Wednesday, November 25, 2009

International Day For The Elimination Of Violence Towards Women And Girls

This statement was released today by Ms. Thoraya Ahmed Obaid, the executive director of the United Nations Population Fund:

Every day, women and girls are subject to domestic violence, exploitation, sexual violence, trafficking, honour crimes, harmful traditional practices, such as bride burning and early marriages, and other forms of violence against their bodies, minds and human dignity.

As many as one in three women has been beaten, coerced into sex, or abused in some other way.

In the 16 days leading up to Human Rights Day and every day, let us come together to demand an end to the most pervasive yet least reported human rights abuse in the world.

Let us all take a stand and say loud and clear ‘No to violence against women’.

In this demand, we are joined by a new network of men leaders led by United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon as part of the United Nations UNite Campaign to end violence against girls and women. I welcome their leadership and commitment to actively engage men and boys in the cause to end impunity, promote justice and human rights, and end widespread violence against girls and women.

Whether they are policy makers, community or religious leaders, fathers or husbands, uncles, brothers or young boys, they can all do their part to eliminate all forms of violence against women.

Real talk. What I want to know is... how can i be down with the mens at the UN?!? So great to see male responsibility and alliance happening at this level. I found this to be very hope inspiring. And UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon himself is quoted to say:
I call on men and boys everywhere to join us. Break the silence. When you witness violence against women and girls, do not sit back. Act. Advocate. Unite to change the practices and attitudes that incite, perpetrate and condone this violence. Violence against women and girls will not be eradicated until all of us – men and boys - refuse to tolerate it.
I. Am. Loving. This. 

Real talk, real manhood going on here. 

Also click here to follow how 16 days of "artivism" will be transpiring in the Bay Area, starting today (sorry i didn't post this earlier, grad school is needin much attention!)

I'm excited about this news. THIS is something I am giving thanks for this holiday. Very appropriate considering this holiday is founded on violence and genocide... so its fitting for a movement to now form to actively work to undo "the most pervasive yet least reported human rights abuse in the world". Sometimes I think we actually are evolving...  


Thursday, November 19, 2009

10 Year-Old Boy Won't Stand For The Pledge Of Allegiance Until No More Discrimination Against Gays.

ok, this kid is officially the hero of the month. 

I find this to be so relevant to my more recent posts about the recent sexual assault in Richmond, because so many boys watched a gang rape occur, and some have reported being scared to have done anything about it, because of peer pressure (One did also try to help her as well, and is now dealing with being labelled a "snitch"). Here, Will Phillips, a 10 year-old 5th grader boy who is taking on tons of homophobic teasing, but remaining firm in his stance. You have to check this kid out too, he's pretty serious and "adult intellectual", to a point where its kinda cute and funny (hope this kid actually finds time to play and be a kid too!!). But he broke it down, he doesn't want to stand to honor the pledge of allegiance until there is really "liberty and justice for all." He even states that there "really isn't liberty and justice for all, gays and lesbians can't marry, and there's still a lot of racism and sexism in the world. yeah." WHATTT?!? I hope that this catches on, wanna see whole classrooms refusing to stand. I'm personally glad I went to high school in Jamaica and never had to be stand to honor "liberty and justice for all" in a country rife with various institutionalized oppressions. 

I wonder if Universal Studios is just waiting for Will to grow up and become a lawyer so that they can jump on the movie rights. And i don't think Will will have to worry about getting into a law school either. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Photo Essay On The Richmond Peace Rally For Rape Survivors

Oakland photographer Bethanie Hines did a powerful, moving and beautiful capture of the rally Saturday. It really vividly depicts the passion, unity, hope, strength and power of community. I will post some pictures here, but for the full glory, please click here for the complete gallery. 


Monday, November 9, 2009

Be A Part Of The Movement Towards A Rape Free Future: Catalyst For Change Tonite @ 6:30pm

This is the only picture i took with my cellphone at the Richmond Peace Rally that happened on Saturday. These boys are carrying signs that say "No Rape" and are also promoting Love. And they recieved soooo much love for being there, and indeed this should be positively reinforced. 

This is the kind of future we need to invest in. 

It was good to see over 200 folks show up to say no to rape and help strategize and build. The press was there too. The mayor of Richmond came and said some for real real stuff about institutionalized sexism, racism and poverty, and that this is larger than Richmond. The organizers Elecia & Kiki also held it down, two sistas representing as strong and vocal survivors, and affirming that it only takes a couple of willful individuals to make rallies like this happen. One youngblood highschool brotha got on the mic and spat a rhyme smashin on the boys who just watched the gang rape. I was also proud to represent on the mic alongside other men speaking out against violence against women and girls. And we need to see still more men out here, Male Responsibility is at the core of this. Our granddaughters will ask where we were when the movement to end the Longest War was going on. Time to step up, time to redefine Man Up. Like the man who brought his sons to the rally.  

Tonight, there is another chance to build and strategize with community. A Community Forum called Catalyst For Change is happening at the Women Of Color Resource Center, 1611 Telegraph Street in Oakland. Its free (donations happily accepted), and children friendly. 6:30. Click here for details.

Please forward this permalink to folks, especially men. 

Prayers continue for the evolution of humanity...

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Will Be Speaking Today On KPFA 94.1 FM With Byron Hurt & Weyland Southon About The Richmond Gang Rape, Male Responsibility, And More. 4pm.

(***please see link for archived KPFA recording. Our segment starts at the 26 min mark. Available until Nov. 17th. 

Most people who live in the bay are reeling from a very recent heartbreaking and horrendous case where a 15 year old girl was gang raped after a school dance at Richmond High. 10 boys assaulted this young woman while another 10 boys watched, laughed and took pictures. So far, 7 boys have been arrested, but that offers me little consolation. 

This event has broken so many of our hearts. And many of us are not content to just be sad about it and then go on with our day. Something is happening. I have always been trying to galvanize men of color around these issues, and all of a sudden, quality men are responding to the call, knowing that something has to be done, and that it is time to step up. At a meeting I had yesterday, one brotha said that even though events like this happen all the time, for some reason this hit like "The 9/11 for people of color". 

I invite you to tune in today at 4pm to Weyland Southon's show Hard Knock Radio on KPFA 94.1 FM where an ongoing conversation has been going on with the brothas about rape, male responsibility, sexism and more. I was on with Byron Hurt, an incredible anti-sexist activist / film maker brotha who made "Hip Hop: Beyond Beats And Rhymes" which is an iconic documentary about masculinity, misogyny and homophobia in hip hop. Since the inception of this blog, i have featured video clips of this and other works of his in the right hand margin. It was an honor to be on the same show with him, and to build alliance with people like this. 

If you miss the show, it will be archived online. And there are great shows that have already passed that have dealt with this subject.

I am glad to see men stepping up, and that I am not the only one who sees that it is imperative for us to Man Up in this way, right now. This should not be the inheritance of our daughters. We must be able to say that we did SOMETHING about it. We should want to do this. For the humanity of our sons too. 

There used to be a time when black bodies would swing from trees while white folks sat underneath it and merrily had picnics. Talk about a toxic bystander culture. Well, thanks to the work of white people of conscience and a lot of struggle from black folks, this is no longer a cultural norm. Men need to step up NOW, to do the work required to move towards making rape and violence towards women something that is no longer a cultural norm. We need to connect with men and boys on this. Model compassion, vulnerability, respect as strengths. Model intervening in street harassment, critiquing sexism in everyday life in their presence. And so much more. I also recommend the book "Transforming A Rape Culture", which is a text book i chose for one of my classes. And for sure, i'm waaaaaaay behind in schoolwork cuz i have chosen to actually "do" work on these issues instead of "study" them. It feels like the thing to do. But i still hope i can finish this term!! Wish me luck people....

Giving thanks to the men of conscience who are steppin up. Sending prayers of healing and light to the humanity of everyone involved in this rape case. And their poor parents. 

The brothas gonna work it out....

**March For Peace this Saturday November 7th, 11-2pm. Richmond High School, 1250 23rd St.