Having a clean slate is the beauty of a New Year. The slate has been wiped clean of last year’s junk. A clean, new day has dawned. I spent the first day of the New Year immersed in art at a friend’s housewarming party in Brooklyn. The bright sky made me reflect. I used to sit on my stoop, look at the sky and dream of flying away. I did move away for 30 years. But I came back. I’m thrilled that Brooklyn’s still here in all its quirky glory. But Brooklyn has changed. It’s now a brand. What new changes does this New Year hold for you? Will you: Be the change you want to see, a wise person once advised?—(not Gandhi)
Word of the year #WOTY – I chose ‘hope’ as my word because I’m always hopeful. According to Merriam-Webster dictionary the word ‘hope’ means: “to cherish a desire with anticipation: to want something to happen or be true.”
The past year held setbacks and challenges for many. I believe that life is about learning and being active. People of color, especially Black Americans, still face incredible hardships–racism and exploitation. We overcame unbelievable obstacles because we are America’s activists. Yes, we are losing hard-fought ground. But we are still fighting. More on how some black families are losing and holding their ground, land and properties, in a future edition.
Karma- It seems that we are gaining and losing all the time. Happily, we re-gained a little power in politics, culture, and the arts. From a review of some of my 2018 photographs, film, art, and theater remained an important focus for me. Some of my white friends were shocked by social media posts of how bad things are for Blacks and Latino/a/s in America. Thankfully, they are waking up about the harms of racism and slavery that are so prevalent today. I’m glad that America’s future no longer looks white, old, and male. The browning of America is real. Karma is a bitch.
We saw oldsters and youngsters of all backgrounds marching for fairness and justice. I personally participated in more marches during 2016-2018 than I have in years! We agitated for women’s rights, peace, immigration, and fair wages.
#Ageism – I will be protesting more in 2019–especially about racism, sexism and ageism. Speaking of age, my 1970s sisters and brothers held a black alums reunion that was the bomb! Over 200 black alums from multiple generations attended in Washington DC. To see me and my ’70s classmates and others in photographs from the Black Alums of Smith and Amherst College, click here.
My mother once told me: “All women of color in America are political, whether they realize it or not is important.” Being a WOC (woman of color) who is 60+ years old, I definitely feel her.
Some political candidates for governor that I supported did not win—Cynthia Nixon, New York; Stacey Abrams, Georgia; Ben Jealous, Maryland; and Andrew Gilliam, Florida. But, I’m still hopeful.
To see me and others from our Women of Color and Allies for Cynthia Nixon event, click here.
To see our political organizing hub page for Cynthia Nixon, click here.
The recent Midterm elections provided the most hope. Washington’s newly elected officials may be the most diverse in history with forty-two women sworn into Congress this year. Twenty-four women of color comprise the freshman class. This year (2019) opened with a clear shift for women’s political power.
Choosing a word of the year #WOTY was new for me. I decided to do it because it’s supposed to help guide your thinking, especially when life gets cluttered. Thinking about your word should make life easier and more flexible. Instead of feeling guilty about a New Year’s resolution, your word is supposed to help you adjust your goals and plans anytime. We shall see.
Actually, ‘hope’ was always my word. Certainly my gardening and creative media projects started with hopes and intentions. But ‘hope’ is a legacy word for me. I believe my ancestors, who migrated and immigrated, handed this word down to me from their ancestors in China, Africa, Mississippi, Louisiana, Trinidad, Guyana, and Venezuela. Because of them, we can, and still do. No one knows what will happen in the future. But we always have hope!
Whatever paths we take let’s hope that we will continue to eat more plants (less meat and fish), honor our ancestors, be the artists that we were born to be, and build community with all people of good will. This year, Madame Tempy, a radio drama with BBC Radio about my paternal grandmother, is coming to life at this writing. Auntyland, my new media tech platform is back on track.
Stay tuned for more posts from this blog space. What will you create with your clean slate this year! Maybe new pathways, gardens and some great pies! Do you have a word of the year 2019?