resist and survive

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Dinah Veeris, Master Healer and creator of Den Paradera 

Dinah Veeris gives insight regarding the African involvement in plant-based medicine and healing traditions. Slave healers cultivated some of the most powerful and resilient healing communities on this planet. The very essence of survival, resistance, and communal preservation are the same pillars that guide Dinah Veeris in her work to preserve the traditional medicinal plants of Curaçao.

Survive, Support, Resist

Prioritise your own survival using whatever ways and means are at your disposal. Your life is valuable and deserves to be preserved above all.

If you have the ability, do what you can to support those equally or more vulnerable than yourself but with less means to affect their own survival. Build and sustain networks and communities of support.

Where you have the ability, actively resist systems of injustice, dehumanization, and physical or institutional violence against vulnerable people and communities. Leverage any privilege you possess to lend strength to resistance while being mindful to not expose people without those privileges to more danger from your resistance.

I wrote this to kick off Native American Heritage Month and drew a cover art piece with it.

This a song about disconnection, reclaimation, and resistance. It means a lot to me, and I hope you guys dig it (no pun intended). Thanks for listening.

If you like my work please consider donating to my paypal or buying the song through bandcamp! Thanks a lot!

(Lyrics beneath the read more)

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New Year's Action Plan: #notmypresident edition

I don’t do resolutions, because our cultural consciousness says we’re doomed to fail at them. I’m constantly forming and reforming my expectations for myself around diet, exercise, and body positivity, so things like “eat less, work out more” are utterly useless.

But, for as much as we like to cry “2016 was the devil’s playground, so glad it’s over!!!!”, the fact is that 2017 is going to be a goddamn horror show. We all need a plan in place to brace ourselves for, and survive, impact. Here’s mine: 

  1. Form better support networks.
    When the shit (like the “religious freedom” to discriminate bills that are cropping up again all over) hits the fan, we’re gonna need to be able to call a friend for a drink, or backup, or bail out money.

    I have a few ideas. A potluck for queer families. A freezer-meal exchange day (everyone brings a massive dish to pass and a bunch of tupperware so we all leave with a variety of meals to stick in the freezer) for single parent families. A euchre night for safe and cheap fun. 

  2. Form activist alliances.
    In the nonprofit world, because of the shitty competition encouraged by funders, we’re pretty fucking siloed. But what’s the point of that when we’re all about to be under fire? Yes, there are great folks who do amazing things with intersectionality, but they tend to address root causes and are left scrambling when we need a defense rather than an offense.

    So I feel like there needs to be a West Michigan Alliance - a roundtable, not a consensus organization - where folks talk about the actions they’re considering. This would be a great way to coordinate action/form partnerships. Just getting everyone in the same room together would be fucking incredible.

  3. Get on relevant boards and be vocal.
    I need to keep better tabs on local policy and elections, and the best way to watch for folks and ideas that need to be helped along or nipped in the bud is watch them rise through org and city boards.

  4. Take good care of myself and my kids.
    I mean, I go to the gym every day. I’ve cut way back on how much alcohol I consume. I’ve done better about prepping and cooking meals at home. But I need to be consistent about spending time with my kids, cooking and eating together, doing fun activities that promote good mental spaces. I work out every day on my lunch hour. It’s time to add an afternoon swimming session with the boys. I write every day. It’s time to have family storytelling sessions. I read every day. It’s time for a radio listening hour. I watch the news and get privately upset about it. It’s time to listen to NPR as a family and talk about what the news means to us.

So, that’s it for me.  What about you guys? Have any action plans/resolutions you’d like to share?

Double Agent Vader Fic: Shape-Changer

*casually drops in after a week’s absence with surprise fic*

So I didn’t think I would ever write the beginning of Vader’s double agent career, but marajadesbutt sent me an ask about what Anakin’s initial motivation for turning double agent was, and to my surprise, fic happened.

I pondered a lot of different ways all of this could have started, but ultimately, Anakin rebuilds himself in the image of the survival narratives of Tatooine slavery. So it seemed fitting that everything should begin with a story.

(Also ftr I’m going with the idea that Palpatine actually drained Padmé’s life force to keep Anakin alive, since imo that makes the most sense of how Palpatine knows that she’s dead at all.)

His Master liked to say that Vader was born in fire on Mustafar. But Ekkreth was born in the desert.

*

Shape-Changer

Tatooine hadn’t changed.

The suns still blazed, and the heat still beat down, and the sand still got everywhere. That last, especially, was true. Vader could feel it grinding against his metal bones.

He didn’t feel the heat anymore, not within this climate controlled life support suit. And he didn’t feel the burning of the suns, either, or need to shield his eyes against the light or his skin against the biting wind. But he still felt the sand. That would never change.

He almost welcomed it.

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In Response to the Mass Panic on Tumblr

Let me tell you something.

Years ago in 2004 I was not old enough to vote, but when George W. Bush “won” the election, I was also sobbing, praying, and panicking.

I believed that Bush that make everyone wear ID tags, turn the country into fucking Oceania from 1984, and strip away so many human rights.

George W. Bush was a terrible president, but we lived.  There were no ID tags, no police state with military at every corner, etc.  

Life moved on.  People continued to fight against the Bush administration.  That led to Obama.  

(Ironically there were some things Obama did that were worse than Bush even in a progressive perspective.)

If Trump wins, it does not mean that every minority, queer person, and woman is at the mercy of being mass slaughtered by him or whatever apocalyptic vision people are saying.  Even if deep down he wants to do it, there will be massive resistance.     

You can be strong and can survive.  Resist.

the clam chowder of sheer survival

This is a guest post from Rachel C., a Cuban-American Texan who likes to complain about their gas on twitter dot com as @RachelTheC  or on Tumblr as @tryingtoohardenough.

Spend a weekend being a little depressed and a lot nostalgic. Run into an old fling at a bar, listen to music from high school and Bruce Springsteen in the car, cruise by the old coffee shop. Worry that you are too much, but you don’t do enough. Go see a Star Wars and sob heavily. Go to bed too late, and resolve to make clam, corn and potato chowder on Sunday, so at least you’ve done *something*.

The Clam Chowder of Sheer Survival


Ingredients:

5 LB smallish clams, scrubbed, or just like, a ton of canned
8 OZ bacon, cut up, or just kind of taken out of the package poorly
2 celery stalks, cut smallish
2 big-ish shallots, minced
1 tbsp of chopped garlic
4 smallish red potatoes, diced, with skin because who cares?
16 oz. package of frozen corn
2 bay leaf, because you think yours are old
2 tbsp cornstarch
2 cups heavy cream
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 tbsp spanish style cooking wine, or cooking sherry
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
Old Bay to taste
Crusty bread to munch on

Directions:

Put the clams in a big ol’ pot and just enough water to cover them. Cook clams open, and toss any that don’t open. Scoop the clams out of the pot and save that liquid. Don’t do this if you’re using canned. Just like, get a carton of seafood broth or something in case you need it.

As you wait for clams to boil, put the bacon in a dutch oven and cook till crisp and some fat has rendered, take the bacon out the pot, drain on paper towels, munch on it a lil bit, its ok. Add the shallot, celery, and garlic to the  bacon grease. Add salt and pepper till it tastes about what you like. Dump the potatoes in after the shallots go clear, to build some starch in the pan. After the potatoes have been going for a good minute, dump a couple cups of the hot clam water into the dutch oven, until the potatoes look pretty covered. You may have to strain the hot clam water as you dump it, because sometimes you break a clam and some shell gets in. Oops. It’s fine.

While you wait for the potatoes to cook up to forkable, take the clam meat out of the shells, or pop the top shell off of the clams, whatever your aesthetic. Take some of the hot clam water and make a slurry with the cornstarch to thicken it if the potatoes don’t get it to your thickness.

When the potatoes are tender, add the corn, tomato paste, and wine. Add some Old Bay – it seems right, right? Add the cornstarch stuff if you think the chowder is too thin.

When the soup is hot again, add the cream, give it a good stir, and then add the clams- or keep them off to the side to top the thing with, because you’re pretty sure while you were thinking about all the shows you taped off of Comedy Central, you over cooked the clams, and you don’t need to make it worse. If you are using canned, just dump em in – honestly, that’s the right idea. Turn the heat off, dump the soup in some bowls, never remember to take a bay leaf out. Sit down to eat and worry that the broth separated.


You know what, you’ve done a good job surviving. Maybe that’s the most you can muster, but you’ve managed to stay alive. Good Job.

Sharing the words of the brilliant Linda Sarsour ✊🏾

This is a reminder to all that as President Obama had mentioned in his farewell address, “when minority groups voice discontent, they’re not just engaging in reverse racism or practicing political correctness; when they wage peaceful protest, they’re not demanding special treatment, but the equal treatment that our Founders promised.” So, today, I demand respect. Drumpf being president will change things, no doubt, but it will not change the pride I have in being Pakistani, Muslim and American. Today I honor the endless movements of minority communities fighting for justice and equality. And our resistance will only be stronger now because we have no choice but to work to better the horrid plans set out by the orange man we are supposed to call our president. #NotMyPresident
✌🏾
“It is our duty to fight for our freedom.
It is our duty to win.
We must love each other and support each other.
We have nothing to lose but our chains.”

Ayrson Heráclito

Divider II

2001

“In Divider II, Heráclito highlights social divisions and the history of slavery. He nearly fills the large aquariums to the top with palm oil and salt water. He uses the ‘heterogeneity’ of water to underscore the ‘disparate character’ of different groups’ roles and experiences during the era of slavery. During that period in history, the sea held enslaved Africans captive, carrying them further and further away from their homelands. However, in an ‘arbitrary inversion’, here the ‘black’ oil floats above the sea, the salt water, as a sign of resistance and survival.” 
- Black Art in Brazil (2013), by Kimberly L. Cleveland

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I want to attend this so badly. I wish I were in L.A. on the 18th.