Conscious Collisions

Afrolatinidad: When a movement stops moving

ya ni ré

afromexico Afromexico, credits: A Road Trip Through Mexico (blogspot)

“Yo soy negra” used to be just the words of a poem for me. I’d say these supossedly poetic words while the piraguero of paseo de diego in Río Piedras called me trigueña linda and I’d belt those same words anytime the women in the Dominican enclaves called me “india chula”. “Yo soy negra!” I’d say the words with a flirtacious smile and bat my eye lashes. It wasn’t until recently that I realized that the words, “yo soy negra”, for a black woman who carries the trauma of colonialism and antiblackness within her skin and throughout her notorious pelo grifo, were revolutionary words, some of the most revolutionary words she could say. “Yo soy negra” are three words, three basic words of self-recognition and ancestral recognition, the keys to the path of healing. In Puerto Rico, recognition is a part of…

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“Don’t Step Foot There” #Dispatch: AfroLatino Travel

everywhere all the time

I’VE BEEN CHATTING with travel writers, activists and personalities of color about their experiences navigating the media industry and the globe with an intersectional lens, while exploring themes like power, privilege, place, and identity, themes that are rarely touched on in the mainstream travel space. Read previous #Dispatches here.

Screen Shot 2015-09-29 at 12.41.49 AM Dash Harris grew up in Panama, Brooklyn and the Poconos. She attended Temple University for broadcast journalism, business and French, and is the owner of In.A.Dash.Media, a multi-media and video production studio. She is a co-founder of AfroLatino Travel and Negro, a docu-series about Latino identity and the African Diaspora.

Bani Amor: Alright so let’s get into it! Please introduce yourself, what you do, what AfroLatino Travel is and your place in it.

Dash Harris:  I’m Dash, co-founder and team member of AfroLatino Travel, the travel and culture resource of the African Diaspora in the Americas.

Bani: Can you give…

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I Love ME for that. I Love YOU for that.

Had my first piece of the year published on the newly launched Dominican Writer’s Association website!

“When I was in elementary school, my grandma had a friend named Luís. He had a big and shiny baldhead. Every time he came to visit, he wore at least one piece of rainbow clothing. Usually it was a tight canvas belt…”

http://www.dominicanwritersassociations.com/dimelo/2015/12/30/i-love-me-for-that-i-love-you-for-that-by-kleaver-cruz

Jimmy & The Children

If you know me, you know that I’m here for Baldwin. I don’t place him on a pedestal, but his words have offered me guidance, solace and a lot of questions since the first time I engaged with his work. I’ve had a semi-cliche dream to go see what this Paris that Jimmy loved so much was all about and get some type of sense of what he may have experienced in his time. 
Earlier this year, I heard Kiese talk about Baldwin and how even though he was consistently writing ABOUT African-Americans in the US, he wasn’t always writing TO them. That got me thinking. It got me thinking about me as a Black American who is not African-American and how his work has influenced me and perhaps others like me in this country. The other children of the Diaspora. 

…That being said, you’re boy is presenting about Jimmy at the International James Baldwin Conference in Paris this May!! (ignore the date on the letter, lol)

Thank you to my momma, my gramma, my brother, and every other person that has believed in me. 

Trust that there is more work to be done and I plan on bridging how we are being attacked in this country to Baldwin’s work.  

  #DominicanosinParis #BlackJoy #TheBlackJoyProject

You Don’t Know What You Got ‘Till It’s Gone: Remembering Kalief Browder.

RaceBaitR

by Kleaver Cruz

Do you remember who you were when you were 16? The places where you spent most of your time? Whom you were there with?

At 16 years old, Kalief Browder was alone. He was labeled with a mix of letters and numbers that made a new identity he wasn’t supposed to have. Kalief found himself amongst the overcrowded and disproportionately large population of Riker’s Island, isolated in a cell where light was hard to find and company impossible to keep. Allegedly, he had stolen a book bag. He was guilty in the state’s eyes whether he had committed the crime or not.

I believe him. I believe that he was innocent and forced to live as guilty because he was a Black boy whom the law saw as a criminal Black man. I believe his stories of how people continued to hurt him again and again because…

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On White Supremacy & Its Eradication

 

Hashtags will commemorate the names

Of people that look like us who are living and loving their lives

not taken prematurely during a failed audition for their humanity

Thoughts 8.7.14

Talking about race, sexuality, class, gender, and every other constructed marker of identity, their intersections and the complex realities they create can be hard. Often they can be conversations that will either be avoided, entered defensively or at it’s best, push folks into a space of discomfort. A dissonance with inner peace that pushes you to grow and see the world differently, if only long enough to form a new question in your thoughts. In my dreams those questions focus more on the proper treatment of all those we share this Earth with in general and these United States in particular. No matter how great the vision of liberty, we often hold that image in vain. This idea of civil harmony is impossible as long as we do not speak honestly, from a place of love and willingness to listen.

When asked about how to identify a (trans) person’s gender, LaVerne Cox insists that we let that person “take the lead.” She is adamant that no two trans people have the same experience and thus neither her story nor that of any other trans person can be “representative.” What could it look like if we actually applied this principle of understanding difference and the systems that exist to maintain those distinctions to all lived experiences?

It would look like folks that have been historically marginalized treated as the incredible people they always have been because they are always at the table to write their own narratives: in truth and accuracy. It looks like white folks collectively doing the work to understand how to undo the deeply woven threads of white supremacy in the fabric of this nation’s culture, social and otherwise. It looks like all people that contribute to a society that prevents some from loving themselves more than others doing the necessary work to undue a hate that runs deep. Consciously and subconsciously. Liberally and conservatively. Actions must be taken and perhaps one of the first is in giving words to your story and it’s love triangle with the society we think exists and the one we must resist in.

Out the blue

It was after the first embrace

that I knew

love was something that we could make

create it against the odds

and gods

that have forbidden our existence.

Sitting with you is like

sharing a lung

Syncopated breaths

occur between answers to questions

queries of every kind

I want to write a dictionary with you

So that we can fill it

with new words that define this exclusive connection

Intimacy at its best is sometimes found

in held hands

heads on stomachs

and living in each other’s presence.

In my dreams,

love can be the sweetest thing.

I want to grow with you.

Cultivate it at the edges

At the contours of this wave that is also the water its made of.

After the first embrace

I knew you were different.

I knew that we could be

the architects

of the most radical force

the world hasn’t seen yet.

Through My Window, A is for Activist

Inspire-cheese

Inspire-cheese

As a great break from TFP and all the other things that are happening right now, I was able to read to second graders at P.S. 333 for their Real Men Read program this past Thursday. I first read Through My Window (the book I wrote in 2nd grade) and had goosebumps through most of it. It hit me that never in a million years as an 8 year old would I have imagined that as a 25 year old I’d be reading that same book back to a bunch of 8 year olds. I could feel how blessed I was to have had Ms. Fields in my life.  As I read through the poems, I also realized that they might not be understanding all of the poetry and I wondered what my 8 year old self was thinking as he wrote those words. After a Q&A session where Ms. Lang (I think that’s her name) lead a discussion around why reading is important, I read A is for Activist. Not before having them practice their cat ears for a game the book leads kids through in search of a little black cat. Needless to say that after a few letters, the class was no longer quiet or resorting to “cat ears,” instead they were excited and nearly on top of me to find the cat. When I finished the book, I told the class that it was theirs to keep and was then followed up by kids asking for personal copies. To end my time with them, we talked about what it meant to inspire and how I believed they were all inspirations and as young Bronxites could accomplish whatever they wanted to. I ended by pinning on “inspire” buttons, from these dreamers, on the students, as did Ms. Lang. We then took class pictures and one kid encouraged the group to say, “inspire-cheese.” It was a great day.

Best Quotes

“I read every day and get more words. It’s more important than video games.”

– On the topic of Reading v. Video Games

“My dad is a good drawer because he can draw himself as a monkey”

– On discussing my brother being an artist

“I CANT SEEEEEEEEE!!!!” 

– From the way back in response to where the cat was in A is for Activist

“What’s your funny face?!”

– Getting ready for the group picture

“How’d you do that?”    

– After seeing my funny face

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