Sunday, February 28, 2010

Here We Hide


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via Diary by Nikita Gale on 2/28/10

Last night, I went to Mint Gallery's opening for "Here We Hide", featuring work from Sam Parker, Joe Tsambiras and the Paper Twins.  I really like the Paper Twins... just putting it out there.  Girls who make street art make me feel funny inside.  Overall, it was a pretty interesting show.  You have to admire the work that went into setting up all of the various installations throughout the gallery.  Some of the earlier photos in this set were taken at my friend Sean's studio/habitat before we went to the show.


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"intersectionality” is not simply the meeting place of single issue politics...


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via guerrilla mama on 2/28/10

""intersectionality" is not simply the meeting place of single issue politics. it is something where pieces of our experiences are so intertwined and so entangled together that they cannot be pulled apart into strands."

- cripchick, memo on "intersectionality" (via amandaw)


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via guerrilla mama on 2/28/10




As an asexual, I find it difficult to maintain a sense of gender. I look at people and I see the way spines curve and the way they move when they talk. I see gleaming eyes and vivid lips, collarbones and hands. I see so many beautiful people every day, and I wish they knew how amazing they are, that their sex, their gender means nothing in the face of the living works of art that are human beings. (g)(mindyourtemper)


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"You — you’re always black. There’s always going to be an overreaction one w...


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via guerrilla mama on 2/28/10

""You — you're always black. There's always going to be an overreaction one way or the other regarding your presence, be it good or bad.""

- Chris Rock reveals on The Black List Vol. 1
(via blacklistproject) (via tobia) (via tiredofbeingignored) (via bowfolk)


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Friday, February 26, 2010

Join the Azolla Story


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via cripchick's blog by cripchick on 2/25/10

for queer disabled people of color craving community with each other:

the azolla is a southeast asian plant used in growing rice. azolla plants carry the ability to grow quickly, suppress weeds, and give nutrients to other plants in a symbiotic fashion. the azolla has millions of small, overlapping leaves and lives on the surface of water with its roots hanging under the surface.

we, as disabled queer people of color, are the azolla. we are everywhere. we have the power to grow and build community (the azolla can double its biomass in 2 days!) we are beautiful. we give nutrient to those around us but either are invisible or called weeds. although we sustain community, the focus is never on us. we are working on creating a space, the Azolla Story, that changes this.

we want this online home to be a space where we can connect with each other; build knowledge and community; share stories and histories; reflect, support and transform our love for and with each other. we are a part of many communities and seek to build a community where we can claim our whole selves. we recognize that queerness, gender expression and identity, trans politics and sexuality are an important part of our lives because of the many ways that queer disabled people of color's gender, sexuality and relationships are policed, deamonized, ignored, exterminated and exploited.

we hope you will grow with us and join us in the telling of our transformation(s). this is the azolla story.

if you are interested in joining the azolla story online community, pls leave a comment and i will send you a link.


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via guerrilla mama on 2/26/10



"Rapunzel", © Mequitta Ahuja

This illustration must be seen in person. Awe-inspiring.


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Growing Home: That Green Place in Your Hopeful Heart

"Spring travels at the rate of 17 miles a day."

Audre Lorde (early draft of "From the House of Yemaja")

I know. It may not feel like it (or here in Durham it may feel like Spring is messing with us by showing up and
dipping out every few days), but in the northern hemisphere...SPRING IS
ON THE WAY!!!!! I am cultivating the green spaces in my heart for
growth, for newborn beauty, for what will feed my spirit through this

I am also cultivating green spaces in my relationship to resources. Subscribing in a community supported bakery
run by a beloved comrade who lives around the corner and a POC
community supported farm up the road in Mebane. Encouraging the
delicious bake-off candidates in my community to donate sweets to the
School of Our Lorde Session and living some kind of new age community
teacher lifestyle...where folks bring food, trade video documentation,
or holistic healing sessions for their participation in the Eternal
Summer of the Black Feminist Mind educational programs. Where people
like you buy booklets and DVDs and make donations that are turning
paypal into a love note vector. I am literally living on love,
nurturing the hopeful ecology of my heart.

I know that it is going to be an amazing Spring, and I feel our planet transforming 17 miles a day or further, making
the space between you and me luscious and life-giving and perfect.

Tell me about the green space in your heart, your hopes for the season your literal or metaphorical crops on the way here:

ALSO!!! Speaking of what's growing...the organic and pragmatic community of creative writers here on QBG now has an official home! Join the Quirky Black Girls Writing Salon and get and give feedback on your work!!:

AND!!!! At 8pm EST this Sunday February 28th listen to QBG's Lex and Moya on the virtual ones and two's for the first episode of Quirky Black Girls Radio: the Black Girls Rock Edition featuring some of YOUR awesome work. (Which means if you want us to play your tracks this is truly the last minute...but we can make it happen.) Here is the link! Call in if you wanna:

I love growing with you so much!!!!
love always,


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Alexei Sovertkov


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via against the grain on 2/26/10

Alexei Sovertkov


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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

“Intersectionality” is a Big Fancy Word for My Life


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via Leaving Evidence by Mia Mingus on 2/24/10

(Excerpts from MBGLTACC 2010 Keynote Address)

picture of a green bottle with grass and trees behind it.We have to confront white supremacy within LGBT and Queer communities.  A queer politic MUST include solidarity with people of color; it MUST include fighting racism and white supremacy.  Because we aren't queer OR people of color; queer OR white; queer OR able bodied; queer OR working class.  We can't just decide to come together as queer people and expect that we are all going to be united and work together—or that we'll even feel comfortable.

We must be willing to have hard conversations as queer people with each other about how we are different as queer people.  It helps us to expand what "queerness" is—to see that there are many different ways to be queer.  We can't be afraid to do our own work at our own tables.  And yes, there is much work to be done out there, with folks who aren't queer.  Yes, that is important too, but we are outsiders here as well.  Because really, there is no "out there."

For those of us living with multiple oppressed identities, we know this well.  And as adoptees, we know this well—especially as transracial and transnational adoptees.  As people who straddle many different communities, so much of our work must be done with the people in our own communities.  And we do this work for our very survival, because often times, we do not have a choice not to.  There is literally no where else to go.  Our homes are rarely comfortable. (And I know as queer folks we know something about that too).

To the queer white folks in the audience and the folks who benefit from white privilege, I would ask you: how are you connecting your fight for queer liberation to challenging white supremacy?  How are you connecting your queerness to your white privilege?  How are you listening to queer people of color in your world, supporting them and practicing solidarity?  How are you actively noticing how whiteness, racism and white supremacy play out in queer communities, student groups, organizations, and movements?

Racism and white supremacy are so pervasive, that we don't even have to be consciously or intentionally doing anything to participate in them.  It's in the air we breathe; it's how the machine rolls; it's the default.  It's backed by everything in our society.  That's the thing about oppression, power and privilege: unless you are actively challenging it, you are colluding with it. We live in a heterosexist society, we live in an ableist society and we all have a responsibility to actively work against it. We can't guarantee that things won't be ableist or won't be racist (that's not the world we live in right now); but we CAN guarantee that when there is racism, when there is ableism, that we will do something about it.  We will LISTEN to those most impacted; we will listen to people of color, we will listen to disabled folks; we will listen to trans folks; we will listen to the queer disabled people of color—and hear them.  We can guarantee that we will act and communicate with each other.  And maybe we will make mistakes; and we will learn from them.

There is no such thing as neutrality.  If you have privilege, you can never be neutral, because you are constantly benefiting off of that privilege—even at the same time as you are also being oppressed. That is what "intersectionality" (for lack of a better word) is about.  It is about moving beyond single-issue politics; it's about understanding the complexities of our lives.  It is understanding that fighting for racial justice IS queer; fighting for disability justice IS queer.

It is trying to understand the way our differences lie down inside of us, as Audre Lorde would say.  It is knowing that heterosexist and patriarchal modes of family and gender and sexuality were used in service of white supremacy as the building blocks used to colonize first nation communities and communities of color and their lands.  It is knowing that women of color's sexualities and genders are policed everyday (in different ways), whether they identify as queer or not. It is being able to hold the trauma and exploitation of transracial and transnational adoptees, as queer people who often think that transracial and transnational adoption is a valid route to parenting.  It is holding the power of building queer family and new models of parenting AND also challenging compulsory child bearing in a heteronormative culture.  It is knowing that race gets used strategically to divide us all the time as queer people.  That ableism, capitalism and class get used to make us think that freedom and consumer choice is more important than justice and liberation.

"Intersectionality" is a big fancy word for my life; for your life, for our lives.  It encompasses so much more than I could ever talk about in one talk.

Intersectionality is not just talking about the places you're oppressed, but also the places where you have privilege.  Intersectionality is disabled white folks enacting their white entitlement through their disability identity.  It's me having to choose between the POC caucus, the disability caucus, the API women's caucus, or the adoptee caucus at the Creating Change in Detroit.  It's thousands of LGBT and queer folks coming out for pride and 150 people coming out for Transgender Day of Remembrance…

So I would say the same thing to the queer able-bodied folks in the audience and the folks who benefit from able-bodied privilege (in many different ways):  how are you connecting your fight for queer liberation to challenging able-bodied supremacy?  How are you connecting your queerness to your able-bodied privilege?  How are you listening to queer disabled folks in your world, supporting them and practicing solidarity?  How are you actively noticing how ability, ableism and able-bodied supremacy play out in queer communities, student groups, organizations, and movements?


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year in review


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via wild cowgirl by wild cowgirl on 2/23/10

luck it what you want.
it has been good.


esp because i have this man on my gchat list.
*i just got chills...again.


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Black American Women You Need to Know

Day 24: Ntozake Shange

i first came to know of Ntozake thru For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf as a young girl. i couldn't even say for sure what age, but probably around 10 or 11, as i do know i was 10 when i first read Richard Wright and Malcolm X (before you laugh at how i can recall that so clearly, it's because i associate it with the spring when my parents renewed their wedding vows and i was kicked outside frequently so my mom and grandmother could prepare things in the house… my grandfather asked me what i was reading because my mother had expressed concern about my reading so much and whether i was reading "appropriate" material and why i stayed in a corner of my room with a book all the time. Fortunately for me, my grandfather was on my side). Anyway, i spent a lot of time in the neighborhood library and i ran across For Colored Girls, which really spoke to me even though i didn't yet know that i was a colored girl for sure (we suspected, but due to the secrecy of adoption records at that time we didn't know for certain). You can imagine my thrill when i ran across a copy of the book in my neighborhood thrift shop about a year ago!

Several years ago, on one of my used book forays with my ex-husband (women, i must tell you - put on your list of necessary qualities in any lover that supports your reading habits; it is a truly lovely thing) i picked up The Love Space Demands (a continuing saga), without even recognizing the name or making the connection to having read For Colored Girls decades prior.

i say/ i heard etta james in her eyes/ i

know/ i heard the blues in her eyes/ an

unknown/ virulent blues/ a stalkin

takin no answer but yes to me

blues/ a song of a etta james/ a

cantankerous blues/ a blues born of

wantin & longin/ wantin & longin for

you/ mama/ or etta mae/

song of a ol hand me down blues

hangin by its breath/ alone

a fragile new blues

hardly close to nowhere/ cept them eyes

& i say/ i heard a heap of etta james

in them eyes/ all over them eyes/

so come on Annie

so tell mama all about it

tell mama all about it

all about it

all about it

tell mama

from "crack annie" in The Love Space Demands (a continuing saga)


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25th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley


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via guerrilla mama on 2/24/10

25th Annual Empowering Women of Color Conference at UC Berkeley:

he 25th Anniversary Empowering Women of Color Conference (EWOCC) entitled: Intergenerational Wisdom: Celebrating Our Past, Present, & Future, returns on March 13-14, 2010 to the UC Berkeley Campus to honor the legacy of women of color in the U.S., celebrate the struggles of women of all ages, and provides a space for growth, empowerment, and practical tools for everyday life. This year, the nation's oldest and largest women of color conference will focus on embracing our collective histories, acknowledging our impact on the present, and supporting our lifelong development across generations. The two-day conference will be dedicated to issues affecting women at every stage of their lives with workshops, speakers, panels, performances, networking, and vendors of interest to all age groups.


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Tuesday, February 23, 2010



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Black American Women You Need to Know

Day 23: Nina Simone

Nina's birthday was Sunday, and as usual i am behind. February is a busy month though!

Before i begin to say anything, first things first, you must see her perform one of my favorites. :)

Ain't Got No

Okay, so it's true, i first heard of Nina thanks to the movie Point of No Return, shortly after i got out of high school. That's probably a pathetic way to find out about someone as important as Nina, but the point is that i did learn of her. i remember being with friends on a road trip to some little hippie town and searching for Nina Simone CD's while one of my friend's was getting a hard-to-find (and awesome) Tori Amos box set.

Also known as the High Priestess of Soul, she paid great attention to the musical expression of emotions. Within one album or concert she could fluctuate between exhuberant happiness and tragic melancholy.


Check out Love Me or Leave Me or the classic, Feeling Good.

Nina was, of course, more than just a singer and musician, but also an activist for civil rights. So a lot of the things we now take for granted, like so many other women i've written about this month, are in part due to her efforts. She was so active that she felt it necessary to leave the country in exile.

I think the rich will eventually have to cave in too, because the economic situation around the world is not gonna tolerate the United States being on top forever.

Greed has driven the world crazy. And I think I'm lucky that I have a place over here that I can call home.

(via BrainyQuotes)

Backlash Blues, by Langston Hughes & Nina Simone

Mr. Backlash, Mr. Backlash
Just who do think I am
You raise my taxes, freeze my wages
And send my son to Vietnam

You give me second class houses
And second class schools
Do you think that alla colored folks
Are just second class fools
Mr. Backlash, I'm gonna leave you
With the backlash blues

When I try to find a job
To earn a little cash
All you got to offer
Is your mean old white backlash
But the world is big
Big and bright and round
And it's full of folks like me
Who are black, yellow, beige and brown
Mr. Backlash, I'm gonna leave you
With the backlash blues

Mr. Backlash, Mr. Backlash
Just what do you think I got to lose
I'm gonna leave you
With the backlash blues
You're the one will have the blues
Not me, just wait and see

(lyrics via LyricsDepot)

There's no excuse for the young people not knowing who the heroes and heroines are or were.

(via BrainyQuotes)

Click thru on the photo to a gallery of awesome photos



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Sign up for the School of Our Lorde Pedagogy Unit!

School of Our Lorde CONTINUES! March: Pedagogy ****Applications due February 25th 2010******

Pedagogy: Not everyone knows that Audre Lorde was breaking down the master’s house by being a master teacher and librarian. Do you teach students armed and ready to text message? Well Audre Lorde taught John Jay College of Criminal Justice students who wore loaded guns to class as part of their uniform!!! Participants in this session will get to see Audre Lorde’s syllabi, and course evaluations, practice their own interpretations of her teaching methods and transform the meaning of education. Participants also get to help design and facilitate the Audre Lorde Survival School. We will meet over dessert on Thursday March 4, 11, and 18th.

Apply for the pedagogy course here:School of Our Lorde Pedagogy Application (pdf version)

School of Our Lorde Pedagogy Application (doc version)

email applications to or drop them off at the Inspiration Station (email for directions)


Note on the applications:
I invited each of your because I really really want you in the course. ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE CAN PARTICIPATE IN THE SCHOOL OF OUR LORDE REGARDLESS OF MOOLA AND OTHER NEEDS! Holler at me. I'm at your service ;)

What makes Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind projects ETERNAL?

The second page of the application asks you to dedicate your participation to at least 7 people who learn from you. This is a key part of the educational experience. A mentor of mine reminded me that somehow those extra deep parts of our brains and hearts get opened up when we approach a learning experiences with our beloved communities in mind. Even more so when our participation is accountable to specific living folks in our lives and they know it!!!

One way to make that accountability tangible is for folks in your community to sponsor you for the especially helpful form of support (for the short time that capitalism continues) is MOOLA (as not-so- subtly hinted by the dollar $ign$ on the application). But there are infinite ways for a supporter to sponsor you...I especially love it when folks contribute food, poetry, meditations that they know etc!!!

What makes Community Supported Education Possible?
Also the "asking people for money and other forms of support" exercise on the application is also about transforming our relationships to money and learning how to create sustainable educational spaces outside of/and past/and beyond/and in secret subversive collaboration with the dominant institutions of discipline and indoctrination. You might love asking folks for monetary might absolutely hate it (like I do) but either way it teaches us a lot and is part of our educational process in the course.

I am so excited about the possibility of your participation. Get at me with any questions!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Schadenfreude for Dummies


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via Black Youth Project by Summer M. on 2/22/10

Today is my birthday. [Golf clap.]  I'm officially too old to be writing for this blog.  Moving on.

Consider this my obligatory, quite random and uninspired response to the Tiger Woods' apology: It was boring, about as interesting as watching golf on television.  Like, seriously.  How can I take voyeuristic pleasure in something so…um, vanilla [talking about the speech, not Woods' taste in women]?  For a guy who sends such racy text messages, I was expecting a much more electrifying statement.  If Tiger Woods had read from his Blackberry I assure you all that his apology would have actually been worth talking about.  Maybe he should've used Autotune.  Is there an App for animating an otherwise mundane statement by a professional athlete?

How much more satisfying would it have been if Woods had just walked up to the podium and said, "My wife made me do this…"?

That said, I imagine that the statement was probably part of Woods' rehab process.  As an avid watcher of Intervention, among other things, I'm well aware that folks who enter rehab have to 'fess up to the people they've hurt because of their addiction by honestly articulating their transgressions.  It's one of the steps; I don't know which.  Whatever the case, I suspect Woods' speech falls under that genre–and not the press conference/release kind.

Whether or not Woods is a sex addict is debatable.  Whether or not he was sincere or not, arrogant or humble, the point is Woods is working the program–for sponsors, for his image, for his wife, for whomever.  Frankly, that's way less entertaining to us than the pre-intervention.  It's much more enthralling to watch a (famous) person act like a jerk, and take pleasure when said celebrity status is on the brink of being taken away. Seriously, how many of us stick around after the addict enters the hotel room and sees her family waiting for her?  We turn away and return two minutes before the top of the hour just to see if she got kicked out of rehab.  At least I do.

I suspect our opinions about Woods' statement, whichever side of the fence we land on, probably say more about us than it does about him.  I'm not sure the statement is even worthy of comment, a response, or a critique of what was said.  If anything, I was reminded of why we don't pay athletes big bucks to talk much: they suck at it.  I was also reminded that we like to pretend we purchase products, sold by morally detestable corporations, because we think the guy shopping it is "good," a far better person–and athlete–than we are.  Ironic, I guess.

The fact that Lil Wayne is on now Twitter is far more interesting to me.

Anyway, I have to go prepare a statement.  I left the toilet seat up again, and N is pissed.

That is all.


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A mother and her malnourished child sleep in an MSF feeding centre in Galcayo, central Somalia.

Somalia 2009 © Jan Grarup /NOOR

Somalia was included in our "Top 10 Humanitarian Crises of 2009" report.


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USSF Youth Call

Greetings Good People,
    I hope that all is well with everyone. I want to plug folks in to the work being done around the United States Social Forum. The United States Social Forum (USSF) will be taking place in Detroit, June 22-26, 2010. This is a really crucial event and space to help bring communities together intergenerationally around social and economic change.
    The energy, presence, and involvement is needed from us all to help make the USSF possible. One important piece of the USSF is the involvement of young people.  I am a part of the USSF Youth Working Group, this group is youth-led and serves to bring youth perspective and action to the forefront of the USSF. As we all know young people have always been on the front lines of critical social and economic movements and change. For those of you who are between the ages of 13-24, or would like to support a young person in that age group to participate, there is going to be a conference call this Monday, February 22 at 9 p.m EST. It would be amazing to have as many people as possible on that call. Below you will find the agenda and information needed to RSVP.
   Please pass this information on to as many people as you know.  For those who would like to follow up and get more information you can check out Also, please feel free to email me with any questions that you have.



Peace yall.
I hope everyone is doing well...and that you are all finding balance in your lives....and that yall are finding time to laugh through the daily struggles we all live in. I am incredibly excited to announce that we have chosen our new hire for the Youth Outreach Worker, her name is Jardyn Lake and she will be making her introduction on the call. We will also be talking about fundraising and getting some last thoughts on the Youth Outreach packet. The Agenda is at the bottom, please look and get together your thoughts for the call.
The Conference call is this Monday at 9pm EST (8pm CEN/ 7pm MNT).
 Conference Dial-in Number: (218) 339-4300
 Participant Access Code: 189810#
Please confirm your participation by RSVP to:
Please RSVP by emailing the name of the Youth representative that will be on the call, your organization/community name, and a contact email AND phone number (and website if you there is one) your organization/community can be reached at.
Thank you for your time, work and commitment. We are all needed in this work.
Many Blessings.

Youth Working Group Conference Call 02-22-10

-Announce New Hire:
-Kick-off Focus groups
-Decide fundraising plan, date of collective fundraiser

Note takers:

9-9:05pm             Shout Outs/Introductions

9:05-9:15pm       New Hire Announcement & Introduction & Questions: JARDYN

9:15-9:25pm       Fundraising Plan : SANDRA & TRACY
                                                -Budget Overview & Needs

9:25-9:45pm       Kick off the Focus Groups:

Set conference call times, first meeting days, and email contact person:
                                                - Youth Space-Corina
                                                - Communication-Veronica

9:45-9:55              Youth Outreach Packet
                                                -Overview, what is needed!

9:55-10pm           Questions, Comments

Model and former Miss Universe Tanzania, Flaviana Matata.


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Model and former Miss Universe Tanzania, Flaviana Matata.


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Black American Women You Need to Know

Day 22: Betty Shabazz

It's sorta sad that the majority of people who recognize this name only associate it as "the wife of Malcolm X". Not that there is anything wrong with being known as the wife of a great man, Betty has always been so much more and many people don't realize that.

From her early years, Betty was raised by a socially conscious foster family, the mother of whom "organized campaigns to support black-owned businesses and boycott stores that refused to hire black employees". (via Wikipedia) It is no wonder then that she was also a conscious woman. Surprisingly, for being an active family, Betty has written that when she first encountered racism while attending college in the South, her foster family did not like to speak about it and made her feel that it was her "fault" that she was being mistreated. Perhaps that is what really galvanized her feelings and activism.

Millions of people look to her for some kind of understanding of the history of the struggle. She's the wife of one of the greatest African-American leaders of history. ~ black activist and poet Amiri Baraka

(via CNN, when announcing her death)

His young widow, pregnant with twin daughters at the time of his murder, was left to raise them - and their four sisters - by herself. In the ensuing years, Shabazz avoided publicity when she could, opting instead to provide a quiet, normal home life and full education for her children.


"I really don't know where I'd be today if I had not gone to Mecca to make Hajj [a spiritual pilgrimage] shortly after Malcolm was assassinated," she confided in Essence. "Two young doctors - one from Harvard and the other from Dartmouth - invited me to go to Mecaa in my husband's stead. And that is what helped put me back on track. I remembered Malcolm saying, 'Don't look back and don't cry. Remember, Lot's wife turned into a pillar of salt.' I began to understand the meaning of that statement."


Other meaningful things Betty said that we can learn a lot from include:

God must be upset with his creation, that we can't get along together.

We can say 'Peace on Earth,' we can sing about it, preach about it or pray about it, but if we have not internalized the mythology to make it happen inside us, then it will not be.


Malcolm was a firm believer in the value and importance of our heritage. He believed that we have valuable and distinct cultural traditions which need to be institutionalized so that they can be passed on to our heirs.

(via BrainyQuotes)


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