I woke today with thoughts of Haiti. Six years ago a 7.0M earthquake moved thousands of people to respond to the devastation Haiti suffered; some to help, others to exploit. I found two apt quotes for remembering the occasion and aftermath: one on the significance of Haiti, the other on the bitter ramifications of that significance...
“By creating a society in which all people, of all colors, were granted freedom and citizenship, the Haitian Revolution forever transformed the world. It was a central part of the destruction of slavery in the Americas, and therefore a crucial moment in the history of democracy, one that laid the foundation for the continuing struggles for human rights everywhere. In this sense we are all descendents of the Haitain Revolution, and responsible to these ancestors.”
― Laurent Dubois, Avengers of the New World: The Story of the Haitian Revolution ...
“The two main criminals are France and the United States. They owe Haiti enormous reparations because of actions going back hundreds of years. If we could ever get to the stage where somebody could say, 'We're sorry we did it,' that would be nice. But if that just assuages guilt, it's just another crime. To become minimally civilized, we would have to say, 'We carried out and benefited from vicious crimes. A large part of the wealth of France comes from the crimes we committed against Haiti, and the United States gained as well. Therefore we are going to pay reparations to the Haitian people.' Then you will see the beginnings of civilization.”
― Noam Chomsky, Imperial Ambitions: Conversations on the Post-9/11 World
I finally made it to a Reel Black Filmmakers meeting last night. It had been my intention to join after meeting some of the groups' members last fall at the Black Harvest Film Festival. Living between Chicago and Los Angeles, however, I somehow manage to not be in town when most of the monthly meeting occur. What impressed me most about the group, is that they are one of action, not just networking. I mentioned to a couple of the members that I enjoy working, as a performer, on student films because student teams tend to be professional, but still freshly in love with filmmaking, they are comprised of able directors willing to work on each others projects in any capacity needed. My impression of Reel Black Filmmakers is that they are of this ilk; able filmmakers willing to work together to the common good. They are in post production now for a group project and are already planning for their next collaborative effort. This is the mindset that will raise the bar of both product and privilege for people of color and women: We need only contribute our unique gifts to the group talent pool to make or to do what is best for the group and therefore each member. I am looking forward to bringing more of my film projects to the front burner now. Stay tuned...
If I hear one more person criticize Black youth on the impolite manner in which they reacted to the realization that at any moment they could be snatched off of their bicycles and murdered by people who have the right and the privilege to do so... I am going to scream. No wait. I am already screaming!!! If you snap my brother's neck, after you've murdered by cousin for jaywalking, after to beat my aunt in the street, after you've chocked my pleading uncle and my pleading friend, after your scalded my neighbor to death (and then made his friend clean up the flesh), after your reckless drunken, off-duty murder of my niece was dismissed, after you used your taser to murder my pleading father, after you thought you used your taser when it was really your gun (because your privilege allows you to say you can't tell the difference) to murder my nephew ... YOU DO NOT GET TO TELL ME HOW THE HELL TO REACT! If you have the means to leap to a scene to report rampant lawlessness and destruction, theft and arson, then leap to report the lawless murder of unarmed Black men every 28 hours. Jump up and cover the calculated destruction of the Black community. Run over here and talk about the theft of dignity, respect and lives. Get your cameras out and cover the criminal setting of our hearts on fire when our sons (or those who could be) lay in the street dead and vilified but guilty of little more than being Black. But do not tell me to form an orderly line to the right of you and to wait, always to wait, choose my words carefully and wisely less I offend your privileged ears and draft you a nice note politely expressing my concerns! Oh, and once you are there... tell the truth. Cover the White people looting and setting things afire. Question the prosecutors who allow the daily murder of me to go unchecked. Ask the youth who spontaneously combusted after being doused with the gasoline and matches of their horrific, terrifying reality what they think their life expectancy is. Apologize to them for leaping to the scene so very, very late. Acknowledge that they fight bullets with rocks and set themselves on fire because they know what would happen if they truly went after the targets of their justified rage. Apologize to them to affirming the worthlessness of their lives by not covering their murders and then criticizing their reaction to them. Oh, and while Black youth who protest in reaction to imposed poverty, hopelessness, and the constant threat of death are vilified, White youth who defile wounded veterans and the American flag in reaction to nothing more than beer consumption are called 'fine young men and women...' (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2015/04/24/univ-florida-frat-expels-3-over-insulting-spitting-at-wounded-vets/) What the what?
When we rely on our oppressors to tell our stories we suffer. #SupportBaltimore #SupportFerguson #SupportChicago #SupportCleveland #SupportFlorida #SupportNewYork #BlackLivesMatter #TelltheTruth
A while ago, I wrote something for this blog then discovered that I had forgotten how to post here. I tried a few times, then gave up... Today I rediscovered the tiny button at the bottom of the page that allowed me reentrance. Lucky day!
I wok today to find that the ground had over night been dusted with snow. Not much, but enough to give pause to the small dog of whom I help to take care. It reminded me of the lovely spring day we had last Monday. When the temperatures returned in short order to those requiring scarves, gloves and extra time to warm up the car, one of my nieces asked if I was upset that the nice weather was gone so quickly. "No," I said, I told her that I was happy to just think about how great the day had been. It was God's way of saying... 'hang in there. Spring is on the way. This is what it will feel like.'
For everyone struggling with the long wait of change... The Church of Crystal says: Look for signs from the universe to stay the course and be comforted by them.
I looked into the faces of the four police officers who accompanied the protest last night, a Black male and female and a White male and female, wondering of their thoughts and if they were chosen in such an array on purpose. I looked into their poker faces wondering ... More on if they would sooner kill than serve and protect me, or if they cringed at the heinously bad seeds among them that they were bound by blue to serve and protect. I wondered if they knew that the existence of patrolmen in this country began with the need to patrol and capture the escape minded enslaved... On this forty-fifth anniversary of the murder of unarmed and asleep Black Panther Party members Chairman Fred Hampton and Mark Clark by the FBI and Chicago police officers, America continues her tradition of using armed forces to murder unarmed Black men. I continue to pray for peace...
I drove by a rally today and before I knew it, I had parked the car and joined the protest. An L.A. reflex I guess. This time with no spare sign from the trunk, but with one of my nieces. So proud of her! So bittersweetly optimistic that so many people now realize that Black life is a different and dangerous life... and care.
Eric Garner’s last words: “Every time you see me you want to mess me with me. I’m tired of it. It stops today. I’m minding my business, officer. I’m minding my business… Please just leave me alone. I told you the last time, please just leave me alone. Please. Please don’t touch me. Please do not touch me. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe. I can’t breathe.” #ericgarner I continue to pray for peace...