#BoycottBlackFriday By Supporting Marginalized Communities

The holiday season is hard for a lot of folks. With the recent push to #BoycottBlackFriday, I wanted to provide a list of places folks can spend their money and know the funds go directly to supporting marginalized communities. Some of these are fundraisers, and some are small, individually-run businesses that could use a boost this holiday season. These are all queer and trans, Black, Indigenous and people of color, sick and disabled, or otherwise marginalized people. Some don’t have family support. Some have children to support. Some struggle to work due to health issues. All of them need help.

I am asking in the spirit of community wellness and loving kindness: if you have the funds, please donate to these people and groups. rather than spend money this holiday season at the mega-corporations, make a conscious, ethical choice to support people from marginalized communities who don’t have the same resources. Your support could save someone’s life. It could enable them to eat, to stay housed, to get necessary medical care

Charities and organizations are at the end of the list, with individuals at the top.

Individuals

Aaminah Shakur: “I am an Indigenous/Black Queer Crip artist/poet/culture critic and full time student in an art history program whose work is about challenging the canon and bringing forward the lives/work of forgotten Queer & Crip POC artists.”
Shop: mkt.com/shakur-arts
Paypal: paypal.me/shakurarts

Sumayyah Talibah is a brilliant writer and artist, whose work has appeared in several anthologies, including Mourning Glory Publishing’s After Ferguson, in Solidarity. Buy a handmade, one of a kind piece of jewelry for yourself or someone you love this holiday season, and support her work!
Shop: sumayyahsaidso.com/shop
Paypal: paypal.me/sumayyahsaidso

Noemi Martinez, “a chronically ill Queer Chicanx single mama of crip children.”
Website: www.hermanaresist.com
Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/catrinacreations

Mallory: help a disabled woman and her children stay housed and away from their abuser.
GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/malloryandkids

Jaden: “I’m a newly disabled/chronically ill TQPOC who recently was denied for disability. Really struggling to pay for groceries, medicine, and other bills. I’m not currently able to work.”
Blog: www.chronicillnesschronicling.tumblr.com
Cash.me: cash.me/$surviveandthrive

Chaz Vitale, “artist, activist, magic-maker,” is seeking funds for a vital and life-changing surgery.
GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/chazs-surgery-fund
Paypal: www.paypal.me/ChazVitale

Olivia M: “I’m a queer disabled mixed Latina, and here’s where I sell my zines (mostly perzines).
Etsy: etsy.com/shop/ParadoxNowCreations

Chloe Viening-Butler is a disabled artist and poet, heavily involved in disability activism.
Shop: https://squareup.com/store/viening-butler-studio

Alex Dehoff is queer & chronically ill. They run Ms. Andry’s Bath House, a feminist bath and body company! (They have a great line of fragrance free products, too!)
Shop: www.msandry.com/
Fragrance free: www.msandry.com/product-category/fragrance-free/

Elizabeth Adams makes metal and enamel jewelry and art.
Shop: www.etsy.com/shop/nightshaderosestudio

Allison: “Allison means so much to me. She is a wonderful fat trans lesbian who I have had the pleasure of getting to know this year. Living in the south as a disabled fat trans woman she is VERY isolated bc of these intersections. She deserves support.”
GoFundMe: www.gofundme.com/allisonsgoal

 

Charities and Organizations

Sogorea Te’ Land Trust is an organization dedicated to the return of lands in the San Francisco Bay Area to the stewardship of the Chochenyo and Karkin Ohlone indigenous peoples. It is an indigenous women-led effort: “guided by the belief that land is the foundation that can bring us together, Sogorea Te calls on us all to heal from the legacies of colonialism and genocide, to remember different ways of living, and to do the work that our ancestors and future generations are calling us to do.”
Website: sogoreate-landtrust.com/how-to-contribute/
Paypal email: sogoreate-landtrust@gmail.com

Daughters Rising: “I work for a preventative anti-sex trafficking/women’s empowerment project for Burmese refugee/ indigenous girls here in Thailand. We need funding for college scholarships and small business start-up grants.”
Website: daughtersrising.org/

Oogachaga: “Singapore’s *only* community-based (not sanctioned by Queerphobic government) LGBT counselling center might close due to funding cuts.” Donate to stop that from happening!
Generosity fundraiser: www.generosity.com/community-fundraising/support-us-supporting-singapore-s-lgbtq-community

Standing Rock: support the water protectors defending their land and sacred sites from the Dakota Access Pipeline, who are facing violence from pipeline workers, security, and police, while camping outdoors in sub-freezing temperatures.
Website: sacredstonecamp.org/donate/

The QTPOC Mental Health Fecebook page has been a resource for queer and trans folks of color for a over a year, and now they’re fundraising to create a website to host a searchable database of resources and articles to serve this historically unserved/underserved population, and provide even more resources than they already do.
YouCaring: www.youcaring.com/lgbtqiapeopleofcolorstrugglingwithmentalhealth-689882
Facebook: www.facebook.com/QTPOCsupport/

Observations on the Holidays and Healing

Sunday was the solstice, and many of my friends celebrated Yule. Tonight is the last night of Chanukah. Thursday is Christmas. For many, this time of year is all about celebrations, about joy.

But I don’t know how to tap into that. For me, this season is mostly inconvenient.

Some years I’ve left the house to go run an errand or get work done, and realised at the bus stop that the buses were on reduced scheduling for Christmas, and everything is closed anyway. In high school, I lived with a friend’s family, and they had presents and a tree, and I did that with them 2 of the 3 years I lived there. On the other one, they were at Disneyland, and I had work.

One year, my mother and I went to watch Duck Soup and eat bagels with lox at the Multnomah Jewish Community Center. Another year, I hiked to my closest friends’ houses in thigh-high snow to leave presents in their mailboxes. Most years, I just sit at home, feeling vaguely bored and discontent.

Basically, I’m the Grinch.

I don’t hate holidays. Really, I just don’t see the point. Perhaps this is because I’ve lived away from much of my family for the past 12+ years. Perhaps this is the result of my father dying on a holiday. Whatever reason is behind it, I’m pretty much a grump from October to January. If nothing closed, I’d probably keep working and shopping and riding the bus and so on every day, including Christmas.

But this year, it seems even worse. I’ve been stuck in crisis mode for months, where every day feels like a wake. It seems there’s always some fresh new indignity, and pretending at happiness beyond what I feel, in a country that values the life of a dog more than a Black human being, is far more than I can muster.

On the day after the announcement that Mike Brown’s killer would not be indicted, I wore all black to work. I saw other Black people on my campus, and they knew what it was for, who it was for. I had already left the house when I learned of the announcement that Eric Garner’s killer would not be indicted; still, I wore black and maroon, appropriate mourning garb.

We are not so removed from those decisions. And we have since heard non-indictments for Darrien Hunt’s killer, and Dontre Hamilton’s; no doubt there will be more. It seems there always are.

There are people taking this time to be with family, to spend time with loved ones, to enjoy their normal holiday activities. I don’t begrudge them that. I don’t resent them for it. That joy is necessary, to prevent burnout, at the very least. But it’s not where I find healing.

I’m still recovering from my health problems of the last 3 months, and all of this has weighed heavily on me. It’s clear that I need to spend some of the next two weeks doing intense self-care. I need to find healing spaces to cry in, to let go of the grief, and carry the righteous passion for change forward into the new year.

I don’t yet know where that space will be for me. But I hope others find it in family and friends and holiday celebration.

Happy holidays, friends; take care.

Emptiness in the Aftermath

I didn’t get a lot done during the second half of last week. I didn’t send my regular Wednesday newsletter. I didn’t post my Thursday blog post. I didn’t do my homework, or make my office hours at work. Mostly, I cried.

Today marks four months since Michael Brown, Jr, was shot in the streets of Ferguson, MO, and left for 4.5 hours in the summer sun. Two weeks past from Monday, a grand jury did not indict the officer who shot Mike Brown. A week past from Wednesday, a grand jury did not indict the officer who choked Eric Garner to death. In these four months, the Black community has lost Rumain Brisbon, Akai Gurley, Ezell Ford, Dante Parker, Kajieme Powell, and — perhaps most tragically — Tamir Rice.

But we have also lost Deshawnda Sanchez and Tajshon Ashley Sherman and Aniya Parker and Gizzy Fowler. We’ve lost Mary Spears and Tjhisha Ball and Angelia Mangum. A second mistrial came in for the death of Aiyana Stanley-Jones. A police officer is going to trial in Oklahoma for the sexual assault of at least 8 Black women and girls.

The deaths of Black men and boys at the hands of police are getting more attention than they have in a long time, and that attention is necessary to create change. But we must also recognise that Black women are the victims of state violence as well. Black women disproportionately account for missing persons. Black women are assaulted and killed by police. Their murders are often ignored or covered up. And they are on the forefront of the movement for justice.

Women accounted for 60% of the Black Panther Party. They led many of the actions of the civil rights movement of the 1960s. Today, they lead many of the actions on the ground in Ferguson, New York, LA… Black women are expected to never report violence perpetrated on them by Black men. They are expected to wait for their own justice, while fighting tooth and nail for the lives of Black men. It’s exhausting to fight for your own humanity, but even more so to fight for the humanity of a group who should have your back, but doesn’t.

I wrote a poem about this for my upcoming collection, Fallen/Forever Rising, and I’m sharing it here, because I feel like I have little else to give. I’ve felt so wrung out the last few weeks, a kind of exhausted apathy. I’m struggling to find time to take care of myself, and that leaves me feeling as though I’ve gotten nothing done. I need to rest, but I feel guilty when I do. I don’t know how much longer I can go on, and I don’t know what to do.

Empty

Women’s work
we pour from empty pitchers
every last wet drop for
someone not us

We care takers
care given always care giving
none taken no care not us
no one cares

We targets too
double jeopardy for double-dutch girls
endangered Black women dare
in danger we dare

Losing sons and
daughters fathers mothers sisters and
yes brothers each bone deep
pain pushed through

Street struggle
our streets aren’t safe from police
aren’t safe for our brothers
we aren’t safe from

Silent suffering
no don’t tell don’t call don’t no
sister knows no safety
but still she pours

I hate to ask for anything for myself, but if you have the funds to help me out, you can donate something to my Paypal, or buy a zine. I appreciate any help you can give.