new african

Rick Riordan won a Stonewall award today

for his second Magnus Chase book, due to the inclusion of the character Alex Fierro who is gender fluid. This was the speech he gave, and it really distills why I love this author and his works so much, and why I will always recommend his works to anyone and everyone.

“Thank you for inviting me here today. As I told the Stonewall Award Committee, this is an honor both humbling and unexpected.

So, what is an old cis straight white male doing up here? Where did I get the nerve to write Alex Fierro, a transgender, gender fluid child of Loki in The Hammer of Thor, and why should I get cookies for that?

These are all fair and valid questions, which I have been asking myself a lot.

I think, to support young LGBTQ readers, the most important thing publishing can do is to publish and promote more stories by LGBTQ authors, authentic experiences by authentic voices. We have to keep pushing for this. The Stonewall committee’s work is a critical part of that effort. I can only accept the Stonewall Award in the sense that I accept a call to action – firstly, to do more myself to read and promote books by LGBTQ authors.

But also, it’s a call to do better in my own writing. As one of my genderqueer readers told me recently, “Hey, thanks for Alex. You didn’t do a terrible job!” I thought: Yes! Not doing a terrible job was my goal!

As important as it is to offer authentic voices and empower authors and role models from within LGBTQ community, it’s is also important that LGBTQ kids see themselves reflected and valued in the larger world of mass media, including my books. I know this because my non-heteronormative readers tell me so. They actively lobby to see characters like themselves in my books. They like the universe I’ve created. They want to be part of it. They deserve that opportunity. It’s important that I, as a mainstream author, say, “I see you. You matter. Your life experience may not be like mine, but it is no less valid and no less real. I will do whatever I can to understand and accurately include you in my stories, in my world. I will not erase you.”

People all over the political spectrum often ask me, “Why can’t you just stay silent on these issues? Just don’t include LGBTQ material and everybody will be happy.” This assumes that silence is the natural neutral position. But silence is not neutral. It’s an active choice. Silence is great when you are listening. Silence is not so great when you are using it to ignore or exclude.

But that’s all macro, ‘big picture’ stuff. Yes, I think the principles are important. Yes, in the abstract, I feel an obligation to write the world as I see it: beautiful because of its variations. Where I can’t draw on personal experience, I listen, I read a lot – in particular I want to credit Beyond Magenta and Gender Outlaws for helping me understand more about the perspective of my character Alex Fierro – and I trust that much of the human experience is universal. You can’t go too far wrong if you use empathy as your lens. But the reason I wrote Alex Fierro, or Nico di Angelo, or any of my characters, is much more personal.

I was a teacher for many years, in public and private school, California and Texas. During those years, I taught all kinds of kids. I want them all to know that I see them. They matter. I write characters to honor my students, and to make up for what I wished I could have done for them in the classroom.

I think about my former student Adrian (a pseudonym), back in the 90s in San Francisco. Adrian used the pronouns he and him, so I will call him that, but I suspect Adrian might have had more freedom and more options as to how he self-identified in school were he growing up today. His peers, his teachers, his family all understood that Adrian was female, despite his birth designation. Since kindergarten, he had self-selected to be among the girls – socially, athletically, academically. He was one of our girls. And although he got support and acceptance at the school, I don’t know that I helped him as much as I could, or that I tried to understand his needs and his journey. At that time in my life, I didn’t have the experience, the vocabulary, or frankly the emotional capacity to have that conversation. When we broke into social skills groups, for instance, boys apart from girls, he came into my group with the boys, I think because he felt it was required, but I feel like I missed the opportunity to sit with him and ask him what he wanted. And to assure him it was okay, whichever choice he made. I learned more from Adrian than I taught him. Twenty years later, Alex Fierro is for Adrian.

I think about Jane (pseudonym), another one of my students who was a straight cis-female with two fantastic moms. Again, for LGBTQ families, San Francisco was a pretty good place to live in the 90s, but as we know, prejudice has no geographical border. You cannot build a wall high enough to keep it out. I know Jane got flack about her family. I did what I could to support her, but I don’t think I did enough. I remember the day Jane’s drama class was happening in my classroom. The teacher was new – our first African American male teacher, which we were all really excited about – and this was only his third week. I was sitting at my desk, grading papers, while the teacher did a free association exercise. One of his examples was ‘fruit – gay.’ I think he did it because he thought it would be funny to middle schoolers. After the class, I asked to see the teacher one on one. I asked him to be aware of what he was saying and how that might be hurtful. I know. Me, a white guy, lecturing this Black teacher about hurtful words. He got defensive and quit, because he said he could not promise to not use that language again. At the time, I felt like I needed to do something, to stand up especially for Jane and her family. But did I make things better handling it as I did? I think I missed an opportunity to open a dialogue about how different people experience hurtful labels. Emmie and Josephine and their daughter Georgina, the family I introduce in The Dark Prophecy, are for Jane.

I think about Amy, and Mark, and Nicholas … All former students who have come out as gay since I taught them in middle school. All have gone on to have successful careers and happy families. When I taught them, I knew they were different. Their struggles were greater, their perspectives more divergent than some of my other students. I tried to provide a safe space for them, to model respect, but in retrospect I don’t think I supported them as well as I could have, or reached out as much as they might have needed. I was too busy preparing lessons on Shakespeare or adjectives, and not focusing enough on my students’ emotional health. Adjectives were a lot easier for me to reconcile than feelings. Would they have felt comfortable coming out earlier than college or high school if they had found more support in middle school? Would they have wanted to? I don’t know. But I don’t think they felt it was a safe option, which leaves me thinking that I did not do enough for them at that critical middle school time. I do not want any kid to feel alone, invisible, misunderstood. Nico di Angelo is for Amy, and Mark and Nicholas.

I am trying to do more. Percy Jackson started as a way to empower kids, in particular my son, who had learning differences. As my platform grew, I felt obliged to use it to empower all kids who are struggling through middle school for whatever reason. I don’t always do enough. I don’t always get it right. Good intentions are wonderful things, but at the end of a manuscript, the text has to stand on its own. What I meant ceases to matter. Kids just see what I wrote. But I have to keep trying. My kids are counting on me.

So thank you, above all, to my former students who taught me. Alex Fierro is for you.

To you, I pledge myself to do better – to apologize when I screw up, to learn from my mistakes, to be there for LGBTQ youth and make sure they know that in my books, they are included. They matter. I am going to stop talking now, but I promise you I won’t stop listening.”

anonymous asked:

Before you defend males being witches I think you need to step back and realize why people are hesitant about involving males in witchcraft. Historically males were the ones burning and murdering females for witchcraft. It's no coincidence why women are more strongly associated with life/death, magic, etc. It's not transphobic to say this and that men deserve no acceptance in something women were persecuted (and in some areas still are). Women own witchcraft.

I’m sorry if you thought you’d be informing me of something I had no clue of,  but earnestly this whole “Women own witchcraft” is the very most idiotic, Euro centric argument I have ever heard in Witch Discourse.

You need to get off your racist, sexist high horse right this instant.

I’ve done research and experienced witchcraft in my own culture and have knowledge of the witch hunts of the 1600s. It’s not a case of “The evil males murdering women!!!” It was a case of both women and men who used their religion to murder people horrifically and senselessly out of ignorance and fear. Both genders were the perpetrators and victims, both genders were the victims. Some women are more in tune to their spirituality and open to witchcraft due to the way western culture has brought women and men act. In other cultures, men are more likely to be spiritual leaders, or it may be perfectly egalitarian. 

Saying that women own witchcraft because men in their culture fucked shit up for witches is essentially saying that atheists and pagans alone own witchcraft because Christians fucked shit up for witches. 

Saying that women own witchcraft is like saying that poc own witchcraft because of imperialism’s damage to poc’s culture. 

Saying that women own witchcraft is like saying that only people born to witch families own witchcraft.

Inherently, all people, males included, have the same amount of spiritual potential and energy. The way some people’s witchcraft works is recognizing that we are all witches, we are all beings with energies and spirituality and we choose to develop and partake in our own. Blocking off half the population for crimes they did not commit is disgusting.

Not to mention how GODDAMN RACIST THIS IS!

I come from Miami, and in Miami I’ve experienced a lot of the Santeria culture. Here, people mostly talk about it when there’s dead chickens washing up on shores after sacrifices or when dead animals are dropped off in bags at the courthouse, and I’m going to assume that you think witchcraft is revamped spells from the 1600s where animal bones are cutely replaced with some other herb followed by crystals sitting on the shelf.

However..

Santería is a culture of witches. Santería is very valid witchcraft, it is sometimes bloody and not cute and not adapted to Western Culture but that is the goddamn point. There are males that practice witchcraft in this culture, in fact leaders of all genders.

Native Indigenous culture have had Shamanism and related spiritualistic religions, there are so many tribes where witchcraft comes in the forms of women, men and non binary people such as the complex Two Spirit identity doing rituals, sacrifices, meditations… witchcraft is the practice of magick, and guess who practices magick?

These babies! See the things in grey! Those are called non western civilizations! Theses are places where thousands of individual communities exist, all with their own religions and native cultures! And most of them have all practiced some form of magick! Both men and women and non binary people!

If you’re a crystal witch, male or female or nonbinary Shamans probably made or sold you your crystals. Your lore could be from a Jewish Rabbi, of Jewish Mysticism. Or the Muslim intertwining of pagan and occultism. Or it could be the literal God Of Witchcraft, Thoth, in Egyptian culture. It could be an Alchemist, such as Gilles de Rais or Heinrich Cornelius Agrippa, all males murdered for their practicing witchcraft. The masks and skulls bought may very well be from Ghana tribes that were used as Talismans, or certain artifacts and rituals may come from Benin, West African tribes and communities. 

You do not, never have, never will own witchcraft. No one ever will. And if you think men should be excluded, then only female, magick inherited African tribes victim to imperialism should own witchcraft.

Thank you for reading, and fuck Euro Centric supremacy.

3

Malcolm X with his daughter Qubilah Shabazz in Harlem on February 20, 1965.  

He was assassinated the next day at the Audubon Ballroom in front of his wife and children.

(Photos by Duilio Pallottelli)

8

There once was a girl & boy who lived in Charolette Lane
The woman was gracious as ever
As she embraces her beauty
Her greatness in her skin
Her knots in the locs of her hair
She rides alongside her man
Seeing him
&
Seeing his reflection
She begins to stare at his soul
All of the hurt and all the pain
The universe moves faster
The air pushes faster
Brushes her away
God willing she wants to glide with him
But can’t leave her daunting past
As time knocks on her door ever single damn time like an overfull sock drawer
She wants to move
She wants to run with him
But she can’t because he must love the two of her
He must decide if he wants two of her not half
Slice a peer in half and give her one
But finish both and you have ate the seed of life
We join together as one but we live separate in the temple
He loves her just the way she is but finds faults in everything she does even though he loves her effortlessly
Your hair Is like a BRAIDED antenna touching the universe.
Your hair is made to fly
The best way to speak to God
We were created
We are one
We are love
We are one but separate in the temple a poem by Africancreature

Art & Creative Directors: @StevenOnoja
Photographer: @alherath
Models:
@Stevenonoja
@mominatu
Wardrobe Styling: @StevenOnoja
Hair: @africancreature
MUA: @lilymoralesmakeup

#StevenOnoja #BlackHistoryMonth #BlackMonth"

Oenomel
Sweet and strong combined
Like honey , like wine
Mighty hands with the gentlest touch
Shelter in a storm
Solid rock in sinking sand
When there is nothing
Love
Is
Enough
Words by: Haylee Bell

Couple: Haylee Bell & Darion Bentley

The Silent Parade 100th Anniversary

The Silent Parade was a silent protest march of 8,000-10,000 African Americans along Fifth Avenue starting at 57th Street in New York City on July 28, 1917.

In protest to murders, lynchings, and other violence directed towards African Americans, the parade was precipitated by the East St. Louis riots in May and July 1917, when between 40 and 250 black people were killed by white mobs.

East St. Louis riots

The ferocious brutality of the attacks by murderous white mobs, and the refusal by the authorities to protect innocent lives contributed to the reactionary measures of some African Americans in St. Louis and the nation. Marcus Garvey declared in a speech that the riot was “one of the bloodiest outrages against mankind” and a “wholesale massacre of our people”, insisting that “This is no time for fine words, but a time to lift one’s voice against the savagery of a people who claim to be the dispensers of democracy.

Protest in New York

In New York City on July 28, as many as ten thousand African Americans marched down Fifth Avenue in a silent protest march in response to the East St. Louis riots. They carried signs that highlighted protests about the riots. The march was organized by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), W. E. B. Du Bois, and groups in Harlem. Women and children were dressed in white; the men were dressed in black.

They hoped to influence Democratic President Woodrow Wilson to carry through on his election promises to African-American voters to implement anti-lynching legislation, and promote Black causes. Wilson did not do so, and repudiated his promises, and federal discrimination increased during Wilson’s presidency.

Legacy

The parade was the very first protest of its kind in New York, and the second instance of African Americans publicly demonstrating for civil rights so bravely.