Thursday, November 24, 2011

Words from Ila Abernathy of the Akwesasne tribe

I am grass growing and the shearer of grass, I am the willow and the splitter of laths, weaver and the thing woven, marriage of willow and grass.  I am frost on the land and the land’s life, breath and beast and the sharp rock underfoot; in me the mountain lives, and the owl strikes, and I in them; I am the sun’s twin, mover of blood and the blood lost, I am the deer and the deer’s death; I am the burr in your conscience: acknowledge me.

(found this in Howard Zinn’s A People’s History of the United States)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The John Carlos Story

from left to right: Peter Norman, Tommie Smith, and John Carlos

Last week I had the opportunity to experience the presence of John Carlos, the Olympian sprinter renowned for his Black Power Salute during the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City.  He gave a talk at a local center in my hometown Houston, TX.  He shared with us his life, and as he spoke I could sense a sort of invisible power emanating from him, strength and courage just oozed off the man.  You could tell he was a passionate, genuine dude.  He told us about when he was planning the protest for the Olympic Games, he met with Martin Luther King Jr. to discuss things.  He explained that when he looked into King’s eyes, he didn’t see fear, he only saw love.  And Carlos asked King straight up, why he wanted to support an Olympic protest.  King answered that if you drop a rock in a lake, it rings out vibrations to everyone else in the lake.  Carlos understood that he had to do something powerful but nonviolent, that he had to do something to create conversation surrounding the unjust situation of Blacks in America.  He seemed to have a sense of deep commitment for Human Rights – “It wasn’t about me, my wife, or my kids, it was about humanity.”  He described how his family was persecuted for his actions, persecuted so much that his wife eventually committed suicide.  And of that he said, “If my wife had to die a thousand more deaths, I wouldn’t change what I did.”  Those words struck me deep down to the core of my spirit, and it made me admire his total commitment to the crusade against injustice and inequality.  One of the last things he said before finishing was, “Everybody is gonna go down, but the question is what did you do while you were standing?”

the man (John Carlos) and me

Friday, November 11, 2011


Acrylic blocks filled with oil
I recently attended an art exhibition critiquing the conflicts created by oil-politics called CRUDE by Andrei Molodkin – “an internationally recognized contemporary Russian artist engaged in deconstructing the economic realities of geopolitical praxis.” (quite a mouthful from the museum guide handout.)

Bush drawn with ballpoint pen
The highlight of the evening came when an elderly couple (a black man and a white woman) held up their middle fingers in front of the Bush picture.  After doing that, the black man said loud and clear, “It’s not about the color of your skin, it’s about the mindset.”  (emphasis on mind.)  Then he said to his wife, “C’mon let’s go get Obama.”
Obama drawn with ballpoint pen next to acrylic blocks
Overall, simple yet striking exhibit.  I appreciate how the artist condemns policies of both republican and democratic agendas.