Friday, November 19, 2010
Sunday, October 17, 2010
We have lost another young person to suicide. She may have identified as a Lesbian. Bi-sexual. Bi-curious. Pan-sexual...whatever category--it was her right. These youth are crying for supporters, listeners, mothers, fathers, teachers, brothers, sisters, and Aunties. Though you may not agree with people BEING gay (it is inherent) you have the ability to at minimum not to physically, emotionally, spiritually abuse them for who they are. We as a people have to be willing to stand up for the rights of others. I know that African American's don't want the struggles of other oppressed groups compared to the struggle for freedom, but there is some truth to the matter. If your rights are restricted, if your voice is ignored, if you are caged, dehumanized, belittled, told that you are less than someone else, your value is not the same as someone elses value, your love is not the same as someone else's love, your trial is not the same as someone else's trial...than where do you find support and hope?! How do you put stock in humanity?
On Sunday I went to outfest in Philadelphia. It was a national coming out celebration. I walked around with my girlfriend and we discussed the protestors. They were religious groups that passed out pamphlets saying you are going to hell if you are.... They held signs that said God Hates you...they screamed into bullhorns that all of us were going to hell. I witnessed 3 young people standing at the corner of 13th and Spruce with bright yellow t-shirts. The shirts read, "God Hates Whores, God Hates Sinners, and God Hates Gays." I was shocked and saddened because someone is teaching them to Hate. I saw the father standing in close proximity as the children smiled because they were making him proud. This incident and the recent suicides make it even more important for me to continue to work with students and to instill in them that it is okay to be different...you don't have to die.
I am not ashamed of who I am and I do not expect everyone to accept me for who I have always been. However, I do expect Respect! I am human and all of the people that you judge (race, creed, sexuality, religion), you make fun of, you hurt, belittle deserve Respect and their rights as well. If you know what it is like to be to be hurt, why hurt others?! I work with college students and I tell them to be kind to one another and to recognize that we are different but are all the same because we are human! As soon as we start to accept one another for who we are, things will improve.
I am a black, lesbian woman! This does not define who I am...it is a part of me! I am caring, I am nurturing, I am a great daughter, a great friend, a pretty cool listener, advocate (until I have no breath in my body), funny, poet, singer, photographer, and an educator who loves life! Now, if you are so caught up on the first sentence then you miss all the wonderful things about me...the things that do make me who I am.
I tell my students that this moment in time is just that--a moment! It gets better...you have to do your best to make the most out of this life! You can do it...no matter what your situation! If you have the opportunity to say something nice to someone today--do it! We have to help our youth understand that we are here for them!
My heart is broken because someone else lost their life because she was told that she wasn't good enough. She IS (don't like to use was because her memory is still here) good enough! Spread love! Spread love! Spread love!
Friday, July 2, 2010
Last summer I took Hand building. During this time my father became very ill and I left all of my pieces to collect dust. After a long intermission from taking ceramics a friend and I went to move "Lovely Bones" and it broke in half. The piece was 75 lbs and was one of my first projects. I am now finishing up my second session of hand building and decided to take it off of the shelf and do something with it. With that being said, I applied Toshiku white glaze. I am eager to see the finished product.
It means more to me now than it did before. It is the end of era in my life. Last summer, when I attended my class it was a way for me to escape. Even if for a moment--I waited for some form of peace and I watched my fathers bones deteriorate and his health. "Bones" is an awakening. An opening and a closing to some of the pain during that moment in my life. Follow your heart...wherever it may take you.
Its amazing how this song can invoke such emotion from with just the intro. As I sit in a Cosi in University I decide how I am going to take over the world. It has been a long time since I wrote a blog entry--however I haven't stopped composin' and creatin'. Art finds a way to soothe my nerves and ease my fears. E. Badu sampled this song for Didn's cha know and without fail the original seems to take me into a space that makes me want to get in my car and go on an adventure. Enjoy the ride...
Friday, June 4, 2010
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I never classified myself as an artist and I never thought that I would do something that someone else would classify as art. Amazingly, the opportunity arose for me to apply for the Leeway Foundation Art and Change grant and I said to myself, "I love art. I live and breathe it. I am passionate about changing this world in some way--anyway. I love photography. I love poetry. I love to tell the stories of the disenfranchised. Apply." I was introduced to the Leeway Foundation by one of my students. He knows that I am extremely passionate about helping others and figured this was an opportunity for me to step out on faith. To him I am abundantly thankful. His assurance in me and my ability is amazing and continues to restore my faith.
My project is called A voice that bears a likeness to my soul. It is a photographic and poetic journey into the lives of LGBTQ homeless youth in Philadelphia. Voice is more than just some images and some words, it is a declaration that each and everyone of us is HERE and that we all count for something, regardless of our personal scales of "worth."
The question of why was asked of me: I chose this particular topic because I know of youth who were discarded like rag dolls to live on the streets because of their sexuality. The stories vary--the end result is still the same. "According to one study, 50 percent of gay teens experienced a negative reaction from their parents when they came out and 26 percent were kicked out of their homes" (Remafedi, 79).
How many of these children live in Philadelphia? How many of them are attempting to be free of this form of oppression? How many want to be heard? How many of us will listen?
In the beginning I thought of how difficult this year has been; my father passed away and how he was passionate about photography and how he invested so much time into my dreams and into making me be the best me.
The image above is where I was prior to the death of my father--so focused on what was in front of me that I couldn't see beyond one branch. I realize more than ever, that this life isn't just about me, but what I will do with its amazing beauty.
Cheers to an amazing moment in time...until later.