Re: “Raven-Symoné: Don’t Label Me ‘Gay’ Or ‘African-American'”

Oh Raven….. Raven, Raven, Raven.

I’ve been trying to steer away from watching this interview after seeing all of the heat it stirred up on my News Feed from folks I respect and know I would agree with. I praise Raven for having stayed out of the toil and trouble that is Hollywood in her life chapter of ‘growing up’ and ‘coming out’ but what a disappointment it was to listen to a beautiful brown/black womxn so adamantly express on national TV her willingness to detach herself from her culture, her roots, and her ancestral heritage.

Yes– labels were created to confuse us and succeed in separating us from the solidarity and collective action that we need in present day society. Yes– we SHOULD be able to tell each other we love humans and not have to make it a ‘gendered’ decision. BUT to say that you are ‘American’ because you can only draw your roots to Louisiana totally disregards the centuries of oppression and colonialism ALL PEOPLE OF COLOR have endured and are struggling to overcome and become healed from in our present society. By making that choice, you have invalidated the countless acts that your ancestors have fought through, bled through, and died for to give YOU– their babies, their babies’ babies’ and their future generations to come– a RIGHT TO LIVE AND BE FREE in this nation so ironically found on the values of ‘liberty.’

Don’t tell me and don’t tell this generation that an American is a “colorless person.” Because by that, you are telling me an American is white and can only be white. You are telling me that because I claim that I am a person of color and because I label myself a proudly brown F/Pilipina-American that I am not supposed to be living on this land and that because I live in this country– I am supposed to forget about my roots, disregard where I come from, and be oblivious to the beautiful struggle that my people have shown resilience through in forging a ‘better and brighter’ future for their sons and daughters.

No, Raven. I don’t think so.

Being ‘American’ is about being a COLORFUL person. It is about recognizing that this country was built by the hands of people who came from far and wide to seek better opportunities. It is about acknowledging that yes, America is a melting pot; but through that melting pot we can find special ingredients that our ancestors have contributed and stirred through in times of righteous revolution and in times of peaceful integration. It is not about losing those contributions in the melting of the pot but rather identifying them, preserving them, and bringing them forth in our present society to CELEBRATE, LOVE, and SHARE with one another.

Someone enroll this girl in an African American Studies class ASAP.

P.S. I’M LIKE HELLOOOO GURL LOOK IN THE MIRROR YOU GOT BEAUTIFUL COLOR RUNNING THROUGH YOUR VEINS ALL THE WAY TO YOUR CRAY-GRADIENT HAIR OF YOURS LIKE C’MON LET’S BE REAL HERE.

P.S.P.S. Mama Oprah tried to stop you. Don’t say no one didn’t warn you.

Inspiration of the Day: Yuri Kochiyama

Yuri

When news fled all over my Facebook that we had lost a well-respected Japanese-American womxn activist earlier this month named Yuri Kochiyama– I was sad to realize I had never heard her name before. I did not know who this leader of change was and had been living my life of newly found “consciousness” without even acknowledging the progressive impact she made for us, through the relationships she fostered and had the unwavering resilience to forge. I saw posts from my friends in Ethnic Studies and Asian American Studies who were thankful to have learned about such a strong-minded and will-powered Asian-American activist that they could identify with. Now, I don’t regret taking the pathway I chose at the university because in many ways, it truly shaped me to become the advocate for equality I am today– but I do hope that in the years to come, this womxn of change will be recognized and acknowledged more than our system deems appropriate. I hope stories like Yuri’s do not get pushed over to the edge of our textbook pages (if the narrative is even printed) where we often misread, misinterpret, or even skim over and miss ultimately. Reading about her crossings with Malcolm X and seeing the visual image of her holding Malcom X when he was assassinated was an inspiring moment in my online research life. Yuri Kochiyama, you truly paved the way for both Asian-American/womxn activists and played an integral part in building the bridge to heal this still-present gap between the oppressed.

Oh and– I just realized we share the same birthday… and you know I believe that’s a powerful force in itself.

“Remember that consciousness is power. Consciousness is education and knowledge. Consciousness is becoming aware. It is the perfect vehicle for students. Consciousness-raising is pertinent for power, and be sure that power will not be abusively used, but used for building trust and goodwill domestically and internationally. Tomorrow’s world is yours to build.”

Photo Credit: http://interactioninstitute.org

Re: “Uterine prolapse: The hidden agony of Nepalese women”

“The UNFPA reports that 80 percent of the women who went through surgery for uterine prolapse say they ‘lost hope in life.’ Of the women surveyed, 88 percent said the condition was caused by physical violence by their husbands and 72 percent believed they had it because they satisfied their husbands’ desire for sex.”

Intersecting the lines of public health, human rights, and gender inequality– this recurrence of uterine prolapse is so deeply embedded into Nepalese cultural values that I don’t even know where to begin. Womxn are deemed “unclean” during menstruation into childbirth and generationally submit to the social pressures of this patriarchy. Lack of resources. Lack of respect. They are expected to have all of these children LIKE HELLO CAN’T Y’ALL SEE THESE WOMXN ARE IN PAIN?!?! What’s worse is that these womxn are divided by the stigmatization they give and receive– discrimination within the gender binary and an empty void that calls for solidarity to take its place.

Now contemplating on the career pathway that will lead to the disruption and dismantling of oppressive systems such as this one…..

Full article can be found here: http://america.aljazeera.com/articles/2014/6/9/uterine-prolapsethehiddenagonyofnepalesewomen.html

Inspiration of the Day: Maya Angelou

Such an amazing image  of true resilience. This beautiful womxn brought truth to this world– isn’t that what we are all meant to do? Share our own personal truths as ugly as they may be… because only through the darkness can we emerge as light carriers and finally behold the beauty that is this world and this life. Your soul and spirit lives on in us, Dr. Angelou. May we be granted with the strength and courage to bring untold stories to the forefront and live our lives as creatively and compassionately as you did. #RestinPower

Photo Credit: http://girlmeetsworlddotnet.wordpress.com/

Giving Thanks…

This year, I am especially thankful for the group of individuals I can call my family away from home and the opportunity I have been blessed with to continue the amazing legacy of Main Stacks. I am so grateful to be part of this inspiring dance family that goes beyond all expectations of a hip hop competitive dance team. One of the many things we do as an organization is host the annual Prelude Urban Dance Competition Series in Northern California. Not only is this one of my personal favorite events of the year– I can confidently say the entire NorCal Dance Community looks forward to our show and this year… WE SOLD OUT!!! Every year, the experience is heightened for our dancers and audience; this year, we added more vendors, a food truck, a live Instagram feed, branded lanyards, etc.! I am honestly amazed every year by how much work our team puts in outside of constructing our competitive set (plus school and work). Even in my third year as the hosts of Prelude, I feel all the inspiration and joy the event brings as if it was my first or second Prelude Norcal. It is a blessing to be part of such a hardworking group of individuals who are so community-driven and who strive for perfection. The NorCal Dance Community has given me so much as an aspiring dancer and I am more than glad to have the opportunity to give back to this community whenever I get the chance– especially at Prelude Norcal. I am truly thankful for all the opportunities that have been given to me since I moved to Cal more than two years ago as they have shaped me to be the person I am today. Thank you Main Stacks (in particular) for being the concentrated outlet that has molded, trained, and inspired me to never cease growing– to go beyond my own limits.

You continue to inspire me each day.

Blessed,
Sammy D.