My ROOTS Week experience included daily “Undoing Oppressions” workshops. You can find me in the picture below at one of those workshops during an exercise about intersectionality. The complexities are overwhelming, and essential to face. I’m still processing the insights and awakenings I gleaned that week.

undoing oppressions

Related, this video was just posted by the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture with this descriptor: “African American women have always been part of the African American struggle for full equality. Learn how early freedom fighters like Sojourner Truth, Harriet Tubman, and Anna Julia Cooper fought against multiple oppressions. Scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw explains how the intersections of these oppressions manifest today in the term she coined, ‘intersectionality.'”


As we chew on complexities of intersectionality, here is a medley of stories and events, in no particular order, with plenty of links to read more if you’re into that kind of thing…

black august-2017

Black August Bail Out Action This Friday, Sept. 1
Click here to donate (be sure to select Asheville).
“On Friday, Sept. 1, black women and trans people across our region — including those in Buncombe County — will walk out of jail, freed from cages because of a bailout action by the group Southerners on New Ground (SONG), with funds raised by hundreds of supporters all over the country…The larger campaign goal behind SONG’s action is an end to the cash bail system. When the county names a dollar figure that someone must pay in order to get out of jail while awaiting trial, people who can afford to pay go free, while those who can’t stay locked up. Whatever one thinks about incarceration — that it’s great the way it is, that it needs reform, or that it needs to be abolished altogether — no one can provide a justification for the reality that people with access to wealth walk free while those with meager financial resources languish in a cage. There is no plausible link to public safety there — only the reinforcing of historic inequities, grounded in both race and class, which can never form the basis of any system aiming at justice.” Full press release here.

Mariachi-fiesta-tapatia

Connecting Cultures With Songs of Passion
Check out this Mountain Xpress story by Victor Palomino about Mariachi Fiesta Tapatia. Excerpt: “In Western North Carolina, mariachi bands are popular in quinceañeras, the celebration for the transition from childhood to adulthood for teenage Latinas. U.S. census data estimates about 256,000 Latino-identified people living in Buncombe County last year, and 114,000 in Henderson County, so there’s plenty of occasion for traditional musicians.” Having lived for awhile in Guadalajara, Mexico, the birthplace of mariachi music, I have a great appreciation for the genre, and am very glad that it is flourishing in our region. (Photo by Victor Palomino.)

a-little-bit-of-soul

A Little Bit of Soul Fundraiser for ABIPA
Saturday, September 16, 6 – 8 pm
MAHEC Biltmore, 121 Hendersonville Rd
Click here for reservations and donations. 
As my friend Jacquelyn Hallum put it, “Asheville and WNC let’s come together and support MAHEC in a fundraiser for The Asheville Buncombe Institute of Parity Achievement (ABIPA). ABIPA is the best ‘boots on the ground’ non-profit and has served Asheville and Buncombe county for more than a decade. Many times without pay or funding they continued to get the job done. If you can not attend, please consider making a donation but I hope you don’t miss all the fun!” Music will be provided by my funky friends Free Flow and there will be yummy food from Daddy D’s Suber Soulfood.


Best-Kept Secrets in Asheville: Hood Huggers International

Our State Magazine recently featured Hood Tours in this story, and in the video above. DeWayne Barton says, “I started asking myself how Hood Huggers could be used to tell a story of African American history but also be an economic driver to promote businesses and individuals in the area.”

Guest columnist: Minority entrepreneurs face barriers
“Attend any business-related event in the city – from workshops and conferences to networking groups and social gatherings— and you will see few or no minority business owners in attendance. Yes, these events are open to anyone, but these spaces often do not feel welcoming to minority entrepreneurs. Being the only minority in the room, a lack of shared understanding, no recognition of different experiences in the business sector — these are all examples of how business events can create an exclusionary atmosphere.” Click here to read this op-ed in the Citizen-Times by Sarah Benoit.

ConfederacyisDead

Monuments of injustice
Set some time aside to read this heavy piece by David Forbes of the Asheville Blade. Excerpt: “What we need is not reconciliation but reckoning. We need to face the reality of Lee, of the regime he fought for, how Vance and Merrimon revived it and how its legacy still infects our world today….Each report on the State of Black Asheville shows a city where Vance’s segregationist set-up is still very much alive.

The monument question is something many local leaders wish would just go away as it frustrates their desire, above all, to provide a city of comfort for the comfortable. It’s a political battle that raises questions — uncomfortable ones — about the realities above and their repeated failures to seriously address them.” (Art by Nathanael Roney.)

Urban News August 2017

Isaac Coleman Community Investment Plan
My latest piece for Buncombe County’s page in the Urban News is about the Isaac Coleman Community Investment Plan, which is providing resources to some wonderful grassroots initiatives in our community. Click here to read.

There you go! Until next time. 

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