I am a Somali Muslim American woman. Like many others, the unpleasant 2016 presidential campaign is still vivid in my memory. The campaign engaged in words and actions that violated long fought for civil sentiments of equality, respect and the peaceful transfer of power. Our country is more polarized than ever. There were many times that I was taken aback by the strong emotional war waged against certain policies and certain groups. The campaign rhetoric is over; we have a new President and yet the emotional distress continues. For the first time in our lives many more of us are afraid of the policies of our government and this is not historically the American collective attitude.Read More
I don't think I need to preface these photographs except that they give me hope. These protests give me a lot of hope during this dark & dismal time, like many others. I woke up today feeling sad, tired, angry, and confused. I protested on Sunday at Battery Park (as I was personally unable to go to JFK the night before). It did a lot for my spirit, and I'm hoping these protests are an indication of the political energy and activism we need for the days forward. Looking at all the protest photos on social media is giving me that glimmer of something I need. I'm not entirely sure if it's just hope, but it's the knowledge that other humans do care about each other. It's easy to forget this, especially now.Read More
In times of protest, we rely on artists. We rely on them to create bold works of art that say, and see, what the public understand but can't always articulate. Great art allows us to see ourselves objectively, to evaluate and analyze ourselves and the outside world. Now more than ever, we need real stories from people, showcasing the various perspectives that America is home to.Read More
BY JOANNA C. VALENTE
On Saturday, I went to the Women's March in NYC, where I live. Overall, it was a truly amazing and groundbreaking experience for me, as it was one of the first real beacons of hope for me post-election and inauguration. It was inspirational to see so many people come together to fight for a cause; it's necessary if we want to create positive change, to exercise our own political power. Because, no, we don't have to take it or accept it.
That being said, of course, there were definitely problematic things about some of the language being used during the protest, largely transphobic and dismissive of people with disabilities and special needs. This, of course, was highly disappointing and upsetting to me, because we don't want use our language to isolate, or to marginalize the same people we are trying to fight for.
For instance, using language to talk about Trump's "tiny hands," however funny, defeats the purpose. There are so many reasons to dislike Trump, but using his physical appearance is a form of bullying that he himself does, and we should be better than that. It's also making assertions based on gender, which is problematic, because it plays into the same ultra-masculine rhetoric we should be stepping away from.
In addition, we need to be careful about excluding people who do not have vaginas or uteruses from feeling as if they aren't women, since not all women have uteruses and being a woman is more just because of the genitals you have. In general, gender is extremely nuanced and there are many people who don't neatly fit into the "man or woman" binary (like myself), and we need to be cognizant of that, and use our language to reflect that. I know I'm not saying anything new here, but I do think this is a necessary reminder. We need to do better. We can do better.
That being said, I am extremely proud of all of the people who protested yesterday, in their hearts, minds, and bodies. I'm proud of the cities who held rallies and marches, which is why I rounded up a few of my favorite photos on Instagram from the Marches. Because in the words of Malcolm X, "the future belongs to those who prepare for it today."Read More
The witch has always been important. The witch has also been altered since the writing of the W.I.T.C.H manifesto. She must be fluid. She must evolve. I wonder at how the witch as feminist icon and political battle cry has changed since the 60s? Where has the witch become more intersectional? Where do we need to challenge the witch more? In what ways as the witch not been altered as a political statement that is begging for revision?
Who do we need the witch to be in 2017?Read More
As the Trump campaign’s self-implosion continues, and the candidate increasingly lashes out, many have pointed to historical parallels: Hitler in the bunker, Nixon at the height of Watergate. But for me, the figure who comes to mind is not a politician but a literary character: Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Macbeth, whose “vaulting ambition” led to murder, civil war, and his own eventual destruction. Now I’m not saying that Trump has murdered anyone (Don’t sue me, Donald!), but the parallels are there.Read More
The USA vs. Netherlands women’s soccer friendly is about to kick off. We are at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, seated close enough to discern the revved up expressions of the players on the field. It is the first time my 10-year-old daughter, a soccer player, and I, the quintessential soccer mom, are watching a pro team up close.Read More
In 2002, Manolescu Loan, a Romanian man who was walking cross-country after his truck broke down, found 8-year-old Traian, legs splayed from rickets, eating from the carcass of a dog. He was the size of a three-year-old and huddled for warmth in a cardboard box; his circulation slowing because of the frostbite--inevitable in the freezing Transylvanian forest. Three years prior, it seems Traian had been abandoned by his 20-year mother who had been abused by the man to whom she was married under Gypsy law. The doctors who observed the case (and who nicknamed the boy Mowgli) believe that he was fostered by wolves: he barked, howled, growled and bit.Read More