Heave(n) -Flying Lotus
Gaby, born in Ecuador, is one of the best known Dreamers. She and three others walked 1,500 miles from Miami to Washington, D.C., in 2010 to raise awareness of the plight of undocumented immigrants. As political director for United We Dream, she helped persuade President Obama to announce the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. She now heads the Bridge Project, a pro-immigration reform advocacy group.
Felipe, born in Brazil, joined Gaby to participate in the 1,500-mile walk dubbed the “Trail of Dreams.” After that, he went on to become one of the top voices of undocumented LGBTQ people. Earlier this year, he pushed to ensure LGBTQ families were not left out of the Senate immigration reform bill. As co-director of the gay-rights group GetEQUAL, he is currently advocating for the rights of the LGBTQ community.
Julieta, born in Mexico, was nicknamed “DREAM Elder” in 2010 when she turned 30 years old and no longer met the age requirements of that year’s DREAM Act. She also doesn’t qualify for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals because of the program’s age cap. Despite all this, she hasn’t given up. As a leader with United We Dream, she is advocating for an immigration reform bill that would allow her to gain citizenship.
Erika, born in Mexico, is a national leader in the immigrant rights movement and a well-known advocate of the DREAM Act and immigration reform. She has done everything from participating in civil disobedience actions to confronting politicians on their tough stance on immigration. Last year, she mobilized to stop her mother’s deportation. She is currently the outreach director for Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.).
Joaquin Luna Jr.
Joaquin, born in Mexico, took his own life the night after Thanksgiving in 2011 because he feared his undocumented status would forbid him from realizing his dream of going to college and becoming a civil engineer. He was 18 years old and months away from his high school gradation. His story has become a symbol of the psychological distress and depression some Dreamers feel because of their undocumented status.
Vargas, born in Mexico, holds a law degree and wants to become a military lawyer. Aside from advocating for legislation to allow Dreamers to serve in the military, he has been advocating for immigration reform through a political group he launched last year called Dream Action Coalition. The group is known for challenging lawmakers on their stance on immigration and highlighting the political power of Latino voters.
Mohammad, born in Iran, was one of the first Dreamers to participate in a civil disobedience action. In 2010, he and three others did sit-in at Sen. John McCain’s office in support of the DREAM Act. Since then, he has led similar civil disobedience actions, the most recent one being the border crossings of the Dream 30 and Dream 9. He is co-founder of both DreamActivist.org and the National Immigrant Youth Alliance.
Prerna, born in Fiji, describes herself as undocumented, unafraid and unapologetic. She isn’t afraid to speak her mind about President Obama’s record on immigration, which she once called “depressing and dismal.” Besides working to stop deportations, she also advocates for the rights of LGBTQ immigrants. She is co-founder of DreamActivist.Org and currently serves as a board member for Immigration Equality.
Julio, born in Mexico, calls himself an “artivist.” He began using art to deal with being gay and undocumented, or “undocu-queer.” It wasn’t long before Dreamers from across the country began using his artwork in campaigns and rallies to advocate for the DREAM Act. Now, through Dreamers Adrift, a media project he co-founded, he encourages Dreamers and “undocu-queers” to tell their stories using various art forms.
Ju, born in South Korea, was one of the first Asian and Pacific Islander Dreamers to publicly proclaim he is undocumented. He did so in a big way by participating in an act of civil disobedience in 2010, hoping it would empower other Dreamers to also come out about their status. He is currently involved with the National UnDACAmented Research Project, a study that seeks to understand the effects of the DACA program.
"The events which transpired five thousand years ago; Five years ago or five minutes ago, have determined what will happen five minutes from now; five years From now or five thousand years from now. All history is a current event." Dr. John Henrik Clarke
I’m listening to this playlist i made with the songs i put on 365daysofblackmusic.tumblr.com and i’m feeling really proud of being me. being black. alive.
i hope you get a chance to listen. sometimes i forget why i do things, like start blogs/tattoos and end up getting caught in my ego and likes and reblogs etc. it’s great to come to a cafe, listen to this playlist, work on my own projects and dream far dreams and feel proud to be the person that i am. thats why i do it.
Day 38: Jimi Hendrix “May This Be Love (Waterfalls)” (1967)
this song makes me cry. makes me love myself. makes me smile.
Day 31: Precious Bryant “The Truth” (2005)
Clear Eyes, Full Hearts.
It’s been two weeks since i started this blog: http://365daysofblackmusic.tumblr.com/
I’d love for you to follow :)
Day 14: Ohbliv “nodelay(keepushin)” (2012)
An Image. A Word:
A Note from Intisar Abioto on Black Existence and Trayvon Martin,
If you didn’t know, this is a love story.
If you couldn’t tell already, The Black Portlanders is a love story.
Saturday, I met Eartis at the Mississippi Street Fair. He was sitting at table on Mississippi by himself and I thought to approach him. I came with the common schpeel… Hi, my name is Intisar. I’m a photographer. I’m working on a photo essay about Black Portlanders… Can I take your photograph? ..
He agreed to the photo. We didn’t talk very much. He had on a Trayvon Martin button. I got his contact info and I went my way up Mississippi.. to photograph, meet, and greet others. Later on that night, I heard the news on Trayvon Martin.. and was struck .. just like so many others.
This is a love story.
There is something about black bodies. There is something about brown bodies. There is something about bodies. There is something about us being here on this earth, in this time, as in all times.. that is so important.
We are necessary. We are needed… and it must be now.
What does The Black Portlanders have to do with Trayvon? Why go about wandering the streets of Portland saying hello to Black people I see?
Why photograph them one by one.. or in groups? Why talk to strangers? Why be accepted and sometimes rejected?
Why love your image? Why with each each look, each composition, each approach.. celebrate your face, your presence, your body, your breath, your existence.. here, your style, your look, your cool.. the question and reality of you? Why seek you out, try to find you .. out here on these streets of Portland.. this city, land, earth, sky? reality, existence?
you are needed, no, wanted. There is a difference between need and want. This is a love story.
Y/our presence, y/our existence, is important, integral, ecstatic, vital to this world. This world would not exist without you.
Back to the image.
To take a photo. An image, one man, of many men… sitting at a table.. a Black body, a Brown body, one human body, of many bodies,
one presence, one soul.
Sitting, naturally.. himself, a black man.
Himself, and not another.
With one button, of a brown boy, another black man becoming… holding the space for him then, remembering him then, when others would soon forget .. erase him from existence, desaturate his presence from our memory.
..That black man calling that black man, boy, child him.. into existence, rememorying him.. to us.
THIS is important. For me to post that man’s image, sitting in this state of Oregon, this country, this world.. no, this universe ..THAT man, this photo, right now…
So that you and others can see him, can see them, remember him, them..
Can you see it yet?
.. Telling.. about this boy… and that man .. and that woman.. and that child..
That is the story. That is important.
It’s the fact of our existence.. our beeeeiing here..
that’s in question.. that is the question… here.. in Portland, Oregon.. and too, the world
..just as it was/is for Trayvon.. in Florida..
that’s being fought over, thought over..
It’s our right and purpose to be… to live.. to be real.
Anywhere and anytime.. on this earth. That is the story.
The importance of us claiming our existence for ourselves. Saying to ourselves… we ARE here.
We h̶a̶v̶e BEEN here. We will ALWAYS be here. We will continue to be here.. in this world. And it is not up for debate. We are not a figment of someone’s imagination. We are not some one else’s creation.. to dispose of or create or call.. at will. We are not under or through or by .. anyone, or anything.. country, man, land, law, legality, state, or story.
We create reality.. we are not someone’s creation.
We.. continuing to tell and LIVE and create our stories.. right here..upwards and into time. It’s a matter of our existence that’s continually being been called into question.. and supposedly ..redrafted, renewed, sanctioned..
People, this country, some curious element .. call it what you whilst.. racism, prejudice, colonialism, capitalism, plain ole nastiness, fear ..
have been trying to unexist us for years now.
Yes, I am making up a word.. unexist us for a long time now.
Portlanders know about this, intimately. Thus, the question.. Where are the Black Portlanders?
Where are the Brown Portlanders?
Trayvon was killed walking down a street.
You guys weren’t even allowed to walk, live, exist
… in the whole state of Oregon …
and it’s yet happening in many different ways… The culture that breeds, tries to tell us, barter with us.. for the story of our un/existence..
It’s our existence…
See, honey.. I don’t want to be given right of way, sanctioned, told I can be anywhere.
I’m an explorer. You are too.
I’m not asking anyone. I’m not even staying in one spot. I’m not asking to be allowed or even tolerated.
Honey, I am already here. You are too.
It’s the thrill.. to survive, to thrive .. to seek, to quest, to adventure.. to go looking for life, to create/make, to have the freedom be curious, to go down the trail looking for what calls you, to be obsessed.
I’m not asking to be able to walk down the street.. I’m creating the street.
..that’s what I’m after.
I don’t want basic rights. I want it all.
Trayvon’s living.. his existence, presence.. was cut short. Let’s raise the stakes..
his adventure, his thrilling quest.
…. was questioned, policed, denied, refuted..
And later.. that questioning validated by the culture of this country..
This is science fiction, y’all. Black people are literally science-fiction… They/we don’t want to believe in us.
You want to talk about some Portlandia..? You want to talk about some oddities? You want to talk about some alt culture?
We are the original alt culture.
Being black, being brown, has always been alt. We have always been the edge and the center. We have always been that new new.
And yet, we are continuously left out of the story of existence… of adventure.
But I ain’t waiting on it. I said ain’t,
One can never wait on anyone to validate. You’ll die waiting.
We can never wait on anyone to “accept” us. We can never wait on anyone or anything to hearken us, pat us on the back, or tell you your time is now.. that you are real and deserve to be so.
.. and Trayvon is is a stark reminder of that fact… if in the passing years some of us have forgotten…They, whoever your personal “they” is, did not grant us our freedoms.. or our lives.
We create our adventure, right now. Don’t you forget it.
And if we think for a second that, you are sounding your own death knoll. We must be ourselves fully. We can’t hold back. There is literally no time.
As Audre Lorde says, “Your silence will not protect you.”
Diminishing your power and who you are for any reason..
will not serve you in this life or in your death.
We must come out shining.. hard and fast and true.
In all of our representations, colors, aspects.. whoever questions you, be they .. white people, black people, brown people, those of a different “class” or way.. mother, sister, father, brother.
We cannot stopper ourselves down for any reason… for fear of censure, or judgement, or being “too black”.. or whatever your “too” is.
There is just no time for that in this life. We have much too much to create.
Bring your talents. If you are shy, no matter. Come anyway.
Bring your visions, secret dreams, your work, your true self, your highest self, your culture, your expressions, in all of their contrasts.
There is this feeling that if we act right, make enough money, work hard enough, aren’t too black, too brown, or too” other”…. we might not be one of the ones who.. But the truth is .. we are all one of the ones.
And by changing any aspect of who we really are .. to “make it” in this culture.. you are already “one of the ones.”..
You are already a victim of a hate crime against your person..
that permeates our culture, erasing “others” and thus “everyone” from existence.
We all lose in a world.. where people cannot be themselves and s̶u̶r̶v̶i̶v̶e̶ thrive. And we are all pretending.. if we let it be.
This may not be one of my most eloquent writings. There are things I have to do today, you have to do today.. and time is precious.
But the time we have is now - however eloquent we are or are not.
If I say anything of value to you..
Come out. Come out. Wherever, whoever you are. Believe in the power of your dreams and your existence.
You need you.. here now. We create the culture. If you hide any aspect of yourself, the culture, the reality, will remain the same..
If you hide any aspect of yourself… you will never give yourself your freedom.
Bring your stories, gifts, challenges, inventions, thoughts, discoveries, questions, fears, failures, and triumphs. Bring your power to the table.
You are here for a reason and no one can deny your existence.. in death or in life. There is nothing to be afraid of in the grand scheme.
We are only delaying our greatness if we hide. There is more to be afraid of living in the dark.. kowtowing to ways of life that are not your own to become anything that is not yourself.
We cannot hold back who we are and … make it out, no, into our lives..alive.
Trayvon’s right of existence -walking down a street- being called into question.. is a story of Black people everywhere..
Here in Portland, in Oregon.. and elsewhere.
It is also the story of any “other”. And everyone is an “other” in some fashion.Oregonians, I don’t have to tell you why. You know the history of this place. If you don’t know the history of Oregon, look it up.
… Ending with some Kafka, some Martha Graham, and some Muriel Rukeyser..
Intisar Abioto.. of The Black Portlanders
“Don’t bend; don’t water it down; don’t try to make it logical; don’t edit your own soul according to the fashion. Rather follow your most intense obsessions mercilessly.”
“There is a vitality, a life force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time, this expression is unique. And if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and it will be lost. The world will not have it. It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how valuable nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open. ” - Martha Graham
"Believe that your presences are strong,
O be convinced without formula or rhyme
or any dogma ; use yourselves : be : fly.
Believe that we bloom upon this stalk of time.”
- Muriel Rukeyser
© 2013 Intisar Abioto
Max Roach Quintet with Abbey Lincoln - Driva Man 1964