The sky is slate out my office window. A pensive quiet prevails. I inhale winter’s wistfulness, thinking about the shadows that cover us like the gray of this winter sky. Shadows that are everywhere yet unseen. Ignored but still felt. Shadows that cause us to forget the warmth of sunlight. Of late, the naming of these shadows has been noticeably increasing in volume. Thanks to brave truth-tellers, more people are facing the plethora of emotionally and physically violent acts of patriarchal oppression.
For me, this conversation is both liberating and devasating. I gasp for air as I remember that I, too, have been drowning in darkness. I weep with my fellow females and femmes. I simmer in fire-y anger. I deepen my commitment to imagining and pursuing radical transformations. I allow myself to grieve. I will use the rivers of tears to water my work.
In this watershed moment, may we honor the seeds planted by Tarana Burke. “More than a decade ago, Burke was the one who identified the power of the phrase ‘Me too’ as one that could help women. She founded the ‘Me Too’ movement in 2006 because she, as someone who experienced sexual assault, wanted to do something to help women and girls — particularly women and girls of color — who had also survived sexual violence” (Washington Post).
Her vision of one of radicalizing mass healing. To make this possible, it is crucial to center those whose experiences are most often overlooked. “If we don’t center the voices of marginalized people we’re doing the wrong work,’ she said. ‘The message is no different now than it was 10 or 11 years ago.'” That quote, and the photo above, are from CNN, click here to watch a short video of Burke explaining her powerful perspective.
Unfortunately, TIME magazine did not include Burke in the group photo on the cover of their recent “Person of the Year” issue about The Silence Breakers. The work continues.
A related article is “The People #MeToo Leaves Behind” from Reveal, which discusses the experiences of “the women who clean hotel rooms, tidy office buildings at night or pick vegetables,” particularly immigrant women. As the author Bernice Yeung states, “We’re at the cusp of a cultural inflection point that could lead to improvements for working women. But it won’t be true progress if some of us, held back by poverty-level wages and immigration status, aren’t able to step forward to say #MeToo.”
My friend and hero Marisol Jimenez recently added her voice to the brave chorus speaking truth to patriarchy in the press. She was interviewed by the State of Things on WUNC about a harrowing experience she had when she was a lobbyist for this story, “Some Describe An ‘Antiquated And Handsy Culture’ At The North Carolina General Assembly.” The way the story is framed, and what is left out, is problematic, but that does not take anything from the power of Marisol’s words.
This subject is enormous and essential and evolutionary. I intend to keep returning to it.
Southerners on New Ground
The badass folks at Southerners on New Ground (SONG) just put out ¡El Reporte de Fin del Año 2017 de SONG! SONG’s 2017 End of the Year Report! Excerpt: As SONG enters its 25th year of organizing in the South, we continue to anchor our current work in the guiding principles laid out by SONG’s founders: there is no victory in the fight for gender and sexual sovereignty without fighting for racial and economic justice; everyone does not have the desire or choice to leave small town and rural communities; and steeped in the legacy of resistance that started during colonization, we — Black, Latinx, people of color, indigenous, white, immigrant, rural, poor and working class, queer, transgender, and gender non-conforming people — have everything we need within and among ourselves to get free. Check out SONG’s 2017 End of the Year Report HERE
Laugh and Learn
This tongue-in-cheek piece on Reductress, which came out right after the news of the results of the Alabama special election and the demographics of who voted for which candidate, struck me as particularly hilarious and worth paying attention to: “White Women Thank Themselves for Thanking Black Women Today.”
Excerpt: “Black women really deserve most of the credit for voting so influentially,” commented Angela Pierce of Danvers, MA. “And white women deserve the rest of the credit for making sure to publicly thank black women for doing so.”
Black women, however, appear to be unimpressed with this self-serving show of support.
“We didn’t vote for Doug Jones to protect the country,” said Nikita Thomas of Alabama. “We voted for him to protect ourselves. It just turns out that when black women have the chance to do things, it benefits everyone.”
“Maybe those white women should start putting their energy into finding out why so many of their own people voted for a pedophile,” she added.
Oh Sh*t, It’s Christmastime!
To close this week’s post, I thought I’d share this silly video my partner Jason Krekel and I made several years ago. I continue to be completely frustrated by the capitalistic monolithic monotheistic cultural monster that is Christmas, as well as the unconscious consumption that fills our days all year round. More on that later, too, I suspect.
That’s it for today. Much love.
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