pilgrims (while in front of native american folks building a wall): "they say they are building a wall because too many of us enter illegally and won't learn their language or assimilate into their culture..."

Thanksgiving’s coming up, and I just wanted to post a couple of things before the “holiday.”

Last year for thanksgiving, my girlfriend put together a pamphlet to share with guests at a dinner we went to that night.  It’s important to remember the implications of the historical event that is celebrated every year – and the huge loss that the people who lived here experienced.  Because she is from upstate New York she put together some info on the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois), the people whose land that was; about their government, about early U.S. feminists being inspired by Haudenosaunee women and culture, and some other interesting bits.  They went over really well at our last thanksgiving, and we’re printing out some more for this year.  It’s just pieced together from sources listed on the back, but I’m putting it up here, if you’d like to print one for your own gatherings.  Even better, find out more about the people who lived on the land you will be on this Thursday, if you don’t know much about it. Read the rest of this entry »

angie zapata with her nephew

Angie Zapata, who was 19 when she was murdered in 2008, with her nephew.

This weekend is Transgender Day of Rememberance y’all, and I highly recommend you head on over to Colorlines to read the piece they have put up about it today.  A snippet:

At least 22 people were killed in 2009 because of their perceived sexual orientation, four out of five of whom were people of color. Half of the victims were transgender women and most of the other half, according to the Anti-Violence Project, were men who were either dressed in typically feminine clothes at the time of their murder or were generally gender non-conforming. Not one of these murders made national headlines

Go on over and read the whole thing.  This weekend, think about the trans lives lost, and tell someone you know about this.  So many times the lives and histories of the most marginalized people are glossed over, and it’s important to tell those stories of violence and marginalization.

It’s also important not to paint trans women of color as perennial victims though, so I want to point you to this awesome report by Queers for Economic Justice – A Fabulous Attitude, a participatory action research study by and about low-income queer people surviving, thriving, and makin’ it happen.  So take this weekend to remember those we have lost, remember the survivors, and educate your community.

a woman with long, dark hair wiping her nose with a tissue

What I am up to today.

I am sick today.  It’s not so bad – just a cold, but it’s uncomfortable and shitty in addition to inopportune timing, but don’t we always get sick at the worst time?  I have been traveling a lot for my job, and because airports are disgusting cesspools of disease I actually expected to be sick around this time.  After much hand-washing, however, I escaped unscathed from the airport’s dirty little paws, only to come home to a girlfriend who would become sick a couple of days later.

By now you are wondering: when does paid sick leave come in?  If your job sends you traveling about, doesn’t it give you paid sick leave?  Why yes! Yes it does, and it is awesome.  But my girlfriend, however, does not have paid sick leave at the juice bar where she works.  The reason that she is sick now: one of her coworkers refused to go home when she was sick, infecting my girlfriend and surely anyone who came into the tiny New York City space. I am sure my girlfriend’s coworker did not refuse to go home because she is careless or malicious; being sick sucks, and working a food service job while sick is not super fun.  My guess is that, if she could have gone home without it affecting her income -if she could have taken care of herself and others around her in a way that did not negatively affect her livelihood – she probably would have gone home.  Wouldn’t you?

New York City was pretty close to requiring paid sick leave for every worker until Speaker Quinn rejected the proposal last month, citing the economy.  It’s really unfortunate, because people need paid sick leave especially when they are struggling to make ends meet; not making rent or being able to pay the bills without the money from a particular shift is great motivation to stay at work sick. For the people who have to care for sick children, who are overwhelmingly women, taking care of your sick child might mean risking eviction or getting your utilities cut off.  Paid sick a women’s rights issue, a queer liberation issue, an economic justice issue, a racial justice issue.

I am a lucky one – I have paid sick leave from my job.  But I still got sick because there’s no requirement to provide workers with paid sick leave in New York City, as I am sure every wealthy person who got raw vegan takeout from the juice bar that day did as well.  Me getting sick is certainly not the worst consequence (or even that bad of a consequence, let’s be honest, I probably was gonna get a cold sometime this season anyway) of no paid sick leave for workers, but the point I am trying to make is that for those of us who do have paid sick leave, this is more than a solidarity issue.  So, my message to wealthy New Yorkers with paid sick leave: the next time this comes around, and you or someone you know feels that this is not your issue, remember that your fancy raw vegan takeout – the one with all the right amino acids and acai berry and coconut water and shit – will sometimes come with a side of disease-ridden snot until the workers that are serving you have paid sick leave.  Gross, right?  Paid sick leave for all workers: Get on that shit.

Things are still super busy for me in non-internet land, but I haven’t forgotten about you!  There is light at the end of the tunnel, though, and I’ve got a couple of good posts in the works.  Until then, I will post little bits of awesomeness for your internet pleasure.

This time I’ve got a good one for you, one of my favorites: Salt n’ Pepa’s None of Your Business.  I love love love these women, and I think we really have these ladies to thank for bringing some fierce messages on positive sexuality and sexual empowerment that continue to resonate over a decade later.  When I get down on some of the disgusting and patronizing narratives around women’s sexuality and what we do with it – particularly around women of color, but really for women in general – Salt n’ Pepa’s message of trusting women with our bodies always cheers me up.

So in the timeless words of these talented ladies: Don’t keep sweating what I do, cuz I’m gonna be just fine.  Enjoy!

Lyrics here.


torso of a woman; the t-shirt she is wearing says "take care of each other" and has a drawing of three monkeys grooming each other.

A lovely shirt from the shop of Means of Production Printing

So many times, I want to write about horrible things on this blog.  There is so much that is wrong in the world – so much exploitation, so much unnecessary suffering.  It gets so complicated, too; once you start pulling apart hierarchies it is clear that so many things are stuck together.   Like a horrible web, once you start tugging at gender, it becomes clear that sexuality, class, race, and so much more are helping to keep things in place as they are, and as their interconnections become clear it can become so overwhelming to think of solutions.  But writing only about the ways we are wronged leaves out our resilience.  It leaves out our ability to make it work, to build what we need, to survive, because shit, we have to.    We short-change ourselves when we don’t take the time to tell these stories of resilience and resistance.  Read the rest of this entry »

Hey my dearest folks!  I know I haven’t been so good at keeping this together lately, and I just want to make sure y’all hang in there – more is to come!  I, of course, decided to start this blog right as one of the more stressful times in my life was about to get started – in terms of health, travel, work, personal stuff, my future, OMG I FEEL LIKE I AM GOING TO EXPLODE – and I’m riding the stress wave hard, but I promise I’m in it to win it with this thing.

What I am trying to say is: updates soon, my dears.  Very soon.

I’m not the kind of lady that cries during poems.  But this one: yep.  Joshua Bennett performing at the White House Poetry Jam, y’all.  Amazing.

Hat tip to the always lovely Ms. Mia Mingus.

Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, pointing his hands up and next to a sign for the Rally to Restore Sanity.

So, I’ve been thinking about the Rally to Restore Sanity. I’ve been thinking about it a lot.  People, it seems, are pumped!  Which I guess is cool – my politics don’t align perfectly with Jon Stewart’s, but I do watch The Daily Show pretty religiously, and I think he is a smart, pretty hilarious guy most of the time.  And going to see him be funny in person sounds kind of fun.  But it’s been really getting on my nerves, and it’s not just because he’s equating people spewing hateful bullshit to people accusing G.W. Bush of being a war criminal (which, as it turns out, he was). Read the rest of this entry »

White doctor draws blood from a black man in the Tuskeegee syphillis experiment. A black woman and a black man watch in the background.

Taken during the Tuskeegee syphillis study. Photo credit: Wikipedia

This morning the United States apologized for a little experiment they did from 1946-1948: infecting Guatemalan prison inmates with syphilis to test out then-brand-new antibiotic penicillin.

In the experiment, aimed at testing the then-new drug penicillin, inmates were infected by prostitutes and later treated with the antibiotic.

OOPS! SORRY GUYS!  We didn’t mean it!  Thankfully these little unsavory bits are in our past! Wait, wait a minute.  Let’s look at this story from TODAY:

The NYC Department of Homeless Services, curious to see how effectively it services the homeless, is being berated for conducting a study that left 200 families banned at random from city assistance. In lieu of gentler polling, a total of 400 families on the brink of homelessness were split into two categories: An experimental group, who were allowed to continue their use of the service, and a control group, who were banned from receiving aid for two years and told to fend for themselves.

By the way, in New York City, even though 53% of the city is black or Latino, 93% of homeless persons are black or Latino. Whose bodies are expendable?

Oh, I’m sure everyone will be cool if y’all apologize in 50 years.  Geez, sorry guys, we keep fucking it up!

via Gothamist

My favorite all-immigrant band, Gogol Bordello, has an awesome new video I want to share with y’all.  Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher), from the band’s latest album, Transcontinental Hustle, is an awesome portrayal of immigrant life and resistance, based on the band members’ own experiences with immigration:

Read the rest of this entry »