living memorials, homeplaces

i was feeling quite down tonight. all day really. with the news of Troy Davis being denied clemency this morning, my whole day has been clouded with a deep anger and sadness at the state of our world.

luckily i was rescued by my crew of political comrades who came and swept me away to a lively and creative discussion on the process of moving from being a bystander to being a witness. when we speak of witnessing (in liberation psychology) we are pushing forward a witnessing that involves action. my sadness quickly turned into a rage that i could share and use to help fuel our conversations and actions to follow.

i’ve been seeking this political homeplace for years now. everyone i met in l.a. doing any sort of organizing work, i’d secretly hope that they would also be interested in created a collective, an organization that moves change. a place where we can practice our prefigurative politics starting with the way we build relationships with each other and then from there stem out into the rest of the world. i’ve tasted this home before. melancholy doesn’t let me forget my roots.

engaging in these change the world conversations has given me new language in which to share my vision and a newly co-created one with the teatro-group (we’ll come up with a name soon…). it’s fascinating to me how folks in the l.a. organizing world, people i would think to be more than just radical, but truly on the path to being revolutionary come out with their ideas for how change can happen. so much of it is tied to recycling the masters tools rather than creating our own tools and utilizing those.

i’m particularly interested in conversations involving revolution in south central. first of all, most non profit organizers and even most collective or individual activists are not truly talking about a revolution in south central, or anywhere else. they be talking about change through laws and policy changes. i’m working with the young people and the organization i call my second home, is pushing a politic directly out of line with what i believe will truly bring change for our communty(s). it’s insane to be talking to someone (a paid staff person) who is asking me to frame our “free the streets” work in the lens of “how can the city better plan bike facilities?”


i’m not saying that’s not an important lucha or question. but Really?!@! that is where our conversation with young people is gonna start??!@!

no, no, no. not under my watch.

when i asked the youth what “free the streets” means to them…they said it means to arrest the cops so that they can ride freely and without fear of being stopped, harassed, hard earned bikes stolen by the so-called authorities, and/or arrested.

thats what free the streets means to most people in south central. freeing the streets does not mean, begging the city for more bike lanes and then waiting to see if they come through for our community or not.

taking back the streets, freeing the streets, means exactly that


take them back…not, wait till someone gives you permission to be on the streets.

damn, i’m on a role here. infuriated at the organizing strategies of these non profits invading our community. el cambio will never come if we believe the rhetoric they be spitting out.

the title of this blog entry is living memorials, homeplaces. let me bring it back here now. to me a living memorial is one that we co-create and transform as we transform. a living memorial validates, witnesses, humanizes our REAL experience in the NOW. i’m fascinated by the memory movements all over the world, folks trying to reclaim memory lost or strategically erased by powers that be. i wanna be a part of a memory movement that reclaims not only our past hxtories but the memory of the now. the creation of a new hxtory based on how we conscientize ourselves and eachother, what hxstory do we reclaim, and how do we vomit out all the bullshit that we are fed on the daily via la pinche television, the bad-education we are forced to swallow at the so called places of education/schools, etc. etc. you know i could go on. yes, its that kinda night.

let us not let them fool us. the death penalty is not an isolated issue that we must take on compartmentalized from all other injustices we witness. to fight against the death penalty, to fight for the right to life means we take on all issues as interconnected. there may or may not be 1 root to the problems we see but lets not get lost there either. bottom line is we need cambio in this world. some serious changes that will not be given to us by changing laws or policies. it won’t change when we “vote” in a new president or mayor. el cambio is gonna come when we bring it. when we move from the individual mind set to the communal, from the role of bystanders that we all play (silently watching las injusticias happen) to loud witnesses that no longer stay quiet but scream out in unison YA BASTA! one individuals voice may not be able to change much so i call for all of us to consider the importance of belonging to organizations, collectives, groups that stir your heart and mind, causing you to take action.

ya basta with the silent bystander persona within all of us. people are struggling, we are struggling, and by closing our doors to movement making out of fear, tiredness, lack of time, or simple convenience change is never gonna come.

*this entry was written over the span of 2 days. started friday with the witnessing the criminalization of the the youth and editing and finishing up the piece tonight after Troy was killed.



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