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issue 3 | we are family

an art zine about black liberation by byp100 DC feat. artists and writers in the dc area


MELANATION issue 3: we are family


Š 2018 MelaNation: an art zine by BYP100 DC All Rights Reserved byp100dczine@gmail.com https://melanationzine.com Cover art by Kira Coleman Typeset in Avenir and Jaapokki


to the artists and creators who contributed to MelaNation to all who have supported and affirmed MelaNation to those who fight for Black liberation to the readers to our families and to our ancestors A loud, extended shout out to our families and ancestors for whom we can’t shout enough thank you.

this is dedicated to Elizabeth Catlett.


CONTENTS Introduction. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .1 by Tahirah Green Bios of the Artists. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 The MelaNation Team. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 “We Refuse to Let Them Succeed” . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13 by Javonni Coleman “Integrating Baltimore schools (circa 1960s)”. . . . . . 15 by A.J. Hayes “Bag Lady”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19 by Ayaana Marie “Meine Mutter: A Seasoned Gardener”. . . . . . . . . . .23 by Delan Ellington “I’m Here to Show You Liberation”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25 by Brandon Hargraves


“4 CHILDREN 1 STROLLER”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .27 by Joi Cole “After a Black man comforts the White woman he is with at the National Museum of African American History (in front of Emmett Till’s casket)”. . . . . . . . . . .29 by Jon Jon Moore “Aliens Come to the Block”. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33 by Joi Cole “Concrete: Pen & Pad” . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 by Shane Mallory “Left-Wing Jenova” and “n.9.fifteen,11:thirty6am”. . .37 by Jonathan Butler Untitled. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39 by Kendra Allen Call to Action: The Case for Organizing . . . . . . . . . . . .41 by Kinjo Kiema Community Activism Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45


MELANATION issue 3: we are family


intro

by Tahirah Green

“I have always wanted my art to service my people — to reflect us, to relate to us, to stimulate us, to make us aware of our potential.” The words of DC native and artist Elizabeth Catlett reflect the importance of art for many of us who fight for Black liberation. The link between our Blackness and artivism can not be severed. We are artivists because of our ancestors. We are artivists for future generations. Family, both chosen and blood, is always at the core. This is the truth of my experience. My Blackness is hereditary. It’s the Blackness of my parents’ and theirs and so on. I fight for liberation because my father believed he had to leave DC to survive. “I wanted to grow up,” he said, “I didn’t want to grow dead. A lot of kids I grew up with weren’t even there anymore – they got incarcerated or got killed. Bates street is quiet now, but when I was a kid police wouldn’t even come down there.” I fight for liberation because I have not forgotten these words. It’s my passion to make the DMV a home where Black families not only survive, but thrive. MelaNation | 2


MelaNation ​is an art zine by activists at BYP100 DC (Black Youth Project 100 DC), and M ​ elaNation ​issue 3, “we are family,” focuses on the connection between family history and our fight for Black liberation. The creatives featured in this issue address this important topic through poetry, visual art, and short story. We conclude this issue with a call to action, stressing the importance of organizing during the 45 regime. Turning the page will let you hear the experiences of families of freedom fighters, see how gentrification impacts families, and, hopefully, reflect on the role of family history in your fight against injustice.

enter MelaNation.

3 | MelaNation


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BIOS of the

ARTISTS JAVONNI COLEMAN

Javonni Coleman is a teenage poet from the Southern Ave and Chesapeake side of Southeast Washington, DC, and is currently enrolled in Maya Angelou Academy. “Growing up in Southeast DC was rough,” Javonni says, “so when I was younger I played sports. Once I started getting older, sports started to get boring, and I began getting involved with the wrong group of people. My goal is to be a role model to youth. I read a lot about Black Power, and I educate myself on racism so that I can help teach the youth in the future. I want to be a school teacher one day, and a role model to all the young kids that have gotten in trouble or were told they can’t do this and that because of the color of their skin.”

A.J. HAYES

Person. Storyteller. Work-in-progress. A. J. Hayes writes poetry, fiction and fantasy (as A. Jarrell Hayes). He is the author of dozens of eBooks and zines. His writing has recently appeared in The Northridge Review, Queer Indige5 | MelaNation


nous Girl Issue 5, and Permission to Write. For more info, visit his website at www.ajhayes.com and support his Patreon at www. patreon.com/ajh_books. A.J. Hayes was born in Baltimore, raised in Maryland and spent the majority of my life in the state. He currently lives in Baltimore and heads to DC occasionally.

responsibility. Ayaana moved to Washington, DC to continue a degree in Africana studies at the illustrious Howard University. She’s resided in the Northwest, Northeast, and Southeast quadrants and parts of Maryland in the past two years, but has a special love for Northeast.

DELAN ELLINGTON

AYAANA MARIE

Ayaana “Yaya” Marie is a twenty-one-year-old Harlem, NY native. She was raised off of Toni Morrison and turkey bacon: pro-Black and anti-pig. She hopes to contribute to a long tradition of healing arts through creative expression and collective

Named after their paternal great-grandmother, Della, Delan Ellington is an alumnus of Mizzou ‘16 with degrees in Anthropology and Public History. Delan was born in the suburbs of Cincinnati, Ohio as the third son of their parents, and grew up in Chicago and central Illinois. While in college, Delan found their voice in activism involving their queerness, mental health status, and Blackness, wrote poetry and monologues for various events, and performed drag to honor Black femme musical artists. MelaNation | 6


Delan interned in DC in college and fell in love with the city. They moved to DC in February 2017 while preparing to apply to graduate school for museum studies and African American History to HBCUs in the region. They currently live in Alexandria.

BRANDRON HARGRAVES

Brandon Hargraves is a DC native and a Poet Ambassador for Free Minds Book Club & Writing Workshop. Free Minds engages young, incarcerated DC residents with creative writing and book discussions to provide them with support and to help them stay connected with the world outside of jail and prison. Brandon Hargraves is highly motivated to give back to his community by sharing the strength that writing has to prevent future violence.

JOI COLE

Joi Cole is a nineteen-year-old painter who came to DC with nothing, calling herself “a local hungry artist loving any and every project.” Joi creates custom murals at a music studio, donated a piece to the 2017 Human Rights Silent Auction, and designed award plaques for the 2017 McKinney-Vento Act Awards, a ceremony celebrating advocacy to support people experiencing homelessness. Joi Cole is a mixed media artist who works with nearly everything, including clay, marker, and oil pastel. Joi Cole’s preferred media is currently acrylic on canvas. You can keep up with Joi’s journey by following them on Twitter @joix100Joi.

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JON JON MOORE

Jon Jon Moore is an award-winning poet and scholar from Detroit committed to Black liberation. He lives in Northwest DC and works at the Death Penalty Information Center. He is a new member of BYP100 DC. You can follow him on social media @hoodqueer.

SHANE MALLORY, aka UPTOWN SHANE Uptown Shane was born and raised in Washington, DC. Shane is more than your typical female rapper - she also spits poetry about life, emotion, and love. Uptown Shane was raised in the section of uptown DC that is now referred to as Columbia Heights. The energy of the city in its entirety along with her soulful experience and perspective is what Uptown Shane translates into poetry.

KENDRA ALLEN

Kendra Allen is a writer, born and raised in DC, who wants everything good for queer Black people and other queer people of color. She is committed to helping uplift the voices of those who are forgotten or ignored in the District and worldwide, and fighting beside them to create a racially just world.

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BYP100 DC MELANATION TEAM

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Jordan DeLoach

lead editor and designer

Instagram: @j.n.deloach Twitter: @jndeloach Web: www.jndeloach.com

Darya Nicol

lead editor and designer Instagram: @daryanicc and @darya.creates Twitter: @daryanicc

Jonathan Butler

editor Instagram: @_jonathanbutler Twitter: @_jonathanbutler Web: www.jonathanlbutler.com

Tahirah Green

editor

Kira Coleman

designer Instagram: @ kiracolemancreative

Ruth Tyson

designer Instagram: @planetjumping

Jillian Burford

designer Instagram: @jillyaintfromphilly

Lauren Lawrence

designer Instagram: @daphneking84

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the mandate

for Black people in this time

is to avenge the suffering of our

ancestors

to earn the respect of

future generations 11 | MelaNation


and to be willing to be transformed in the service of the work

THE MANDATE BY MARY HOOKS MelaNation | 12


We Refuse to Let Them Succeed by Javonni Coleman

The racism cloaks his loathing thoughts Behind deceiving eyes Those men who once wore chains and whips on their backs Today wear dress shirts and slacks Their method changed but yet still Their mission is the same Today they lynch with politics The racists’ favorite game Divide and conquer is their plan To keep minorities From seeing that the forest lies Just shortly past the tree Racism lurks within the press courthouse, banks, and school Black folks convinced that all is well Certainly have been fooled Racism has a human mouth A racist underground exists A chilling fact indeed They seek to kill, steal and destroy We can’t let them succeed 13 | MelaNation


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Integrating Baltimore Schools, circa 1960s by A.J. Hayes

“don’t think you’re less than them don’t allow them to make you feel inferior” her parents’ words repeat in her mind as chants of “no niggers here” echo in her ears the walk from the school bus to the school’s front doors is a gauntlet; parents on each side screaming slurs, spitting venom and phlegm on a 7-year-old girl from baltimore, one of the first to integrate their public schools. she’s not out to make history (and she won’t; without a norman rockwell painting, history forgets her; her trauma becomes family lore) 15 | MelaNation


she’s just trying to go to school; she just wants to be a normal 7-year-old girl not the hope of deferred dreams not the boogeychild of white nightmares she clutches her schoolbooks close to her chest they make a poor shield against assails from adult bigots in class, she discovers their children are no better spitballs and “stupid nigger” are how the white students greet their new classmate. she sits alone, ostracized by teacher and students. she hears whispers of other kids, Black and alone like her, in the school. she never sees them if they could band together, they could make hell bearable instead, they are phantoms isolated in torment at home she is exhausted from carrying the country’s conscience on her little brown-girl shoulders; who will lift her up? isolated at school, misunderstood at home, her anger and sadness crystallize into companions

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a year later, she’s failed all her classes; not because of her aptitude or grades but because whiteness determined: “niggers are too stupid to learn with white children” the results: universal; the goal: turn Black children into failures in order to prove Black inferiority (remember: “don’t think you’re less than them don’t allow them to make you feel inferior”) she’s returned to her all-Black school, discarded by the state, a year behind her friends, a year older than her classmates to the rest of the world, the experiment had concluded but her trauma didn’t end. her nightmares haven’t stopped (how long will it take for her to heal? who will sing her song? who will be held accountable for the injustice wrought upon her?)


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Bag Lady by Ayaana Marie The following is an excerpt of the autobiographical story, Bag Lady, by writer Ayaana Marie. “Bag Lady” is published in full on MelaNation’s website, at https://melanationzine.com/2018/02/10/bag-ladyby-ayaana-marie/ My grandmother was my father. My grandmother came to parent teacher conferences alongside my mother. She was there when we went apple picking and to the petting zoo. My grandmother was at every ice-skating show and every major assembly, there for the play in which I had only two lines, and there especially when my working mother couldn’t be. My grandmother would still pick me up when I was five and my mother said I was too big. She never did mind carrying heavy things. She had to sneak out of me and my mother’s one-bedroom apartment so that I would not cry, up until I was nine. I wanted to be by her side as often as possible. 19 | MelaNation


One of my favorite memories is driving to Virginia on a family road trip to Kings Dominion Amusement Park. I wonder if I really remember the trip at all or if memories are manipulated over time. I must have been four; back then I was still the baby in a family of just mothers and daughters. There was my grandmother and her twin sister. My grandmother has one daughter. Her sister has two. And they have one granddaughter each. We drove some three hundred miles in a minivan from Harlem, where most of us lived then. My mother, the only driver, sat in the front with one of her cousins, doesn’t matter which. The other sat mid row with her mother. But Grandma always sat in the back with us kids. My cousin Zaire is three years older than me. With her and my grandmother, being an only child was not too lonely. In the park while all the adults went on big roller coasters (that I would’ve scaled if I could) my grandmother stayed behind to take Zaire and me on kiddie rides. We drove bumper cars that Grandma must have been too big for, and took pictures with oversized Rugrats. My grandmother ran with us in our bright flowered colored bathing suits under artificial rain. She did not care for roller coasters, but she would have stayed with her babies anyway. My grandmother never made a complaint – no be quiets, or maybe laters, or even I’m sorrys – there didn’t need to be. She always knew how to make us laugh. She must have taught my mother. She certainly taught me. MelaNation | 20


My grandmother is a gut-wrenching comedy. She is a classic: heartwarming but maybe so graphic you start to bite at your lips or fidget in your seat. She ain’t no predictable romance. My grandmother is a freedom fighter. My grandmother was an orphan. My grandmother was a single mother. My grandmother got raped in front of her child in Harlem once. She carries it all like luggage. My grandmother is a survivor. Although they are undeniably beautiful, the women in my family do not act pretty. They are aggressive. They rarely wear makeup. They are abnormally tall or abnormally hairy and do not hide it. You will get cussed out by any one of them if you deserve it. They call attention. Sometimes they demand it. I was on the subway with my grandmother the first time I caught a glimpse of my own power. It must have been a number 3 train – I remember worn down seats that were orange and yellow, and not enough bodies around me for 21 | MelaNation

it to be the number 2. I sunk my twelve-year-old self into a yellow seat, with her bags at my side, while my grandmother stood and preached about violence against black folk. She screamed her rage about the murder of Sean Bell. This was the day the cop who murdered him did not receive indictment. She threw up her hands in disgust about the displacement of poor families in a gentrifying Harlem. “Hands off Harlem!” she said on the train that day, the way she would later in the streets. “We have to fight for our own lives! Murder! Murder! Murder!” I pleaded for her attention. I wanted to tell her that she should lower her voice. If I could have told the people on the train I was not with her I would have, but you can tell I belong to her just by looking at our faces. They looked up at her in either amusement or terror, but they all paid attention.


One white man looked down at her in disapproval as he stood up to tell my grandmother, “Shut the fuck up! Shut the fuck up, bitch.” “You fucking cracker! How dare you!” is all I can remember her saying before I started to cry. The next thing I knew they were in each other’s faces and no one intervened. “Hit me, I dare you!” she said, and by this point I was screaming. “Hit me so your cracker ass can get locked up!” He got too close, and she slapped him across the face. Then some people jumped up to protect her. Someone called the police, and I thought they would arrest her. But they let us on our way. I wish I were the one to jump up for my grandmother. I was stuck staring, scared like the passengers and angry like the white man that my grandmother raised her voice to speak her mind. Mania is what they call it, one pole to her bi-polar disorder. There is not a woman in my family who is not affected by mental illness. Our mania, our depression, our anxiety, our suicidal thoughts – they all look like fear of the unknown, fear of life, fear of self. But all I know of these women is strength and resilience. To say my grandmother in the same sentence as “fear” somehow seems like oxymoron.

To read Ayaana Marie’s “Bag Lady” in full, please visit https://melanationzine.com/2018/02/10/bag-lady-byayaana-marie/ MelaNation | 22


Meine Mutter:

A Seasoned Gardener by Delan Ellington

Painting pictures of prophetic portraits Pluto’s picturesque garden, frozen. Illuminating pretty light in precious fractals Icicles licked and growing, in kind. One-of-a-kind. Without light an improbable find peering through impossible precipices viewing coups of justice Pairing normal with parabolic passions. Meine Mutter, der Gardner, pflegt each flower In chambers of hyperbolic time protecting like Piccolo to the planet until blooming. She cultivates precious plants all eclectic with perceptions of progressive perspectives. A blade of grass, shoot of bamboo Yellow rose surrounded by alfalfa On ferns fanning ferocious flowers Bushels of Iris, Hyacinth, Dahlia, Jasmine Amaryllis, Queen Anne’s lace, and Peony. Wreathed with blooming Violets, orange 23 | MelaNation


Tulips, and Delphiniums. Perpetually doing Persephone’s mythical duty An invisible ethical magical matriArch of an international orbital. Paradigm shift. Let me now lift her name because she is never vain: La lancing, loving, long-lasting, Light (A)seasoned - Gardner. Danke! Merci beaucoup! Terima kasih banyak! Danke je! Polyglot Perfection


I’m Here to Show You Liberation by Brandon Hargraves I was born Black, but told not to be proud. I went to school to learn, but was called dumb. I asked for a future, but was given a jail cell. When I spoke knowledge, they raised their guns. What am I supposed to do? I’m young, Black and dumb, right? No! this isn’t true I’m young, Black, and educated! I know my rights

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— plus we were both made from the same thought That makes us equal —whether you like it or not I am not ashamed or afraid I am a king who has the power to make peace I say! I am not here to shed blood or raise war I’m here to show you liberation...

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4 CHILDREN 1 STROLLER

27 | MelaNation

by Joi Cole


“IT IS A PECULIAR SENSATION, THIS DOUBLE-CONSCIOUSNESS, THIS SENSE OF ALWAYS LOOKING AT ONE’S SELF THROUGH THE EYES OF OTHERS, OF MEASURING ONE’S SOUL BY THE TAPE OF A WORLD THAT LOOKS ON IN AMUSED CONTEMPT AND PITY.”

—W.E.B DUBOIS MelaNation | 28


After a Black man comforts the White woman he is with at the National Museum of African American History (in front of Emmett Till’s casket) by Jon Jon Moore All of my friends are fucking white women but At least all of my friends aren’t fucking-white women-right? I’m trying to practice gratitude. I’m trying to practice something not forgiveness. I grew up Catholic, learning that God loved the world so much He became us and then didn’t: transmuted some divine into flesh And then watched as his creation stripped it to death. I love myself so much I’m no longer Catholic. I love Black men so much, I’m not one anymore. I stood at the edge of the ocean A monument to thirst. Pretended I was 29 | MelaNation


A human being, thought I was bound to repeat The trick where I enter a white Man’s mouth and come out a human’s waste. Thought I was bound to repeat The trick where I enter a Black man’s mouth and come out half-eaten. How selfish the mouths of men can be when tasting holy for the first time. I did not know that a gift to a God is always an offering. I did not know that the most I would ever get out of being a man was men Some real and some not white, siphoning their being From the soft of me. But I imagine my daddy, as all Black men do, knew this. When I came out as gay, he asked me if I wanted to be a woman. Had I said yes, he would have slept easier at night in the truest dimension. Knowing that as a Black woman, I would know what to do

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With this failed project, this boy-child-girl-child-ship-child stranded at sea Seeing as all wanna-be-men become Judas the moment you tell them to bend the knee And forfeit the battles in the north, where they shoot arrows into the hearts of white beasts Begging to become Lord of some dusty castle. After a Black man wipes away the tears of a white woman in front of a Black boy’s casket I decide I would rather be the universe than a telescope. I lick the plate of my mirror, every speck of splendor. I close my eyes and see my body

Slave rising ship out

the

sea.

I would rather be a failed God than a forgery.

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ALIENS come to the BLOCK by Joi Cole

“This piece represents gentrification. This is a modern day slavery act and I represented that with a UFO and 2 aliens arriving to the neighborhood in shock as they feel the need to take over. Gentrification affects everyone in the city. We need to come together, wake up and stand up.” - Joi Cole on “Aliens Come to the Block” 33 | MelaNation


Concrete: Pen & Pad by Uptown Shane

it’s concrete pen & pad crown vic cruising on the ave windows tinted rolled up half way, wait.

let me paint this picture

listen. i’m from a place where things happen where it gets rough 3 years old cooking noodles where it gets tough candy you can see in a jar but don’t touch! pay attention i guess for him it was a rush i’m thinking bout it while i’m writing full of disgust! i stay high as a plane off pain tears make puddles like rain not happy with myself i wanna change i’m dippn through life so fast out of my range. MelaNation | 34


selling oils is the new hustle watch the stick up kids they will egyptian musk you five-0 they wanna cuff you face against the pavement our live entertainment our jewelry hospital bracelets i just got out of jail and i’m back to the same shhhhhhhhh! and with our checks every month pops out with the goons on the stoop with a blunt nuffn on these lil boy brains but a nut one word to describe the baby mother stuck one word to describe the drive by shootings duck youth got their crews chanting we don’t give aaahhhhhh!!!!! sad but true we stuck like glue in the hood we so misunderstood! question? why is it so hard to get a job? no jobs so yea we resort to rob my son he gotta eat right why u think i’m freezing on the corner all night 35 | MelaNation


holding to this rock and 9 --real tight waiting for a fiend to come so they can get right ain’t got no money for the bus i got my brother’s bike i stash clothes in the bushes when it’s necessary i change em two or three times i’m legendary when i speak these truths it’s from rob’s head i mean his perspective his way. the hood ain’t no party ain’t ish to celebrate we smoke weed doe yea so we can levitate the day i started living is when i got my break.

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LEFT-WING JENOVA by Jonathan Butler

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n.9.fifteen,11:thirty6am by Jonathan Butler

blessed are the protesters for the ancestors are always watching, with grace. blessed are the transformed, for they will transform others. blessed be the lovers of love, for by their sacrifice the world will see justice. blessed are those who grant grace upon their enemies, for they may never receive the same but abundance is nonetheless added unto them. blessed are they that adorn themselves in humility, for by it their hearts will grow boundlessly. blessed are they who yearn for freedom, for they shall be gifted light to fight for it. blessed be the freedom fighters, for their souls shall see glory.

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Untitled by Kendra Allen Resilience tethered in our soul Helped us steal back the parts of us they historically scold But I’m not just talkin the savages that manned those ships Who colonized in the name of free dom and held it with tight grip Who built empires atop stolen land cultivated by an indigenous hand That was cut off by the greed of men who turned around and made being black a sin Yeah, I see them too and I’m talkin about those skinfolk with a little less room in their billfold You know, the bourgeois who preached integration and the benefits of education, they oversold Because no degree, or a house nor a job can finesse the melanin from your skin Not when your body resides on this soil, with laws meant to keep you and your fam boxed in……. …..A cell, or a school with no resources or any remorse for not teaching your history Or a segregated neighborhood


helped along by the feds and brimming with poverty Or a system built on exploitation of human labor with profits you and I don’t see Yeah, we feel all that, we seen all that, and still Our boisterous laughter which pain comes before and after still stain these streets And we stroll, legs rigid, heart bound, mind committed through these challenges y’all permitted, with arms loose, so at any moment we can pivot because all we know is defeats Nah, I’m not talkin ours but yours In case you need a refresher on the record my ancestors responded with these hands Any time your clans, with or without robes, invoked the gospel of the supremacy of a white man Y’all insecurities have driven a whole nation into disrepair But my generation and the next, you know the black ones you fear, will sweep up the remnants and construct a world that’s fair Because resilience is tethered in our soul


Call to Action:

the Case for Organizing by Kinjo Kiema It’s been a year since 45 has been in office. Since he and his cronies have held power, the white supremacist politics that have always been the undercurrent of a country founded on genocide and slavery have been brought to the forefront of our national political discourse. We always know what they – the fascists, the reactionaries, the right wing – will do. The question is: what are we going to do? The right has a massive amount of power at the federal and state level and they are hellbent on pursuing anti-Black, anti-poor, misogynistic, and homophobic agendas at any cost. The only political party that claims to have our interests at heart – the Democratic establishment – is a neoliberal shell of a party that does not fight for us, or things we need and deserve, like basic access to healthcare in the richest country on earth. At this moment, it does not feel like there is a left in the United States with any real political power. The current political moment feels bleak, but the solution to this is not to mourn, but to organize. 41 | MelaNation


What is organizing? Fundamentally, organizing means making demands of people in power and taking direct action to pressure them until they feel they have no option but to meet our demands. We cannot change institutions and systems as individuals – the only way to accomplish this change is through collective action. In this issue, artists discussed how their families and ancestors inspire us to fight for justice. Although we still have so much to fight for, all our work is built off of the organizing victories of those who came before us. Without those who fought for liberation before us, where would we be? Sometimes, I think about what my life would have been like if I was a young Black queer woman in the DMV area 100 or 200 years ago. It is undeniable that there is no way I would have the same level of opportunities or access had that been my life. But let us not act like that progress – from what the life of a young queer Black woman in 1818, to that same life in 1918, in stark comparison to what my existence is as a young queer Black woman in 2018 – was inevitable progress. Since when has power conceded anything without a demand? Every step of the way, Black people in this country have had to fight for what we rightfully deserve. We cannot patiently wait, acting like progress is somehow inevitable – we have to fight for what we deserve, or else the status quo will remain. As the BYP100 national organizing manual states, “to organize for the liberation of our people we must both work to alter relations of power by confronting oppressive systems MelaNation | 42


and institutions at their root as well as work to improve lives in ways that are immediate and widely felt.” We must find ways to win real, immediate, concrete improvements in Black people’s lives, give Black people a sense of our own power, and alter the relations of power to create the Black queer feminist future we seek. When we think about the realities of being Black in a white supremacist world, it can be overwhelming because our opponents have money and hold office. When we join groups like BYP100 to try and remedy this, it is up to us to decide exactly how we want to make that change through collective action. Stagnation is not a viable option for those who wish to truly shift power. We have the potential to be a powerful force for change in the city, and we have to recognize that and build power to create the change we wish to see - and not haphazardly, because if we want to win we need to be strategic. In the words of Audre Lorde, “sometimes we are blessed with being able to choose the time, and the arena, and the manner of our revolution, but more usually we must do battle where we are standing.”

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Learn more about BYP100 at www.byp100.org

Learn more about MelaNation at www.melanationzine.com

To learn more about BYP100 DC, please email dc.chapter@byp100.org

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MelaNation’s Community Activism Glossary a short, incomplete list of social justice terms this glossary is not comprehensive and is meant to grow and evolve over time. please email byp100dczine@gmail.com if you’re interested in contributing to the development of MelaNation’s Community Activism Glossary The Black Queer Feminist Lens - A Black Queer Feminist Lens allows us to understand that our identities make us vulnerable to multiple types of oppression. Therefore, liberation for all Black people can only be realized by lifting up the voices and experiences of historically silenced and vulnerable groups within Black communities. Specifically, queer, trans*, women, femme, poor, disabled and undocumented bodies are the ones most vulnerable because they are traditionally marginalized groups within already marginalized communities. It is in taking a Black Queer Feminist lens that one recognizes and humanizes Black bodies that have been made inferior. 45 | MelaNation


Institution - a system or group of people that has influence over human behavior, relationships, and society. Some examples of societal institutions include schools, religious groups, families, and government. Intersectionality - Taking into account every aspect of a person’s identity when we consider how oppression, power, and privilege affect their day-to-day life. (For example, please do not just think of a Black queer woman as just Black, or just a woman, or just queer - all of these identities shape her experience.) Activism - Actions or involvement as a way to achieve political goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, and/or other actions. Oppression - The denial or limiting of a group’s power and ability to participate fully in society because of their perceived inferiority by the privileged group. Oppression manifests in social ideologies, institutions, and interpersonal interactions. Implicit Bias - Basically, these are the prejudices that you have about other people or things that you didn’t even know were there. Implicit biases often favor our own social group and disfavor other social groups. And even if you aren’t aware of them, you could still act on them ALL THE TIME. (for example, when a White person reflexively clutches their bag when a Black person walks by, they’re acting on their racist, implicit bias.) Race - A sociopolitical construction that gives white people most of the power over people of color. MelaNation | 46


Racial and Ethnic Identity - The race that someone describes themselves as based on their biological heritage, culture, appearance, and personal experience. Ableism - When people are treated poorly, excluded, and/or denied goods, services, and resources because they have disabilities. Gender Identity - Whatever gender you feel represents your inner self, whether you feel that you are a man, a woman, both, or neither. There are infinite gender identities that someone can identify with. This identity is real, regardless of what sex is listed on someone’s birth certificate. Trans - An abbreviation of transgender; a denotation of trans identity that recognizes that transgender people are not limited to a male/female binary or the sex listed on one’s birth certificate Cisgender - When a person’s gender identity is the same as the sex they were assigned at birth. Gender Nonconforming/Gender Nonbinary - A gender identity that articulates itself as existing outside of the male/ female gender binary. Those who identify as gender queer, gender nonconforming, or nonbinary may or may not also identify under the transgender umbrella. Queer - An umbrella term for individuals who do not identify as heterosexual. Queer includes lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, pansexual, omnisexual, and sexual identities that do not fall under the dominant heterosexual sexuality. 47 | MelaNation


Patriarchy - A type of group, society, or government in which men are given power over other genders. Misogynoir - A combination of the words misogyny, which describes prejudice against women, and noir, which is a French word for black. Misogynoir is prejudice and oppression against Black women, and it considers the unique experiences that Black women face because of their racial and gender identities Police Brutality - When police do too much and abuse the power they have (for example, excessive tear gas, sexual abuse, racial profiling, physical intimidation). This violence disproportionately targets Black and Latinx folks. Ally/Accomplice - A person who is a part of a privileged group who actively and consistently engages in dismantling their privileged status, supporting the interests of an oppressed group that they do not belong to, and facilitates the redistribution of power equitably. Reparations - The making of amends for a wrong one has done, by paying some form of compensatory payment (money, land, public apology, etc) to those who have been wronged. One example of reparations is the demand for material compensation to be made to the descendants of Africans who were enslaved.

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February 2018

MelaNation issue 3: we are family  
MelaNation issue 3: we are family