Writing at the intersection of motherhood, feminism and my Latinidad

08 February 2016

Beyond Balance: Work, Family, Life in 2016 in Chicago


One of the top questions I get from students is "How do you balance work and life?" My top response? "I don't. There's no balance, it's a constant juggle." And I have it good in that I have a partner who is active in our daughter's life, pulls his share of domestic duties and we have jobs with paid vacation and sick days. So what are the steps to making our juggle less illogical and allow others to enjoy the benefits we participate in?

This Thursday Women Employed hosts a conversation moderated by their executive director, Anne Ladky with Susan Lambert, University of Chicago, Associate Professor in the School of Social Service Administration, Iliana Mora, COO at Erie Family Health Center and WE Board member, and Rex Huppke, Chicago Tribune journalist of the popular workplace column, "I Just Work Here."I plan to attend and live tweet the conversation, so keep an eye on my Twitter feed that evening! But to prepare, I was able to ask Iliana Mora a few questions about the topic:

1) The challenges that women face in the workplace change as our lives change. How can we best discuss this issue without it focusing solely on mothers?

First we need to recognize that our identity is much more than our job and to give equal or even greater value to the other parts of a woman’s life. We also need to start from the basic belief that everyone’s time outside of work is equally valuable and equally important. While work-life balance can admittedly be a challenge for me, I expect it and protect it for the women who work with me, regardless of their personal situations.

2) What changes has Erie Family Health Center made to help women address the challenges of the work-life juggle?

At Erie we have almost 600 employees, about 90% of whom are women. They range from housekeeping staff to Medical Assistants to physicians. We are always learning from them how to best support this juggle. Right now we offer career-track part-time work at all levels of the organization as well as evening and weekend work and parental leave to new fathers to support the women in their lives. We are also very flexible about staff’s needs and commitments outside of the job. As a leader and manager, my priority is an excellent and timely work product – not on whether it gets completed between 9 and 5.

3) As someone who works in not just a large organization, but one that serves a lot of Chicagoans, what is one thing that Erie has done to help the people you serve with their own juggle?

We know that our patients are juggling a lot and sometimes their health comes last. So we make our services as convenient, accessible and patient-centered as possible. That means evening and weekend hours, urgent care, access to medical advice 24/7 and a patient portal where patients can do their medical business online whenever they have time. Erie case managers also help our patients to address their barriers to making their medical appointments, such as offering transportation and assisting them with getting released from work.

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While registration is closed for Thursday, if you have a question you would like to ask this ace panel about work, life, family balance/juggle, please leave it in the comments or tweet me so I can pass along your questions.

07 February 2016

Whirlwind Wrap-up

WHEW!

It's been quite a few weeks for me. Let this gif speak for me:

I feel like I forgot something and well, that's how much of a whirlwind the first few weeks of 2016 has been. For transparency sake, it hasn't all been ups, but for privacy sake, the downs are communicated in person. Over bourbon.  Or cupcakes. 

31 January 2016

No Más Bebés Premieres on Independent Lens

No Más Bebés tells the story of a little-known but landmark event in reproductive justice, when a small group of Mexican immigrant women sued county doctors, the state, and the U.S. government after they were sterilized while giving birth at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center during the late 1960s and early 1970s.



This moving (seriously, have tissues at hand!) documentary about the human rights abuses inflicted on Latinas in the 1960s and 1970s will have you up in arms. My friend and colleague, Elena R. Gutiérrez did a lot of the research work to help put together this puzzle. In a blog post about the film she says:
“No Más Bebés” also shows that socially grounded attitudes relating to ethnicity and gender can play a role in the provision of reproductive health care services; a message that is important for us to hear today. In my own research I show that the abusive practices that occurred at LACMC were not only shaped by debates on population control, but also by concerns about increased immigration from Mexico and the stereotype that Mexican women gave birth to too many children. Through tracing newspaper articles, organizational records and scholarly research in Fertile Matters: The Politics of Mexican-origin Women’s Reproduction, I show how these “stereotypes” about Mexican immigrant women being hyper-fertile and “having too many children” are deeply-rooted beliefs that are part and parcel of institutionalized racism and were perpetuated by the media, social science, and immigration control activists throughout the 20th century carrying into the 21st century. Beyond representations of the perpetually “pregnant pilgrim” who came to the United States purposefully to have children born on US soil so that that they could become American citizens (an idea perpetuated in both Mexican news media and popular culture), “hyperfertility” as a social construct became significantly entrenched in academia, and has thus gained legitimacy in both scholarly research and policy response. I argue that this context and the general public perception that Latina women are significantly more “fertile” than women of other races and ethnicities influenced medical practitioners’ behaviors.
Elena R. Gutierrez is an Associate Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies and Latin American and Latino Studies at the University of Illinois, Chicago. She is also co-author of Undivided Rights: Women of Color Organizing for Reproductive Justice, which will be reprinted by Haymarket Press in April and director of the Reproductive Justice Virtual Library.

This is an important film to view and discuss. I do not want you to just watch it, think and stop there. No. This film calls for action. It demands it. I saw a sneak preview of No Mas Bebes about a year ago and was floored. And I know much of the history already. What makes this such a powerful film is that you hear from the women who were robbed of future children. They were robbed of that decision to even have future children. You hear from their families. It is just, gah...

At the moment we are in the midst of the 2016 Presidential campaign. We have candidates who are railing against anchor babies, wanting to use religious tests on refugees and then those who are calling for the end of the Hyde Amendment in order to increase women's access to reproductive services. All of these moments are connected because the government wants to say who is welcome not just in the USA, but who is welcome to reproduce and parent. Too often the feminist movement is seen as just about abortion, but an intersectional feminist movement is concerned about parenting as well.

On top of this political conversation is the recent worry over the Zika virus. A health issue that is worth of concern over who is getting pregnant, the governments that are calling for women to hold off on getting pregnant and failing to give them access to the tools (birth control and abortion) to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. 

This film premieres on February 1st on your loca PBS station. Watch it, tweet it, share it, discuss it. It's that important and not just to Latinas around the world.


26 January 2016

Review: Girl in a Band by Kim Gordon


When we last discussed this book I wasn't done with it. I finished it and loved it. In many ways her tale is depressing. She gives us a fair number of peeks behind the grunge curtain. Her observations of the music industry is certainly depressing. But how her story unfolds makes you want to turn the page and know more.

At one point, Gordon muses about women's sexuality being used in music, particularly Madonna and her own use of her sexuality. In the end she seems ok with women using their sexuality on stage as part of their act. For herself, Gordon grew into this comfort and ends up stating that "In the middle of the state, where I stand as bass player of Sonic Young, the music comes at me from all directions. The most heightened state of being female is watching people watch you....being a girl in Sonic Youth makes me forget about being a girl. I like being in a weak position and making it strong."She seemed to be talking herself into moving into the main attraction of the group for promoters.

But it was Gordon's dissection of the failure of having an egalitarian parenting situation with her ex-husband, Moore, that it kinda freaked me out. It went all the way to essentialism-ville. I'm sure this says more about me than her, but it was something that I noted.

Otherwise, this is an excellent and snarky look back at the rise of not just a band, but an entire music genre.

Please purchase your own copy of Girl in a Band from Powells or Indiebound and support this site. 

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from a publicist.  

24 January 2016

EVENT: Love Her, Love Her Not at Women & Children First

http://www.womenandchildrenfirst.com/book/9781631528064
Please join LHLHN's editor Joanne Cronrath Bamberger as she moderates a reading and discussion with myself and Emily Zanotti Skyles on Wednesday, January 27th at 7:30 pm.

I am so excited and nervous to finally be reading at my favorite bookstore. I hope we have a great and respectful conversation about our love or not of Hillary Clinton.

No purchase required for the event, but we hope you will purchase from Women & Children First.

22 January 2016

Review: South Texas Experience: Love Letters by Noemi Martinez

Noemi Martinez is an old school zinester who was also part of the first wave of feminist bloggers. She is also someone who never traded in her zines for a purely digital format. In South Texas Experience: Love Letters Martinez takes us for an emotional peek into her life. Illustrated by photos her son took, it is a beautiful ode to a part of the country that normally only gets negative media mentions, if ever thought of at all. This zine is a lovely addition to anyone's zine or poetry collection.

I purchased a copy myself. It was well worth it. You should find out yourself!

19 January 2016

Sesame Street in Chicago this weekend

As many of us know, Sesame Street has moved to HBO for its first run episodes. To mark this occasion there's a road show and it is coming to Chicago. And we're all invited!

Join Elmo and friends to the Chicago Children’s Museum, on Saturday, January 24th

03 January 2016

#365FeministSelfie in 2016

Were you wondering if #365FeministSelfie was still a thing? It is!

Yup, we've kicked off our third year of selfies, fun and feminism. Feel free to jump over to our blog to read up on the project and the spin off hash tag.

It may be January 3rd, but as a social media friend's kid said to the idea of New Year's Resolutions, "You can always start a new year every day!" So start your year of selfies any day you want. We'll be here for you.

31 December 2015

Chicago Women Who Owned 2015



When I asked social media which Chicago women kicked ass in 2015, I got a list far too long to do justice. I also realized how many of my lady friends kick ass every day, but it's a constant kicking of the ass, not a lot of headline kicking. Ya know what I mean? So I tried to make this list a mix of Chicagoans who had some headline kicks and some who kick ass every day and deserve a shout out. Let's get started, shall we?

Photos from social media or public domain pages

Luvvie Ajayi

Luvvie did my job and summed up her amazing year herself! I love it when women do that. Yes, let's take a moment to reflect on our accomplishments and dance at our own parties. Luvvie makes us laugh, even when we want to cry. She pushes us to be active, even down to our shoes. You'll never laugh so hard when learning so much than when you are in a meeting with her. From hanging with celebs to her epic travel schedule, Luvvie definitely owned 2015.

Charlene Carruthers

Carruthers is on a lot of lists this year for her leadership of the Black Youth Project 100. Chicago's response to police killing young people of color, particularly young black men, did not begin with the Laquan McDonald tape. No, Carruthers and her posse of social justice warriors have been organizing Chicago's youth of color for sometime now. Many credit this larger organizing as to why Chicago's reaction to the McDonald tape was swift, pointed and why Chicago did not burn. And while most media is focused on black men and boys, BYP100 continues to say the names of the many black women and girls also killed by state violence. When allegations of rape were made against a BYP100 leader, Carruthers and the organization took those seriously by not only meeting with the survivor, but suspending the accused: "As an organization rooted in a Black queer feminist framework, we take reports of sexual assault extremely seriously." That's what feminist leadership should look like.

Keidra Chaney

Keidra is a good friend, but that shouldn't stop us from celebrating her accomplishments this year! For 8+ years she has run, The Learned Fangirl, a smart, feminist take on pop culture and all things geek. To celebrate 8 years, Keidra announced that TLF had received a grant and a fiscal sponsor in order to PAY writers (ZOMG, right?) and to take TLF to the next level. I know how hard she must have worked to get to that moment. She also gave a fab talk at the National Women's Studies Association conference.

Ana Fernatt

The sole woman to nominate herself on my FB wall was Ana Fernatt. She hosts the podcast "Champagne & Snark." Fernatt invites interesting people to drink champagne while discussing their work and impact in the world. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to her conversation with Alysse Dalessandro, whom I met years ago at some Chicago feminist gathering. This is not a clean, hi-produced podcast but the rawness suits the conversations.

Amy Guth

A friend and supporter of #365FeministSelfie, Guth started 2015 quitting one of her many jobs to pursue more jobs! Now you know why I love this woman. One of her new projects is to create a documentary series about online harassment...which quickly got her a lot of online harassment! I'd say she hit a bulls eye there. Guth gave AWJ-Chicago, where she serves as president, the scoop on her 2016.

Photos from public domain pages except for Sarah & Lynn by Tracy Baim, Olivia by Andrea Bauer

Yamani Hernandez

When I first started engaging in the feminist activist community, it was very white. As the Latina, I was often asked to bring in other Latinas...cause ya know, they follow what I say! National organizations are not only very white, but very East Coast (NYC or DC). That is why the hiring of Yamani Hernandez as the new executive director of the National Network of Abortion Funds is kick ass. There are so many reasons we need a WOC leading this network, especially as we try to repeal the Hyde Amendment. Can we dance a little that a major feminist and reproductive justice org is now being lead from Chicago?!

Sarah Karp

Over two years ago Karp published an investigation into a no-bid contract given to the former CPS superintendent's former employer. Those of us fighting for better public schools in Chicago read it and shook our heads. What will ever come of it? How about a guilty plea by Barbara Byrd-Bennett? Not shabby by someone who was practicing actual journalism?!

Carol Marin

Long time readers know that I've been a fan of Carol Marin for years. And she definitely falls into the category of "consistent ass kicker." This year we saw her be one of the leaders for the investigation into Laquan McDonald shooting. Marin tries to not only hold Mayor Emmanuel accountable for his decisions, as well as remind us voters of what is happening under his leadership. And that is something we need to remember as we head into an election year. Marin can hold him accountable via the media, but if we keep voting the way we do (or not voting), there's little she can do about that.

Lynn Mooney and Sarah Hollenbeck

The new owners of Women and Children First have earned a gold star for their first year on the job! A beautiful remodeling of the space gives us book worms new places to curl up with a book and more open space to spy our friends who are also hanging in the bookstore. If you know me, you know that this is my bookstore and Sarah & I are friendly. I've moderated conversations there in the past and will be doing my first book talk on January 27th.

Olivia Ortiz

In 2013, Ortiz filed a Title IX complaint against the University of Chicago over their mishandling of her reported sexual assault. She went on to found, Phoenix Survivors Alliance, to support other sexual assault survivors at UofC. In September the Chicago Reader published a multi-page, kick ass, feature on Ortiz and others' activism to change how U of C deals with and tries to prevent sexual assault. There were few places you could go in Chicago without seeing the crimson red cover with "DON'T BE A RAPIST" in large white letters.

Photos from social media or public domain pages

Amalia Pallares

Pallares is director of the UIC Latin American and Latino studies program. Up until this past year, I have mainly admired her work from afar. I like to tell people that UIC is chock full of activist-academics and Pallares is no exception. From the publication of her latest book, Family Activism  Immigrant Struggles and the Politics of Noncitizenship, to her leadership to gain undocumented students access to financial aid, she took 2015 by storm. Listen to her comment on Ecuador's attempt to implement an inheritance tax.

Toni Preckwinkle

The President of Cook County started out 2015 in what many thought was weak by not running against Mayor Emanuel (I seriously overheard someone the other day saying she wimped out) to ending with fierceness by launching her former chief of staff, Kim Foxx, to challenge beleaguered Cook County State's Attorney Anita Alvarez. She also stood with Cook County Commissioner Chuy Garcia to call for Alvarez and McCarthy to resign.

Sylvia Puente 

As director of the Latino Policy Forum, Puente has been busy in 2015. She started off the year commenting and analyzing how the Rahm vs. Chuy race would not only end up, but impact Chicago's Latino communities. Puente chimed in when the lone Latino was booted from the Chicago Public School board. Given that 2016 is another election year, she'll be plenty busy discussing if and how Chicago and Illinois' Latino communities find their way to the polls.

Benita Ulisano

You know how some health centers and clinics that provide abortion services often get protesters? Anti-women folks who want to scare the women seeking services into obtaining health care? The mighty who help those women as they approach and enter the clinics are clinic escorts. But how is a scared woman to know which of those standing outside a clinic is her friend and not a foe? Vests. And in 2013 long-time clinic escort Benita Ulisano started, The Clinic Vest Project, an organization that would help clinics around the country obtain vests for their volunteer escorts. "The mission of the Clinic Vest Project is to provide FREE clinic escort vests to groups that service facilities that support the full range of reproductive health options including safe and legal abortion." This year I've proudly watched as Ulisano was interviewed around the interwebs and receiving the accolades this long time reproductive justice warrior deserves.  ​

Patti Vasquez

I had heard the name floating around over the past year or two, but upon further inspection, Vasquez is clearly kicking some ass. First, she's been vocal as a mom of a child with autism. Second, she inked a deal with ABC to create show based on her life:
The Better Half, inspired by Vasquez’s family, centers on a Mexican-American working mother who is a well-intentioned and sometimes-misguided citizen disrupter. She tackles the small and large injustices around her for the greater good, even though many times no one asks her to. Her well-meaning actions create consequences that affect her career, community and home life in the crowded Chicago brownstone she shares with her parents, husband and children.
If ABC isn't scared to be real outside of reality TV, Chicago's activist mom community will give Vasquez plenty to portray.

*~*~*~*

15 fabulous Chicago ladies is not enough to paint the picture of the amazing and transformative work being done in this city and region. Please share your pick for a Chicago woman who owned 2015 in the comments and do include links to her organizations so we can all find some new places to support in 2016.

16 December 2015

GIVEAWAY: "Girl in a Band" by Kim Gordon


It's the giving season! And do I have a doozy for you, my dear readers.

Kim Gordon's memoir came out earlier this year and as you can see from the photo became a NY Times bestseller. It is now out in paperback and I received a copy for review. I'm about half way through the book and I LOVE IT.

Since I am only half way through, this is only a mini-review, but I wanted to get this giveaway out during the holiday season. Plus I know you have been busy giving to others, so why not win something for yourself?

MINI REVIEW

Gordon starts us off at Sonic Youth's last concert and the end of her marriage. To say she is hurt is an understatement. Given that I have not read other things she has written, her sarcastic and pointed writing appears to be influenced by this hurt and betrayal. Gordon's writing is delicious. She gives no fucks and states her opinion on things bluntly. There are a few people she keeps nameless to protect them, so maybe there are a few fucks left to give. But there were fucks given to the gentrification of NYC. Gordon's origin story is typical middle class kid gone off the NYC to be an artist. But of course she really does it and does it so well that she blazes a path for a generation of women to join her on stage. I'm looking forward to finishing this book. And for the record, it's the fastest I have read a non-graphic novel in almost two years. Another win for Gordon!

Please purchase your own copy of Girl in a Band from Powells or Indiebound and support this site. 

Disclaimer: I received a review copy from a publicist.  

GIVEAWAY

I have one copy of the book to giveaway! US addresses only.

How to enter:
  1. Comment with your email address. 
  2. Share this giveaway on social media. Tag me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook or leave the link in the comments for an extra entry. 
  3. Bonus entry if you share a photo of you back in your riot grrrl days.You define your riot grrrl days.
DEADLINE: Thursday, December 24th at 11 pm Central Time. We need to be sleeping so Santa comes, right?

30 November 2015

Giving Tuesday

This year I am asking you to consider giving to one (or both) of these organizations:


Bitch Media is an almost-20-year-old feminist media organization. You may be most familiar with their magazine, but they also publish an amazing blog and podcast. They are independent and rely on reader support. Bitch Media has given a lot of writers their first paid outlet. Recently they launched a fellowship to further support their efforts to launch emerging writers.

Earlier this year, I joined the board of directors. As a board member of Bitch Media, I need your help to raise $1,000 by the end of December 2015. 
  1. Please donate an amount that is a slight stretch for you. It can be $10 or even $100.
  2. Join me in being a sustaining member of Bitch Media by giving a small amount every month. When you do, you get to be a member of the B-Hive! How cool is that name?

The Chicago Abortion Fund (CAF) has a goal of $8,000 this year! They are a 25-year-old organization where countless individuals have turned to for help terminating a pregnancy. The Chicago Abortion Fund fights to overturn economic barriers to reproductive choice. Through direct service, CAF assists women in obtaining safe abortion services. In partnership with the women we serve, CAF engages and mobilizes low-income and poor women to become advocates for expanded reproductive access.

As a former board member of the Chicago Abortion Fund, I am asking you to please help them make choice possible for the women of Chicago.  

Thank you!

29 November 2015

How does a feminist do CyberMonday?

My Poise Messenger Bag circa 2008. Still in use!
By supporting feminist work and buying from feminist-owned businesses. Here are some of my faves, please feel free to include your own in the comments!
I'll add more feminist outlets who will gladly take your money in exchange for goods as CyberMonday goes along!

28 November 2015

Jessica Jones is not the superhero girls want, but she is the one they need


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One of the biggest take home messages from my meeting at Mattel was that according to their research, girls want their superheroes to also save the villain.

Jessica Jones blows that out of the water.

Ok, sure, few of us are going to have our kids watch "Jessica Jones" as it is quite violent, deals with rape and PTSD and has some hot and heavy sex scenes. But I know that many of us comic book geeks allow our kids to idolize superheroes that they don't really know the whole story for. Take for example Xena. My daughter loved Xena well before she ever watched an episode. Ditto for Buffy.

What we can do is start priming our daughters to fall in love with "Jessica Jones."

For those of us who have seen it or don't care about spoilers, let me state my case.

Why Jessica Jones Needs to Be Our Daughters' Hero

  1. She gives no fucks about people liking her: She even spends the first few episodes not returning her best friend/sister's phone calls. Jessica has a mission and will stop at nothing to get that done, even if it means pissing people off. 
  2. She leans all the way in: Jessica would rather be a freelance detective than to be under the thumb of a boss. She is the boss. She makes sure she is paid what she is worth too. I'm pretty sure Jessica is the poster child for "Ban Bossy." 
  3. She calls rape, rape: Jessica was forced to have sex with Killgrave due to his mind control. When he tries to reframe it as romantic, she says hell no and calls him a rapist to his face. 
  4. Her superpower is to see through bullshit: When Killgrave attempts to rewrite their relationship to make it look like Jessica wanted to stay with him, she gives him another serving of "Hell no!" She will accept no gaslighting!
  5. She is comfortable with her sexuality:  Too often girls are raised to believe we do not like sex or should never admit when we do. Jessica is comfortable with her sexuality and unlike other superheros such as Xena and Black Widow, does not use her sexuality to get what she needs.
And back to what girls like to see in a superhero. Jessica tries mightily to not have to kill Killgrave. First she does it because she wants to save Hope from murder charges. Then when she realizes she has her own power over him, she thinks she can harness his powers for good. She does everything she can to NOT kill him. But ultimately she realizes that his evil can't be allowed to live in our world.

Perhaps with guidance our daughters can see that Jessica tried. She did her best to not kill Killgrave. Does that make this anti-death penalty advocate squirm? Hell yes. But even I was questioning keeping him alive at a certain point. Certainly Jessica was smart enough to get Hope off without Killgrave being exposed! At least that was my wish.

In the end, I think that one big reason that Jessica Jones should be a superhero for our daughters is that she is flawed. She is not perfect like Wonder Woman. Jessica has fallen and is trying to make amends while saving the world, much like Xena. As she tells Killgrave, saving a life after taking one is not a way to erase the harm done, but it does help. And really, isn't that what we want our kids to know? That even when you royally screw up, you own up, and work hard the rest of your life to do better?

Now to watch this show again. And again.

27 November 2015

Marching on Black Friday for #LaquanMcDonald

I hiked over to the Mag Mile to be at the start of the Laquan McDonald march. This first photo is from the start of the march at Michigan and the Chicago River. I got there a bit late and the first thing I saw was a white man being arrested. There were conflicting stories or views of what happened. Some people I ran into said it was an act of civil disobedience. A friend I ran into said it looked like a deliberate act to cause trouble. What I can say is that act and some disagreement between individual groups may be why the march ended up split into two sections.

 Here is a better shot of the march filling up Michigan Avenue and heading north from the river.
Often in organizing there is a scrum to get to the head of the press release, march or podium. It is important to the issue who is framed by the media and thus seen by the public as the face of the issue. I heard from chatter that this scrum had occurred between competing organizing groups. There were a few moments in the march where different groups created a line of their supporters to span Michigan avenue. As I walked, I saw three of them. But this moment where young Black people, most like none older than 12, stood arm in arm across Michigan Avenue.

 
This is a shot of the march behind me after I caught up with the front part of the march. At the top of the march, the police tried to keep the march from spanning the entire width of Michigan avenue, but soon enough we took up the whole space. 

 
 Finally made it to Water Tower. Here is where I noticed the police were using their bicycles to create a fence to keep the demonstrators in the street and shoppers out. I was able to slip through a hole and into Water Tower where I was picking up my daughter. 


Once inside Water Tower security locked the doors. I noticed it happening and tried to get out, but I was too slow. Instead we were told to go back up the second floor and exit out the back entrance. Some shoppers were clearly panicked about this situation. It was more like mass claustrophobia set in. After finding my daughter, we left Water Tower and headed out to our long-planned volunteer hour at a neighborhood organization.

It was great to run into friends, especially friends made on the Chuy campaign. It was good to spend some time supporting my Black neighbors, especially BYP100. Sharing these photos and my observances is also in support.

I want to add that while we should be thankful that the demonstrations have been peaceful, we should ask ourselves why we would have expected it otherwise? I know Baltimore and Ferguson burned and Chicago has its own history of burning in outrage, but perhaps this peaceful and thoughtful reaction to the video can help us alter our expectations of how communities act. It will be interesting to see how others who have been organizing in the community can say about why Chicago did not burn or why the others did. Something different happened and it was not just because the mayor told us to behave. 

26 November 2015

#LaquanMcDonald vs other Chicago violence



These two examples showcase a lack of connecting the dots. 

The anger Chicagoans have is not just about 16 shots. It's not just about Laquan McDonald.We have a lot of pent up anger about the violence in this city that emerges from more than just gun barrels.

Yesterday I asked what justice would look like. It would include us building a Chicago where Laquan's family is well supported minimizing the chance of abuse. It includes strong neighborhood schools to nurture & shelter him. It includes a foster care system that is a haven. It means dedicating our police to de-escalation before shooting to kill. 

The tree lights are a symbol of how easy & quickly the mayor went from expressing outage about the video he claimed to have not watched to smiling at the lighting ceremony. That flip was offensive to many. I don't excuse the actions but i understand where they come from. When a family member asked today about the tree, I made a comment about I'm sure the city fixed it quickly because the city really cares about its image.

As for the judge..believe me when I say Chicago has enough rage for every shooting. But perhaps if our papers dedicated a page to every shooting victim that would save them instead of one article for the half dozen every weekend? Maybe the Sunday news should end with a list of everyone who was killed in the city like "This Week" use to do (I don't watch anymore so maybe they still do it) with those killed in combat? 

In the end, for me, the anger over Laquan's death is about all the violence we suffer and endure in this city. I am tired of driving past Chicagoans sleeping in tents. I do not want the city to move them, unless it is to long-term real housing, not just moving them to parts of the city I don't drive through. I am tired of fielding questions on how to find and get into a good school in Chicago. All of these things add to my frustration and anger. I believe this is why the Chicago Teachers Union is joining in the demonstrations. I just hope we can change things with this anger and not just the names of those making decisions. But real change.

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