Saturday, September 10, 2005

"They are trying to kill us"

The second Saturday of every month is board meeting day. Who has board meetings on the weekend? Lesbians! We love to have meetings don't we? We are a community board that advises the Lesbian Health Center of the local LGBT clinic. So we usually discuss things like programs and development issues. The board I'm in is somewhat diverse, at least on paper. Of the active member there are 2 Latinas on board (i'm one of them ) and an African-American woman the rest of this group are white, middle class lesbians. For a city as diverse as DC, it's a problem. I stay because of the mission of the clinic is very important and close to my heart. I also stay because I can't allow non-Latino/Black people set the agenda that will effect people of color. There were only 6 of us this morning. We had a summer hiatus so we checked-in with each other. There were updates about children, (3 of the women have children), new girlfriends, other transitions. A fellow board member was last to come in. She is an elder in the community, a well respected African-American lesbian who has seen alot and has so much organizational wisdom and guidance. She looked visibly shaken as she walked through the door. When it was her turn to speak, she said "they are trying to kill us". Her voice trembled and tears were welling. She needed to talk about what the rest of the room glossed over, the hurricane, the death and destruction that could have been averted, the images of desperate black people on the streets, the bodies of the elderly. The rage and the pain that she expressed moved me to tears. A place, a forum to talk about this was needed. I'm glad she took the opportunity. She kept saying, "they are trying to kill us" in a lucid, matter of fact manner. I noticed the other women of the group were very moved but silent. I will say, that no matter how well meaning you are, if you aren't a person a color, you will NEVER know how racism effects every part of your life. We try to keep racism controlled with an elaborate system of levees and locks. When it breaks, the waters rise, a slow drowning in putrid, fetid waters choke us, a toxic sludge sticks to us and we are unable to get out. The last 2 weeks reminded me that no matter how smart you are, how much money you make, if you speak with a nice accent, you have a job and stay out of trouble, if your skin is black or brown you will drown in those waters unless you have a plan to survive.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

louisiana 1927

Louisiana 1927 Aaron Neville...

What has happened down here, is the winds have changed
Clouds roll in from the north and it started to rain
It rained real hard, and it rained for a real long time
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
The river rose all day, the river rose all night
Some people got lost in the flood, some people got away alright
The river had busted through clear down to Placker Mine
Six feet of water in the streets of Evangeline
Louisiana, Louisiana
They`re trying to wash us away, they`re trying to wash us away
Oh Louisiana, Louisiana
They`re trying to wash us away, they`re trying to wash us away
President Coolidge come down, in a railroad train
With his little fat man with a note pad in his hand
President say "little fat man, oh isn`t it a shame,
What the river has done to this poor farmer`s land"
Oh Louisiana, Louisiana
They`re trying to wash us away, you`re trying to wash us away
Oh Louisiana, oh Louisiana
They`re trying to wash us away, oh Lord, they`re trying to wash us away
They`re trying to wash us away, they`re trying to wash us away

the apple doesn't fall far from the tree

"And so many of the people in the arena here, you
know, were underprivileged anyway, so this--this (she
chuckles slightly) is working very well for them."---
Barbara Bush on the New Orleans evacuees

Words fail me.