Friday, March 30, 2012
Wednesday, March 28, 2012
Sunday, March 25, 2012
august 5, 2013 update
i wrote this just now: Demanding Justice for Trayvon Martin
(you can read it at my other page - 8/5/13 entry - but i am including it here too...)
* * *
via my facebook page post, which i published on march 17, 2012:
"this is so fucking wrong! wtf is wrong with people! fuck racism! fuck guns! fuck violence! fuck injustice! fuck apathy! this child was fucking murdered! good grief! why is his killer not at least under arrest yet!"
...i knew i had more to say, and yesterday i started a draft (here at my blog) with the hopes of expressing so much more of what i am feeling right now, for what i have felt for all my life...
yesterday i updated my cover photo and profile photo at my facebook page, in solidarity with trayvon. i felt stronger, but i still felt speechless -- where to begin? -- a million or more words overwhelmed my organizational abilities.
i started my draft, but did not finish; i planned to pick up where i left off last night, tomorrow (now today)...
i was just about to try and make progress on finding the right words for all that i feel... when only minutes ago, i saw an "occupy" link to something sinead o'connor wrote. i just finished reading it.
...sinead and i seem to be on the same page, but she says what i am feeling so much more eloquently than what i wrote last week, or felt strong enough, to write last night...
...i could try to do a better job than i did last week -- perhaps i should still -- perhaps i will...
that i have already -- written so many essays like this -- about equality, basic rights, animal rights, human rights, earth's rights, world peace... -- the feeling, of feeling like, i am repeating myself and it's all been said is not a good excuse -- these messages can never be spoken too much -- whether or not it feels like nobody listens or not -- and whether or not somebody else says it better than we think we ever could ourselves: we must continue to drive it home...
...after just reading what sinead wrote (and published 3 days ago); it just makes good sense to me to share her letter to the world, at this time. foremost because sinead says it so perfectly, and i don't see how i could possibly say it any better -- yet i do still have a lot to say myself, and i am forever in solidarity with this struggle, whether i find the right words or not -- to make an eloquent and impassioned plea beyond my outrage expressed last week...
. . . p e a c e . . .
* * *
...it's a year later now - i've just written ~six pages that i am inserting here.
i have kept sinead's letter in place - it now appears further down in this post...
Demanding Justice for Trayvon Martin
* * *
...it's a year later now - i've just written ~six pages that i am inserting here.
i have kept sinead's letter in place - it now appears further down in this post...
Demanding Justice for Trayvon Martin
I think it’s really important for the human race to be able to talk about all of the issues which conspire to divide us; it’s especially frustrating to me that so many of these issues should be irrelevant and yet instead they are often the most divisive of all. I think it’s probably human nature – for better or worse – which causes conflicts between people who have vastly different customs and opinions than one another… Please know that I am not saying this is cool or even always acceptable just that it’s probably an issue which will eventually arise when these different societies come face to face with each other and for anyone comfortable with their way of doing things and uncomfortable with other ways of doing those things they are likely to choose a side to be on over the issue if lines are being drawn…
But the divisions among us which are arbitrary: skin color is hair color is eye color is the color of shirt you might wear… it’s color and just like our hair and eyes, skin color is genetic, geographical and it is arbitrary when it comes to actual differences – the kind of differences that might be understandable do not apply to color – it is incomprehensible to me that we – as a species – should be differentiating between each other because of our color make-up…
So sometimes I think – perchance to dream – that if we just stop mentioning differences in color – by saying black and white (*obviously there are other skin colors; hold that thought I guess…) – it might eventually go away.
That kind of rationalizing has become an awkward silence in the wake of Trayvon Martin.
[This is obviously an understatement…]
In the last ~ two weeks here in Portland, I have attended a march/rally organized by the Portland group Campaign to End the New Jim Crow in answer to Rev. Al Sharpton’s call for a National Day of Action demanding justice for Trayvon Martin (July 20 2013) – and most recently, a town-hall-style event presented by McKenzie River Gathering – Responding to Injustice: A Community Conversation with MRG Foundation (July 30 2013)…
I had a lot of thoughts that I was still wrapping my head around – and some things which I have been pondering since my early childhood (which I was better-prepared to speak about) – but I didn’t actually expect to be one of the speakers at the march and rally; so I wasn’t as prepared as I might have been if I had written anything beforehand – but I touched on a lot of what has been on my mind during my impromptu speech… From my point-of-view I think I did a pretty good job – and yay – for those moments of clarity (with a microphone to make it so people could hear me)…
Following my unrehearsed statements about the history of the civil rights struggle in general, my personal experiences with confronting racism and other forms of persecuted discrimination (i.e. sexism and homophobia) – and my reaction to the unfathomable freeing of Trayvon Martin’s murderer (I don’t like to say his killer’s name) – and another week to have it all gel: I was better-prepared to speak during the conversation we gathered for last week. Instead I found myself just actively listening (and waiting to speak but then our time in the hall was up); although I did engage in some great follow-up dialogue after the main event was concluded…
I am hoping to attend a “Race Talks” forum tomorrow night (8/6/13) at Jefferson High School, there is another similar event on the 16th at the Kennedy School. Every first and third Saturday the aforementioned Campaign to End the New Jim Crow meets at PCC-Cascade (which is where I attended the July 30 MRG Foundation event as well, we gathered there in Terrell Hall) – and later this month on August 24, Portland will gather to march in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington…
The time is ripe for discussing the ever-still-pervasiveness of racial inequality and there are many opportunities to get involved in these discussions and the need for a coalition is truly great; I want to take part; I want to be a part of the solution…
Like I tried to say – as best as I could – while in attendance at the National Day of Action March and Rally: Racism is not invisible to me. I was born in Little Rock Arkansas. My parents had recently been teenagers at Little Rock’s racially-historic Central High School… I was taught the history of the struggle for racial equality by my parents (and later through self-education and then school, college…) as well as the current social conditions which demonstrated the ongoing need for fighting racism… I have listened to a myriad of incidences of my “white” parents witnessing racism against non-whites, including how a school-friend of my mother’s was beaten by police when they searched him and found in his wallet, the photograph she had given him of herself…
My parents published an underground newspaper in Little Rock (A Different Drummer) and in addition to confronting racist America in general, my mother inspirationally chronicled the Black Panthers… For me personally, the Black Panthers were heroes who founded free lunch programs for poor children… Soon after moving from Arkansas, growing up in Boise, Idaho – in what was (for the most part) a homogenous sea of white people – and asking myself, at age nine: Where are all the other people? …Overhearing racist (and sexist and homophobic etc) rhetoric in my elementary school and eventually more of the same in Junior High (in Nampa Idaho) – and especially so when I visited previously unknown-to-me relatives in East Texas – I was no stranger to racist culture.
I have also witnessed first-hand: blatant racism in supposedly more politically-progressive cities, like Denver Colorado for instance – and right here in Portland Oregon.
When I spoke at the rally, I recounted how I had encountered racial-profiling and racism while working as a clerk at Tower Records. On one particular day I overheard two white male store-security guards vocalizing their frustration and anger over having watched a customer for as long as they had – the customer was a young black man – walk up to the counter and PAY for the stack of CDs he had carried around with him as he shopped… They had presumed that the customer would shoplift just because he was black. I was very saddened by hearing them talk the way they did - and I was mad that they were mad – because he hadn’t provided them with an opportunity to bust him. WTF!
Because I had witnessed this dialogue between these two security personnel – I myself was pre-disposed to profiling them as racist and unjust – so when on another particular day I witnessed them overtly-harassing a young “black” kid – who was suspected of shoplifting with another kid (who had fled the store and not yet been apprehended) – I couldn’t help myself from feeling that I had to intervene on his behalf: I first asked permission to speak to the child from my manager, who was also overhearing what I was, and I was actually granted my manager’s permission. I told the child that he had the right to remain silent and that he could wait until his mother arrived before answering any other questions…
…Well I got fired for doing that. I wish I hadn’t been fired: I really loved my job at the record store – and probably I didn’t really help the kid in the long-run – but for me: remaining silent in the face of racist behavior was not an acceptable option. I might wish I could do something bigger and more important than speaking up for that kid – and I really wish I could have kept that job – but every opportunity we have – to stand up to anything racist or even suspiciously so (slightly racist is still racist – all racism is totally racist…) is – in my opinion – my responsibility: otherwise instead of being a part of the solution; you are instead a part of the problem.
It felt very reaffirming to me last week – when (I believe it was our local activist, Joanne Hardesty) a woman in the audience gave an answer to the question of ~ ”what ‘white people’ can do to help counter racism…” – stating that something important that we can do as allies, is to speak up in the places she (as a black person) can’t; because no ‘people of color’ are there to speak for themselves… [Another woman called this racism out for what it is: white supremacy] … It is imperative for ‘white people’ to truly confront and counter white supremacy (and to own up to “white privilege”)…
…So maybe I didn’t directly help that child accused of shoplifting… But at that time and in that moment: it was one black child in a room of white adults – and I wanted him to know that he had my solidarity; I wanted the two white-supremacist security guards to know that THEY DID NOT have my solidarity. That was what I was trying to accomplish when I “interfered” with the business they were conducting. This is why it mattered to me and this is why I feel that I was right to stand up to racism regardless of the personal outcome of losing my job for doing that. This is why I would do it all again.
So there it is: I am trying not to shy away from talking about race and I do want to be a participant in this vital conversation. It has felt very right for me to have attended these recent community events and I hope to attend many more and I am totally marching on August 24 in commemoration of the March on Washington fifty years ago on August 28 1963…
I want to go on record for all this: These issues are important to me. Acknowledging that, 50 years following that march for freedom, America is still very racist – culturally and systemically - and that there is still a lot of work to collectively be done as we continue to struggle for the fulfillment of the dream which I and so many others share with Martin Luther King Jr. A dream which is reliant on us to carry its torch…
Yet I also am (desperately) trying to say that there is more than just racial inequality that is bothering me and weighing on my mind when it comes to what has happened to Trayvon Martin and to what didn’t happen to the man who murdered him. Everything about this “case” is blatantly racist. So the need to address racism in relation to Trayvon’s case is evident; but what about all the rest of it!?
It’s not enough for me that people have an understanding that Stand Your Ground laws are a massive failure (though I attest that they are doing exactly what ALEC and the NRA hope they will) and need to be changed; that a jury was handicapped in delivering justice because of adherence to these laws nor even that the irony has been pointed out that Trayvon is being denied his full-rights under these same laws… Yay that America has not slept through this trial. Yay that America is collectively picking up the conversation where it apparently left off somewhere along the line… Yay if these discussions eventually lead to greater equality in our justice system (that would be wonderful!) and yay if we don’t back down from the fight to protect our voting rights, etc and so on…
Yay for all that can be and might be made more positive… For me – though – I am not ready to stop talking about Trayvon specifically…
I am presently holding out the hope for the Department of Justice to continue their investigation and hopefully take the case head-on and charge Trayvon’s murderer with whatever they have the power to in this particular situation – but with or without that occurrence: There has been a blatant miscarriage of justice in Trayvon’s case and I may not have any specific idea about what I personally can do to change the status of this injustice but I don’t think I can let it go until I have thought of everything and figured something out…
I watched most of this trial – I saw some of it live and had a friend record many of the court sessions which I could not watch in real-time. Mostly I wanted to know how the trial proceeded and whether it seemed fair; if the prosecution seemed to be doing their job, etc… I wanted to be as informed as it was possible for me to be. However – I have never doubted that Trayvon was innocent – and that he had been murdered. Therefore, when so much evidence was available that this was in fact the case – evidence=evident – I guess I became complacent to the extent that I naively assumed that the jury would find Trayvon’s killer guilty of murder...
Well, considering their epic failure to do what was right – as a jury – and hand down the most severe sentence possible; it might seem confusing that I think the charge (and therefore the verdict) should have been even stronger – that this is a case of first degree murder…
Because not only do I not believe the testimony of the man who killed Trayvon Martin – I think that he is lying about everything! I think that there is sufficient evidence that this was a situation of prepared patience, that Trayvon was not just in the wrong place at the wrong time and how unfortunate this was for him; but that his killer had been preparing and waiting for such a moment – and that Trayvon was a premeditated victim because he embodied what his killer was profiling and targeting and that a lot of careful deliberation went into that so-called chance encounter… I know that it’s possible and I suspect that it is true. I also have a gut-feeling that Trayvon’s murder was staged to appear as self-defense – and there is no way for me to be certain I guess (I guess…) but it certainly could be easy to make it look like Trayvon was the aggressor even after he had been murdered – because all that would need to happen to make it appear that way is to place Trayvon’s body on top and fake the screams for help, the attacker could even bang his own head onto the concrete to further the appearance of acting in self-defense – all of this could take place after shooting Trayvon; it could have happened that way. This is if we are to take the so-called witness at their word of reporting how things appeared… So if I am to believe this is what the witness believes occurred – it could still have all been done with smoke and mirrors; do you see what I mean?
…Of course it “really matters” but for the case of my argument I am tempted to say that really, none of that should matter – whether Trayvon was acting in self-defense or was already dead – what matters most is that Trayvon was the victim: No matter how you grasp the evidence about how and when he died – there is no confusion (that I can see) to the confession of Trayvon’s killer that he did in fact shoot him dead, to the evidence that he had been following/stalking Trayvon and that Trayvon had committed no crime… The lack of evidence demonstrating that Trayvon had been physically threatening is very important to the case but again – if anyone had the right to “stand their ground” it was Trayvon. If anyone can justly claim self-defense; it would only be Trayvon who could do that… There is no room for any other reasoning in my mind to justifying any of the behavior of Trayvon’s murderer. This is not OK. I am not able to make peace with this… I am searching for answers and while I appreciate all the solidarity I am witnessing with regards to this injustice – I need more than solidarity to find closure to this tragedy. I demand justice. Please don’t let this fight be over or become stagnant… Please let us keep finding a way – whatever precedent we can bring about – to turn the tables on the incomprehensible verdict of “not guilty”. Trayvon’s murderer is guilty. Trayvon Martin is an innocent child who was racistly murdered. I demand justice for Trayvon Martin.
JUSTICE FOR TRAYVON MARTIN NOW!
5 August 2013
* * *
[the following letter, by sinead o'connor, was published on march 22, 2012]
I would like to extend my very deepest sympathies to the family and other loved ones of murdered teenager, Treyvon Martin. I am very sad today (and am certain the whole of Ireland is) to learn of poor Treyvon's terrifying ordeal and horrified by the fact his known and named and admitted killer has not been arrested, despite the crime having taken place a month ago. This is a disgrace to the entire human race.
For those out there who believe black people to be less than pure royalty, let me inform you of a little known, but scientifically proven, many times over, FACT. Which after reading, you will hopefully feel both very stupid and very sorry. For you dishonor your own mothers and grandmothers.
EVERY human being on earth, no matter what their culture, creed, skin colour, or nationality, shares one gene traceable back to one African woman. Scientists have named it 'The Eve Gene'. This means ALL of us, even ridiculously stupid, ignorant, perverted, blaspheming racists are the descendants of one African woman.
One African woman is the mother of all of us. Africa was the first world. You come from there! Your skin may be 'white'.. because you didn't need it to be black any more where you lived. But as Curtis Mayfield said.. "You're just the surface of our dark, deep well". So you're being morons. And God is having the last laugh at your ignorant expense.
If you hate black people, its yourself you hate. And the mother who bore you. If you kill or wish ill on black people, its yourself you kill and wish ill on. As well as the mother who bore you.
When you dishonor the the utter glory and majesty of black people, you lie. Your heart lies to you and you let it. Despite seeing every day, all your life, how you and your country would be less than wonderfully functioning and inspiring to the world, without the manifold and glorious contributions made by the descendants of African slaves, who did not by the way actually ask to go to America and leave their future families there to be disrespected for eternity.
What are you doing hating yourself by hating your brothers and sisters who daily show you nothing but inspiration and love, despite having NOTHING, in their own country? Despite having barely a chance of anything, because of racism. Despite being granted no 'permission' for proper self-esteem.
These beautiful people continue to believe in and even manifest Jesus Christ better than you do. That alone could stand as the greatest reason your racism is blasphemy, were it not for all the other reasons.
These people you hate and fear ARE the body of Christ, just as we all are. Every child, woman or man. And they know it. Maybe thats why you cant bear to look at them. Because you see Jesus Christ and you cant stand the light.
Stop this ridiculous and uneducated attitude. You would be dead without black people. Think of all the greatest music ever composed. The greatest songs. The greatest inspirational heroes.. Muhammad Ali, Mandela, Martin Luther King, Harriet Tubman, Soujourner Truth, Bob Marley, Nina Simone, Curtis Mayfield. So many absolute angels, sent from God.
Without the inspiration of these people many millions of so-called 'white' people, including myself would not have had the strength to pay the price of life.
And black youth in America. I'm talking to you here too. I love you. So I don't mean to sound cross, I'm just being a mother.. Why are you killing each other? Why are you hating yourselves? You are the most important people God ever sent to this earth, every man, woman and child among you! Don't let uneducated people win and take your self-esteem or your esteem for each other, and make you kill each other. over guns, drugs, bling, or any other nonsense.
You are now entering YOUR version of a sort of civil rights movement and you're gonna see history being made in what has certainly the profoundest potential to become THE most wonderful country on earth. Because soon ALL 'isms' and 'sits'' will end. including racism, as the people of the earth begin to understand, we are all one.
We came from one mother. We are all brothers and sisters. And we CAN get beyond this ILLUSION of separateness. With prayer and love. It CAN change. It WILL change. And YOU guys (young people of all kinds) are the ones who are gonna GENTLY change it. And you know where it starts? With MUSIC.
Don't be guided by rap. Gangsta or otherwise. Sure.. enjoy it.. adore it.as I do.. but realize this.. rap ain't about your civil or spiritual rights, baby boys and girls. It.. along with most music nowadays.. is about falsenesses and vanities. Bling, drugs, sex, guns and people- dissing. Its giving you the message you ain't 'good enough' if you don't have bling and ting.. and money. Or if you're not what it deems 'sexy'.
(This is true of all popular music not rap alone. I know. Its tragically true of all popular youth culture the world over).
Poor Curtis Mayfield must be crying all day and night ALL day and night in heaven, every day and night.. To see what has been so successfully achieved by those who sent guns, drugs, and bling to squash the civil rights movement. Now you all don't have to be murdered by racists any more.. you're murdering each other FOR them! And your parents and grandparents are left crying.
Go back to strong black musical guides who left you information in the 60s and 70s. when they were living through the civil rights struggle. Curtis Mayfield. The Impressions. Nina Simone, Mahalia Jackson. Sing back the Holy Spirit ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, as those artists did.
Forget bling. Forget "Get Rich Or Die Trying". That is an evil message. Evil my dears is only life backwards. Turn it the right way up. With music. The messages American black youth are being given through music are not about the spiritual and therefore strong and conquering but PEACEFUL making of YOUR country into the wonderful place it secretly is and can be.. BECAUSE OF YOU, and BY YOU!!
You know not how you are adored, appreciated, valued, loved, cried for,smiled for, prayed for, all over the world. You know not how much inspiration and uplift-ment of heart you give to millions just by your presence on earth.
These musical guides will give you self-esteem. When you have self-esteem you can achieve anything. You can stand in the street as many did yesterday and change your country peacefully and with song. Chant down Babylon as the Rastas say. Rastafari will also give you self esteem. Investigate it.
You will notice, my beautiful sons and daughters, when you study, as you must, footage of all civil rights gatherings, how singing and music and sound and voice and the Holy Spirit were all employed and were so much part of the energy which moved things along.. just as running was in the South African gatherings I saw on tv in my own childhood, which inspired me to survive my own horrors.
What you listen to musically and whether or not you employ the Holy Spirit's highest will for your life is whats gonna make you transcend all you're having to suffer (the worst of which is low self-esteem.. or esteem based upon material 'success' or 'sexiness')) as a result of being the descendants of people who didn't ask to be stolen and leave you where you are. Delete bling. Get conscious with your music. Demand conscious music from your artists. Go back to the artists who left you proper guidance.
This is some serious stuff and we (all manner of musical artists) are too silent on matters of enormous spiritual importance. Lemme ask you.. Jayzee and Eminem et al. Why was it always the black people only worked in the post rooms of record companies, which was always in the basement? Why was it that as each floor went up the skins got paler till it was fuckin ghosts at the top?
And all us artists.. even me.. said nothing? Those buildings (record companies) always struck me as being a microcosm or painting of America, racially speaking. Christ almighty.. if its like that in the music business how is anything ever going to change?
We, musical artists are too silent on important stuff. And it is our job to be the gate-keepers of truth. ALL the people of this earth must come together eventually and see that we are one. ALL artists must stand up. Black, white, yellow, green, pink, fucking polka dot.. and be a light in these times.
The world is going to shift massively this year.. spiritually speaking. Musical artists are to be a massive part of that shift. Get up, lets all of us. And light Jah fire.. and BE lights.
Where's the fire gone from music? Where is the love? the oneness? The knowing that music CAN and WILL move things in the right spiritual direction without hatred or violence? We must box clever. Sing the devil to sleep at your feet. Thats what Curtis teaches. He is the master of ALL musical masters. forget, forget, forget and forget again bling and guns and drugs and the worship of fame and money. Its time to wake up. We KNOW the power of music. Why aren't we using it to change anything important?
Musicians all over the world should now gently demand this child's killer be arrested immediately and the family of Treyvon Martin be immediately apologized to upon bended knee. Frankly. I myself would like an apology! America is a country I love and adore. what this man has done is un-American in the most horrific extreme.
Him not being arrested is extremely embarrassing and does absolutely NOT paint the true picture of of a country and a people who for the 90% majority are the kindest, most loving, intelligent, and wonderful people you could know.
Please.. ALL Americans should deplore this crime. As should ALL people of ALL nations. And deplore the fact this man has not been arrested. All Irish people should do the same. And I ask that we here in Ireland should express through our American embassy that we would like to see this man arrested this very minute. Because racism is not acceptable. Nor is vigilantism. And this was very clearly in no way at all a case of self-defense.
I leave you with some lyrics of Curtis Mayfield's which I feel are appropriate for this situation. I am certain Curtis would have wanted to contribute to discussion on the issue of Treyvon's murder and the condition of young black people in America today.. so here goes.. the song is called This Is My Country.. from the album of the same name.
Some people think we don't have the right
to say its my country
before they give in
they'd rather fuss and fight
than say its my country
I've paid three hundred years or more
of slave-driving sweat and welts on my back
This is my country
Too many have died in protecting my pride
for me to go second class
We've survived a hard blow and I want you to know
that you must face us at last
And I know you will give consideration
shall we perish unjust or live equal as a nation?
This is my country.
Saturday, March 24, 2012
drawing by kristin angelique
to begin with: i am not an amazing singer; but any person who is having a nervous breakdown while also singing in perfect tune, is a person who is not being sincere...
(o: this is me keeping it real :o)
*aka "you don't see me" from the record: everything in my life has led up to this moment...
anecdote: this song actually began as a 15 second challenge song for a song night at the sidewalk cafe, nyc. this song's original inspiration came from my comrade, adam green (as a kind of sort of answer song to adam's songs: "can you see me" and "who's your boyfriend")...
only kind of sort of; it evolved into another story: it's a long story...
squirrels! squirrels! squirrels! is the musical adventures of kristin angelique...
picture of me: march 24 2012, by kristin angelique
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
"I like too many things and get all confused and hung-up running from one falling star to another till I drop. This is the night, what it does to you. I had nothing to offer anybody except my own confusion." - Jack Kerouac
picture of me: march 20 2012, by kristin angelique
* * *
sound on sound: by big boys
i really love this song.
it makes me think of *you* tim;
but you should know that my love for you: is very real
(thank you for being a friend)
Tuesday, March 20, 2012
Monday, March 12, 2012
Saturday, March 10, 2012
* * *
liberty lunch, austin tx
10 march 1999
(o: my special t-shirt that elliott gave me :o)
. . . i miss you so much . . .
love love love
* * *
i took pictures at elliott's portland memorial site - almost every day - until the city removed it: