Friday, March 25

"That can't be God..."

Tim Wise is an anti-racist educator and author from Nashville, TN.

I went to see him speak on Wednesday at Pacific Lutheran University with some friends and with my supervisor (yeah, she's a great boss).

So, Tim shared a lot of powerful information, history, truths and personal stories.

One out of many stories he shared that I appreciated most was this one...

Here, Tim Wise talks about addressing race with his young daughters as they watch "Evan Almighty," where God is played by actor, Morgan Freeman.

He talks about the impact of racialized images in our society, specifically, the common racialized images of God and what that communicates.

Wednesday, March 16

The journey to Maya Angelou...

In 2008, Maya Angelou came to Seattle. I was so excited, and I wanted nothing more than to see her...but tickets were I passed.

Fast forward to Dec 2010 - Maya Angelou is coming back to Seattle...this time it wasn't about whether I wanted to go...I had to go. And how crazy was it that when I called the box office, a few days after tickets went on sale, there were still front row seats available.

I had it in my mind, that some guy from Boeing, Microsoft, or some fancy schmancy Book Club would have acquired the entire front section by this point, just because it was Maya...but the seats were still open and after freaking out, asking the guy on the phone how long he could hold the seats, emailing friends, facebooking friends, calling friends, running around my office to see "who's coming with me?" and freaking out again...8 friends and I were able to get a group rate for the best seats at The Paramount to see Dr. Maya Angelou.

This was a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I had to be there. It was even better to know that I could share this moment with so many good people in my life who loved Maya too.

My first exposure to Maya Angelou was when I was about 13 years old through 'Poetic Justice'... I had never heard someone describe a black woman so creatively with so much beauty, elegance, and strength. As I heard Janet Jackson quote Maya's 'Phenomenal Woman' piece, I thought, I need to get to know who this writer is. This is so different than anything I've ever heard.

After that, I began to write and read poetry, and learn about other writers on my own because they were never mentioned in school. Poets and writers like Nikki Giovanni, James Baldwin, Langston Hughes and Rita Dove...

Maya's words, her influence, her brilliance opened up a new world for me, it was very magical for me at that age.


So here I am, March 14th 2011, 30 years old...going to see Maya Angelou in Seattle...craziness :D!

Her presence made the city warmer, more colorful...And yes, I definitely noticed an increase of people who looked like me walking around downtown Seattle...the crowd was diverse and different, and I loved it.

After meeting with friends, happy hour, taking photos, passing out tickets, watching an usher's funny facial expression when she found out we had front row tickets, running to the bathroom and two great opening acts...
I am at my seat, and Maya is introduced...

...the curtain raises, and there she is smiling in red. I am caught between a scream and a cry..."I LOVE YOU MAYA!" and then some silence...some shock, I sit down and start crying...this is so corny...but I was really like a dream to be there and to finally see her.

She began singing, "i shall not, i shall not be moved, just like the tree that's planted by the water, i shall not be moved..."

One of the first pieces she shared:

She does not know her beauty, she thinks her brown body has no glory. If she could dance naked under palm trees and see her image in the water, she would know. But there are no palm trees on the street, and dishwater gives back no images.

Throughout the evening she moved in and out of sharing her poetry, the work of others who inspired her, stories about history, faith, family, community, travelling...and all of this while making us laugh, reflect, and stay captivated.

She is 82 years old and lovely...I was so amazed by how she was able to memorize so much work and so much knowledge:

Terence Afer (A freed slave who became a playwright in Rome)
- she quoted him, "Nothing that is human can be alien to me."
and how powerful it was for him at that time in history to proclaim, "I am a human being."

- she told a story about how the words of this poem got her son through a painful surgery: "I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul." How these great works belong to all of us. This was one of the 1st poems she taught her son...

And she was so playful, and wise...
She joked about how she is trying to be a Christian and is really working at it. How amazed she is whenever, someone sticks out their hands and says "I'm a Christian." and she thinks, "Already?" It's like trying to be a good friend, trying to be a parent, or trying to be a lover. You work at it. It's not something you achieve and then sit back and say, "I got it now, I'm cool."


There's so much more I wish I could express, it was an incredible experience...

I am beaming and inspired.

That's all, for now.

Monday, March 7


My friend, Courtney Nikki sent this spoken word piece to me this morning...I watched and listened in awe, in joy, and with so much gratefulness that this was communicated so creatively.

it's redeeming, it's spiritual...and it's so dope.