Tag Archives: Jessica Danforth

Racialicious Crush Of The Week: Strong Families’ Mama’s Day Campaign 2013

By Andrea Plaid

With Mother’s Day coming up this weekend, we at the R celebrate the holiday with the best commingling of activism and e-cards from the one and only Strong Families crew! Check out their offerings:

Mamas Day Sylvia Rivera by Chucha Marquez

Artist: Chucha Marquez.

 

Artist: Robert Trujillo.

Artist: Robert Trujillo.

 

Artist: Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski

Artist: Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski

 

Artist: Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski.

Artist: Amaryllis DeJesus Moleski.

Along with the cards, Strong Families is also curating another incredible blog carnival on the meaning of Mother’s Day. From Forward Together’s Shanelle Matthews:

During the time my dad was in prison, my mom worked several jobs. She was a single parent to my siblings and me and was forced to work around the clock to support us. Because of this, her time with us was limited. When she was away at work—which was often—Dora and Betty and another woman whose name I can’t remember cared for us. My mom was committed to making sure we had food and clothes and somewhere to live, things I got to take for granted. Betty and Dora and the woman whose name I can’t remember were all undocumented immigrant women from Guatemala. They spoke little English and sometimes spent the night at our house. One of my brother’s first words was “zapato” (Spanish for shoe). It wasn’t until I became aware of the fight for domestic workers’ rights that I realized that these women from Guatemala were taking care of us so they could take care of their families. How maddening to recognize that the cycles of poverty that we face today are the same as those our parents experienced decades ago.

Writing this I started over two and three and four times. It wasn’t until the fifth try that I understood that my mom, my biological dad, and the women from Guatemala shared a common thread—their lives were divided by partitions, literally and figuratively. But the fight for a living wage, to end mass incarceration, and to create comprehensive policies on immigration and a pathway to citizenship, all of these threaten to topple the barriers affecting our most impacted communities: immigrants, poor people, and people of color—often one in the same.

My biological dad, my mom, and the women from Guatemala were kept away from their families by partitions, fences, glass ceilings, and social prejudices. What held these dividers in place was bureaucratic red tape; the kind that builds on outdated notions of what families look like and what they deserve. The kind of red tape that forces immigrant families to wait fifteen years for health care; the kind of red tape that keeps same-sex couples from marriage, second-parent adoption, and spousal benefits; the kind of red tape that limits access to comprehensive sex education, access to contraception, reproductive healthcare, and culturally appropriate resources for families of color; the kind of red tape that allows border patrol officers to shoot and kill families desperate for a better quality of life. This red tape is responsible for the deaths of millions. In the process, we’re becoming desensitized to empathy.

From Erin Konsmo, Media Arts & Projects Coordinator at Native Youth Sexual Health Network, founded and run by Racialicious’ own Jessica Danforth:

Mothering is an act of resistance and reclamation for many Indigenous Peoples. To be a mother has become a way to push back on ongoing legacies of European and Western notions of what “proper” mothering is. Mothers resist continual state custody, foster care, and the removal of Indigenous children from their homes. To be a mother is to resist forms of cultural genocide.

The health and well-being of a nation depends on the health and well-being of mothers. That is not to say that our male, Two Spirit, and gender fabulous community members aren’t just as important. At the same time, we do recognize that we all belong to Mother Earth.

Indigenous youth are resisting narratives that don’t recognize the sacredness of the many ways we bring life to all that we do; we are restoring our own definitions of mama, building up families when we are disconnected from our own, caring for other Indigenous youth as we resist colonization, and sharing our knowledge with new generations about our bodies and our sexualities. All of this is a restoration of mothering and what it means to be a mama.

And from Diana Thu-Thao Rhodes, Advocates for Youth‘s State Strategies Manager:

I brag about my mama. A lot. I brag about my mama because she won’t do it herself. I brag about my mama because she is one of those mamas whose real life experiences are all too often bundled into one-dimensional statistics, and whose identity as a parent is all too often understood as a result of social determinants rather than strength and resilience.

I also say this because of my mama’s unique relationship to the spectrum of motherhood. She started her parenting career as a teen mom and then later graduated to becoming an older mother. At age 19, she had me and then later in life, at nearly 40 years old, she had my younger brother. This puts me roughly 20 years between my mama on one side and my brother on the other side. Essentially, my mama has raised two “only children.” Her story covers two distinct social narratives, one about teen moms and a second about older mothers, narratives that are not normally so closely shared. But in my family’s case, they’re one in the same.

Maybe send an excerpt from one of the essays on the cards?

 

Announcement: Reproductive Justice Media Workshop in NYC!

By Andrea Plaid

New York City Reproductive Justice Coalition, a outgrowth of SisterSong NYC, proudly hosts its first reproductive-justice media conference this weekend!

Attendees–and those following the Ustream–will hear from RJ activists and writers Aimee Thorne-Thomsen, Belle Taylor McGhee, Jamia Wilson, Akiba Solomon, Dara Sharif, Simone Jhingoor, Shanelle Matthews, Jasmine Burnett, Faith Pennick, Nuala Cabral, Carol McDonald, Dalila-Johari Paul, Gabriela Valle, Nicole Clark, Steph Herold, Pamela Merritt, Janna Zinzi, and the R’s Jessica Danforth (Yee). Racialicious’ Associate Editor Andrea Plaid will open the workshop.

The workshop also features a film festival on Sunday, 5/20. Sunday’s roster: NO!: The Rape Documentary, Silent Choices, We Always Resist, A Vital Service, and Don’t Need Saving.

Realizing that not everyone can attend this event, the R is supporting the workshop by livetweeting it for you! If you want to catch other commentary and conversation, follow the event hastag, #RJMedia2012, and the NYCRJC’s Twitter, @NYC4RJ.

For more info, check out NYCRJC FB page: http://t.co/HYtAOMVS. Hope to catch you in Twitterville!

TONIGHT! Discovery Is Toxic: Indigenous Women On Front Lines of Environmental & Reproductive Justice

In NYC tonight? Check out this event, moderated by our own Jessica (Yee) Danforth!


Date: Thursday May 10th
Time: 6pm to 9pm
Location: Museum of Tolerance New York City – 226 East 42nd Street, (between 2nd and 3rd Avenues) New York

Food will be served!

The roundtable will include:

Erin Konsmo, Native Youth Sexual Health Network
Andrea Carmen, International Indian Treaty Council
Danika Littlechild, International Indian Treaty Council
Viola Waghiyi, Alaska Community Action on Toxics
Speaker TBA, Indigenous Environmental Network

Full event description:

In July of 2010 The INTERNATIONAL INDIGENOUS WOMEN’S ENVIRONMENTAL AND REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH SYMPOSIUM created the first “Declaration for Health, Life and Defense of Our Lands, Rights and Future Generations”. This declaration was accepted at the 10th session Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. The declaration recommended that international UN bodies focus attention and collect information from Indigenous Peoples on the links between environmental contamination and reproductive health and justice.

Given this year’s Permanent Forum theme of the Doctrine of Discovery, this panel of speakers will speak to the specific ways “environmental violence” is impacting Indigenous women, children, and future generations. Looking at the patriarchal roots of the doctrine we will unpack how the domination of our lands as Indigenous Peoples results in numerous reproductive injustices for Indigenous women, child-bearing women, as well as higher rates of violence against Indigenous women and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). We will discuss current strategies to identify and resist the disproportionate affects on reproductive health for Indigenous women, and how these strategies can move forward the larger environmental justice movement. We will also report back from the 2nd Indigenous Women’s Environmental and Reproductive Health Symposium held in Alaska in April 2012 and the environmental violence report given at the UN International Expert Group Meeting on Violence Against Indigenous Women in January 2012

Facebook event: http://www.facebook.com/events/242334702540534/