Tag Archives: racism

Forget your turkey, eat this!

28 Nov

I just finished watching this film. Its a good film and a sad story about Native children who were kidnapped and forced to live in boarding schools. The truth is still the truth. Enjoy your turkey all you want, but remember that part of what you may be thankful for, came at the cost of life and the sacrifice of others.

 

Advertisements

Dear Gardena, It takes a village to raise a child…

28 Mar

On Tuesday January 18th, my high school made the news, a kid brought a gun to school. When he placed his backpack down it accidently discharged and one bullet hit 2 kids. The two 15 year olds were taken to the hospital. The rest of the students were put on lockdown while the LAUSD police, Gardena P.D., and LAPD showed up with helicopters, squad cars, and guns to find the 17 year old sophmore who brought a weapon to school.

The media gladly followed the sensation, a young black kid made a mistake and someone had to criminalize him and the entire student population. Parents called and texted their kids to make sure they were ok. Rumors, fear, and confusion swam all around. When students were allowed to leave the classroom after lockdown, they came out with their hands in the air and guns pointed at them. Every young kid at this school became a victim of trauma and violence once again.

Thankfully kids are not killing one another at school everyday. Unfortunately young people do resort to violence if they are threatened or if they are angry and desperate. In this young man’s case, he was being threatened by gang members. In our American culture, we do not teach children effective conflict resolution and communication skills. In our culture, boys and men are especially taught to be tough. Male anger is not challenged enough, instead it is encouraged and glorified.

We must consider the types of adversities that teenagers are facing in a society we’ve handed to them that can cause violent or unhealthy behavior. Working class communities of color lack resources and safe places. There are very few jobs but plenty of opportunities to get into trouble. There are drugs, liquor stores, and gangs around the corners. Many young people find their way around this reality. I found a way. Many kids try to focus as much as possible on their studies, but other youth may not have support at home. There are parents that work multiple jobs, there are single parent households, domestic violence, economic hardships, incarceration of family members, and the list goes on. Young people suffer from depression and low self-esteem. Schools do not motivate children to be excited about learning or to work towards career and life long goals. Schools teach to test. Schools have tired teachers. Schools have under-paid teachers. Schools don’t have enough teachers. As a society, we do not invest in ALLLLL of our children’s education enough.

I listen to the youth i work with every week. And they are trying to make it through. They want to be succesful individuals. But our youth need support and encouragement. They do not need more criminalization the way the media portrayed students from GHS. They need love at home, at school, and in the community. “It takes a village to raise a child” and that means we all need to commit in one way or another to young people’s future. Maybe we all can’t give time to every teenager on the block, but we all have little cousins, younger siblings, nephews & nieces. We need to take care of one another.

Young people survive traumas everyday. The school shooting affected every student on that campus. They were all on lockdown, praying that it was none of their friends who was hurt. They were escorted out of their classrooms and in some cases the students were walking out with their hands in the air and guns pointed back at them by uniformed officers. The kid who brought the gun is already facing prosecution and they want to try him as an adult. Prison’s are not places where you can heal and become a better person. Prison’s dehumanize, further traumatize, and perpetrate more violence.

I write all of this because we really need to watch over our youth. They need to become functional, healthy adults. They need to be intelligent and help their communities grow positively. But it’s gonna take all of our efforts and not metal detectors or school police to stop violence on school campuses.

2011 & Colorado

24 Jan

Catching the sight of prairies and mountains

Now that we have entered 2011, i feel that we are actually living the 21st Century. We are a whole decade into it. YAY! This year feels like a great refreshing beginning that is filled with many opportunities to explore and follow thru on. 2010 was challenging and heavy at times but i’d like to believe that was all in preparation for the great potential we now have as we attain to reach our goals and priorities.

I started this year by traveling to Colorado. I always want to leave the country but traveling within is also a great blessing with many surprises. Colorado was very beautiful, super chill, and nice. It was beautiful because of the snow, the mountains, the air, the prairies, the sky, the rock formations, the trees, and the birds. Everything in nature was beautiful and gorgeous. It was chill and chilly, i’ve never been in such cold temperature. But i realized that being cold is a state of mind … and it also depends on proper clothing attire. I didn’t realize that there’s a whole industry around making clothes and sportswear to keep bodies warm. It should have been common sense, but in my defense, Im a Cali city girl. Its warm year round. Sure it rains and it feels cold, but it’s winter now and its almost 80 degrees outside.

Colorado was also nice. People were nice. Coming from L.A. i was on heightened awareness mode. In other words, i was looking around, waiting for someone to trip on me, or give me a weird look, be disrespectful, or not want to take my order at a restaurant. It might be an L.A. thing or a person of color thing. Traveling to the west side places me on that mode, so when traveling out of my comfort zone, i was just waiting and wondering for something to occur. It’s happened before. But in Colorado, no one was tripping and neither was i. People were friendly and they’re acknowledging of your being. Wow. I went to the grocery store and people were aware of one another, couples were shopping, people would say excuse me in a gentle way, and make eye contact with one another. Im sorry to say that in Los Angeles, that is not the culture amongst strangers….

My friend Karinna whom we stayed with while in Co. said it best, “People here make time for each other”. In L.A., people dont have time for one another. I dont know how many times ive scheduled hanging out with my friends 3 weeks in advance. As a spiritual being trying to have a human experience, living in a city can be problematic. Our interactions can be mechanical, rushed, or stressful. It is challenging, but eventually you find love and make friends and community in this city.

All in all, i want to keep getting to know other parts of the States. I’d like to visit my friend in New York. I’d like to see more of California, its a beautiful coastal state and im very lucky to live here. (despite my rantings, more on living and loving in L.A. in the next blog). Im excited for 2011, and after only a couple of weeks into it, im having to remind myself the purpose for this year: Finding my balance and harmonizing with life. Its time i get back in sync with my path, my creativity, my health, my spirit, and the cosmos.

International Human Rights Day

11 Dec

Did you take time today to reflect on your human rights?

12/10/08 - International Human Rights Day Vigil in front of Federal building, downtown L.A.

12/10/08 - International Human Rights Day Vigil in front of Federal building, downtown L.A.

On Dec. 10, 2008, International Human Rights Day,  Los Angeles, community organizers supporting immigrant rights called a candle light vigil and march to the downtown federal building today to remind people and this government of the human rights they violate daily towards immigrant people. Ending family separations between U.S. born children/citizens and their mothers and fathers would return some humanity to us all as a nation.

This country however was founded on the violation of human rights. First; Indigenous genocide, land theft, enslavement, punishment for spiritual and cultural practices,  degradation of life, and boarding school teachings. Second; Forced migration and enslavement of African peoples, lynching, chaining, beating, raping, owning, segregation, and assassination of freedom fighters. For every ethnic community that arrived on this country, they have been met with xenophobia, racism, segregation, relinquished to ghetto life, recruited into wars, under-educated, punished, imprisoned, over worked, underpaid, physically, spiritually, and mentally oppressed.

After the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, a border was drawn by man on a map. Ownership over lands once shared are now deserts with spirits still walking to cross the border, pushed out of one’s own country and homeland because of the economics at play since the conquest. Relegated to third world status, Latin American countries are good for exploitation from the sugar cane plantations of the Caribbean nations to the fabricas/maquilas using womyn for control and production.

I do not understand peoples hate towards our human brothers and sisters who are seeking a future. A future that is not guaranteed in their homeland. From Filipino womyn who become bride ordered to womyn who leave their child behind so they can send money to feed them, the level of oppression and exploitation, and lack of human rights has created an exodus from poor countries to the United States, a “first world” country. People are here to work, survive, find love, create families, educate children, keep culture alive, create businesses and share knowledge. But the U.S. government only know to humiliate, detain, deport, and seperate families.

Human rights have been denied in the United States since before 1776. This is a fact and this country still doesn’t know how to treat all humans with respect and equality.

So where do you stand today? Where will you stand tomorrow? Check yo’self and all your privileges.

imgp61501imgp61481imgp61531imgp6155imgp61441