My comrade, colleague and sister Autumn Brown has a newsletter and it’s awesome. Rather than try to describe it to you, I am just going to publish the latest newsletter here with a link to her site so you can further check her out. For the record, my sister April is also awesome and when she has a website I will post it here too
FROM AUTUMN BROWN’S NEWSLETTER:
This edition of my newsletter has so much content that I will keep my deep thoughts relatively short. I do want to share, however, that I have been so energized by vulnerability in the last few weeks. Either I forgot that vulnerability could be so inspiring, or I never thought of it in this way. Beginning my fellowship, and experiencing the gratitude and discomfort of finding myself in exactly the right place at exactly the right time to have my creativity and my politics challenged in exactly the right ways, has given me a completely new appreciation for being vulnerable and opening my mind and my heart and my body to what is.
This weekend I also had the opportunity to attend a conference in St. Paul, Minnesota on Overcoming Racism. It was an intense weekend on a number of levels, and I came away with an incredible resource for teaching African American history, which I share below. But for me, by far and away the most important take away was recognizing my own ignorance. In the last year I have developed a workshop on Resisting Racism and I have been very lucky to have some incredible teachers and resources in this process. But this weekend an awareness dawned on me: that I have been taught, and I have taught others, to think about race and racism as primarily a white people/black people issue. Now, obviously I know that race and racism goes well beyond white folks and black folks. But in the same way that we tend to oversimplify just about everything, we oversimplify the problem of racism as being between binaries when we can easily identify ourselves in one or both of them.
The conference I attended, however, focused strongly on the horrendous genocide of Native Americans, and the continued struggle of Native Americans and American Indians to regain and/or retain their land. Throughout both days of the conference, I found myself continually shocked and ashamed by how little I knew of these completely current issues, and I felt very keenly my responsibility as an anti-racist facilitator to build my knowledge. As I returned home and felt the wholeness of my life out in the woods, I began to understand how pivotal land and belonging are, both to that wholeness and to this struggle we are all in – the struggle to not only survive these awful times, but to do so in communion with one another.
And so, ever in the spirit of building knowledge, I offer these incredible items that have come to me through the many networks I participate in – a new resource for teaching and learning about black people, a challenging documentary about death row, classes on herbs, a conference on activist scholarship, a queer poetry revival, and a report on violence in and against the LGBTQ community. I hope that there is something useful for you here. And as always, if there is something you find that you think I should share, send it to me!
Today is election day. It is also All Souls Day, the Day of the Dead. In Irish tradition, this time of year is the thin time, the time when the ancestors come near. Today I will take some time in silence to reflect on the fact that this country was built on the backs and from the blood of children, mothers, grandmothers, fathers, and grandfathers who were massacred and enslaved by occupiers that could not see the value of their living, and could not truly see the value of the land.