Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Note.......

A note to my Black SGL/LGBTQ community, and those who stand in Solidarity with us:

Beloved Sisters and Brothers,
Beloved Brothers who would be Sisters,
Beloved Sisters who would be Brothers:

The Black community in California is being falsely blamed for the passage of the discriminatory and bigoted proposition 8. We can not stand back and ignore this occurrence, We can not stand back and ignore the knee jerk racism of some white gays who have perpetrated racist acts against the black community in California and across the nation.

We must call into account that in California 7 out 10 African-Americans, who voted, were in favor of the proposition 8, and THOUSANDS of us voted in favor of Arkansas' initiated Act 1.

Too many times I have heard, analysts, pollsters, political science professors, and so-called professional types state religion is the reason for our "confusion, misguidance." As Rev. Irene Monroe has stated "...never forget, and continue to remind those folks of how we discarded and rose over the damning and damaging statements and scriptures about us in the name of religion, such biblical passages that cursed all people of African Ancestry (The Curse of Ham) and justified American Apartheid (Ephesians 6)."

Too many of our beloved community voted to support Act 1 ignoring the constant changing or our family units. A fact that we SGL/LGBTQ know best. Too many of Arkansas' Black ministers, political leaders, and community heads, argue for the traditional nuclear family; the stresses and strains of racism has and continues to thwart the possibility. So we created our own family structures. These family structures should not pose a threat to the black community because they are what have Sustained, Saved, and are STILL SAVING our black families here in Arkansas and across this nation. A grandmother or an aunt and uncle, straight or gay raising us in their loving home have anchored our families through time. The ongoing, unyielding SUPPORT, EDUCATION, LOVE we provide to our nieces, nephews, cousins, is what Black families are about. It is these family structures, which we have had to devise as a model of resistance and liberation, have always, by example, shown the rest of society what really constitutes family...its spiritual content and not its physical composition.

We must realize it is our voices, our bodies, our preciousness that must begin the dialog within the black community on the need for of EQUALITY.

Peace, Namaste, Keep on Keeping on.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Racism and Homophobia...part 2

California's Prop 8 same old strategy....SAME OLD RESULTS!!

Lets be clear ...... Black women constituted only 6% of the states' voters. So few Black men voted (less than 4% of the state voting population), that exit polls didn't even bother to calculate their vote. While 75% of voting Black women supported Proposition 8, Blacks only accounted for 2.3% of the total Prop. 8 vote. With this white men and women, who account for 64% of California's voters, make up the majority of who produced the actual result....SO if every Black person voted against Prop 8 IT STILL WOULD HAVE PASSED.

Other strong factors that lead to Prop 8's passage:
  • Lack of outreach by mainstream LGBT organizations to people of color communities. Early in the campaign the only rallies/events/messages geared towards people of color were from the proponents of Prop 8. Mainstream LGBT organizations last minute attempt was way too little and way too late.
  • The President Elect touted the favorite, and overused (especially by Arkansas Dems) DNC line “I’m not in favor of gay marriage. " This was printed on a flier by the Yes on 8 folks and targeted black communities.
  • Ad after ad told voters that without Prop 8, their churches would be forced to perform Same sex unions, and strip churches of their tax-exempt status.
  • Schools will be required to teach children to practice homosexuality.
  • The un-precedented coalition that was formed between the Mormon/LDS church and conservative religious right movement. This troubling coalition was able to raise staggering amounts of funds from across the nation and throughout the whole campaign.
  • LGBT mainstream organizations continued failure to broaden the message of Gay Marriage to Marriage Equality
Those points look familiar, they should...these where the same tactics that were used in winning passage of Arkansas Marriage amendment.

Don’t get it twisted........ im not saying that people of color can't be bigoted or homophobic…we are. But what irritates the hell out of me about this issue is that white gays (who are supposedly not racist..yeah right) jump to gut reactions, “Blacks have a problem with homophobia in their community,” without taking the time to figure out why something happened the way it did. I, as well as others, remember too well the same false accusations that were herald at our beloved community in 2004, when Arkansans voted to write discrimination and bigotry into our constitution, falling prey to the wedge politics that were put into play.

A lot of damage has been done with recent passage of Initiated Act 1 here in Arkansas, and approval of Prop 8 in California along with similar acts in Arizona and Florida. Currently there is a nationwide actions to stand against hate, along with a day without gays. Arkansas held "No to Hate" rallies in Fayetteville as well here in Little Rock, and there will be a march in Little Rock, calling for the Repeal of Act 1, on Friday November 21st starting at 4pm at MacArthur Park.
Marches and rallies are great, when people come together, stand together, raise collective voices, or show collective silence it places a picture of those who are effected, and affected by these heinous policies. However, marches and rallies without an overall strategy, and communicative vision, these actions will lead to wasted energy and prove non-effective.

Both Initiated Act 1 and Prop 8 calls attention ONCE AGAIN to the nature of community building, homophobia in nonwhite communities, religious bigotry, the idea of solidarity and how often we fail to see the interlocking oppressions that manifest themselves within our society.

After the multi-state Marriage amendments that were passed in 2004, a group of progressive lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and allied activist, scholars, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers drafted the Beyond Marriage Statement: A new strategic vision for all our families and relationships. The first paragraph is as follows:

We, the undersigned – lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) and allied activists, scholars, educators, writers, artists, lawyers, journalists, and community organizers – seek to offer friends and colleagues everywhere a new vision for securing governmental and private institutional recognition of diverse kinds of partnerships, households, kinship relationships and families. In so doing, we hope to move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics as they exist in the United States today.

The Beyond Marriage statement serves as a blueprint towards a vision that could be achieved here in Arkansas. ......hmmm different strategy...DIFFERENT RESULTS.

Racism and Homophobia...rears its head...AGAIN!

Although this country took a huge step down a path towards democracy...this past election provided a huge reminder of how far WE have to journey. Arkansas Initiated Act 1 with 58% of Arkansas’ electorate voting for the measure that would this measure would prohibit unmarried "sexual partner[s]" from adopting children or from serving as foster parents. The measure specifies that the prohibition applies to both opposite-sex as well as same-sex couples. Effectively limiting the pool of homes for Arkansas children who are in the foster care system.
So what have folks been saying the reason this Act passed? According to an New York Times article
“antipathy toward Obama seen as helping Arkansas limit adoption”
So white (Democrats/Liberals) Arkansans harbor racist notions, to such an extent that they were conflicted on whether to go VOTE. Point, the McCain/Palin ticket won the state of Arkansas with 59% (Obama/Biden 39%), not only that McCain/Palin won the state by 20 points compared to President Bush in 2004.

But we can't forget the HEINOUS, RELIGIOUS BIGOTS, those self appointed protectors of morals... Arkansas Family Council. AFC printed over 300,000 church bulletin inserts portraying the passage of the Act necessary to stop the “gay agenda,” not the first time they have used fear to win….2004 Marriage amendment……defeat of the1998, and 2000 Hate Crimes bill, the 2004 watered down version of Arkansas’ anti-bullying law lead to removal of language that included “sexual orientation and gender identity.”

However, AFF's trumped the Arkansas Families First’s weak, tired, overused, non-effective, non-educating, exclusive, classist, not-accountable to the community , white privileged, racist( AFF’s polling supposedly stated educating people of color on this issue would cause people of color to vote for the act) strategy. AFF spent over $160,000 which resulted in what...a continued demoralized and apathetic SGL/LGBTQ community in Arkansas; no measurable progress in addressing the pervasive and systemic classism, homophobia and religious bigotry that is part of Arkansas' culture.
Unfortunately, the Arkansas Familiy Council and Arkansas Families First strategies only prove Racism and Homophobia are ALIVE and THRIVIN in Arkansas. honeys yalls monies next time...this Same-Gender loving/Queer already knew.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Brother President Elect Barack Obama

Organizer In-Chief

Brother President Elect Barack Obama

Before 12am November 5th 2008, 66,059,772 (53%) votes were cast for Senator Barack Obama, awarding the senator 364 electoral votes to become the United States of America's 44th President. A day that will live in minds of countless Americans, and in the hearts of generations of Afro-Americans.

I have two sentiments I want to share: EVERYONE who voted for Brother President Elect Obama....our work is not over. We who believe in JUSTICE, EQUALITY, FREEDOM must stand behind, under, around our Brother President Elect. We must continue to push to make sure he remains true toward this journey to democracy. (yes..small d)...that small d democracy that is defined by the immortal words of James Weldon Johnson:
till earth and heaven ring,
ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our reoicing rise
High as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the FAITH that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the HOPE that the present has brought us,
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun

Second...If you have not seen yet...Sister Alice Walker, Pulitzer prize author posted a letter on The to Brother President Elect Obama:

"Dear Brother President-elect"
"You have no idea, really, how profound this moment is for us. Us being the black people of the Southern United States. You think yo know, because you are thoughtful, and you have studied our history. But seeing you delivering the torch so many others carried, only to be brought down before igniting the flame of and of law, is almost more than the heart can bear. And yet, this observation is not intended to burden you, for yar are of a different America. It is really only to say: Well Done. We knew, through all the generations, that you were with us, in us, the best of the spirit of Africa and the Americas. Knowing this, that you would actually appear, someday, was part of our strength. Seeing you take your rightful place, based solely on your wisdom, samina and character, is a balm for the weary warriors of hope that was previously only sung abut.

Please continue to read this letter as it shares good advice and wishes for our Brother President Elect Barack Obama.