What kind of relationship do you have with the Ancestors?

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Where Are the Voices of Men: Men's Silence is Men's Violence

Men.  Where are our voices?  Where are we speaking out?  Where are we standing up? 

Women and the LGBTQ community have been observing our fatal silence for quite some time now.  They have told us gently, quietly, angrily and powerfully. When the metoo movement occurred (thank you, Tarana Burke), we chimed in with our tepid support, our questions, our veiled guilt, our stories of trauma, our resistance, our fragility. When the main, deep-heart tsunami wave of metoo settled, we seemed to go back into the shadows, hiding, not even needing to run away as we were already used to being present, but inert in our privilege while still being caustic in our misogyny lukewarm to freezing cold in our activism against rape (anti-)culture, heterosexism, entitlement and patriarchal violence.

Don’t get me wrong.  I see men working at this.  Boston locals Martin Henson of B Men and Jonathan Barry are organizing a workshop series in early 2020 to engage men in our causing of harm in our communities.  This work will be powerful, is necessary and must be joined.  I know of numerous men’s organizations that are dealing with intimacy, power, oppression and emotional maturity in the New England reason.  The work behind two Men’s Gatherings have brought them together to get to know each other as individuals and organizations and to support the work of men toward becoming better men. This work needs to be joined.

That said, so much more needs to be done.  So much more needs to be learned.  So much more needs to be heard.  So much more needs to be said.  And I am concerned for the dearth, the violent silence of men’s voices speaking up on behalf of women and LGBTQ lives and security.  I am concerned for the silence of men around our needs to grow, to deepen to broaden, to become stronger in our vulnerability and insight on our thinking, behaviors and energies.

How many African and indigenous women, other Women of Color have to disappear, be kidnapped, be trafficked, be killed before European/white men speak out and step up on their behalf?  How many children need to be groomed and sexually engaged online, predated upon in real time and space by adult men before we as men speak out and step up on their behalf?  How many women and girls and other need to be raped and assaulted before men speak out and step up on their behalf?  How many more wives and LGBTQ partners have to be the survivors (or not) of men’s domestic violence?  How many women who simply say no to men wanted to dance or meet or have sex with them have to be assaulted or killed….yes, killed for saying no?

Reportedly, 5 million women in India recently formed a human chain 385 miles long to protest patriarchal men’s violence in that country. Where was the line of five million men behind them?

Written by Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed. facilitator and presenter for Men's Work, an initiative of the World Ancestor Concert Team.

Ukumbwa Sauti, a producer of the World Ancestor Concert, program developer, workshop facilitator and educator, can be reached at mojamediaworks [at] gmail [dot] com or at his personal email, ukumbwa [at] gmail [dot] com. Mention Where Are the Voices of Men in the subject line.

Thank you.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Tonight's Men's Work Open Discussion Experience

I went in to this evening off of a call with four great men with whom I'd co-created a men's gathering of about 35 men mostly all of whom were in or organizing men's groups. I was only able to stay on the call for ten minutes as I had an event to prep for tonight and my printer needed maintenance, I had gotten busy with some daily work and I had woken up super-fatigued and depleted. I hadn't eaten all day, riding on one cup of coffee.

The call left me warm, emotional and rushed as I felt pressed to get necessary things done for the Men's Work discussion event. My partners on the call made sure they shared their appreciations of me after I gave brief (rushed and incomplete, though heartfelt) impressions of our gathering of men the previous weekend. I was grateful for my short call attendance and broken open emotionally as I really needed personal support in that moment. Deeply grateful.

As I left the house to catch my approaching bus, I committed to getting another cup of coffee before getting to the Democracy Center, a modern, fleeting nod to self care. Luckily the bus moved swiftly against rush hour directional flows, so I also had time to stop and get those chocolate kisses candies, which I choose for Men's Work because I think it's clever that I give kisses to men seeking to address patriarchy inside and outside of themselves (I tell them that during sessions).

But I actually got there early and set up the space impeccably with directional signs, warm lighting and ample varied seating options, all my materials set up including some recently scored swag from The Network La Red, an organization supporting assault survivors in the LGBTQ community and beyond. I set up this series of Open Discussions to invite people into communal engagement around issues and experiences with patriarchy, misogynoir/misogyny, rape culture and related issues. No confirmation or RSVP required.

The first attendee came in. He had emailed me previously to confirm the event and had met me at another feminist-oriented discussion series I help organize. We greeted and settled into principled conversation amidst discussion of the projected time of the event and other things. It was about 6:55pm and the discussion was scheduled for 7pm. He asked if he got the time wring. I assured him he hadn't.

For the next hour and a half we shared experiences and critique of the system of patriarchy and the culture we lived inside of, international cultural differences, media portrayals, personal feelings, ideas about the struggle against patriarchy in general and specific, the nature, positive and negative, of social media on that struggle, how social media relates to on the ground behavior amongst a number of other key things that seemed so profound and important.

It was exactly the kind of sharing and discussion I intend into these spaces. We shared how important it was to have people talk and relate and learn in person as the space where real advancements occur. He shared his cynicism along with my pragmatic idealism with regard to the effectiveness of online engagement. And the dynamics of in-person sharing from our minds and hearts were clear, powerfully, to both of us. I shared my desire that that discussion we created could have been shared with ten or fifteen other people, the diverse gathering of liberators I fantasize about all so often for this world.

I was so grateful, am so grateful for his generosity, humanity, intelligence, conviction and time spent, shared with me for all the above reasons, what feel like very good reasons. I project and intend for the spaces I create to be full of authentic, caring, justice and compassion-motivated humanity, many of these spaces populated by men willing to go there, too, regardless of numbers, though I also intend greater numbers within these spaces.

There are issues of language, communication, timing, energy that I seek to become wiser, more "skillful" in. I seek to be better in my invitations to people who are like me and who aren't, in whatever way that expresses itself. I seek to guide people to the power of communal sharing and commitment to change to a world healed by loving, principled intent and hard work.

And I wish many others to be a part of conversations like I was gifted with tonight.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Men's Work: Up from Digital Silence

Silence is violence. Saying nothing, doing nothing, staying neutral in the face and as the face of patriarchy, as men only helps patriarchy and men's violence against women and the LGBTQ community stay sustained and empowered. This systemic, widespread oppression must be interrupted, challenged and dismantled if we truly care for women and humanity at large. We men have to begin to expand our awareness, speak up, change our behaviors and do better to be better men.

These social media ideas are simple, normal and relatively easy, but they are simple, easy things that men seem very reluctant or afraid to do that would signal progressive support, share good information and perspectives and help create a more aware and just society through more activated, aware and supportive men.

Follow 7 Ways Up from Digital Silence

Here are seven ways men can begin or continue the process of learning more about, engaging and challenging men's sexist, permissive and violent behavior and dismantling patriarchal systems:

1) Click "like", "love" or otherwise support posts, tweets, blog entries, articles that are supportive of women, the LGBTQ community and Gender Non-Conforming (GNC) folk. Be careful of posts or comments by men that mention women, but center or focus upon men's feelings or narrow interests. Sometimes what at first "feels right" and comfortable, may not be right. Challenging patriarchy, misogynoir/misogyny, rape culture and men's violence against women should often leave men uncomfortable as we embrace new, progressive and challenging ideas and behaviors in a changing world.

2) Share/retweet posts, articles that are being supported or shared by women, LGBTQ people or men who are generally and demonstrably affirmed by women and queer folk to be reliable advocates or allies. This is often referred to as amplifying women's and other marginalized voices. It always helps to pull out a short or salient quote to add to the repost to interest others. If you feel comfortable enough, put in a sentence or two in your own words why you think other men should read and respond to the post. Personalizing a post with your perspective can help other men to feel more comfortable with approaching challenging information. After all, we are here also to help other men be better men. This is not just about interpersonal behaviors and relationships, but also social, communal and political patterns of behavior.

3) Tag a friend or friends that you know would benefit from reading the post or seeing the video. Let him/them know you thought he'd/they'd be interested and invite them to talk about it in a direct or private message or chat space or there on the post if possible. Even sharing a few words or a feeling or resonant idea from the post can go a long way to building better skills around supporting women and the healing of men. The more each of us shares online, the more of us beyond ourselves will learn and grow and possibly become part of the solution.

4) When in doubt, pause, listen, read/view again and come back to the post to be sure of what you are attempting to support. Know that you will make mistakes in any process of learning. And know that an introspective and compassionately curious delay in responding, engaging, commenting or reposting is better than a disinterested, privileged, permissive and disrespectful momentum of silence.

5) After looking at posts, articles or videos that mention popular, reliable or helpful books, authors, writers or documentaries, simply post a link to that book's, author's or documentary's official website. Adding an invitation to men in your circle to read, view, support or purchase the resource, again, helps other men stay open to new information that challenges male oppression of women and the LGBTQIA community. Keep it simple and consider letting people know your feelings and why it's important that they engage what you are sharing with them.

6) Use hashtags (e.g., #NowIsTheTime) to increase the reach of good, informative posts, articles and videos and provide other people pathways to new, more diverse information and resources. Find relevant, trending hashtags and/or the ones used on the original post. The World Ancestor Concert Team uses a few newer hashtags in its Men's Work initiative. The Team urges you to use #MensWork on posts that inform on general history and current realities of patriarchy, misogynoir/misogyny, sexism, heterosexism, homophobia and transphobia and help clarify information that assists men in changing negative and oppressive behaviors and to challenge systemic oppression of women and the LGBTQIA community. Use #MenTakeNotice to bring focus or simple, basic attention to urgent social action, warnings and updates from marginalized populations with awareness-raising posts, videos or other media. Posts, resources and educational opportunities from rape crisis and domestic violence support centers are appropriate for this hashtag. #MenHealingMen is used to tag posts that highlight how men are positively engaging each other personally and socially, programmatically and/or professionally in informal or formal ways. Workshops like those offered by moja mediaworks, activists and educators like Tony Porter or Jackson Katz or other men's, local, regional or national organizations are good resources to tag. Be free to use these and other helpful hashtags, especially more than one relevant tags to help others find good information more easily. We urge people to use #MensWork as a great general hashtag for any of these kinds of posts. Keep in mind the recent, yet historic power of the metoo hashtag/movement created by Tarana Burke.

7) Identify and study new vocabulary, terms and Ideas that come up in your social media network from women, LGBTQ folk and trusted, reliable media sources. Start a note in a note keeping app or a document on your cellphone or tablet and create a learning list. Commit to learning new vocabulary or a term every 1-3 days. You can also refer to the vocabulary list provided by moja mediaworks at the following URL, bottom of the page: http://www.worldancestorconcert.com/resources-antisexism-dismantlepatriarchy

Keep in mind and heart that though these steps may be rudimentary or simple, they can be important directly and in a larger process of learning, supporting women and other populations targeted by men's violence, rape culture, harassment, sexualized assault and patriarchy in general. Women's and other peoples lives are in real danger every day because of sexism, heterosexism, transphobia and other forms of oppression. Being observant, humble, patient and listening to women's, LGBTQ and other marginalized voices and believing them, trusting them will help us understand what's really at stake on the other side of male privilege, oppression and violence.

Many people oppressed by men's words, coercion, behavior and male-controlled organizations, corporations and social systems have expressed serious and principled concerns, frustrations and righteous anger at men's silence, lack of engagement and support, our seeming unwillingness to learn, grow and support positive social change and justice. The more we look and listen, the easier it is to understand how they come to these conclusions about us. Changing even our online behaviors, especially in this digital age, may yet be an important or necessary catalyst and motivator for changing our real, embodied and on-going behaviors and challenging systems and structures of oppression (social, educational, financial/economic, medical, religious, legal/judicial, governmental, ...). 

For more information about Men's Work, visit http://www.worldancestorconcert.com/menswork.

See also our Workshops and Workshop Resources page links. Be free also to join, learn and connect in our Men's Work Facebook group linked to our World Ancestor Concert Facebook page.

Ukumbwa Sauti, a producer of the World Ancestor Concert, program developer, workshop facilitator and educator, can be reached at mojamediaworks [at] gmail [dot] com or at his personal email, ukumbwa [at] gmail [dot] com. Mention Men's Work or Up From Digital Silence in the subject line.

Thank you.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Dismantling Racism for Non-PoC/Non-Indigenous People


  1. Know that feeling helpless as a person of privilege is a privilege.  Sharing that with People of Color and indigenous people does nothing to help the situation and is extremely frustrating to PoC/indigenous people who have no choice but to deal with racism and colonialism all day, every day no matter how they feel about it.  How you feel about racism and colonialism is not more important or more primary than the lived experiences of people who are targeted constantly by racism and colonialism.
  2. Study readily accepted definitions of racism and colonialism as used by People of Color and indigenous people
  3. Know the difference between racism and prejudice.  Don't confuse the two.
  4. Understand what European/white supremacy and privilege is, how it affects you and how your private and public behaviors reflect those pathologies
  5. Don't center your own stories and feelings in conversations about racism and intersectional oppressions.  Learn to be quiet and make space for marginalized voices.  If you cannot do that, you are adding insult and often more injury to already present and historical injury.
  6. Call other European/white people out/in when you hear them speaking in racist/colonial ways. Educate those closest to you. Share helpful posts and information/writing in your social media networks by People of Color and indigenous people.
  7. Don't participate in "tone policing", telling People of Color and indigenous people how they should feel or to stop being angry when you are in conversation or discussion, in their digital or real life spaces.  How people share about their experiences of you or the systems of racism and colonialism is important information for you, no matter how you are feeling in the moment about it.  Learn from their human experience and be humble in conversation and action.
  8. Acknowledge and deal with your discomfort around talking openly about racism, white privilege and oppression.  Do your inner and external community work.  It isn't about you, but you are responsible for dismantling racism and oppressive social and political systems and structures because humanity and justice are important to you.

  9. Know that you don't have all the answers and the people who are suffering from being targeted by racism and colonialism are the experts on how to dismantle it and what needs to be done.
  10. Send financial and in-kind donation support to organizations and people in the indigenous and People of Color communities and spaces.  It is important to repurpose the funds and access that you have reaped due to historical privilege and oppression of marginalized communities and populations.  Reparations is also an expression of this level of justice work.
  11. Support protest and direct action by financial, material and technical support if neededShow up if you are welcome and be respectful and informed in your presence.  Embodied protest and resistance, whether they lead to arrests or not, are serious and often put People of Color and indigenous peoples at physical, social and economic risk.  Be prepared to stand behind or side by side (or in front if asked) with indigenous peoples and People of Color in these spaces.  Make sure that your actions and messaging is in keeping with the leadership of the action and those communities.  Do not go to other communities' protests and actions for the selfie opportunities.  If that is your motivation, you are better off staying home and continuing to study what is daily and historically at stake for indigenous peoples and People of Color.
  12. Constantly learn about the systemic nature of racism, intersectional oppression and colonialism.  Become clearly informed on how and where racism and oppression show up in the social, economic and political structures of your local, state and federal governments and around the world.  Know that the dominant (anti-)culture resists learning about how to identify these systems and patterns and there are people who will directly and incorrectly criticize you for seeking clarity. 
  13. Do an informal and/or formal cultural assessment of your place of work/school/ organization to define
    1. if there is a diversity policy/statement/program
    2. if the diversity policy is being funded, supported
    3. if the diversity policy is being implemented
    4. what the goals are for this program, are they adequate and are they being substantively influenced, controlled by indigenous people or People of Color
    5. who or what department is responsible for seeing the diversity program implemented
    6. if People of Color, indigenous people, women are being paid equally for equal levels and responsibilities of work
    7. what the patterns of work are across the organization.  Are more PoC, indigenous people and women contract, part-time, temporary as opposed to salaried or tenured?  Are there more in custodial services than in management?  What are the demographics of the board or administration?  Are marginalized peoples in token or window-dressing roles?
    8. if People of Color, indigenous people, women are holding similar levels of control and responsibility as their European/white counterparts
    9. what the hiring and firing practices/history has been around marginalized populations
    10. what the effects of racism within the organization has been within the organization and how it is best to move forward to hold the organization accountable for systemic change/transformation. How will you share this information with the PoC there?  Have they done this work already?  When and how do the PoC need to move forward to hold the organization to their policies or to better, yet unwritten policies/demands?  What strategies and tactics will be used for change?  Will you need support of unions/departments/particular people or the external community?  Be honest and open about whether you are willing to jeopardize your job/position in the interest of justice and anti-oppression.  Keep in mind that many more PoC, indigenous people and women have paid a higher price for longer than you may be considering.
  14. Raise the issues of race and oppression at work/school/social organizations.  Open the conversations and create allies and learning processes in the interest of making substantive change in your organization.  Get answers that help chart paths of change and transformation. Persist in that work.  It is part of the justice process.
  15. Join or organize groups of your peers and others to meet regularly to educate yourselves and others and mobilize people for actions to support Communities of Color and indigenous people.
  16. Bring groups of informed and motivated activists to demand answers and accountability at police stations, courthouses, city halls/statehouses, housing authorities, etc,... when government officials/police are complicit and guilty of racist and oppressive activity or messaging/policy.  Seek out and confirm leadership of indigenous people and People of Color when you begin organizing or mobilizing actions.  Make sure those organizers/speakers are informed early in the process.  Be willing to accept their leadership and direction if they so choose to give it.
  17. Bring groups of informed and motivated activists to demand answers and accountability at insurance companies, banks, businesses, transportation companies, retail outlets, restaurants, etc,… when employees, staff and/or management are complicit and guilty of racist and oppressive activity or messaging. Seek out and confirm leadership of indigenous people and People of Color when you begin organizing or mobilizing actions.  Make sure those organizers/speakers are informed early in the process.  Be willing to accept their leadership and direction if they so choose to give it.
  18. Occupy places of racist activity and resist the presence of racist and oppressive organizations or groups of people everywhere, whether they are a school, group of neighbors, suit-wearing business people or members of a country club. Demand change with the presence of your body.
  19. Call your government/civil servants to support anti-racist and anti-oppression legislation and policyHold them accountable with your emails, letters petitions, phone calls, texts and physical presence when they step out of line with what PoC and indigenous peoples need.  Know that due to European/white/class privilege, your direct interests may not be reflected in that work.  Those sacrifices are often necessary to create greater justice for everyone.  If you are not ready to make sacrifices, you should possibly continue to educate yourself on the nature of racism and oppression and what it means in the daily and historical lives of oppressed populations.
  20. Hold local and national TV/radio/media stations and outlets accountable when they disseminate racist and oppressive or appropriative media.  Agitate and protest for stories and narratives, images of PoC/indigenous peoples made by PoC/indigenous people.  This could mean resisting colonial narratives in westerns, "classic" films, boycotting theaters that show racist movies, organizing call-in campaigns against racist DJs/radio personalities, un-joining journalism or other websites that hire racist writers.
  21. Boycott all racist companies and corporations, even when it is not convenient for you.  There is a cost to creating cultures of justice. Avoiding your inconvenience is not worth the on-going oppression of even one person.  Clearly, too many people are affected by the continuity of many corporations and businesses and they must be put in check and change their practices as soon as possible. Support and buy from PoC/indigenous owned/controlled companies and businesses.
  22. Study and learn about environmental racism.  Dismantle the privileges that you are afforded by certain public "services" like incinerators, landfills or waste dumps being located in or near Communities of Color/indigenous people.  Understand that environmental groups and non-profits can be just as racist as any profit-hungry corporation.  How much you like a particular organization may have nothing or everything to do with how it supports and facilitates structures and practice of racism and oppression.
  23. Consider the inevitability sweeping future changes in national and regional governance, economics and land and resource allocation when you manifest the correct political and cultural changes into anti-racism and decolonization.  be willing to step up powerfully into that process of positive change.
  24. Learn empathy and compassion beyond your own narrow, limited and particular needs and those of privileged populations that benefit from the oppression of others.

We do not suggest that these are the only things or all the best things to be done in the interest of dismantling racism and colonialism, but that this is our offering to the work already going on all over the world, our offering to motivate and activate new workers for justice across the Global Village and create support for those who have made such serious and effective steps in this interest to date. 

We thank all those that came before us that showed us the way to reawaken us to what it means to live in a world of justice, balance, validation and peace.

#Ancestors  #womenwaterpeace #nowisthetime  #thetimeisnow

© 2017 Ukumbwa Sauti, M.Ed., moja mediaworks llc

Thursday, February 8, 2018

"Black Panther" - Because Just Short of Vibranium, Africa Just About Had All The Rest of That Covered

Long-awaited Marvel Studios film, "Black Panther", comes out of the gate (equine metaphor, spiritual portal or otherwise) on February 16th in the USAmerica.  In a world where Africa and Africans have fought colonialism, racism, misogynoir, economic exploitation and cultural genocide, relevant, supportive and inspirational cultural media representation can take on mythic dynamics. Especially when something like "Black Panther" comes along in an age of powerful cinematic, visual, sound and effects ascendancy, the possibilities for even small, but profound shifts and awakenings become very, very real. 

Though the storyline is fictitious, its scaffolding follows many historical and political benchmarks of the African experience.  The World Ancestor Concert Team wanted to present a few resources to help people ground themselves in that historical context, to look more deeply at the Ancestral gifts that are rich and ubiquitous in Africa, far beyond the abyss of predominant negativity and devastation that the mainstream and colonial media would have you, African or not, believe and respond to.

Black Panther, womenwaterpeace, African women, womanism
image from imdb.com

The first resource, an article by The Root, is an extremely helpful and timely look at the connection of what looks like it will be an amazing film to the realities of African history.  We at WAC and moja mediaworks invite you to look more deeply into the historical beauty and genius that is Africa, along with its struggles.  We look forward to conversations with you about this film and Africa, the gifts of the Ancestors and more.

  1. Black Panther: An Allegory of the World Wanting Blackness but Not Black People, Carolyn Hinds, The Root 
    "But like the Portuguese, Ross and Klaue will learn that black people—particularly black women—will fight tooth and nail to protect what’s theirs. In Wakanda, there is a resisting force of warriors known as the Dora Milaje, and like Queen Nzinga of Ndongo (now known as Angola) and the legendary female Dahomean army, the Dora Milaje, led by their general, Okoye, and aided by Shuri’s technology, will do what they must to protect their king and kingdom against all invaders because they have no other choice."
  2. "Introduction to African Civilizations", John G. Jackson
  3. "The African Origin of Civilization: Myth or Reality" - Cheikh Anta Diop
  4. "Let The Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora" - Marimba Ani
  5. "Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race from 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.", Chancellor Williams
  6. "How Europe Underdeveloped Africa" - Walter Rodney
    "This year marks the 40th anniversary of the publication of Walter Rodney’s How Europe Underdeveloped Africa. Every now and then in history a scholarly enterprise emerges that breaks new ground and provokes an impact that exceeds the confines of narrow academia. Walter Rodney’s seminal work in combination with his other projects performed precisely this function for Africa and beyond. Its publication and reception exemplified the strains and fissures in the scholarship focused on the continent at the time. It would go on to become one of the most influential books in the ‘Third World’.

    When it emerged in 1972 the book was hailed in Dar-es-Salaam as ‘probably the greatest book event in Africa since Frantz Fanon’. Wole Soyinka, the African novelist went further. He suggested that Rodney was one of the first ‘solidly ideologically situated intellectuals ever to look colonialism and exploitation in the eye and where necessary, spit in it’." - Forty Years of 'How Europe Underdeveloped Africa' - Pambazuka News, 2012, Nigel Westmaas
  7.  Dr. John Henrik Clarke - Africa: Empires of Ghana & Mali - YouTube

Please take some time to look into any or all of the above resources on African history and culture.  Any and all of these will enrich your experience of "Black Panther" whether you get to them before you see it or soon (!) after. We look forward to hearing from you around these important issues of culture, tradition and, of course, the Ancestors.

Enjoy the film!

#culture #tradition #Africa #Ancestors #worldancestorconcert #womenwaterpeace

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

"Even If...: Las Vegas to Lost Humanity" - Ukumbwa Sauti, WAC Team

Even if a rich, privileged European man hadn't walked unscathed into a posh Las Vegas hotel overlooking a music festival with 23 heavy firearms, shot and killed 59 people and injured over 500 people from a 32nd floor room window by premeditated, calculated violent ideation and action, the discussion and engagement of the fatal, emotional, psychic, anti-spiritual, anti-earth, anti-woman, anti-life, physical and political violence inherent in the modern and historical conception of masculinity and manhood, particularly also that in European masculinity and manhood, is a dynamic in immediate and emergent need of attention, interrogation and resolution.

Designed by Freepik

Even without the direct and deleterious actions of Stephen Paddock or Dylan Roofe or Timothy McVeigh or Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Jefferson or Colonel Chivington or General Custer or Stephen Collins or Jared Fogle or Brock Turner or Bill O'Reilly or Cardinal Bernard Law or Jayson Newlun or Pope Benedict XVI or Pope Alexander VI or Fr. John Geoghan or Pope Nicholas V or King Alfonso V or Criminal Columbus or Fr. Junipero Serra or Bishop Thomas O'Brien or Rev. F. David Broussard or Most Rev. Harry Flynn or Archbishop John Nienstedt or Auxiliary Bishop Lee Anthony Piché or Fr. Andrew White or US Army Officer Richard Henry Pratt or Augusto Pinochet or King Leopold or Cecil Rhodes or Daniel Francois Malan or F.W. DeKlerk or P.W. Botha or Ronald Reagan or Lyndon B. Johnson or Charles Manson or Cardinal Bernard Law or the Steubenville rapists or the gangs of European men who terrorized Africans  in Tulsa, Oklahoma or Rosewood or Charlottesville or who terrorized and murdered and raped Africans and indigenous women, people in every southern, northern, western or northern State of the United States of America or stolen country of Africa, South America, Asia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand or the Spanish Inquisitors or the perpetrators of the European Burning Times, we would probably still need to address, discuss, engage and resolve the violent thread of masculinity that has become the hallmark of modern manhood and how it is expressed, embodied, enculturated and projected into our present and future.

Designed by Freepik

Even without the constant rehashing, reforming, revalidating, retrenching of the faux-sacred and anti-culturally protected status of violence and misogyny and heterosexism and toxic masculinity inherent and lauded in video games and video gamers, in Return of Kings and Men's Rights Activist and pornographic and white supremacist websites, in christian biblical references, in the sermons from pulpits the world over, the sideshow exhortations of predatory christian televangelists, in 50 Shades of Grey, in World Wrestling Entertainment, in "That 70's Show", in every Elvis Presley and Frankie Avalon movie, in "The Godfather" series and just about every mob, gang, Goodfellas and Scarface film ever made, in every Pulp Fiction twisted teenage European man white-boy director got-no-chains-on-me-cuz-I'm-more-street-than-KRS-One-in-Harlem Django Unchained white privilege, total appropriation fantasy, in just about every single Hollywood and elsewhere western movie, tv show or cartoon that disrespected and distorted indigenous life and culture, erased Africanity and constantly diminished and degraded womanhood, men would be duty bound to interrogate our own presence in the world, dismantling male privilege in our families, in our jobs, our colonial and anti-colonial political parties, in our colonial organizations and structures, in our liberation movements, our cathedrals, mosques, synagogues, temples and urban and suburban and rural street corner and store-front Stockholm-syndrome-gospel churches, to consider and compassionately deal with how far and globally wide manspreading actually goes, to relearn the importance of the divine feminine inside all bodies and the earth Herself and if we are going to kill anything, we should cease being the "tyranny of evil men" and be killing patriarchy.

Designed by Freepik

Even and especially now, men have to find out, inquire and learn about what men are about.  this is and will be no small personal, local, regional, national and/or global task.  It is the one we must move forward into. Our lives and the quality of our lives and loves depend on it.

Postscript: If you are a man that is pretty completely ensconced in your toxic masculinity and male privilege, you will take this offering as a threat to you.  That is not completely true.  It is an attack, or better, a reconnaissance on the twisted part of us men (repeat - part of us) that festers in spite of all our claims of being good men.  Little of what I have written above is debatable, but it is definitely up for discussion and it is my distinct hope that men can stop being afraid...of becoming and being better men.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

"Special" - Sherrilene Collymore

"What makes Me feel special?
I'm only a little kid
Who am I to walk this life
Feeling good about what I did?"
There's all these people around
Clearly bigger, prominent, authoritarian,
They're confident, seeming to know their place,
I'm tiny... only have this Vision!

A blur in the background,
Best not making noise,
Really to keep the home comfy,
Not required to have a voice.
Those traits that come to you so natural,
Well, that's what you're here for!!
Why would you think You special?
What's there for one to adore?

Well, my dear love although unseen,
You're seen by who you must.
Your character and determination
Are not without remark by some you can trust!
Some, who also have experienced,
Have lived in the shadow, in dark.
Some who despite doing the right thing
Might as well have been out in the park.

Hey, God provides all the human needs
And is rarely thought of specially.
What really is the human mind thinking?
You slip through the cracks naturally.
But indeed there are always others.
Eyes open, scanners awake!
Seeking the good, the helpful, the honest,
In the mind that the good road we'll take.

Don't doubt that you're indeed special,
That your special self isn't well made.
Keep close the belief there are no mistakes.
No, with Creation, no big game played.
You're special because a very conscious
Creation ordered for You!
Keep that clear vision in Motion
Show our world who's special too!

photo by Ukumbwa Sauti, flora c/o SB...oh, and the Creator 


Sherrilene Collymore is a Facilitator in Business; the owner/operator of HQ2 - the Human Quality Headquarters. She is multilingual and well traveled to Scandinavia, Europe, Cuba, Kenya and the Caribbean region. Sherrilene loves dancing, writing, children, research and hiking.
She aspires to contribute to the refinement of education and enterprise (business) in the region and the diaspora. Sherrilene was trained in Barbados, France, Holland, Spain and Sweden in Management, International Business, research, languages and the sciences generally.
She has an interest in sustainable development and Education, Leadership and Excellence.