I am unmoored. If I don’t get these things for a month, I become a total, inconsolable, incomprehensible wreck. This wreck can easily snowball into all kinds of self-destruction. Find what works for you and be loyal to it as a loyalty to yourself.
9. The world you live in is sick. This sickness creeps into all of us, and in many it manifests as an inability to love oneself, let alone others. Some of those afflicted with a parasitic strain of this illness will latch onto you as a host. You may believe it is part of your nature to nurture and support endlessly. These people will eat your love whole, and you with it, and leave you as a husk. You can grow again from your husk, but it will be hard, and it takes time and the training of betrayal and heartbreak to learn to trust yourself enough to determine who is worthy of your trust. Do not let anyone ride you. Only walk with those who will walk side by side with you, as an equal.
10. Do not fuck with lovers that don’t prioritize your pleasure. That can look like a lot of different things, and you’re probably still figuring it out. Don’t put up with lovers that don’t give you room to explore, to express, and above all – if a lover is only focused on using you as a vessel to reach their plateau –be out. This doesn’t mean to ignore your partner’s pleasure, but rather to see yours as of equal worth.
11. You are not responsible for the actions of those who hated themselves so much that they hurt you.
12. Collectivism is a beautiful concept, and something worth constantly striving toward and building. Collectivism has radically changed and challenged unjust structures and institutions. But if you sacrifice your own survival for the benefit of the whole, you will find yourself wringing your hands and questioning the meaning of your life and doubting the worth of others in light of their unabashed self-interest. Find a balance.
13. Do not carry broken people who are not in the process of rebuilding themselves.
14. You are not your job. Your job is simply a paycheck, and you are probably not compensated what you are worth and it is not your fucking fault- you inherited a broken economic system, and you will not be the first generation to fight for your right to live. But you need to fucking fight for your right to live, in solidarity, with those around you who are also struggling.
15. Going to college is an accomplishment. It does not, however, make you better than anyone else. It doesn’t make you essentially more intelligent. You never really make it “out” of the class you came from, and you never really make it “in” to the class you aspired to.
16. If you cannot translate what you have learned from whatever access you’ve had back to wherever you came from, then you have not gained anything- you have changed. Assimilation is a choice. Seek to be a translator. Seek to share your access to those who you may have left behind. Seek to disrupt the structures that taught those of us who gained more access that we are worth more than where we left, and less than what we found ourselves among.
17. Never take validation too deeply to heart. This is especially true of those who came up entrenched in the age of social media. The gaze of hegemony is always on us. Find validation in the ratio between how positively you impact yourself and others versus how you fuck up and hurt others. You will hurt others. Be accountable for this, when you need to be, and always be mindful of how often that happens in relation to those you help grow. None of us can be saints, but we can be salient and sentient.
18. Take your struggle to your community, and find community in those whose struggles intersect. It is only within one another that we will make any sense of this destroyed world and it’s corrupt ideology that we’ve inherited. Fight. Fight. Fight.
19. You are inherently valuable. You have worth. Ask no one for permission.
In recognizing the dire need for militant movements in the communities I belong to, and the countless ones taking place around the globe in this historic moment, I’ve been thinking about how to start action-oriented conversations around militancy. The following lesson plan could be applied or reworked for any number of settings or organizing needs, but regardless of how it is administered, it’s goal is to lay the foundation for militant action–not merely discussion–and help generate a network of thoughtful support as the steps for its preparation approach:
“a long time ago, when you were a wee thing, you learned something, some way to cope, something that, if you did it, would help you survive. it wasn’t the healthiest thing, it wasn’t gonna get you free, but it was gonna keep you alive. you learned it, at five or six, and it worked, it *did* help you survive. you carried it with you all your life, used it whenever you needed it. it got you out—out of your assbackwards town, away from an abuser, out of range of your mother’s un-love. or whatever. it worked for you. you’re still here now partly because of this thing that you learned. the thing is, though, at some point you stopped needing it. at some point, you got far enough away, surrounded yourself with people who love you. you survived. and because you survived, you now had a shot at more than just staying alive. you had a shot now at getting free. but that thing that you learned when you were five was not then and is not now designed to help you be free. it is designed only to help you survive. and, in fact, it keeps you from being free. you need to figure out what this thing is and work your ass off to un-learn it. because the things we learn to do to survive at all costs are not the things that will help us get free. getting free is a whole different journey altogether.”—Mia McKenzie
II. Institutional Struggles Over the Meaning of Anti-Oppression Politics a. On the Non-Profit Industrial Complex (NPIC), Again b. Politicians and Police Who Are “Just Like Us” c. Anticapitalism and the Material Reproduction of “Race” and “Gender” d. The Racialization of Rape and the Erasure of Sexual Violence
III. The Limits of Contemporary Anti-Oppression Theory and Practice a. Identity is not Solidarity b. Protecting Vulnerable Communities of Color and “Our” Women and Children: The Endangered Species Theory of Minority Populations and Patriarchal White Conservationism c. On Nonprofit Certified “White Allies” and Privilege Theory
IV. Occupy Oakland as Example a. Occupy Oakland, “Outside Agitators,” and “White Occupy” b. The Erasure of People of Color From Occupy Oakland
V. Conclusion: Recuperating Decolonization and National Liberation Struggles; or, Revolution is Radically Unsafe
In this series of pieces I hope to develop a new grammar to talk about asexuality outside of the ways in which it has been co-opted by neoliberal identity politics. I am interested in reclaiming and developing an analysis of (a)sexuality in our collective efforts toward racial justice and anti-capitalism. These pieces are motivated by an absence of dialogue around asexuality and all of its associated critiques from many queer spaces I’ve been a part of.
The first time I ever saw someone like me having sex was in a spam internet advertisement in India. “Hairy Mallu Boys.” And I may have followed the link. And I may have gawked at the spectacle of it all: brown hairy men fucking each other. I want to tell you about the validation, how affirming it was to finally see someone who looked just like me having an orgasm, but that would be misleading. I was too shocked to feel validated. Too surprised to see a body like mine fucking in this city where my gay Indian friends ask me if I’ve ever slept with a white men because “they are cleaner than us” because they’ve “seen it on porn.”
Growing up in the US I never really saw brown people engaging in public acts of intimacy. From a young age I remember feeling jealous of the Suzy, the Michael, the Patrick and their parents who kissed them goodbye. I remember getting jealous of the Tom, the Dick, the Zach and their parents who hugged when their child scored a goal at soccer games. My parents never touched one another in front of me. In fact, we never really spoke about sex. So I remember always thinking that sex was something for white people. I understood that our parents must have ‘done it,’ but I couldn’t imagine them enjoying it. Pleasure didn’t belong to us. That’s why we moved to this country, right?
When I looked to the media for representation of brown sexual boys all I got were spelling bee champions, gas station owners, and that one guy from Mean Girls – that archetype of the brown boy being forced to overcompensate to compete for the attention of white people. Indeed, the brown body was usually depicted as engaging in emotional, physical, or mental labor for white interests. And as I got older and the other male assigned people around me had voices that got deeper I witnessed the many ways in which they felt compelled to overcompensate – by either adopting the aesthetics of white patriarchy in all of its J Crew JP Morgan finesse or by adopting and exploiting blackness to seem more ‘cool’ and ‘masculine.’ The plight of the South Asian American male lied in his effort to grapple with a culture that did not, and continues to not, recognize his body as beautiful and worthy of receiving and transmitting desire.
Which goes to say that it has always been difficult to fantasize with sexual scenarios that involve my own body because I have never had a reference point for my own pleasure. Voyeurism here becomes less of a choice and more of a position of coercion: feeling like I’ve been set to watch sex occurring, always at a distance. Queerness here becomes less of a destination aspired toward, but rather one dressed on a body without its consent – a type of otherness that is not only about not seeing one’s face reflected on the screen, but about experiencing one’s difference inscribed on skin. Wearing it close and lethal, like a weapon.
Over the years I have stumbled on several words to articulate this distance: gender-non conforming to express an inability (and perhaps unwillingness) to identify with the masculinity I was assigned at birth and ‘asexuality’ to articulate an inability to feel authentically ‘sexual,’ capable and worthy of wanting. But these terms never really felt adequate to articulate that conglomeration of anxiety, power, histories, stories, and paradoxes that come to mind when I think of my gender and sexuality. Like all identity markers they are shorthands we have been prescribed to halt conversation: we can retreat into our identities like we retreat into our apartments not asking how and why we got there, who we gentrified to get there, not being able to have a conversation about how this place will never fit all of our idiosyncrasies.
And this ‘distance’ has been something I have been trying to reconcile for years: how to articulate that mixture of power, shame, desire, and fear that makes me uncomfortable thinking about myself as a sexual body. And, simultaneously, how to challenge the onslaught of dogma from so called ‘sex radicals’ who claim that we have just internalized ‘sex shame’ and that shame is something we can be emancipated from.
So when I talk about asexuality I don’t mean some sort of sanitized model of identity politics invested in being recognized and affirmed (by capitalism) – I’m talking about that distance. That absence of wanting. That anxious condition of not being able to differentiate trauma from truth – that peculiar position of never being able to divorce ourselves from the power that continues to shape our every want, desire, and action.
Why Asexual Identity Politics Isn’t Enough
As a queer South Asian I don’t feel comfortable ascribing the identity of ‘asexual’ to my body. Part of the ways in which brown men have been oppressed in the Western world is by de-emasculating them and de-sexualizing them (check out David Eng’s book Racial Castration). What then would it mean for me to identify as an ‘asexual?’ What would this agency look like in a climate of white supremacy? Can I ever authentically express ‘my’ (a)sexuality or am I always rehearsing colonial logics?
The dilemma of this brown queer body is its inability to see itself through its own eyes. The mirror becomes a site it which we view what white people have always told us about ourselves. Regardless or not of the status of my libido, I’m not sure I will ever feel comfortable identifying as asexual because it seems like I am betraying my people.
I am invested in South Asians and all other Asian Americans being able to reclaim, re-affirm, and be recognized for their sexual selves. I am invested in brown boys and brown gurlz being able to get what they desire. I am invested in the radical potential of brown (queer) love in a society where so many of us grow up hating our bodies and bending our knees for white men. I want to be part of this struggle. Sometimes I get angry at myself for not being able to eliminate the distance, not being able to join in solidarity. To fuck and be fucked, to publically claim and own my sexuality. I understand that there is something (as Celine Shimizu reminds us in her book Straightjacket Sexualities) radical about Asian American masculinities being displaced from patriarchal masculinities rooted in hyper-sexuality and hyper-masculinity and the reclamation of ‘effeminate’ and ‘asexual’ representations of our bodies as a political refusal of the very logics which have rendered those bodies numb.
But at the same there is a difference between theory and practice. Theories don’t matter when you find yourself always defaulted in the category of ‘friend.’ Theories don’t matter when you grow up being turned on by ghosts of all of your internalized shame. Theories don’t matter when you find yourself buying button up shirts and shaving your beard and trying your best to look more white so they will even have the courtesy to look back to you. Why do theories always put the burden of change on the oppressed and not the systems that oppress them?
There is some part of me that will never be able to overcome the desire for ‘more.’ I want to be able to be in a bar and to not just be the object of desire, but a subject of desire. Part of white supremacy as I understand it is the privilege of being a subject of desire: one who can feel in control of one’s desires and one who has more agency to act on said desires. The ‘distance’ I experience around my sexuality makes me often feel unable to be a subject of desire. This distance makes me feel out of control, jealous, and in a perpetual state of lack. It feels like I’ve just internalized white control of my sexuality and my body.
So when I read this piece about how folks involved with the asexuality community feel as if they are post-race I’m pretty well, flabbergasted. Asexuality has always been a carefully crafted strategy to subjugate Asian masculinities. Asexuality has everything to do with race. Which goes to say that what if the very act of articulating a public asexual identity is rooted in white privilege? Essential understandings of being ‘born’ ‘asexual’ and loving my ‘asexual’ self will never make sense to me. In a world that continually erases Asian (male assigned) sexualities I was coerced into asexuality. It is something I have and will continue to struggle with. My asexuality is a site of racial trauma. I want that sadness, that loss, that anxiety to be a part of asexuality politics. I don’t want to be proud or affirmed – I want to have a serious conversation about how all of our desires are mediated by racism and how violent that is. My pleasures – or lack thereof – are not transcendental and celebratory, they are contradictory, confused, and hurt.
I want to envision and build communities where we can discuss and heal together from the traumas inscribed in our flesh. I do not think that declaring an asexual identity is the best strategy for me to pursue this. What I am asking for is an acknowledgment among all people – not just people of color – of the ways in which colonialism has and continues to map itself on our bodies in different ways. My story of distance is only one of the legacies of the ways in which racism has shaped our desires. I do not mean to suggest that all South Asian male assigned people are asexual nor do I mean to suggest that asexual identity is necessary oppressive for South Asians – what I am sharing is the story of a body that has found and continues to find ways to cope. Which means that my ‘asexuality’ can never been seen as outside of the saga of racialized violence against people of color. I want a space where I can claim that with those folks and discuss the ways in which white understandings of relationships, intimacy, desireability, beauty, progress, and happiness have made us always feel a certain sense of lack and how we have built our entire lives constructed around that lack. For me sometimes I feel like escaping from asexuality would mean one way of escaping from colonialism – would mean finally having the ability to self-identify to really know who “I” (whatever that is) am.
The idea of an identity politics around asexual identity scares me in the same ways that any other single issue politics anchored around a (sexual) identity does. It operates in was that are racist, classist, and colonial. It assumes particular bodies with particular histories and particular political interests. What I am calling for is a departure away from asexual identity politics toward a frank conversation of trauma and sexuality. How can we move our understandings of sexual politics away from anchoring them in essential narratives that reproduce biological essentialism (born this way) to narratives that name specific moments of historical and personal trauma that inform our sexualities. Which means that I am not as interested in the words that you affix to your body – I am interested in the journey that it took for you to get there.
An anthology, co-edited by five feminist scholars of color – Annie Isabel Fukushima, Rosalee Gonzalez, Layli Maparyan, Anita Revilla, and Matt Richardson – propels the mission of TWP by bringing together a variety of expertise and interests to this project and striving for an inclusive approach to sharing the experiences of people of color and Indigenous Peoples engaged in local and transnational social change.
Submit Your Work!
We encourage contributions that are in conversation (directly or indirectly) with the body of feminist/womanist works that have come before and that continue to shape queer and feminist of color epistemology and practice. We seek scholarly and creative essays, testimonials, poetry, and art that will contribute to our understanding and practices of social change, healing, and transformation.
We will address the hegemony of English in this text; therefore, we invite works that offer critical insight into language and queer, people of color, and Indigenous feminisms within the U.S. and beyond. Given our commitment to both local and transnational perspectives, we invite bilingual and non-English submissions. However, because our editorial collective is unable to represent all languages of the world, we invite non-English contributions to either submit a bilingual (translated) text or consider inviting a collaborator who can translate the work into English and the interpreter will be credited in the published anthology.
We strongly encourage the submission of works that bring into dialogue issues and concerns relevant to women of color feminisms, decolonial feminisms, Indigenous feminisms, womanisms, queer of color feminisms, and transnational feminisms. Submissions previously published in only journals will be considered. Submissions may be co-authored. Topics may include the following, but are not limited to this list:
· Women’s resistance and resilience · Activism and organizing · Activist scholarship and activist pedagogy · Art and artivism · (De)Coloniality · Spirituality and spiritual practice · Feminist and queer love · Feminist genealogies · Memory and haunting · Queer and Trans people of color · Violence, oppression, and resistance · Healing and transformation · Visual culture and decolonized aesthetics · Womanism and womanist perspectives on social/ecological change
by Hannah Giorgis For many people of color, leaving a predominately white college or university comes with a mixed bag of emotions: will that ridiculously expensive degree actually help us find some semblance of financial security? If it does, how do we adjust to not having our humanity directly questioned every day â without using this newfound privilege to contribute to systems that dehumanize others? What does it mean to perhaps no longer function entirely in resistance mode once our bodies physically leave the dungeons of the ivory tower? A newly-minted graduate of a very tiny, very white liberal arts…
"At 36 years of age I suspect I am part of the last generation raised to hate ourselves for this particular aspect of being, for this part of ourselves we had no part in making. The last raised to know, before we even knew what we were, that what we were was unspeakable. The last raised not knowing equality was an option — and therefore not to miss it. To miss something is to know it might exist, and thus to have a kind of hope. The last, instead, only to be harmed by absence. By the absence of this thing we could not quite name. Love.”
Revolutionary Hope: A Conversation Between James Baldwin and Audre Lorde (Essence Magazine, 1984)
JB: One of the dangers of being a Black American is being schizophrenic, and I mean ‘schizophrenic’ in the most literal sense. To be a Black American is in some ways to be born with the desire to be white. It’s a part of the price you pay for being born here, and it affects every Black person. We can go back to Vietnam, we can go back to Korea. We can go back for that matter to the First World War. We can go back to W.E.B. Du Bois – an honorable and beautiful man – who campaigned to persuade Black people to fight in the First World War, saying that if we fight in this war to save this country, our right to citizenship can never, never again be questioned – and who can blame him? He really meant it, and if I’d been there at that moment I would have said so too perhaps. Du Bois believed in the American dream. So did Martin. So did Malcolm. So do I. So do you. That’s why we’re sitting here.
AL: I don’t, honey. I’m sorry, I just can’t let that go past. Deep, deep, deep down I know that dream was never mine. And I wept and I cried and I fought and I stormed, but I just knew it. I was Black. I was female. And I was out – out – by any construct wherever the power lay. So if I had to claw myself insane, if I lived I was going to have to do it alone. Nobody was dreaming about me. Nobody was even studying me except as something to wipe out.
JB: You are saying you do not exist in the American dream except as a nightmare.
AL: That’s right. And I knew it every time I opened Jet, too. I knew that every time I opened a Kotex box. I knew that every time I went to school. I knew that every time I opened a prayer book. I knew it, I just knew it.
JB: It is difficult to be born in a place where you are despised and also promised that with endeavor – with this, with that, you know – you can accomplish the impossible. You’re trying to deal with the man, the woman, the child – the child of whichever sex – and he or she and your man or your woman has got to deal with the 24-hour-a-day facts of life in this country. We’re not going to fly off someplace else, you know, we’d better get through whatever that day is and still have each other and still raise children – somehow manage all of that. And this is 24 hours of every day, and you’re surrounded by all of the paraphernalia of safety: If you can strike this bargain here. If you can make sure your armpits are odorless. Curl your hair. Be impeccable. Be all the things that the American public says you should do, right? And you do all those things – and nothing happens really. And what is much worse than that, nothing happens to your child either.
AL: Even worse than the nightmare is the blank. And Black women are the blank. I don’t want to break all this down, then have to stop at the wall of male/female division. When we admit and deal with difference; when we deal with the deep bitterness; when we deal with the horror of even our different nightmares; when we turn them and look at them, it’s like looking at death: hard but possible. If you look at it directly without embracing it, then there is much less that you can ever be made to fear.
JB: I agree.
AL: Well, in the same way when we look at our differences and not allow ourselves to be divided, when we own them and are not divided by them, that is when we will be able to move on. But we haven’t reached square one yet.
JB: I’m not sure of that. I think the Black sense of male and female is much more sophisticated than the western idea. I think that Black men and women are much less easily thrown by the question of gender or sexual preference – all that jazz. At least that is true of my experience.
AL: Yea, but let’s remove ourselves from merely a reactive position – i.e., Black men and women reacting to what’s out there. While we are reacting to what’s out there, we’re also dealing between ourselves – and between ourselves there are power differences that come down…
JB: Oh, yes…
AL: Truly dealing with how we live, recognizing each other’s differences, is something that hasn’t happened…
JB: Differences and samenesses.
AL: Differences and samenesses. But in a crunch, when all our asses are in the sling, it looks like it is easier to deal with the samenesses. When we deal with sameness only, we develop weapons that we use against each other when the differences become apparent. And we wipe each other out – Black men and women can wipe each other out – far more effectively than outsiders do.
JB: That’s true enough.
AL: And our blood is high, our furies are up. I mean, it’s what Black women do to each other, Black men do to each other, and Black people do to each other. We are in the business of wiping each other out in one way or the other – and essentially doing our enemy’s work.
JB: That’s quite true.
AL: We need to acknowledge those power differences between us and see where they lead us. An enormous amount of energy is being taken up with either denying the power differences between Black men and women or fighting over power differences between Black men and women or killing each other off behind them. I’m talking about Black women’s blood flowing in the streets – and how do we get a 14-year-old boy to know I am not the legitimate target of his fury? The boot is on both of our necks. Let’s talk about getting it off. My blood will not wash out your horror. That’s what I’m interested in getting across to adolescent Black boys.
There are little Black girl children having babies. But this is not an immaculate conception, so we’ve got little Black boys who are making babies, too. We have little Black children making little Black children. I want to deal with that so our kids will not have to repeat that waste of themselves.
JB: I hear you – but let me backtrack, for better or worse. You know, for whatever reason and whether it’s wrong or right, for generations men have come into the world, either instinctively knowing or believing or being taught that since they were men they in one way or another had to be responsible for the women and children, which means the universe.
JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that.
AL: Any way around that now?
JB: I don’t think there’s any way around that fact.
AL: If we can put people on the moon and we can blow this whole planet up, if we can consider digging 18 inches of radioactive dirt off of the Bikini atolls and somehow finding something to do with it – if we can do that, we as Black cultural workers can somehow begin to turn that stuff around – because there’s nobody anymore buying ‘cave politics’ – ‘Kill the mammoth or else the species is extinct.’ We have moved beyond that. Those little scrubby-ass kids in the sixth grade – I want those Black kids to know that brute force is not a legitimate way of dealing across sex difference. I want to set up some different paradigms.
JB: Yea, but there’s a real difference between the way a man looks at the world…
AL: Yes, yes…
JB: And the way a woman looks at the world. A woman does know much more than a man.
AL: And why? For the same reason Black people know what white people are thinking: because we had to do it for our survival…
JB: All right, all right…
AL: We’re finished being bridges. Don’t you see? It’s not Black women who are shedding Black men’s blood on the street – yet. We’re not cleaving your head open with axes. We’re not shooting you down. We’re saying, “Listen, what’s going on between us is related to what’s going on between us and other people,” but we have to solve our own shit at the same time as we’re protecting our Black asses, because if we don’t, we are wasting energy that we need for joint survival.
JB: I’m not even disagreeing – but if you put the argument in that way, you see, a man has a certain story to tell, too, just because he is a man…
AL: Yes, yes, and it’s vital that I be alive and able to listen to it.
JB: Yes. Because we are the only hope we have. A family quarrel is one thing; a public quarrel is another. And you and I, you know – in the kitchen, with the kids, with each other or in bed – we have a lot to deal with, with each other, but we’ve got to know what we’re dealing with. And there is no way around it. There is no way around it. I’m a man. I am not a woman.
AL: That’s right, that’s right.
JB: No one will turn me into a woman. You’re a woman and you’re not a man. No one will turn you into a man. And we are indispensable for each other, and the children depend on us both.
AL: It’s vital for me to be able to listen to you, to hear what is it that defines you and for you to listen to me, to hear what is it that defines me – because so long as we are operating in that old pattern, it doesn’t serve anybody, and it certainly hasn’t served us.
JB: I know that. What I really think is that neither of us has anything to prove, at least not in the same way, if we weren’t in the North American wilderness. And the inevitable dissension between brother and sister, between man and woman – let’s face it, all those relations which are rooted in love also are involved in this quarrel. Because our real responsibility is to endlessly redefine each other. I cannot live without you, and you cannot live without me – and the children can’t live without us.
AL: But we have to define ourselves for each other. We have to redefine ourselves for each other because no matter what the underpinnings of the distortion are, the fact remains that we have absorbed it. We have all absorbed this sickness and ideas in the same way we absorbed racism. It’s vital that we deal constantly with racism, and with white racism among Black people – that we recognize this as a legitimate area of inquiry. We must also examine the ways that we have absorbed sexism and heterosexism. These are the norms in this dragon we have been born into – and we need to examine these distortions with the same kind of openness and dedication that we examine racism…
JB: You use the word ‘racism’…
AL: The hatred of Black, or color…
JB: - but beneath the word ‘racism’ sleeps the word ‘safety.’ Why is it important to be white or Black?
AL: Why is it important to be a man rather than a woman?
JB: In both cases, it is assumed that it is safer to be white than to be Black. And it’s assumed that it is safer to be a man than to be a woman. These are both masculine assumptions. But those are the assumptions that we’re trying to overcome or to confront…
AL: To confront, yeah. The vulnerability that lies behind those masculine assumptions is different for me and you, and we must begin to look at that…
JB: Yes, yes…
AL: And the fury that is engendered in the denial of that vulnerability – we have to break through it because there are children growing up believe that it is legitimate to shed female blood, right? I have to break through it because those boys really think that the sign of their masculinity is impregnating a sixth grader. I have to break through it because of that little sixth-grade girl who believes that the only thing in life she has is what lies between her legs…
JB: Yeah, but we’re not talking now about men and women. We’re talking about a particular society. We’re talking about a particular time and place. You were talking about the shedding of Black blood in the streets, but I don’t understand –
AL: Okay, the cops are killing the men and the men are killing the women. I’m talking about rape. I’m talking about murder.
JB: I’m not disagreeing with you, but I do think you’re barking up the wrong tree. I’m not trying to get the Black man off the hook – or Black women, for that matter – but I am talking about the kingdom in which we live.
AL: Yes, I absolutely agree; the kingdom in which these distortions occur has to be changed.
JB: Something happens to the man who beats up a lady. Something happens to the man who beats up his grandmother. Something happens to the junkie. I know that very well. I walked the streets of Harlem; I grew up there, right? Now you know it is not the Black cat’s fault who sees me and tries to mug me. I got to know that. It’s his responsibility but it’s not his fault. That’s a nuance. UI got to know that it’s not him who is my enemy even when he beats up his grandmother. His grandmother has got to know. I’m trying to say one’s got to see what drove both of us into those streets. We be both from the same track. Do you see what I mean? I’ve come home myself, you know, wanting to beat up anything in sight- but Audre, Audre…
AL: I’m here, I’m here…
JB: I agree with you. I see exactly what you mean and it hurts me at least as much as it hurts you. But how to maneuver oneself past this point – how not to lose him or her who may be in what is in effect occupied territory. That is really what the Black situation is in this country. For the ghetto, all that is lacking is barbed wire, and when you pen people up like animals, the intention is to debase them and you have debased them.
AL: Jimmy, we don’t have an argument
JB: I know we don’t.
AL: But what we do have is a real disagreement about your responsibility not just to me but to my son and to our boys. Your responsibility to him is to get across to him in a way that I never will be able to because he did not come out of my body and has another relationship to me. Your relationship to him as his farther is to tell him I’m not a fit target for his fury.
JB: Okay, okay…
AL: It’s so entrenched in him that it’s part of him as much as his Blackness is.
JB: All right, all right…
AL: I can’t do it. You have to.
JB: All right, I accept – the challenge is there in any case. It never occurred to me that it would be otherwise. That’s absolutely true. I simply want to locate where the danger is…
AL: Yeah, we’re at war…
JB: We are behind the gates of a kingdom which is determined to destroy us.
AL: Yes, exactly so. And I’m interested in seeing that we do not accept terms that will help us destroy each other. And I think one of the ways in which we destroy each other is by being programmed to knee-jerk on our differences. Knee-jerk on sex. Knee-jerk on sexuality…
JB: I don’t quite know what to do about it, but I agree with you. And I understand exactly what you mean. You’re quite right. We get confused with genders – you know, what the western notion of woman is, which is not necessarily what a woman is at all. It’s certainly not the African notion of what a woman is. Or even the European notion of what a woman is. And there’s certainly not standard of masculinity in this country which anybody can respect. Part of the horror of being a Black American is being trapped into being an imitation of an imitation.
AL: I can’t tell you what I wished you would be doing. I can’t redefine masculinity. I can’t redefine Black masculinity certainly. I am in the business of redefining Black womanness. You are in the business of redefining Black masculinity. And I’m saying, ‘Hey, please go on doing it,’ because I don’t know how much longer I can hold this fort, and I really feel that Black women are holding it and we’re beginning to hold it in ways that are making this dialogue less possible.
JB: Really? Why do you say that? I don’t feel that at all. It seems to me you’re blaming the Black man for the trap he’s in.
AL: I’m not blaming the Black man; I’m saying don’t shed my blood. I’m not blaming the Black man. I’m saying if my blood is being shed, at some point I’m gonna have a legitimate reason to take up a knife and cut your damn head off, and I’m not trying to do it.
JB: If you drive a man mad, you’ll turn him into a beast – it has nothing to do with his color.
AL: If you drive a woman insane, she will react like a beast too. There is a larger structure, a society with which we are in total and absolute war. We live in the mouth of a dragon, and we must be able to use each other’s forces to fight it together, because we need each other. I am saying that in our joint battle we have also developed some very real weapons, and when we turn them against each other they are even more bloody, because we know each other in a particular way. When we turn those weapons against each other, the bloodshed is terrible. Even worse, we are doing this in a structure where we are already embattled. I am not denying that. It is a family discussion I’m having now. I’m not laying blame. I do not blame Black men for what they are. I’m asking them to move beyond. I do not blame Black men; what I’m saying is, we have to take a new look at the ways in which we fight our joint oppression because if we don’t, we’re gonna be blowing each other up. We have to begin to redefine the terms of what woman is, what man is, how we relate to each other.
JB: But that demands redefining the terms of the western world…
AL: And both of us have to do it; both of us have to do it…
JB: But you don’t realize that in this republic the only real crime is to be a Black man?
AL: No, I don’t realize that. I realize the only crime is to be Black. I realize the only crime is to be Black, and that includes me too.
JB: A Black man has a prick, they hack it off. A Black man is a ****** when he tries to be a model for his children and he tries to protect his women. That is a principal crime in this republic. And every Black man knows it. And every Black woman pays for it. And every Black child. How can you be so sentimental as to blame the Black man for a situation which has nothing to do with him?
AL: You still haven’t come past blame. I’m not interested in blame, I’m interested in changing…
JB: May I tell you something? May I tell you something? I might be wrong or right.
AL: I don’t know – tell me.
JB: Do you know what happens to a man-?
AL: How can I know what happens to a man?
JB: Do you know what happens to a man when he’s ashamed of himself when he can’t find a job? When his socks stink? When he can’t protect anybody? When he can’t do anything? Do you know what happens to a man when he can’t face his children because he’s ashamed of himself? It’s not like being a woman…
AL: No, that’s right. Do you know what happens to a woman who gives birth, who puts that child out there and has to go out and hook to feed it? Do you know what happens to a woman who goes crazy and beats her kids across the room because she’s so full of frustration and anger? Do you know what that is? Do you know what happens to a lesbian who sees her woman and her child beaten on the street while six other guys are holding her? Do you know what that feels like?
AL: Well then, in the same way you know how a woman feels, I know how a man feels, because it comes down to human beings being frustrated and distorted because we can’t protect the people we love. So now let’s start –
Anti-Copyright Network / Radical Media / International Network of Translation and Counter-Information / Anti-State / Anti-Capitalist / Anarchist / Insurrectional / Nihilist / Anti-Prison / 325 / An Insurgent Zine of Social War & Anarchy
Last night I thought I kissed the loneliness from out your belly button. I thought I did, but later you sat up, all bones and restless hands, and told me that there is a knot in your body that I cannot undo.
I never know what to say to these things.
“It’s okay.” “Come back to bed.”
“Please don’t go away again.”
Sometimes you are gone for days at a time and it is all I can do not to call the police, file a missing person’s report, even though you are right there, still sleeping next to me in bed. But your eyes are like an empty house in winter: lights left on to scare away intruders.
Except in this case I am the intruder and you are already locked up so tight that no one could possibly jimmy their way in.
Last night I thought I gave you a reason not to be so sad when I held your body like a high note and we both trembled from the effort.
Some people, though, are sad against all reason, all sensibility, all love. I know better now. I know what to say to the things you admit to me in the dark, all bones and restless hands.
“It’s okay.” “You can stay in bed.” “Please come back to me again.”
"The narrative that has The Heist so critically acclaimed (an album built on the strength of a single that mocks classic hip hop tropes of materialism) is that Macklemore is somehow saving black hip hop from the malignant effects of misogyny and violence. This is extremely insulting and infuriating, especially as it was largely white executives who oriented mainstream hip-hop towards that realm in the first place.”
New Moon Mantra: I love all my friends deeply and because I love them so I let them grow in the direction that they need to grow in. I release all my relationships into the starry night sky so that they may all shine like the brilliant lights that they are. I love my friends fiercely and because I love them so I know that they will come and they will go as they need to and they will allow me the same curtesy. I am deeply committed to my friends and because I am so committed to them I am willing to have difficult discussions when our relationship is suffering in silence. I give to my friends and because I am so giving I discuss interesting projects and ideas with them and join forces with them when it would be mutually beneficial to do so. I love my friends to the ends of the earth and back again, but I love myself more and that is why when a relationship is no longer healthy for me I release it back into the great unknown in hopes that it will find its way towards healing.
In the Philippines and abroad, the name Aquino is linked with democracy and justice. Ninoy Aquino’s death led to the end of the Marcos dictatorship. After the fall of Marcos, Cory Cojuangco-Aquino was to be the new hope of the country, a leader who truly cared for the people.
Unfortunately, this picture is not entirely correct.
The Cojuangco-Aquino family has been running an estate of 6,453 hectares, Hacienda Luisita, since they bought it in 1958. Jose Cojuangco Sr., Cory’s father, received large loans to buy the hacienda, on the condition that it would be distributed to the farmers by 1967.
Now, 43 years later, the land has still not been distributed. There has never been any valid reason why this was not done and many people have been killed for demanding justice.
This article tells the story of Hacienda Luisita and shows the darker side of Cory, her son Noynoy and the rest of the Cojuangco-Aquino family.
She was guided by a feeling, propelled by a rhythm and went in search of a beat. It sounds like the tagline for a movie, but theres something undeniably cinematic about Jerilynn Websters transformation into JB the First Lady, Canadas sole Aboriginal woman beatboxer.
“The problem is that white people see racism as conscious hate, when racism is bigger than that. Racism is a complex system of social and political levers and pulleys set up generations ago to continue working on the behalf of whites at other people’s expense, whether whites know/like it or not. Racism is an insidious cultural disease. It is so insidious that it doesn’t care if you are a white person who likes black people; it’s still going to find a way to infect how you deal with people who don’t look like you. Yes, racism looks like hate, but hate is just one manifestation. Privilege is another. Access is another. Ignorance is another. Apathy is another. And so on. So while I agree with people who say no one is born racist, it remains a powerful system that we’re immediately born into. It’s like being born into air: you take it in as soon as you breathe. It’s not a cold that you can get over. There is no anti-racist certification class. It’s a set of socioeconomic traps and cultural values that are fired up every time we interact with the world. It is a thing you have to keep scooping out of the boat of your life to keep from drowning in it. I know it’s hard work, but it’s the price you pay for owning everything.”—