Needed a White Women and Men March of Allies

White Women and Men allies on the front lines earnestly addressing supremacy, oppression, privilege, racism, genderism, all of the isms and poisons. Needed are White Women and Men allies speaking to their families, friends, and neighbors. Their silence equals my death! My question is, will their sons and daughters bodies  be met with growling dogs, water filled hoses, harassment, guns, brutality and murder? The known terror People Of Color meet with daily. Will they be attacked for demanding
their rights?

I was added to the  FB group (formerly) known as the Million Woman March. Once there, I protested the appropriation of a name with historical significance for the Black community. I shared the herstory/history of both the Million Man March and the Million Woman March. My comment was deleted by the Facebook Administrator said to be orchestrating the march. Only after several protests from myself and others did a name change take place. While there I found myself engaged in serious battle with some women whitesplaining, and an Asian woman who assigned herself the role of protector. Protector of what? Her tone was one of extreme anger. She said, I disgusted her. She was combative and mistakenly thought she could gather the troops to attack  me, and failed. No one engaged with her. She left after verbally attacking me. My crime? I had the audacity to share my truth. I was her embarrassment. I wasn’t the obedient WOC melting into the background. the backdrop. A backdrop placed for visibility, to give the march “inclusion legitimacy”.

Unlike her, my goal while there was not to gain anyone’s friendship and comradeship, at the expense of selling my self respect and dignity. Nor was I on board for some mythological sisterhood. A vagina and breast does not automatically make us sisters. I’ve been betrayed by women of all hues who called me sister. I do not know the organizer, her politics and agenda, nor the politics of the women in the group. The administrator and orchestrator for this facebook group, I found myself  placed in. I do know she’s a white woman lawyer living in Hawaii. Women of color in this group were determined not to allow the status quo to prevail. My post continued to be deleted and

I was blocked by the Admin. Clearly, she was not in the mood to hear about oppression, all of the isms, entitlement, and privilege.  My oppression  is not for sale, and will not be used as an opportunity to falsely be seen as inclusive.  My truth was seen as divisive. The result was more whitesplaining and others speaking about voting for HRC and the wonderful things they were doing for POC. Some members owned their entitlement and privilege. Eager to learn, listen and desiring a dialog in earnest. Needed are people on the frontlines doing whatever is within their means. I urge POC to continue speaking our truth and stand firm, even at the risk of being misunderstood and vilified.

66% of White women, 29% Latina women and 4% Black women voted for the newly elected president. 94% of Black women voted for Hillary Rodham Clinton, Black women did the work and Hillary’s so-called White women constituency failed her. It was this statement that angered the administrator and others. I’m not blindly participating in any activities, because someone says I should. I’ve been down this road before. I have every right to have my questions answered in detail. At 65, I’m not new  to protest, far from it.  It appears this group’s banner women rights and opposition to the newly elected president.  Racism, sexism, genderism, entitlement, privilege, LGBTQ rights etc. were not being addressed in this group.True allies must come center stage and give voice to the oppression of POC, and the privilege and entitlement they live safely in.

Freedom comes with a price. POC when participating in demonstrations in DC or elsewheres. We must make certain our voices are placed center stage, speaking our truth. We must come with our banners and voices,and address our concerns. We do not have to beg inclusion. If need be, organize a separate march or become a part of a coalition, with true allies.

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Why I Can’t F**king Breathe: The Murder of Deborah Danner

Deborah Danner suffered from mental illness, and lived alone. Reports state, police had been called to her apartment in the past and she was taken to the hospital without incident. What made this time different? On the night of her death, Danner’s sister called for help to take her to the hospital as she had in the past. Sadly, she will have to live with this memory for the rest of her life. The very act of calling for help for her sister, resulted in her death, at the hands of an officer sworn to protect.

She was murdered in Castle Hill. NYPD said, officers responded to a 911 call. Deborah Danner age 66 was said to be behaving irrationally. Allegedly she was armed with scissors,  a responding officer convinced her to put them down before allegedly picking up a baseball bat, and attempting to hit NYPD Sgt. Hugh Barry, who fired two shots into her torso. She was taken to Jacobi Medical Center, where she was later pronounced dead. Sgt. Barry had a taser, he chose not to use it. He was trained to physically subdue an individual without drawing his weapon. Instead, he ignored his training on how to de-escalate situations, Deborah Danner paid the price. This fact alone is reason enough to bring him up on charges.

Bronx resident Deborah Danner was murdered by Sgt. Hugh Barry, let us not skirt around the facts. Fact, had Bronx resident Deborah Danner been white and lived in a white neighborhood her life would have been spared. She would have been treated with the utmost care, gently subdued and escorted to the hospital. Sgt. Barry did not see a human being standing before him. He saw an upset Black woman and that was enough to end her life. He did not see his mother, aunt, or neighbor in her Black face. He did not see humanity in need of help and compassion.

When I read of her death I was overcome with feelings of sadness, anger and horror. Deborah Danner was one year my senior, I could have been her. I thought of my death. The  words mental illness and the circumstances of her murder exacerbated my horror. The 1984 murder of Eleanor Bumpers, a grandmother with mental illness came rushing back to memory. Here is one more case of murder added to an already existing list of traumatic experiences. I demand justice for Deborah Danner! I’m sick and tired of
the usual investigations, the modified desk duty, blaming of the deceased and the NYPD sanctioning of murder.  NYPD is drowning in the blood of innocent murdered civilians. Every time a murder is justified and the murderer set free, we are all at risk. The prevailing mindset by those who murder is we can kill without impunity. Daily Blacks and people of color are assaulted with traumatic event after traumatic event. Brutality, murder and assaults to our humanity and bodies are America’s norm for those of dark hue.

We hear a lot about PTSD. What is  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)? Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the result of being traumatized. An individual (s) has/have witnessed or experienced a traumatic event. Police brutality and murders of civilians, the death of a loved one, pet and experiences as a veteran contribute to PTSD criteria.

Are you finding it difficult to cope? Sometimes, a good talk with a friend, family member or clergy is enough. Other times it is not enough and you may have to contact a professional.  Here are some available resources. Please visit the links below.

Mental Health & Advocacy for information, resources, data etc. on mental health disorders.
http://lcinformationandresourcecenter.wordpress.com

Protective Service for Adults Program in NYC
http://ocfs.ny.gov/main/psa/

#JusticeforDeborahDanner #BlackLivesMatter #StopMurderingBlackPeople

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Afro-Writing on the Margins, A Necessary Discussion

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The Bronx Council for the Arts and BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance presented Afro -Writing on the Margins, with yours truly, Lorraine Currelley, Executive Dir., Poets Network & Exchange, Inc. and Ron Kavanaugh, Editor Mosaic Magazine. The theme was Afro- Writing on the Margins. The program started with a poetry reading  featuring me. Following the reading I was joined on stage by Ron Kavanaugh and moderator  Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Co-founder of BAAD! the Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, for a panel discussion. Both panelists and moderator examined feminism, ageism, sexism, racism and LGBTQ rights through the lens of afro-diasporic perspectives and how they inform contemporary literary production in the age of #BlackLivesMatter. It culminated with a Q&A and public discourse.
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As artists we work as activists and cultural workers, seeking to provide spaces and opportunities where these needed discussions can take place. Safe and supportive non-judgemental spaces. Saturday’s panelists and moderator did not skirt around issues. Speaking unapologetically and authentically, we spoke of the threats, brutality and murders of Black and Brown people of color.  Both panelists and attendees spoke passionately and emotionally about trauma experienced witnessing repeated video and audio recordings of the murders of innocent citizens. Needed are more spaces for expression, healing and free agency over our minds and bodies, an agency this society does not afford people of color, the poor and marginalized.

According to BAAD! Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance The series delves into the work of acclaimed writer and public intellectual James Baldwin who spoke about the tense relationship between America’s democratic ideals and our fraught racial history. Each week we will explore how Baldwin’s readings impacts contemporary issues and movements such as Black Lives Matter!, Queerness, gentrification, and police brutality. In addition to the herstory of revolutionary possibilities between Audre Lorde and Baldwin.

The consensus from attendees during the Q&A segment,  activism depends on the degree individuals as artists and citizens wish to or not engage issues of social injustice and equity. The individual as citizen and artist defines how and what that activism is to look like. (Paraphrasing) Ron Kavanaugh shared we can each do what we can. My activism might not look like your activism. I do know that I can write an excellent lesson plan. One that addresses societal concerns via Mosaic and programming. We left inspired and strengthened, with a sense of hope by the exchange. Thanks to Charlie Vazquez, Bronx Writers Center Director at Bronx Council on the Arts, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance, the BAAD! staff, Ron Kavanaugh, Mosaic Magazine, and attendees.

BAAD! The Bronx Academy of Arts and Dance is a Bronx-based arts organization that creates, produces, presents and supports the development of contemporary dance and all creative disciplines with a unique focus on women, People Of Color and the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Transsexual & Queer communities.

Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA) is a private, non-profit membership organization that has been the official cultural agency of Bronx County since 1962. Recognized nationally as a leading arts service organization in providing cultural services and arts programs, BCA serves a multicultural constituency of almost 1.4 million residents. BCA provides an array of services to 5,000 artists and more than 250 arts and community-based organizations.

The Currelley Literary Journal is an online blog founded by African American poet, writer, educator,  mental health counselor and advocate Lorraine Currelley. The Currelley Literary Journal features commentaries, articles, interviews and reviews. We write about the African diaspora through a historical, herstorical, educational, cultural, socio-political, context, nuance and lens.

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

Bronx Book Fair 2016

 

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The Currelley Literary Journal congratulates the Bronx Book Fair for a successful weekend of literary programming. This was the fourth year for the annual Bronx Book Fair. This year’s book fair  took place on May 7th -8th, 2016 at the Bronx Library Center. The Bronx Book Fair is dedicated to engaging and growing the community of poets and writers in the Bronx and to connecting to readers and book lovers of all ages. Annually a coalition of committed literary, educational and cultural organizations and individuals come together to plan this annual event, now in its fourth year.The past three years have met with a great response from  Bronx residents and the larger New York City community, representing all five boroughs.

On Saturday May 7, the kickoff to the fair featured workshops, performances and readings from prominent writers throughout the New York City area. Local vendors will feature book-related items. And engaging family activities took place throughout the day. On Sunday May 8, Small presses gathered from around the city to create a pop-up bookstore. Publishers and editors from NYC area presses and journals were on hand to give talks and workshops. Local vendors, small presses and publishers tabled. Both days hosted children’s activities.

This year’s features included Carmen D. Lucca, LaTanya DeVaughn, Charles Rice-Gonzalez, Bronx Librarians, lively Latin Jazz by Papo Pepin, Rebecca Brooks, Purvi Shah, Alison Roh Park, Mercy Tullis-Bukhari, Jonterri Gadson, Edward Currelley, Daphne Carter McKnight, Nkosi Nkululeko, Women in Comics, Ray Felix, Carolyn Butts, Carlos Aguasaco, Ulises Gonzales, Rachel Ansong, Jose Olivarez, Erik Maldonado, Yesenia Montilla, Kevin Sabio, Charlie Vazquez, Word Up Community Book Shop, Sisters Uptown Bookstore and Cultural Center, Astoria Bookshop, Giovanni Ortiz, Ashley N. Ortiz, Jean Carlos Soto, Stephanie Trinidad, Ariana DiLorenzo, Yolanda Rodriguez, BxArts ‪Factory, and Natalie N. Caro.

13087668_470875996453671_7593162115298684518_n (1)Some of this year’s highlights and huge successes were A Conversation: Women, Arts Activism, Creativity and Social Responsibility moderated by Lorraine Currelley. Thanks to panel members Rebecca Brooks, Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari, Jonterri Gadson, Alison Parks and Purvi Shah for your powerful, inspiring and thought provoking words.

Bravo Mercy L. Tullis-Bukhari, Edward Currelley, Daphne Carter McKnight and Nkosi Nkululeko. A Weaving of Voices: An Intergenerational Poetry Reading was spectacular!
Clap Snap: A Youth Poetry Reading, facilitated by Bronx Book Fair committee member Peggy Robles-Alvarado was inspiring and powerful!

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved

Ryan Lochte, Entitled & Privileged

I set in front of my television outraged by the prejudicial spins on the Ryan Lochte robbery fabrication. Listening as journalists tried their best to justify his behaviors and worse his lies. Behaviors and an arrogance deeply rooted in an American history of White entitlement and privilege. Journalists looked into cameras urging us to excuse Lochte and his buds behaviors. We were asked to give them a break. Afterall, they’re kids and kids make mistakes. Life goes on. This was followed by praising Lochte’s athletic abilities. Give me a fukking break! What does his athletic abilities have to do with anything? This is not about some young folk getting drunk at a party. This is about entitled and privileged White men drunkards pissing on gas station floors, destroying property, trying to escape and making false accusations of being robbed, robbed by an armed person of color. No innocent children in this scenario, no boys will be boys. Lochte is thirty two years of age.

What makes Lochte’s behavior extremely frightening is his belief that he would be believed. A belief based on the color of his skin. It’s the accusing Black men of kidnapping White babies, only to discover their mother strapped them in car seats and pushed the car into the river. It’s the belief his whiteness would exempt him from laws the rest of us follow. The racism embedded in his psyche. He believed the same American rules would play themselves out in Brazil. Black sons and daughters don’t get the same understanding, compassion, love, empathy and forgiveness. Yet Blacks are demonized for speaking truthfully about systems of oppression. We’re said to be privileged and entitled for having the audacity to do so. We’re called out for not placing our hands over our heart during the American national anthem.

His lies nearly caused an international incident. Brazilians have every right to protest the audacity of Lochte, to come to their country and behave badly. The Brazilian government could have initiated a manhunt for Lochte’s fabricated perps. I’m horrified by what could have resulted. Innocent lives could have died because of his lies. The facts are Brazil has a history of being racist and abusive to her Black people. His actions could have fed this monster. I have no doubt Blacks in the poor favas of Brazil and worldwide understood the unspoken realities entrenched in his lies. For me, I saw America.

Blacks and people of color live daily with these historical and present day realities. Whether in America or Brazil. We have a history of paying the price for America’s sons entitlement, privilege, ignorance, intention and stupidity. Innocent Black bodies swinging from trees, beaten to death, imprisoned, crosses burning on the lawns of Black people, threats, dragged from their homes, communities bombed, set on fire and men falsely accused of rape by America’s daughters. America continues to coddle her White sons, while she justifies the murders of Black mothers sons and daughters. Lochte? Lochte is not deserving of anyone’s forgiveness, nor a second chance. I give less than a damn about his future and endorsements, and believe all corporations that employ him should be boycotted.

No America, your sons will not be held nor suckle at the breast of my compassion. Your poisoned womb gave birth to this liar. My arms and heart remain heavy with the blood of my murdered Black sons and daughters.

©Lorraine Currelley 2016. All Rights Reserved.

PEN Celebrates Authors

Harlem Fine Arts Show Honors Congressman Charles Rangel and Author and Entrepreneur B.Smith

The Annual Harlem Fine Arts Show celebrates its seventh year at New York City’s Riverside Church. The opening reception honored Congressman Charles Rangel and Author and Entrepreneur B. Smith. The annual exhibition features a group nationally and internationally acclaimed black artists. Among the many guests on hand to celebrate the honorees were Hosts Journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault and Poet Nella Larsen, Journalist Ann Tripp, Assemblyman Keith Wright, Playwright Vy Higginson, Visual Artist Shimoda Donna Emanuel, Poet Patricia Arthur and Aleathia Brown/ Unveiled Unlocked.

Some highlights of Harlem Fine Arts Show were dynamic female Pastor Wright. She delivered the opening prayer and welcome. Lovingly referring to those present as beloved. Journalist & radio personality Ann Tripp introduced B. Smith and Dan Gasby co-authors of ‘Before I Forget’. Dan Gasby utilized this as an opportunity to educate about the devastating disease Alzheimers. He said,”It’s also about understanding that Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects 5.2 million people. Almost two-thirds of Americans with the disease are women, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, and older African-Americans and Hispanics are more likely to have the disease than older whites are.”

There was an unveiling of a portrait of the Congressman Charles B. Rangel. He thanked everyone for attending and delivered a powerful message about the importance of community involvement. His lovely wife thanked those in attendance as well for honoring her husband. Congressman Rangel shared even though this would be his last year in congress, he would continue to be actively engaged in the life of the Harlem community.

Thanks to the gracious and welcoming LaZette McCants and volunteer Divas and Divos for a job well done!

Harlem Fine Arts Show, Riverside Church New York City until Sunday
February 8, 2016.

Harlem Fine Arts Show Gallery

 

 

 

(Photos Lorraine Currelley unless noted otherwise.)