(***please see link for archived KPFA recording. Our segment starts at the 26 min mark. Available until Nov. 17th. http://www.kpfa.org/archive/id/55809)
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.