Potential concrete Possible and possibly already Existing Soon-to-be full letters. Toying with the idea of when something is ever really finished and over.
Open letter to whomever tore down the posters in Fisk commemorating the struggle to force Wesleyan to hire black professors and to create a black studies department,
Every time I was walk into CAAS the center for African American studies I try to remind myself not to take it for granted. Try and picture wanting and needing something in your life, in your school enough that I would risk being kicked out of school or arrested or physically assaulted and breathing deep and doing it. There’s not a lot of things. And yet. Had that not happened I wouldn’t be here and the most challenging and important moments I have experienced at this school wouldn’t be here. This department. What those people did. The conversations and things that they went through while trying to live and be on this campus. That’s what the posters you tore down were about.
Also we’re hiring two more tenure track profs in afam. And Marsha’s just keep putting the posters back up.
Open letter to the department of Public safety,
It is unacceptable that your policy regarding who is and who is not allowed to step foot on this campus is decided on by individual public safety officers and that you think policing people at your own discretion is appropriate. It is unacceptable that those with enough power to encourage you to look at this policy have not done so.
Open letter to students dissatisfied with Public Safety policies,
we’re more powerful and less divided than they think we are.. don’t tell anyone but this is not their priority.. we got this.
Open letter to Urban outfitters/ Liana Stela,
In high school when Urban Outfitters became popular
We made tee shirts that said
“Everyone Loves A Multi-Cultural Girl!”
And wore them on picture day
So we could show everyone what we weren’t.
Sometimes we loved performing ourselves, showing people our bodies.
Dressing up and looking different.
But it was exhausting and painful.
This is the reality. This is how we have come to be where we are here. This is what it means to live together divided.
We promised to name our kids after each other. I am glad you
Have such a beautiful name. But. What does it
mean for me to give my child a name
That I didn’t grow up pronouncing correctly.
[Now] Open Letter from my mama to me when I was 2 months old (as written in her journal)
20 sept. 1987
Your skin is fairly light (olive) especially for what our expectations were. Tante Jill says she’s thankful for that- that it’ll be easier on you- looking or at least blending with me. Who knows? Life is not that easy anyway. It’s impossible to predict. Whatever happens I just pray you are comfortable being you and proud to be you. I certainly am proud and almost out of control with it in being part of you.
My friend Alexis writes,
Since love is not scarce, our ancestors bathe us in it every moment that we dare to receive.
I have learned that there are sources of nurturing that are older than us and swifter than our bodies. I am noticing that those who are no longer here in physical form are teachers in the wind, showing us how we must relate to each other, if we want to survive longer than our bodies and longer than a system that denies us.
I have been writing urgent letters to my ancestors since before I knew they were watching and on the cusp of this new year they whispered a suggestion to me. “How about for this new year, as a gift to yourself, you receive some letters from us, the spirits of women that love you from eternity?”
As ever, my answer was yes. These daily letters from the most beloved of my known and chosen ancestors on behalf of all of the ancestors who have sent us love with their lives and dreams without us knowing came at exactly the right time. When I was afraid to trust myself, I was not afriad to trust their guidance for me. I re-learned a shifting methodology of loving myself firstly as their vessel and secondly as their recipient.
Open letter to myself,
Don’t pretend like you’ll get the full effect of this letter inside.
You are much more yourself there.
There was a moment in the creation of what it means for all of us to have set foot on this earth when we had to sit quietly. It is safe to assume that sitting quietly is something that is difficult to make time for. Make time. Abeni,Make time. Little one. Make time. Importantly, try to remember those times that you actually did it. That you felt that rush down your spine and the through your toes and into the earth. It was a bright clear day and you went out into the woods to ask a specific question, something you rarely do when asking for help and you dug as deep as you could and you pulled from somewhere in there to ask and you looked up at the bright sky an the only drop of rain left in the sky fell right into the palm of your hand. That was us. Chills are not chills unless your cold and then you’re probably getting sick. You are not random. If you walked into a room of people you feel funny around and it makes you feel random then you probably just walked into the wrong room. Make context for yourself and when you walk into CAAS don’t take us for granted.
[now] Open Letter from my mama to me, also in her journal
26 Sept. (you are 10 weeks) 1987
Just lay you, actually ‘sat you’ in your rocker cradle seat. Sitting outside in the sun- you like being out-of-doors- you are hardly ever fretful outside and sometime when you are upset in the house and I can’t figure out what it is- I take you outside and you “cool out.” You never seem to cry for ‘no reason’-
We have been following the Stubenville Rape Trial very closely over the past few months. (Click Here)
A Verdict was handed down in the Stubenville Rape Case. Trent Mays and Ma’lik Richmondwere were found guilty. This is a positive step towards justice for the victim. Videos hacked by Anonymous and released to the world indicate that many more were involved but no further charges have been filed…..yet.
CNN’s on-air anchors’ reaction to the verdict was abominable. Objectivity and Journalistic integrity went out the window as they seemed more concerned with the 16 & 17 year old Rapists then they did the 16 year Rape victim because they did not mention her ONCE. This is unacceptable. The rapists had the gall to brag about their crime to friends and tweet about it after the fact.These boys were found guilty by a court of law. They deserve no sympathy, no empathy. Yes, their lives may be ruined as they will forever be labeled as rapists. That is the choice they made when they forced themselves onto the victim.
IMO, CNN should issue a formal apology to the victim and her family.
This is why I love Anonymous.
Anonymous is not fucking around with the media. AT ALL.
Obit of the Day: Nigerian Author Chinua Achebe
In 1958, Chinua Achebe was working for the Nigerian Broadcasting Service (NBS) in the capital, Lagos. He was also writing a novel. While studying at the University of Ibadan for degrees in history, english, and theology, Mr. Achebe read European novels on African tribal life and was disappointed. None could capture the experience accurately.
Mr. Achebe sent his novel to various London publishing houses. Titled Things Fall Apart after the third line in William Butler Yeats’ poem “The Second Coming,” the novel received a tepid response. Most did not think there was an audience for African literature written by Africans. But one editor at William Heinemann publishers got hold of a copy and declared it the “best novel I’ve read since the war.”
The company published 2000 copies but did not market the novel. Critics, however enjoyed it and interest spread by word of mouth. (Some critics, although kind, were often racists and backhanded in their compliments. Some lamenting the loss of “primitive culture” and another complimenting Mr. Achebe’s style “free of the dandyism often affected by Negro authors.”)
By the time of Mr. Achebe’s death on March 22, 2013 Things Fall Apart had become the best-selling African novel of all-time. It had sold over 8 million copies and was translated into 50 different languages. It is now required reading for many students around the world. (Including OOTD who read it in high school.)
Mr. Achebe would only write five novels in his career, two of which completed a trilogy begun by Things Fall Apart, No Longer at Ease (1960) and Arrow of God (1964). He also wrote several collections of short stories and poetry as well as four children’s books.
At the time of his death, at the age of 82, Mr. Achebe was the David and Marianna Fisher University Professor and Professor of Africana Studies at Brown University, a position he had held since 2009.
Mr. Achebe was also politically active for a time in his home country. Most controversially he sided with the new State of Biafria a region within Nigeria that had seceded from the rest of the country. A civil war ensued. For three years, Mr. Achebe attempted to serve as a diplomat for Biafria only to see the state returned to the country by force in 1970. He would remain an outspoken critic of the Nigerian government which he considered so corrupt that he refused to accept national honors for his work. His last book was an autobiographical account of that time, There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafria.
(Image of the cover of Things Fall Apart first edition is courtesy of yourkmodernbooks.com)
One of the most important books I have ever read. It blew my mind. I think everyone should read it. But especially people who are interested in Africa.