Friday, January 10, 2014

A Revolutionary Compass for 2014

A Revolutionary Compass for 2014
Happy New Year familia!

I hear the word revolutionary a lot. Most times it is used in a way that seems, odd or negative. For 2014 I would like to claim it as a word that implies our act to love ourselves unconditionally and reach for what is rightfully ours.
In 2013 I wrote about searching and reaching beyond the words written in the books that do not speak our truth. I shared the words of Mrylie Evers Williams from her Inaugural address, “their spirit infuse our being to work together with respect, enabling us to continue to build this nation, and in so doing we send a message to the world that we are strong, fierce in our strength, and ever vigilant in our pursuit of freedom.”

I wrote about my beloved Colon, dedicated one of my Reflections to my Papa, one of the Silver men, and shared my thoughts on my trip to the Dominican Republic and Nelson Mandela. It was a year of reaching for truth.  For 2014 we hope to continue on this path by highlighting a few areas.

The first is of great organizational and collective interest. It is the Dominican –Haitian conflict. I truly believe this is our compass. This is the compass, for Afro descendents to know if we are moving in the direction of prosperity, for all.  If we cannot get a people to see that this act is far from just a migration issue but of a deeply rooted conflict of black identity, then we are in conflict as a whole of our blackness beyond the color of our skin.
The other is the work with the young men of the HIS (Hermanos is Solidarity) Project and the young women of the HER (Hermanas Exchanging Roots) Project. These young people have touched the very core of my soul. Sitting with them every week has confirmed that our compass took us to the right place.

They confirm the need to address the first issue as most are Dominicans and are struggling with the message they have heard for years, their personal experiences and their journey to awareness as they sit with us week after week.
My heart is heavy when they say; Ms. Being black in DR is not easy. My heart is heavy when I hear their dislike, towards Haitians without any real exchange with a Haitian. My heart is heavy when they do not know they are black based on skin color or roots. This is deep familia, and this is our future if we don’t address the direction of this compass.

We need to re root the direction of our compass to face the truth, address the misinformation of history and truly embrace who we are.
The final area is my ever beating heart of areas. This is the ongoing fire to uplift my home community of Colon. Although in a state of crisis, I still wake up believing that the compass will direct us, not to the Colon of the past but a Colon of the future that will have an inclusive voice, a Colon that will benefit from the richness it creates but is denied to retain.

Embracing our full self is not an easy journey but let us all give it a Revolutionary try for 2014. A compass is about forward motion in the right direction to successfully reach your destination.
For 2014 our wish is for a revolutionary compass that will uplift our righteous crown and direct our heart to love the face in the mirror and the face that reminds you of your abuelo/a, tia/o.

Let us look in the same direction, a direction that will say success in Dominican Republic means success in Haiti. Success in Colon means success in Colombia. Success in Boston means success in South Africa. Let us direct our youth to a place of internal healing that will transfer to a positive self image. That will be our Revolutionary compass, the Revolutionary act to be Negro y Orgulloso.

 In light and peace,


Wednesday, January 8, 2014

What Nelson Mandela means to this Panamanian, Black Zonian child

What Nelson Mandela means to this Panamanian, Black Zonian child

Since Nelson Mandela became ill, I began reflecting on when I first learned about him and his journey to Freedom.
I then remembered the very moment. It was in the 8th grade when I wrote a Social Studies paper on Apartheid.

My reflecting led me to think of why his fight was more than just for South Africa then and now. His fight/journey was for all people of African descent and for those who believe in peace and justice. His journey was definitely for this child from Panama who understood the depth of his act.

I grew up in Jim Crow imposed laws. My community was segregated and we were the Majority, that is what Apartheid looks like.

I understood him because he gave me another name to define my story.
Many Blacks died in Panama fighting this reality. Many Panamanians fought and died fighting the concept and construct that they could not walk in streets of the American territory that was smaller than an entire country.

To celebrate Mandela's life is to celebrate what Freedom should be yet it has not been attained by the Majority around the world.

The pain is felt all over the world and deeply by this Panamanian, Black Zonian child who still walks around with the thought, how did we not go to the Skating Rink until the communities where intergrated, it was right around the corner from Rainbow City.

As I reflect more on what this has meant to me, I think that segregation helped me in many ways to see what Black sacrifice , Black Unity and Black Love looks and feels like.

As an activist who stands for many of the same issues, he means more to me today. His lessons are many and in sharing these thoughts, his greatest in this moment is Forgiveness.

Speaking truth is to be Free. To be free in mind and heart is to be willing and able to forgive. I forgive and love, as I cherish that segregated and integrated community.

Madiba is our loss. A loss to all who can see right from wrong within their own complicated story. Because of him, I know I chose the right side.

He is a physical loss. He is what sacrifice for your people, sacrifice for truth, is.

I know he will be received by the ancestors in a joyous loving way because it is his time to rest.

Rest in Peace Madiba. Thank you for opening the eyes of this Panamanian, Black Zonian child. Thank you for loving me.

Fist up!


In truth and peace,