Monday, March 31, 2008

he's through with white girls?

haha. those of you who know me thought this post was about someone we know, eh? nope. that will never happen :). read on after the jump...

"i'm through with white girls" is a movie, and one that i think i may want to see? just for the kitsch factor? just to be able to say i actually heard those words come out of a blipster man's mouth (even if it is for a script)? ;p. whatevs. check out the site!

maybe spring?

so last week was insanely busy in havestrength's world, and i'm woefully behind in terms of keeping up with the news of the day. the weather is also getting warmer, and that alone makes it harder to spend evenings/afternoons/mornings in front of my computer browsing google reader rather than out and about, sitting/walking/laughing/eating in the sunshine. i have a feeling that as weather improves my current event-tracking is going to become quite feeble. i will have to depend on some of my more informed friends to keep me on track. :)

a few things that i've found out there in the world, though, that may be of interest:

Sunday, March 30, 2008

because i am a reader,

i spend money on subscriptions to literary journals. go figure.

i received my first issue of callaloo today, and i am ultra ready to read. ultra. ready. i may have to go to the park (ultimate reading venue) for this one.

Friday, March 28, 2008

sad face

cutest puppy sad face ever. EVER.

i want a doggy.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

ailey barbie. i'm feeling a little uncomfortable.

in honor of the 50th anniversary of the alvin ailey american dance theater (one of my favorite cultural offerings in this city), mattel will be producing an ailey barbie?

Ailey Barbie doll on sale

In the fall of 2008, Mattel will release an Ailey Barbie® doll that was designed by Judith Jamison. The doll represents a dancer from Alvin Ailey’s masterpiece, Revelations.

BARBIE and associated trademarks and trade dress are owned by Mattel, Inc. © 2008 Mattel, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

umm, okay. i'm more excited by the free performances and classes that will be happening in august:

Free Dance Classes and Performances Throughout NYC (8.5-8.12)

In August, 2008, Ailey will conduct a series of free performances and dance classes in all five boroughs of NYC, sponsored by Bloomberg. Venues include Celebrate Brooklyn, Hostos Center for the Arts and Culture, New York City Center, Queens Theatre in the Park, and The St. George Theatre.

and the spring season at BAM (anyone want to get tix with me?):
Spring Season at BAM

The Joyce Theater will present Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater for a week-long engagement at the Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM) from June 3-8, 2008. This will be the first time in 38 years that the Company has performed at BAM.


i posted this video a loooong time ago, back at the old blog, because it is one of my absolute favorites. i was reminded of it today via feministing, and i thought i'd share it again. she never gets old. ever.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

to finish the posting frenzy, another women's history month poem

loving the carnival. this entry was posted over at women's space:

The Other Woman

The ancient lines
The ancient dust
Settles the storm

On the eve of the revolution

Blood flows red
Into the gutter.
Sites of ancient women’s power
In the dirt
In the dust

I want this more
Each day I flounder
With the words left unsaid

I am not
As white as you
I am not
As rich as you

Still I bleed red
In darkness

While you shine
With your golden hair
And your beautiful words

And I hate you

But really, deep-down
You are everything
I wish to be

With your confidence
Your grace

I know
You will be a leader
Women will love you
Women will follow you

While I lie
Here in the background
With the other
Lost and buried

Because my hair
Does not shine gold
My voice
Does not sing sweetly
You are everything
That I am not

And I hate you
Even though
I know I shouldn’t
Even though
I want to love you
Even though

Everything in you screams
‘I am a fucked thing
Just like you
I hate you too
Shut the fuck up shut the fuck up shutthefuckup


And everything in me
Screams back
We can not hear each other
We can not hear ourselves


I ask you
To join me here
On the eve of the revolution

Round the kitchen table
In the garden
Round the tribal fire
In those ancient sacred sites

Believe that there is a
A place
Where women are free
To love ourselves
And each other

That place
Is in my heart
When I reach out a hand
And call you sister

That place is in you
When you reach back

–by Dani/allecto, who is a 26 year old radical feminist lesbian, a descendant of a First Nations people, an activist, vegetarian, child-care worker; a creative, passionate, alive, inspired woman. She believes that Sisterhood is the most powerful force in the Universe.

i <3 color of change, so...

Dear Friends,

The so-called "war on drugs" has created a national disaster: 1 in 15 Black adults in America are now behind bars. It's not because they commit more crime but because of unfair sentencing rules that treat 5 grams of crack cocaine, the kind found in poor Black communities, the same as 500 grams of powder cocaine the kind found in White and wealthier communities.

These sentencing laws are destroying communities across the country and have done almost nothing to reduce the level of drug use and crime.

Senator Joe Biden is one of the original creators of these laws and is now trying to fix the problem. But some of his colleagues on the Senate Judiciary Committee are standing in the way. I've signed on with to tell them to stand with Joe Biden and undo this disaster once and for all. Will you join me? It just takes a moment and you can start by clicking on the link below:


i am a feminist. and so is ugly betty.

h/t to feministe on this one.

this is a little long, but it makes happy even though it is, as most mainstream discussions of feminism are, overly white. whatever, i own a "this is what a feminist looks like" shirt, and i owe my sudden urge to put it to use to this video.


Sunday, March 23, 2008

a cooking challenge- yay!

i've already identified my cooking challenge for next week- brunch! it's sonj's birthday on saturday, and my alcohol-soaked body will most definitely need time- and grease- to recoup. that is where homemade corned beef hash has will come in.

the gym and i need to have a good week.

preparing myself

career day at my old school is april 17th. i haven't seen my kids since last june. i am ready. i miss them.

i'm already thinking about what i should bake to bring.

it feels like yet another homecoming.

some quotes from my ladies

lucille clifton and grace lee boggs on 9.11. these two quotes- one a poem, another an excerpt from a recent speech, stuck out to me in the midst of all the strife around jeremiah wright this week (and last week). as i watch clips on fox and read blog posts around the net, i remember that, in my mind, the most important part of loving someone, or something, i.e. a country, is being willing to take a risk and see their wrongs. there is nothing more painful than recognizing flaws in those you love. that is the state people of color, queer people, differently abled people, poor people and their allies feel every day. we see what's wrong with our country, and many of us love it, the united states of america, enough to struggle to make it better. and that makes us, if anything, more patriotic than those that follow the tide. but that's enough from my humble mouth. read lucille and grace.

4 9/14/01
some of us know
we have never felt safe

all of us americans

as some of us have wept

is it treason to remember

what have we done
to deserve such villainy

nothing we reassure ourselves

~lucille clifton, from september song, a poem in seven days

"'The revolution to be made in the United States,' Jimmy wrote, nearly 30 years before 9/11, 'will be the first revolution in history to require the masses to make material sacrifices rather than to acquire more material things. We must give up many of the things which this country has enjoyed at the expense of damning over one third of the world into a state of underdevelopment, ignorance, disease and early death...It is obviously going to take a tremendous transformation to prepare the poeple of the United States for these new social goals. But potential revolutionaries can only become true revolutionaries if they take the side of those who believe that humanity can be transformed...'
This means that it is not enough to organize mobilizations calling on Congress and the President to end the war in Iraq. We must also challenge the American people to examine why 9/11 happened and why so many people around the world who, while not supporting the terrorists, understand that they were driven to these acts of anger at the US role in the world, e.g. supporting the Israeli occupation of Palestine, overthrowing or seeking to overthrow democratically-elected governments, and treating whole countries, the world's peoples and Nature only as a resource enabling us to maintain our middle class way of life."

- grace lee boggs, closing plenary for the left forum 2008, full text here

last bit- if you haven't read grace's autobiography, um, what the hell are you waiting for?

Friday, March 21, 2008

the women's history month blog carnival has got me going

it's happening (at least partly) over at what tami said. today's carnival post got me, so i thought i'd share it here. it's by christina springer:

rambles on rage


i hope
the rage turns

into a cherry blossom, so
I can brew

wine from sunset ripened fruit


obama, with great delicacy and care
i put my white liberal friends in the dark

drawer of hurt where i won' t see them
again for 15 years. maybe when you have

more than 152 pieces of passed legislation
to her 20, or mice nibble the experience

of your fluffy words
into a victory confetti.

i'll feel safe. see desperate
lives bouncing "Yes, we can!"


little girl inside
"fair! just

want every
simple thing
fair!" just



why do faces that I love
hate my salvation?

doves of broken handlers
crack aspiration.

sugar smart smile, divine be
gentle and calm all of me.

rage and rage and rage
'til loved ones can not see

how oozing hapless happy
froth consumes identity.


the equation for soul height +
vision size divided by spin control

seems weighted, specialized.
give me your equation for my destiny?

liberty city= a havestrength homecoming

i saw april yvette thompson's play on sunday night, the night before my aunt deedee's wake, and it fed my soul.

my great-grandmother largely raised my grandmother and her brother, my uncle george, in liberty city. uncle george and his wife, dee dee, made her house their second home throughout my childhood. it was in my great-grandmother's bathtub, while drying off from a bath, that i asked aunt dee dee to be my second grandmother (because my father's mother passed away soon after i was born). liberty city holds a special place in my heart.

i love seeing/reading/hearing/experiencing expressions of other people's loves for the places i love. i love having that venn diagram moment when you realize that there are things about yourself that you share with others. i took a friend to the play, someone that doesn't know me or my rituals very well yet. afterwards he commented on the way i reacted, audibly, to the references to homemade corned beef hash and hamburger patties with green peppers and onions and cornflakes, wrapped in foil. the way my eyes lit up with recognition when she spoke about a woman's husband taking the boat back and forth to nassau every weekend. the tears in my eyes as she recounted the mcduffie riots, and i imagined my parents, my aunts and uncles and cousins and grandparents, and where they must have been during that crazy time.

i called my mother on monday morning to tell her about the play. as i explained what thompson addressed, my mother began asking questions about her name and where she went to school- "did she tell you her mother's name? i bet momma knows her family!" it was a homecoming for her through my telling as much as it was a nostalgic journey for me. my mommy wants to take her mommy to see the play. we're just waiting for it to make the journey to liberty city.

you should see the show if you can. it's playing at the new york theatre workshop. 20 buck tickets for all seats on sundays at 7, cash only.

for more information, check

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

i know we all know, but still

derrick ashong knows what's up, and deserves a read. i, for one, started crying as i finished reading obama's speech on the train today. the man understands. some things. he doesn't seem to agree with me on the majority of foreign policy, but. but. the man can speak on what is, at the very least, some of my truth.

i never dared hope that i would hear a major politician understand my truth, much less speak it aloud for all to hear. much less to have it published in the new york times and almost every other major US news source. i didn't dare hope. as jeremiah and barack would both say, i didn't have the audacity. he does.

i can't wait to teach this speech next year. it's already on the curriculum map.

derrick's comments: Courageous Obama poses challenge to America
full text after the jump...

By Derrick Ashong

Editor's Note: Derrick Ashong is a musician, activist and entrepreneur. He recently became a You Tube "phenom" after posting a passionate defense of Barack Obama. Ashong identifies himself as an independent.

Derrick Ashong says Barack Obama spoke with "candor and compassion" about race relations in America.

Like many Americans I watched Sen. Barack Obama deliver his speech titled "A More Perfect Union."

I watched in a state of minor shock, not so much at the deftness with which he defused the sophomoric conflation of his call for national unity with the inflammatory rhetoric of the retired head pastor of his church -- a conflation that would imply that we must each swallow whole the entirety of views expressed by our friends and associates.

It was not his repudiation of small thinking that struck me. It was the fact that here we had an American politician speaking with both candor and compassion about the proverbial elephant in our national living room.

Race is an issue that continues to confound this country. It is an undercurrent that paints our description, understanding and valuation of people in American society whether spoken or not. It is the subtext that places NBA star LeBron James and Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bundchen on the cover of Vogue, in uncomfortable caricature of brute and ingénue.

It is in the minds of some the very reason a person of color would even be considered a serious candidate for the presidency of the nation -- never mind that three centuries into the American experiment there has been to date, only one such person.

I watched Obama's speech with a measure of disbelief that he had the gumption to come out and say what we all know -- that the problem of race remains one that we as a nation have yet to conquer. To be sure we have made strides towards reconciliation. But the hard conversations continue to be harder than most are willing to deal with.

Black America has yet to come to grips with its responsibility to tackle head on the problems that plague our communities. White America has yet to acknowledge the fact that here in the "home of the free," true liberty has evaded many for far too long.

Too often these conversations are ended before they've truly begun, due to the ignorance, intransigence or simple unwillingness of people to acknowledge the validity of what the other side has to say.

Who can honestly argue that black America is not today contributing mightily to its own social, cultural and economic decline?

Who can honestly argue that white America has not been willfully blind and too often complicit in the injustices that continue to be visited upon people born with darker hue or stranger accent?

Who will have both the courage and the commitment to the promise of universal justice and equity that undergirds our country, to call upon the nation to move beyond the divisive rhetoric of racial "one-upmanship" and to embrace the challenge of fulfilling that promise?

Apparently a junior senator from Illinois by the name of Barack Obama.

For days pundits have pondered whether Sen. Obama could weather the controversy over Rev. Jeremiah Wright's racially polarizing comments. The question at this juncture is not whether the candidate will rise to the occasion, but rather, whether America will.

Monday, March 17, 2008

aunt deedee

these are the only words that came to me tonight as i sat at my great-aunt's wake. i don't really know what else to say.

st. john's was
my aunt deedee is gone.

every pew packed.

lord i care not for riches
neither silver nor gold
i would make sure of heaven
i would enter the fold

it's hard not to believe in heaven
when you've lost
when those you cherish are no more

speaking of amazing women
and men
means speaking of deedee and george
virgie and albert
it means speaking of my family
and the beauty we hold

my heart is heavy tonight
like it has been before
this is one of the times
i would (almost) enter the fold

this ain't no normal teaching job

saw these today-- the requirements for being considered for the $125,000 teaching job at the new charter experiment here in new york. crazy!

TEP Charter

Rigorous Qualifications
Meta-analyses of studies of teacher characteristics show that while the effects of some teacher characteristics (e.g. degree level, teacher preparation, teacher certification) on student achievement are inconclusive, other characteristics such as teacher academic proficiency [i], teacher verbal ability [ii], and teacher content-area knowledge [iii] are strongly related to improving student achievement. In addition, a certain threshold of teaching experience has been shown to have important positive effects on student achievement, since teachers tend to improve dramatically in their first few years in the classroom. [iv]

Using this research on highly-effective teachers, TEP has developed 8 requirements that its teachers must meet in order to demonstrate their qualifications in 4 major areas. The 4 areas are:

(1) Expert Subject-Area Knowledge demonstrated through
(a) a 90% or higher standardized test score in relevant subject area*
(b) significant undergraduate and/or graduate coursework and excellent grades in relevant subject area

(2) Outstanding Verbal Ability demonstrated through
(a) a 90% or higher score in the verbal section of the GRE or GMAT or LSAT*
(b) two writing samples, one long-form and one-short form

(3) Teaching Expertise and Experience demonstrated through
(a) a portfolio of achievement of past students, utilizing both quantitative and qualitative data
(b) three live teaching auditions
(c) an essay describing personal pedagogical beliefs and approach

(4) Strong Curriculum Development Ability demonstrated through
(a) one originally developed and refined curricular tool of any form (e.g. written materials, instructional methodology, technological innovation).

*Note: You may submit a Preliminary Application even if you have not yet achieved the required standardized exam scores. You will be required to take the required exams at a later stage in the application process.

Sunday, March 16, 2008


sunday lunch. "tuscan inspired tomato and white bean soup." good stuff.

i may have a problem

the contents of my "chocolate shelf":

does anyone really need that much chocolate? i guess i do, because i'm cra-azy.

oh, also, i forgot that i took a picture of the david leibovitz chocolate chips i made last week, and they look great, so here's an image.

i think i'm making nicole's addictive chocolate chips this week (sans nuts) so i can share with my pals (especially sonj, who hates nuts and whose preferences i always ignore. :)). mmmm. soup and cookies. and a play. that's a sunday for ya.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

the child in the room

i started to write a really obnoxious post trying to "unravel" why it is i'm always the youngest person in groups of people from work/activist circles. luckily, though, i managed to get my head out of my ass before pressing the "publish post" button.

feel free to secretly (or not-so-secretly) hate me for being an asshole. i deserve it.

Friday, March 14, 2008

sunday cooking challenge

last week i baked these yummy chocolate chip cookies. they weren't so much of a challenge, since chocolate chips are one of my standbys, hence the lack of a post.

this week, though, i am going to cook! amazing, yes, i know. and i believe i will invite a fellow over to eat what i cook, which is even more exciting. yay for audiences.
the challenge: tuscan inspired tomato and white bean soup
the (somewhat odd) recipe source: (yes, that, the one for black people. and yes, this is a recipe for italian food. oh, how eclectic we are! ;)).

a damn shame

have you heard about this? an entire school district is on the verge of losing its accreditation? is anyone surprised that the district is "predominantly black"?

choice quotes-
"For the county's nearly 53,000 public school students, loss of accreditation would mean they would not be eligible for state scholarships or be accepted at many universities. They also would have difficulty transferring to other high schools."

"According to the report, Clayton County Public Schools' nine-member school board is so "dysfunctional" that it has had difficulty recruiting a superintendent, teachers and bus drivers. It accuses board members of nepotism, conflicts of interest, micromanagement, lax fiscal responsibility and failure to audit school attendance."

so nine people can take away 53,000 black students' chances at higher education, but we don't hear about it in the nightly news. we don't read about it on blogs. it's tucked away in the LA Times Education section and swept away in the midst of election frenzy. if this country were to do right, these would be front-page stories.

and geraldine ferraro refuses to be sorry for suggesting that barack obama is lucky to be a black man.

does anyone want to go start a quilombo with me? anyone?

Thursday, March 13, 2008

the ferraro controversy

h/t to too sense on this clip.

if you jump ahead to 4:02, you'll see barack's response to the silliness that is geraldine ferraro, and then, soon after you'll get a taste of eugene robinson's genius.

one note to msnbc: throughout the second half of the clip y'all have ferraro's name egregiously misspelled. egregiously. i mean, come on now.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

"ethnic dress for success tips"

completely idiotic thoughts from my (least) favorite "diversity" website, diversity inc.

for this month's electronic issue, yoji cole, diversity inc's token black guy (this is the site, by the way, that features a "ask the white guy" column), goes to town on giving some suggestions to ethnic women in the workplace on toning down (or up, if they're asian) their looks. some choice "this is how you've been seen "historically" and the only way to get away from that is to assimilate" stereotypes:

"For example, many Latinas prefer bright colors, low-cut tops and short skirts..."

really, now? and do many professional Latinas (who, culturally of course, prefer skimpy clothing) wear those clothes to the office?! because when i think of low-cut tops and short skirts in the workplace i think of samantha on sex and the city or ally mcbeal. last time i checked, they were both white.

"Black women tend to wear big earrings, she notes."

i'm sorry, but WTF?!?!?!?!?!?!?! what. the. fuck. i tried to laugh at this shit, but i started to get tears in my eyes. if this is what corporate america thinks "we" need, i need to move to a different fucking universe.

the rest of the article is available here to subscribers.

and if that isn't enough, check out diversity inc's article on "7 things not to say to your LGBT coworkers." this shit is so laughable, i'm surprised they don't list tina fey as a fucking source.


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

blogs about me?


double hmmm.

latoya over at racialicious did some numbers on herself to figure out how she shapes up based on all of these "identity" sites. i kinda want to, but as you all know, i already have issues with my blackness. ;)

check it allllllll out.

someone is trying to bamboozle you

oh, barack. "we're being bamboozled and hoodwinked." you are sooooo smart. and lord knows i have a thing for smart men. thank god you're running for president.

h/t to what tami said on this one.

Monday, March 10, 2008

the surface of the moon is like:

grooving to your favorite DJ!

(insert booty-shake here) (this was our ItAG warm up tonight, and it swept aaaaaaallll the demeaning crap of my workday away...)


i was having a completely shitty day today until i got to ItAG tonight. to quickly give you a sense of what the last 7 weeks have been like...our goals:

*What do we want?*

We want ideas. We want resources. We want inspiration. We want to share
ideas. We want to be challenged. We want to be stimulated. We want engaging
dialogue. We want to use what we learn. We want to understand

We want to talk about classroom management & negotiating roles. We want
positive & constructive dialogue without denying experience or truth. We
want to know, where are all the males?

*What do we need?*

We need common threads. We need resources. We need active listening. We need
real conversations – with respect, love, and safe space. We need to be open
to ideas, each other, difficulties, and discomfort. We need to find purpose
in education. We need to negotiate the bureaucracies. We need to be a part
of a larger support network. We need realistic application with limited

*Why are we here?*

We want to get involved. We want to continue prior experience. We want to
share best practices with like minds. We want to empower classroom though
social Justice. We are here to figure out how to negotiate the gap between
politics/intention and practice. We're angry (and there's reason to be.) We
want to look at the works. We want pure enjoyment. We want to reinvigorate
ourselves in practice. We want to talk about empowerment & be a part of
history. We want to analyze the dangers and risks and conflicts
(generational, institutional, cultural…). We want to understand the
potential for symbiotic (reciprocal) relationship between student/teacher.
We want to grow and continue being fighters for our students.

to find a beautiful space in which you can let go is a blessing. NYCoRE did that for me this winter, and i am, like i am so often, very thankful. i've made new connections that touch my heart, and i feel fulfilled. now i just need to throw a party and get everyone together! :)

ay yi yi

this article on the hutto family detention center and others like it hurts my heart. why do we jail people who have committed no crime other than seeking safety?

grrrr. beginning of article after the jump, complete text found here.

The Lost Children
What do tougher detention policies mean for illegal immigrant families?
by Margaret Talbot March 3, 2008

In the summer of 1995, an Iranian man named Majid Yourdkhani allowed a friend to photocopy pages from “The Satanic Verses,” the Salman Rushdie novel, at the small print shop that he owned in Tehran. Government agents arrested the friend and came looking for Majid, who secretly crossed the border to Turkey and then flew to Canada. In his haste, Majid was forced to leave behind his wife, Masomeh; for months afterward, Iranian government agents phoned her and said things like “If you aren’t divorcing him, then you are supporting him, and we will therefore arrest you and torture you.” That October, Masomeh also escaped from Iran and joined Majid in Toronto, where they lived for ten years. Majid worked in a pizza place, Masomeh in a coffee shop. She dressed and acted the way she liked—she is blond and pretty and partial to bright clothes and makeup, which she could never wear in public in Iran—and for a long time the Yourdkhanis felt they were safe from politics and the past. Their son, Kevin, was born in Toronto, in 1997, a Canadian citizen. He grew into a happy, affectionate kid, tall and sturdy with a shock of dark hair. He liked math and social studies, developed asthma but dealt with it, and shared with his mom a taste for goofy comedies, such as the “Mr. Bean” movies. In December, 2005, however, the Yourdkhanis learned that the Canadian government had denied their application for political asylum, and Majid, Masomeh, and Kevin were deported to Iran.

Upon their return, the Yourdkhanis say, Masomeh was imprisoned for a month, and Majid for six, and during that time he was beaten and tortured. After Majid was released, the family paid a smuggler twenty thousand dollars to procure false documents and arrange a series of flights that would return them to Canada.

Then, on the last leg of the journey, the family ran into someone else’s bad luck. On February 4, 2007, during a flight from Georgetown, Guyana, to Toronto, a passenger had a heart attack and died, and the plane was forced to make an unscheduled stop in Puerto Rico. American immigration officials there ascertained that the Yourdkhanis’ travel documents were fake. The Yourdkhanis begged to be allowed to continue on to Canada, but they were told that if they wanted asylum they would have to apply for it in the United States. They did so, and, five days later, became part of one of the more peculiar, and contested, recent experiments in American immigration policy. They were locked inside a former medium-security prison in a desolate patch of rural Texas: the T. Don Hutto Residential Center.

Hutto is one of two immigrant-detention facilities in America that house families—the other is in Berks County, Pennsylvania—and is the only one owned and run by a private prison company. The detention of immigrants is the fastest-growing form of incarceration in this country, and, with the support of the Bush Administration, it is becoming a lucrative business. At the end of 2006, some fourteen thousand people were in government custody for immigration-law violations, in a patchwork of detention arrangements, including space rented out by hundreds of local and state jails, and seven freestanding facilities run by private contractors. This number was up by seventy-nine per cent from the previous year, an increase that can be attributed, in large part, to the actions of Michael Chertoff, the Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security, which runs the Immigration and Customs Enforcement division. In 2005, Chertoff announced the end of “catch-and-release”—the long-standing practice of allowing immigrants caught without legal documents to remain free inside the country while they waited for an appearance in court. Since these illegal immigrants weren’t monitored in any way, the rate of no-shows was predictably high, and the practice inflamed anti-immigrant sentiment.

* from the issue
* cartoon bank
* e-mail this

Private companies began making inroads into the detention business in the nineteen-eighties, when the idea was in vogue that almost any private operation was inherently more efficient than a government one. The largest firm, Corrections Corporation of America, or C.C.A., was founded in 1983. But poor management and a series of well-publicized troubles—including riots at and escapes from prisons run by C.C.A.—dampened the initial excitement. In the nineties, C.C.A.’s bid to take over the entire prison system of Tennessee, where the company is based, failed; state legislators had grown skeptical. By the end of 2000, C.C.A.’s stock had hit an all-time low. When immigration detention started its precipitate climb following 9/11, private prison companies eagerly offered their empty beds, and the industry was revitalized.

One complication was that hundreds of children were among the immigrant detainees. Typically, kids had been sent to shelters, which allowed them to attend school, while parents were held at closed facilities. Nobody thought that it was good policy to separate parents from children—not immigration officials, not immigrant advocates, not Congress. In 2005, a report by the House Appropriations Committee expressed concern about “reports that children apprehended by D.H.S.”—the Department of Homeland Security—“even as young as nursing infants, are being separated from their parents and placed in shelters.” The committee also declared that children should not be placed in government custody unless their welfare was in question, and added that the Department of Homeland Security should “release families or use alternatives to detention” whenever possible. The report recommended a new alternative to detention known as the Intensive Supervision Appearance Program—which allows people awaiting disposition of their immigration cases to be released into the community, provided that they are closely tracked by means such as electronic monitoring bracelets, curfews, and regular contact with a caseworker. The government has since established pilot programs in twelve cities, and reports that more than ninety per cent of the people enrolled in them show up for their court dates. The immigration agency could have made a priority of putting families, especially asylum seekers, into such programs. Instead, it chose to house families in Hutto, which is owned and run by C.C.A. Families would be kept together, but it would mean they were incarcerated together.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

amazing woman

okay, first of all, i'm not sure what's going on with my template. i'm going to work on that.

also, went to this conference on black feminism yesterday. i'm feeling rejuvenated and refocused; i've relocated those goalposts and re-oriented myself. i wrote this yesterday during a presentation on lucille clifton and sonia sanchez, and just the sight of all of these amazing women's names in one place still puts a smile on my face and a lift in my heart. i am so thankful to have had the opportunity.

amazing women
nzadi keita
nicole watson
sherie randolph
rose afriyie
sala cyril
ashley lewis
robyn spencer
adrienne kennedy
lucille clifton
safiya bandele
barbara omolade
sonia sanchez
women panthers

on the importance of diversity

and by diversity, of course, i mean diversity of man flesh.

mmmm. well i just added a 2nd man to the mix. we'll call this one "the actor," and the first we'll call "BLACK man." "the actor" is also sweet, but he has a bit of a sexy/kinky streak to him. this should be interesting...


Friday, March 7, 2008

oh my god i LOVE this!!!!

Hollaback NYC!

as usual, i'm late on this

can you believe this?! and what happens when the money gets old? or the lazy kids start kicking the smart kids' asses for their money instead of earning it themselves?

um, mr. klein? mr. fryer? when was the last time you actually went to a struggling middle school and observed behavior? and when was the last 30 bucks impressed a kid that would rather be out on the streets selling weed? and how do you think this incentive money will be spent? buying new notebooks?

i want to start my own school really, really badly until i read things like this...


on a slightly different note, whoa. $125,000?

hillary will rise?

okay, so this is old, but it was written by maya angelou, which means its timeless? and will forever be completely disturbing? i don't know. you can come to your own conclusion.

also, i wonder what it really does mean in the grand scheme of things that i have chosen to support a man over a woman for the presidency. there must be some aspect of patriarchal thought happening (if somewhat subconsciously) in my head, eh? i dunno. i'll mull over that on my way to sarah lawrence tonight.

maya after the jump.

Hillary Will Rise

Maya Angelou

Posted February 8, 2008 5:52 PM

Hillary Clinton is the prayer of every woman and man who long for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

Dr. Maya Angelou is a poet, educator, historian, best-selling author, actress, playwright, civil-rights activist, producer and director.

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits end, but she has always risen, always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.

Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.

There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But, to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies.

Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country.

She is the prayer of every woman and man who long for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.

She declares she wants to see more smiles in the families, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to what it can become.

She means to rise.

She means to help our country rise. Don't give up on her, ever.

In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country a wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear.

Rise Hillary.


Thursday, March 6, 2008

proving your _____-ness. fill in the freaking blank.

so i ran across this article at times today (it's listed as one of the "most emailed.") basically, the article is titled "how do you prove you're a jew?" and it has me thinking about an experience i had this weekend with some friends.

i never have to prove my jewishness. i am not a jew. i do, however, sometimes feel that i am asked to prove my blackness. it's something i resent and that i have struggled to deal with and get past my entire life.
(more after the jump)

one reason the whole argument over barack obama's blackness never made sense to me is the fact that i have often been accused of not being "black enough" and both of my parents are black. i have no white mom to confuse my identity. i do, though, have a variety of experiences and a history of self-doubt and low self-esteem that have created an adult who still wrestles with "proving herself."

so back to this weekend. i was hanging out with a boy. a boy that i have a humongous crush on. we went to the black comedy experiment on friday, and the apollo on saturday. it was nice. he's cute. he's smart. he's funny. he's also BLACK (yes, in all caps, just like i told my friend laura a few days ago). i, on the other hand, am black (yes, in all lowercase). he went to an HBCU. i went to a top ten small liberal arts school. he was a tv junkie as a child; i was only allowed to watch tv for a few hours on saturday, after i finished my chores. he loves 90s hip-hop and other "black" music; my fanatical parents only really let me listen to the radio once i was in high school. before that, i was relegated to james dobson's focus on the family, d.c. talk, and jars of clay.

we are different, yes. but is it our "levels" of blackness that are in question? if so, what is this checklist of things that "real" black people must aspire to fulfill?

now, i know that there are tons of complications (in my own mind as well as in the minds of others) on this issue. a few of the ones that come to mind:
  1. when white people do/like/are interested in things that are given other racial markers (i.e., things that aren't listed on what white people like), they are regarded with suspicion and considered to be co-opting another culture.
  2. when black people "sell out" and support/do things that are considered to be negative for their own race, they're seen as "oreos"
now, like i noted, i think that way as well. i think al sharpton's permed hair is an abomination, and white people with locks and dirty clothes that try to preachify on issues of equality and revolution annoy the hell out of me. but i don't feel like i'm trying to be "white." in fact, that's the last thing i want to be. i have devoted my life to education and activism to further the "struggle," yet my authenticity is still measured by whether or not i can recite the script of that boondocks episode by heart.

sometimes i am still the 11 year old girl i once was, with glasses and braces, feeling uncomfortable at the BSA meeting at the prep school i was only able to attend with an almost-full scholarship and countless sacrifices on the parts of my parents. the other black kids at the school, and in BSA, had parents who drove mercedes and lived in big houses in nice parts of town. they called me an "oreo" while laughing at the uniform clothes my mom found for me in the lost and found. i was the inauthentic one, always, because i didn't think the black scholarship boys, who came from liberty city and overtown and played football, were so exciting as to be worthy of my adoration. my hair wasn't permed or pressed yet, and i liked to read and study and get good grades.

any ____-ness, any identity, has its markers, i know. and i know there are any number of reasons to feel like an outcast in a situation. i also know that i was just a nerd, and that was just as viable a reason for the kids to make fun of me as any other. i guess i just feel like i didn't, and don't, want to have to change to be able to be seen as part of my race. if i can't sit at the cool kids' table, so be it. but to not be black because i don't hate acapella singing groups? damn.

that smarts.

i'm sad i missed this

on tuesday. did anyone catch it? if so, please tell me how it was...

Harlem Renaissance Revisited
With John Keene, Mendi + Keith Obadake, and Evie Shockley

Tribeca Performing Arts Center
Borough of Manhattan Community College
199 Chambers Street
New York, New York

Four poetic innovators explore representations of race, sexual identity and class in the revolutionary literature of the Harlem Renaissance poets — including Sterling Brown, Langston Hughes, Anne Spencer and Richard Bruce Nugent — and later generations of writers inspired by their work.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

u.s.-cuba relations- a short intro

if you care about cuba like i do, the information compiled by the council on foreign policy on some of the basic facts of our doings with cuba will probably be deeply disturbing.

some of these things i knew tangentially, without specifics, but now that i've learned the specifics i'm pissed. ignorance is bliss, after all. excerpts of some of the most disturbing stuff below, and the full article can be found here.

What is the status of U.S.-Cuba relations?

-U.S.-Cuban relations are virtually nonexistent. There is a U.S. mission in Havana, Cuba's capital, but it has minimal communication with the Cuban government. Since 1961, the official U.S. policy towards Cuba has been two-pronged: economic embargo and diplomatic isolation. The Bush administration has strongly enforced the embargo and strengthened travel restrictions. Americans with immediate family may visit once every three years for a maximum of two weeks, while the total amount of family remittances an authorized traveler may carry to Cuba is $300, reduced from $3,000 in 2004.

-A small but vocal contingent of hard-line Cuban exiles, many of them based in Florida, do not want to resume relations with Cuba until Castro and his sympathizers are gone, says Julia E. Sweig, CFR senior fellow for Latin American Studies. (havestrength note: i know these people's children, and most of them suck.)

-Why is Cuba on the State Sponsors of Terrorism list?

According to the State Department, Cuba remains on the list because it opposes the global war on terrorism, supports members of two Colombia insurgent groups, the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia (FARC) and the National Liberation Army (ELN), and provides safe haven to several Basque ETA members from Spain. But some experts say there is little evidence to support the State Department's allegations.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

asian american/african american poetry reading on thurs

co-spo'd by cave canem and the asian american writer's workshop. details after the jump. are you as excited as i am?

Thursday, March 6, 7:30 pm
Third Annual Asian American/African American Poetry Reading
Curated by Tracy K. Smith and Tina Chang
Cosponsored by Cave Canem

The Asian American and African American communities gather for a night of brilliant poetry. Readings by Meena Alexander, Jeffery Renard Allen, Regie Cabico, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, R. Erica Doyle and Bakar Wilson.

Meena Alexander's poetry includes Illiterate Heart, winner of a 2002 PEN Open Book Award, Raw Silk (2004), and Quickly Changing River (2008) all published by TriQuarterly Books/ Northwestern University Press. She is the editor of Indian Love Poems (Everyman's Library/ Knopf, 2005) and author of the memoir Fault Lines (Feminist Press 1993/ 2003) She is Distinguished Professor of English at Hunter College and the Graduate Center, CUNY.

Jeffery Renard Allen is the author of two collections of poetry, Stellar Places (Moyer Bell 2007) and Harbors and Spirits (Moyer Bell 1999), and a novel, Rails Under My Back (Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 2000), which won The Chicago Tribune's Heartland Prize for Fiction. Born in Chicago, he holds a Ph.D. in English from the University of Illinois at Chicago and is currently an Associate Professor of English at The City University of New York and teaches in the graduate writing program at The New School. He is the Founding Director of the Pan African Literary Forum. Allen's book of short stories, Bread and the Land, will be published in 2008. He is presently at work on Talking Talk, a book of interviews and conversations with fiction writers of African descent from around the world, and the novel Song of the Shank, based on the life of Thomas Greene Wiggins, a nineteenth century African American piano virtuoso and composer who performed under the stage name Blind Tom.

Regie Cabico is a spoken word pioneer having won the Nuyorican Poets Cafe Grand Slam & has appeared on two seasons of HBO's Def Poetry Jam. His work appears in over 30 anthologies including Spoken Word Revolution & The Outlaw Bible of American Poetry. He is the recipient of three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships, The Barnes & Nobles Writers for Writers Award, A Larry Neal Prize for Poetry and a 2008 DC Commission for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. He is the artistic director of Sol & Soul, an arts and activist organization & co-sponsor of Split This Rock's Poetry Festival: a celebration of Poetry of Provocation & Witness in Washington, DC March 20-23 2008.

Jennifer Kwon Dobbs was born in Won Ju Si, South Korea. Her debut collection of poetry, Paper Pavilion (White Pine Prees 2007), is the winner of the White Pine Press Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in 5 AM, Crazyhorse, Cimarron Review, MiPOesias, Poetry NZ, among others and have been anthologized in Echoes Upon Echoes (The Asian American Writers' Workshop, 2003) and Language For A New Century (W. W. Norton 2008). She is a fellow at the University of Southern California and founding director of the USC SummerTIME Writing Program. Currently, she lives in New York City.

R. Erica Doyle was born in Brooklyn, NY to Trinidadian parents. Her work has appeared in Callaloo, Ploughshares, Ms. Magazine, Black Issues Book Review, Blithe House Quarterly, Utne Reader, Black Renaissance/Renaissance Noire and Sinister Wisdom and has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2001, Voices Rising, Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam, Gumbo: Short Fiction by Black Writers, Gathering Ground, Best Black Women's Erotica 2, and Role Call is forthcoming in Bloom, Our Antilles: Queer Writing from the Caribbean and Quotes Community: Notes for Black Poets. She is the recipient of various grants and awards, including a Fellowship in Poetry from the New York Foundation for the Arts, the Astraea Lesbian Writers Fund Award in Poetry and a Hurston/Wright Award in Fiction. She received her MFA in Poetry from The New School and works as a teacher and literacy coach at Vanguard High. Her manuscript, proxy, was selected by Claudia Rankine as a finalist for the 2007 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.

Bakar Wilson's work has appeared in the Vanderbilt Review, the Lumberyard, and three Cave Canem anthologies. He is a native of Tennessee and currently teaches at Medgar Evers College.

@ The Workshop
16 West 32nd Street, 10th Floor
(btwn Broadway & 5th Avenue)

$5 suggested donation

"caving" to obama

i want to be able to say that i don't see any of kimberley's critiques in myself. i want to say that i always feel 100% about my support of barack obama. but that's not true. kimberly's article, reposted after the jump from the black agenda report, speaks directly to me. i caved. i did. i have always known that i didn't really feel that barack was on my side of the fence, but i gave in because i felt i didn't have a ton of other options. read the article. she has a great point about the lack of any truly palpable progressive movement in this country at the current moment, and our seeming disinterest in creating one.

yes we can?

Freedom Rider: Progressives Cave to Obama

by BAR editor and senior columnist Margaret Kimberley

"There is no movement left to speak up or fight back."

FRobamaSpeeching The progressive movement is on its death bed, in critical condition for many reasons. Activists are demoralized after George W. Bush cheated his way into office, committed crimes against humanity, and subverted the constitution without punishment or even serious risk of political damage. Eight years of evil doing have taken their toll on activists' willingness to take action.

The Democrats are not blameless. The prospect of a Hillary Clinton nomination was another slap in the face to the most loyal Democratic voters. The Yale educated lawyer claimed she didn't know the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq was just what it said. The sorry excuses went on forever and the disgust only grew. Her vaunted inevitability silenced Democrats, who prepared to hold their noses and support the lesser of two evils.

The prospect of more humiliation from yet another Clinton put restless Democrats in the mood to look for other options. Barrack Obama scored points because he expressed opposition to invading Iraq back in 2003 when the crime was first committed. It doesn't seem to matter that as a United States Senator his votes on Iraq are the same as Hillary Clinton's. It doesn't matter that he once opposed establishing a deadline for withdrawal. It doesn't matter that he parrots the words of Republicans when he speaks of "the excesses of the 60s and 70s." None of what he says matters, because speaking up would mean fighting back, and there is no movement left to do that.

"MoveOn never bothered to make demands of Obama."

The end of movement politics has infected nearly everyone, like a mysterious illness in a science fiction film. If a movement still existed, MoveOn would not have made an Obama endorsement via popularity contest. They never bothered to make demands of him, to ask questions before giving him their support. Their endorsement is worthless because it gives Obama cover and asks nothing in return.

MoveOn spreads the conventional wisdom that super delegates are more likely to be pro-Clinton and are willing to subvert the popular will on her behalf. They have even circulated a petition to prevent super delegates from choosing the nominee. What MoveOn doesn't say is that both Clinton and Obama have used their political action committees to make contributions to super delegate campaign funds. They also fail to mention that Obama leads in making these contributions.

His PAC has given $698,200 to super delegates. Hillary Clinton has made $205,500 in contributions to super delegate coffers. In other words, Obama is more adept at buying votes than Clinton. "Yes we can" indeed.

"Obama is more adept at buying super delegate votes than Clinton."

MoveOn is not alone. It is incomprehensible that The Nation magazine endorsed Obama after making the following statement. "This magazine has been critical of the senator from Illinois for his closeness to Wall Street; his unwillingness to lay out an ambitious progressive agenda on healthcare, housing and other domestic policy issues; and for post-partisan rhetoric that seems to ignore the manifest failure of conservatism over these past seven years."

If The Nation has so many qualms about Obama, why endorse him at all? The editors could have simply made a statement of non-support for Obama or Clinton. The sad plight of progressives is all too obvious. "While his rhetoric about ‘unity' can be troubling, it also embodies a savvy strategy to redefine the center of American politics and build a coalition by reaching out to independent and Republican voters disgruntled and disgusted with what the Bush era has wrought." The Nation should explain to readers why Democrats ought to "redefine the center" with independents and Republicans instead of having their own agenda and fighting to make it a reality.

If even The Nation bows down in thrall of the over hyped "center," then all hope for true change is gone. In other words, capitulation is the order of the day, and Obama makes it more palatable than Hillary Clinton does.

"Capitulation is the order of the day."

After eight years of Clintonian triangulation, and another eight years of Bush lawlessness, the center isn't what is used to be. The center will accept an occupation of Iraq, as long as there is pretense that it will end. The center will not undo the Bush attacks on the Constitution. The center will tell black people that they are "90% of the way" towards equality. Actually, Obama already declared that "there is no black America" so the fight for equality will become irrelevant.

Black voters are overwhelmingly pro-Obama. Now supposedly anti-war and progressive organizations have also thrown in the towel. Race pride, however misguided in this case, explains Obama's appeal to black Americans. White progressives have no such excuse. Nevertheless they have chosen to suspend disbelief and jump on the winning bandwagon.

The stampede to Obama reveals the emptiness of the Democratic left. They are every bit as cynical as the man they support. They want a seat at the table. They don't really care what is decided at that table as long as they are included. Pro-war, anti-war, who cares? Just spell the name right on the White House invitation and let the triangulation begin.

Monday, March 3, 2008

not sure what to write

as i have the equivalent of three different posts in my head right now, all competing for space. i'm also busy at work right now trying to figure some things out, so i think i'm just going to share some random thoughts after the jump.

there's a pushcart across the street from my job. your usual halal affair, with chicken and onions sputtering on the grill. i stopped for a moment today on my walk by because it seemed the cart was unmanned. then i saw the owner of the cart praying. his own moment of devotion, on the corner of 31st street and 8th avenue. it was beautiful.

i've been reading a lot about rebecca walker's post on huffpo re: feminism(s) lately, and i am attending a women's history conference on black feminism at sarah lawrence this weekend, and both of those things have me thinking about redefining my politics. i feel that as i have distanced myself from the academy i have lost sight of my goalposts, you know? those things that are absolutely necessary for my sanity, those things i'm supposed to be working towards. i hope this weekend will be a moment that will allow me to recenter and refocus on those posts, waaaay at the other end of the field.

i talked and laughed so much this weekend that my throat is an eensy-weensy bit hoarse. that's not a bad thing.

until next time, or until my life slows down a bit...

Saturday, March 1, 2008

spring fling

i am interested in someone new, and i can't believe how strange it is. you know, to actually consider someone potentially trustworthy enough to have doings with my heart. you, my dear readers, probably know more about the depth of my heartache post-my last relationship than i do, and, if you recall, a heartbroken havestrength isn't much of a havestrength at all.
(more after the link)

this new person, though, feels good. and gentle. and kind. and smart. but not so good, gentle, or kind that he doesn't challenge me. i bullshitted my way into a corner tonight, and am now going to have to prove my way out of it with facts. bo-ring, right? but no, not really. there's a lot about him that makes sense, but that doesn't change the fact that i'm scared, and probably will be for awhile. in the meantime i will try to have some fun.

i'm headed to the apollo tomorrow morning, so i need to get to bed. g'night. :)