Queer, Gifted & Black

Monday
Aug252014

Our Collective Worth & Divinity

I'm really obsessed with learning.
I love everything about it.
It makes me so hot, literally. 
It fills me with an enormous heat and passion that for me is so akin to sexual energy. And I really love sharing things I have learned with other people. I love that information can literally transform our lives. It can inspire us to be kinder to ourselves, to each other, it can heal the sick, it can liberate you, transform your community, it can profoundly shift everything we think we know about the world.

I really love learning collectively, and I appreciate when you comment and share the things that you learn and feel, the ways that it has impacted your lives and your relationships. And because of all the work that I do and all the ways I share (besides Facebook, I have 13 different blogs that I admin or co admin and share information on weekly) I can't always reply, but I read every single thing and I wanted to thank you all for engaging in that collective process.

Tiq Milan always says to me ‪#‎teamworkmakesthedreamwork‬ and for me that illustrates so aptly the reasons why I am equally as obsessed with intersectionality, equity & inclusion. We need each other. And I don't feel ashamed of that anymore. I need and I benefit all the time from the work of other people. I learn more and more about that every day. From the way that I as a hearing person benefits from the creation of a culture that is so auditory, it actively and violently excludes my Deaf* community to the way that I as a Black Queer woman on a daily basis am subject to violent language and sometimes unwanted touch on a daily basis. I hold all these things in my body at the same time and even more. We all do. Each life form on this planet is intricately connected to us all and we are each infinitely complex.
It's fascinating and beautiful and thrilling. I want to spend the rest of my life understanding relationships and sharing them with people in the hopes of creating a world that is more just and where power and resources are shared with equity.

I learn that there are Black people being murdered all across the country and I learn that Indigenous People worldwide are also facing a continual genocide. I learn about the Tamil People, the Tibetans, the Samoans, the Muxe, the Hijra. I learn that so much of European Art is appropriated from beautifully complex African Art. I learn that Mathematics came from the Middle East. And I keep finding more and more. I learn that we are so much more than we have told. All people who are marginalized, we are constantly taught that we are not valuable. We quiet ourselves, just as we were quieted or ignored as children or at work earlier in the day. Instead of seeking love, we seek to disempower others, shame other so that hopefully we ease this emptiness that so many of us are feeling.

I say this often, whether you believe that we were made by a creator or from the bellies of stars, either way that means that we are a piece of heaven. We are all divine.

We cannot vilify the thief and then elevate those who steal entire continents and celebrate "Columbus day'. We cannot imprison the drug dealer when BP is allowed to remain free and functioning after poisoning the environment with massive oil spills. We cannot condemn the hoodie when more people have been murdered by men in suits and uniforms. We cannot shame Black women for sharing their bodies when their are museums and art galleries full of white women all being regarded as immensely valuable. One of the most powerful things we all need to learn is to trust ourselves, trust our struggle and trust each other.

We need to trust the stories of immigrants, refugees, the people on food stamps, - we need to trust the lingering stories of young unarmed Black boys murdered for daring to exist. We need to trust these stories and the things that they teach us OVER the stories that are being fed to us by corporately funded media.

We are all valuable. We have to open ourselves to the lived experiences of the people around us. We have to learn of each other from each other. We have to stop believing the lies that we are fed about ourselves and our communities.

And that is why I will continue to learn everything I can and then I share it all. The more I learn, the more I understand and the more that it complicates my understanding of the world, and I know that in sharing it, it generates abundance. The value of it all increases in a multitude of different ways in which I can't entirely know or understand and every single piece is important. Every single part of it is powerful, humbling and miraculous. When I get into a conversation about intergenerational healing with the young woman in the Bronx doing my nails and we end up in tears just as she finishes and when I get the honor of being invited to universities to celebrate their Lavender Graduation.

Working collectively, respecting different levels of participation, knowledge and experience, sharing in visions of justice and of love, celebrating diversity and valuing the lived experiences of people experiencing violence. These are all things that happen here and are happening in other pockets all around the world.

I'm not suggesting this is THE revolution, but it does feel radical. Even when we are witnessing and experiencing so much violence, we still find ways in the midst of it all to make a lot of miracles happen. I just wanted to remind us all of that while we fight, or while we are sad or tired or burnt out - its all important, the little and the big in each and every moment that we persist creating a world that we have never known in our lifetimes. We are guided by multiple different kinds of faiths and purposes that are all divine just as we are.

Friday
Aug222014

Taking Off Your Cool 

 

Taking off your Cool | Learning & Loving

 

[Transcript of video composed by Kim Katrin Milan and shot by Gein Wong, discussing the ways learning and loving can enact revolution]

 

Kim: "You know, any piece of information could be the catalyst, you know...it's the thing that makes the person the maddest and starts this like massive revolution. Like the butterfly effect..."

 

Voice in background: "Uh-huh."

 

Kim: "...the idea that one small happening can successively affect massive kinds of change. What if something that I read just really...or something that someone read that I shared...made people feel like things could be different? You know, I really believe in all of these like post-apocalyptic uh sci-fi novels that really speak to the power of the human spirit to just do these um, enormous things. Like, change the scope of the entire world because, people are not being treated fairly."

 

Voice in the background: "Mhmm."

 

Kim: "And I think that the way in which we affect positive change is by making sure that as many people as possible have as much information as possible. [Pauses] *sighs* I just think learning is everything. I think it's like...that's why I really like Lucy, because it's the idea that you are able to access 100% of your brain just for the purpose of giving this gift to the rest of the world. Like all of this knowledge that possibly, if everyone just gets access to, that it could make everything okay. And maybe even more than okay, but like awesome. Like what if things could be awesome? What if it could be like, we could create the road so that people don't crash? What we could make sure that everything was not only sustainable but also like, nurturing? What if people all felt really good about themselves ALL the Time?! What if people felt like they were really awesome? What if people could enter into relationships that weren't shameful or scary? What if people could ask for the kind of sex that they want?

 

What if we could eliminate things like rape? You know? There are cultures in the world where rape does not exist. It doesn't have to be this 'truth' of our society that raping and poverty and violence are realities that we have to live out. This idea that we're naturally brutish by nature, I don't think it's true and I feel like why not put other theories to the test? As the human race, you know, why not explore other ideas about our humanity together? Or even apart. Like, why not create space for other people to explore their own personal versions of themselves, you know? And I think that knowledge is the way to do that.

 

I remember being a little girl, and just being obsessed with reading; obsessed with every single world I could learn about. Obsessed with every single place that people went in their imagination. I was so in awe of the fact that people could imagine whole worlds and characters and peoples and tell stories that millions of people around the world could read! That's just so...powerful. Right? Like, how can I not believe that one person can change everything. Because it's just one person writing this book, that then gets shared all around the world. But, for me it's not about the one, it's about the one to many. You know, like, we each are filters for millions of people, and millions of life forms. You know, like my body is home to millions of life forms.

 

Like, we have to recognize that any version of this universe that we imagine has to be one that's grounded in interdependence. Like this really deep knowing that we need each other and taking care of each other. Like, taking care of each other feels awesome. Like taking care of you in my life, Gein, feels awesome. It feels super nice the way that you take care of me too. Like, that feels super great. I like, I want people to wanna show off that they like each other. I want that to be cool, because I feel like it's not cool to say that you just think someone's awesome and smart and great, and that you're just really happy that they wanna be your friend.

 

And maybe that's a weird thing to like say as an adult, because it's hard to make friends as an adult...or different to make friends as an adult? But like, you know, as someone who like didn't really have a lot of friends as a kid, like, I think it's so...I think friendship is super special. And I think connecting with people is super special. And I don't understand why we don't wanna be more obsessed with information and structures of ways of making other people feel special and valued. Cuz it feels awesome and I don't know why we don't wanna do that to each other. And like, I hate how cool it is to be mean. I hate how cool it is, to like, be hurtful, I hate how cool it is to act like we don't care about each other or we don't care when we get hurt. You know everyone who's ever hurt my feelings, still hurts my feelings. Even when I'm like "I don't care, and "you're mean", "it doesn't matter"...like, it all hurts. Cuz, I feel like we're all soft on the inside."

 

- video ends -

Wednesday
Aug132014

Dear Young Black Men

Dear young Black men. Sag your pants if you want to. Wear super tight skinny jeans if you want to. Wear hoodies if you want to. Wear your long locks, your dashiki, cover yourself in tattoos - yes even on your face. Wear all white. It is not true that if we dress the way that whiteness determine is the most 'professional' that you will be granted more freedom, more jobs, better salaries or will it keep you out of prison. The prison is full of generations of Black men who never sagged their pants at all. Black men have never made more than .74 for every dollar a white man makes extending as far back to 1970, when it was .69 and I imagine these men were not sagging their pants either.

 
When white people went all the way to the African continent to get out of doing work (only to turn around and call us lazy after African enslaved people have literally done all the work) and they saw us as kings, queens, farmers, artists, weavers and we were also not sagging our pants, they still began a genocide whose effects persist even today. If that was all it took, just to dress like they say, or speak like they say and only when spoken to, then don't you think our ancestors would have tried that? And in fact many of them did, tried very hard to meet all the standards that were established, assimilated into their schools, adopted their religion, speaking their language and we still are not free. Black men get shot and murdered in suits, and sweaters, black boys in tshirts and hoodies. The way that they dress has NOTHING to do with the war that has been declared on their bodies. I applaud every Black man trying to stay alive, saying fuck you to ‪#‎respectabilitypolitics‬ with your braidup tight and the ones who hold their own in a suit and those wearing long robes. I will always fight for your right to wear whatever you please, and to have the self-determination to make your own choices about your bodies.

 


Friday
Jun132014


Read the rest of the article here.

Monday
Jun092014

Reconciling Hearts & Minds: The Science Of Social Justice

 

Here is a video I conceived, directed by Gein Wong, transcribed by mercy medusa mahogany immanuel thokozane minah, inspired by Zainab Amadahy's book Wielding The Force: The Science Of Social Justice, talking about emotions, Maya's wisdom, movement building and electro-magnetic fields.

This one is for all the folks who have been told that their feelings put them at a disadvantage.

“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

― Maya Angelou 

 

 

 

 

[Transcript of video conceived by Kim Katrin Milan, directed by Gein Wong and discussing vital lessons from Zainab Amadahy's Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice]
Voice in background: Who would be like, your first person you'd want in the audience to be there?
Kim: For me it's not like a specific person, it's like, anyone who has been told that their emotions are not important or real. 
Voice in background: Mhmm, mhmm.
Kim: You know? One of the other things she talked about was how, every time we make a decision we check in with our emotional centers. Like, everyone does that. This isn't something that like, just "illogical" people do separately, then all the logical people just totally destroy that. Like, everybody does that, you know? And I've just, for everyone who has just felt um, like their emotions put them at a disadvantage or that they have to stop crying...Okay, now I know who I'm talking to. (Smiles) 
Kim: I wanted to talk about a book. I wanted to talk about a book that was really important to me, because it fortified my ability to do my work better. It made me believe in myself in a way that I, knew that I wanted to believe in myself but I couldn't quite figure out how to do that. And so I always like to share things that make us feel more possible, more confident in ourselves, in our capacity. Uh, less ashamed of the people that we are, of our frailness, of our beauty, of our wholeness. And I feel like this person's work really does that. In a really transformative way. So I wanted to talk about Zainab Amadahy. She wrote a book called The Science of Social Justice. And this book really talks about how Indigenous sciences and emerging sciences are connected to the ways in which we think and talk about social justice. But also the ways in which we think and talk about science and the brain and a whole myriad of topics. And I feel like, really importantly, it brings a much needed perspective in terms of intersectionality and connectivity, that is missing from a lot of analysis both of social justice and as well, of science. And so one of the things that she talked about, that for me was really transformative, was explaining that every time we make a decision, we check in with our emotional centers. That so often, I have been told, and I know that so many of us have been told, that emotions are separate from logic. And that if you're crying while you're talking about something serious, it means you must apologize for those tears and find a way to suck that all up so that you can access the logicical side of the person that you are. And what this did for me was it reconciled everything. It meant that the emotions were absolutely part and parcel of everything I was doing, and it wasn't an accident. This is actually just what me as a human being in the world does. And one the other things that she shared, that was really really transformative as well, was this idea that we each, each life form has its own electrico-magnetic field. And these fields are one...are something that can be measured individually, but they can also be measured in the ways that they impact other people. So my EM fields can show up in your hearts, in can show up in your brain, it can show up in the people's lives who I touch. I think of Maya Angelou and the ways that she has asked us to remember that "People will not remember what we did, but they will remember the way that we made them feel." And that even though she might not have realized that, but she's talking some hard science right there. And I think, that one of the things that is really important in terms of thinking about these implications is how this works on a collective basis. So Zainab was explaining that there are two times in most recent recorded history when the electro magnetic field of the entire planet changed. One was when 9/11 was announced. And the second was when Obama's election was announced. That these two incidents, that could not be more different, one that was so much despair and so much tragedy and another one that was so much hope and so much promise of something -a testament of the collective organizing of so many individuals, who believed in something that they'd never seen before. And for me, that is a testament to what emotions can do. A testament to what the power of media means; the ability to transport this image entirely around the world, with enough to change the way in which the entire planet electro-magnetic field was being emitted. That these things that we take for granted, the ability to turn on the internet and get access to information. The ways in which we interact with each other and the ways that our feelings respond to these interactions, that these things are changing our planet. They're changing life all around us. And for me it was a reminder to think more deeply about the sacredness of my actions. Of the ways in which I act in the world, and the ways in which I build my movements. That if we are not also thinking about things from perspectives around hope, and intuition and love then we are not complete. We cannot only be focusing on the tangible because those things are all intricately connected. 
Kim: So I think one of the integral things that Zainab is inviting us to do is one, to really diversify our perspective and our understanding of what science is. That there are Indigenous scientists, there are Middle Eastern scientists. There are so many different people who are practicing different kinds of intricate localized knowledge that can be described as science. And also a reminder that our emotions are a part of that science. That we can't separate the feeling part of us from the logic part of us. That those things have already reconciled themselves together and we don't even have to do the work to figure out how they work together. And so I invite you to take a look at her book, Zainab Amadahy Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice.
Kim: Was that okay?
Voice in background: Yeah. 

On Zainab Amadahy's book Wielding The Force: The Science Of Social Justice
On Reconciling Hearts & Minds 
[Transcript of video conceived by Kim Katrin Milan, directed by Gein Wong and discussing vital lessons from Zainab Amadahy's Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice]

Voice in background: Who would be like, your first person you'd want in the audience to be there?
Kim: For me it's not like a specific person, it's like, anyone who has been told that their emotions are not important or real. 
Voice in background: Mhmm, mhmm.
Kim: You know? One of the other things she talked about was how, every time we make a decision we check in with our emotional centers. Like, everyone does that. This isn't something that like, just "illogical" people do separately, then all the logical people just totally destroy that. Like, everybody does that, you know? And I've just, for everyone who has just felt um, like their emotions put them at a disadvantage or that they have to stop crying...Okay, now I know who I'm talking to. (Smiles) 
Kim: I wanted to talk about a book. I wanted to talk about a book that was really important to me, because it fortified my ability to do my work better. It made me believe in myself in a way that I, knew that I wanted to believe in myself but I couldn't quite figure out how to do that. And so I always like to share things that make us feel more possible, more confident in ourselves, in our capacity. Uh, less ashamed of the people that we are, of our frailness, of our beauty, of our wholeness. And I feel like this person's work really does that. In a really transformative way. So I wanted to talk about Zainab Amadahy. She wrote a book called The Science of Social Justice. And this book really talks about how Indigenous sciences and emerging sciences are connected to the ways in which we think and talk about social justice. But also the ways in which we think and talk about science and the brain and a whole myriad of topics. And I feel like, really importantly, it brings a much needed perspective in terms of intersectionality and connectivity, that is missing from a lot of analysis both of social justice and as well, of science. And so one of the things that she talked about, that for me was really transformative, was explaining that every time we make a decision, we check in with our emotional centers. That so often, I have been told, and I know that so many of us have been told, that emotions are separate from logic. And that if you're crying while you're talking about something serious, it means you must apologize for those tears and find a way to suck that all up so that you can access the logicical side of the person that you are. And what this did for me was it reconciled everything. It meant that the emotions were absolutely part and parcel of everything I was doing, and it wasn't an accident. This is actually just what me as a human being in the world does. And one the other things that she shared, that was really really transformative as well, was this idea that we each, each life form has its own electrico-magnetic field. And these fields are one...are something that can be measured individually, but they can also be measured in the ways that they impact other people. So my EM fields can show up in your hearts, in can show up in your brain, it can show up in the people's lives who I touch. I think of Maya Angelou and the ways that she has asked us to remember that "People will not remember what we did, but they will remember the way that we made them feel." And that even though she might not have realized that, but she's talking some hard science right there. And I think, that one of the things that is really important in terms of thinking about these implications is how this works on a collective basis. So Zainab was explaining that there are two times in most recent recorded history when the electro magnetic field of the entire planet changed. One was when 9/11 was announced. And the second was when Obama's election was announced. That these two incidents, that could not be more different, one that was so much despair and so much tragedy and another one that was so much hope and so much promise of something -a testament of the collective organizing of so many individuals, who believed in something that they'd never seen before. And for me, that is a testament to what emotions can do. A testament to what the power of media means; the ability to transport this image entirely around the world, with enough to change the way in which the entire planet electro-magnetic field was being emitted. That these things that we take for granted, the ability to turn on the internet and get access to information. The ways in which we interact with each other and the ways that our feelings respond to these interactions, that these things are changing our planet. They're changing life all around us. And for me it was a reminder to think more deeply about the sacredness of my actions. Of the ways in which I act in the world, and the ways in which I build my movements. That if we are not also thinking about things from perspectives around hope, and intuition and love then we are not complete. We cannot only be focusing on the tangible because those things are all intricately connected. 
Kim: So I think one of the integral things that Zainab is inviting us to do is one, to really diversify our perspective and our understanding of what science is. That there are Indigenous scientists, there are Middle Eastern scientists. There are so many different people who are practicing different kinds of intricate localized knowledge that can be described as science. And also a reminder that our emotions are a part of that science. That we can't separate the feeling part of us from the logic part of us. That those things have already reconciled themselves together and we don't even have to do the work to figure out how they work together. And so I invite you to take a look at her book, Zainab Amadahy Wielding The Force: The Science of Social Justice.
Kim: Was that okay?
Voice in background: Yeah.