Haiku brain is crushed
By daily routine of work
Haiku brain is crushed
By daily routine of work
I have been suuuper busy lately, working with David on our farm, herbal medicine, furniture, and crafts enterprise, The Heathen Homestead.
We are starting seeds for herbAl medicinals we are growing.
We are also gearing up for our first couple events where we will be vendors.
Come see us this Sunday March 12 from 1-4. More about that event at the link:
The massacre at a gay club in Orlando has created a groundswell of unfortunate responses by both the political right and left on the issues of immigration, guns, and policing. These poor responses include erasure of a queer identity and (un?)intentional racially/immigration status oppressive politics.
I have been trying to hold back my initial reactions to the Orlando shooting. Some of that has been a deliberate with holding of opinion, and some has been due to how numbing these sorts of events can be. Processing the news, the grief, the fear, and then the responses on all sides is a major intellectual and emotional undertaking. A lot of my friends in LGBTQ communities around the world have been struggling with the fear, sorrow, anger, etc. that the massacre created.
What I have noticed is similar to the observations of others – mainstream reaction to the Orlando shooting involves a lot of jumping to conclusions and ignoring the victims and survivors. What this does is add insult to injury for lgbtq and poc communities, and ultimately I say leave the door open for more future oppression and violence against those communities.
The reality that the shooting at Pulse happened on Latinx night and involved many people of color and immigrants seems to have been overshadowed by outside agendas to promote an anti-immigrant response. Even though the shooter was a man of color and american citizen born and raised. Outside forces are twisting this tragedy to fit the narratives they have already written. The anti immigrant crap is largely coming from the political right. Were this a white shooter, it would be a lot easier to suggest it was a racially motivated attack. The shooter being of color himself, and a first generation American makes it not so cut and dry. However, the issue of the identity of the victims must not be ignored in analysis. Many of the victims were immigrants, the children of immigrants, from the colonized territory of Puerto Rico and some undocumented folks as well. Responding to this shooting with anti immigrant legislation, and legislation which will ultimately result in more racial profiling is NOT honoring the victims and survivors. It is basically spitting on their graves.
The political left has their own contradictory bill of malarky to sell the public in response to this incident. The anti gun whiplash response is in full effect, largely ignoring the facts about existing gun laws, guns, and the not great political implications of their suggested gun laws.
Usually I am pretty decent at both writing and giving presents. This year, not so much with either. I’ve been too busy doing and adjusting to the actions to really express those feelings. I’ve moved to my grandparent’s land in Beaverdam, VA. I’ve really increased my efforts towards running my historic window renovation business, Karnage Creations LLC. I’ve started renting my house in Richmond to another collective, Quercus. I’ve stood by my partner during a nasty, expensive, and stressful custody battle. I’ve taken the time to go to the dentist which I hadn’t done in almost 10 years. I had tubal reversal surgery and couldn’t lift more than 5 pounds for a month during which I moved from my old big house to a new tiny house. There is way more than that, and I still don’t feel like getting into it all! A lot of good changes, updates, self care, etc. have happened. It has been busy and involved a lot of hard work. But they have been stressful and expensive even when positive. So this year I do not have the money, and haven’t even had the time, to do anything in the way of presents. Instead I have an announcement and these words to share.
For years and years I have watched other people’s children. From younger cousins, to clients, neighbors, and friends who had me watch their kids fulltime, nights, weekends, whenever. I have seen yall raising your children. And I have become jealous of your pregnancy announcements, adorable pictures, and snuggly little people.
I had my tubes tied a long time ago, hoping to adopt and not wanting hormonal birth control or other options. But as hormones got a hold of me, and the realities around unmarried broke people adopting became clear, I decided I wanted to have kids of my own.
Honestly, I think the main thing that made me want to get my tubes untied was watching so many amazing parents I am lucky to know. From the badass single mothers to the couples figuring it out, I am lucky to have been close enough to watch yall have and raise your children. You inspire me, all of you, and have made me want to have a kid or six of my own. I really can not stress enough how much I love an admire the mothers I know. I would seriously list yall, except for fear of leaving one out. Feminists, punks, artists, musicians, dancers, anarchists, travellers, teachers, bakers, herbalists, writers; you have all shown me amazing ways to parent, and how awesome non mainstream kids can be. If I had known all of you in my early 20’s I would not have gotten my tubes tied. Or I still woulda cause I’m a stubborn jerk. But you impress and inspire and encourage me to know I can do this too.
Of course, for 1,000 different reasons having a baby is a scary thing. One of the major things I worry about is what kind of world my kid will grow up in. Whether it be climate issues, endless war, fascism, racism, sexism, icky capitalism, cell phone zombies etc., I am very much certain that the world is a bit of a shithole.
I’ve done for years and will continue to do ‘activism’. I think a major reason to work on these changes is for our children. I probably won’t reap the benefits of my actions, but I hope the next generation will. It is why I think being nice, helping strangers, having dialogue with those with whom we disagree, not littering, not wasting resources, buying used, showing animals kindness, etc. are vital things we have to incorporate into our daily habits. Beyond that we can organize movements, protests, write and deliver speeches, make art, or however we express a more explicit activism.
I know there are plenty in the punk and activist scenes who think having kids is for sellouts. Cultures need to work harder on making parents welcome, providing childcare and more. Having a kid knowing how shitty this world can be is brave as hell, and I think, is an expression of hope. We need more hope.
2 of my friends recently gave birth. One for her first time, and one for her second. I am super inspired by their bravery, toughness, and how dang cute lil Mira and Silas are!!! I appreciate so much the women who have talked to me about the pregnancies and children.
I reckon I better announce it, for the record. I am pregnant, and expecting some kind of lil squish on or around August 23, 2016.
Public Parks are one of the only great services provided by the government, and have value for many. Public parks provide and preserve green space and nature. In urban areas, like Richmond, these green spaces are critical for our sanity and health. Parks provide space for recreation – pick up games of football or frisbee, hula hooping, or tag. Parks provide space for meeting – picnics, friendships, organizations, and chance encounters with strangers. Public Parks provide a place where free speech can be exercised – folks can preach or protest or table without getting kicked out. Parks protect the rights and ability of poor people and people without property to have space to meet, greet, eat, play, and speak.
Rich people do not have the same need for the commons that poorer folks do. If you can afford property you can ensure you ability to access all of the things that a public commons can provide. Hell, you can have your meetings at the Jefferson Hotel, and join sports leagues or gyms. With the suburbanization of America, the concept of the public commons was neglected. Private shopping centers replaced public meeting places. And the consequences are things like the concept of loitering (existing without purchasing) and trespassing charges. You have no right to free speech at a private mall. You have no right to wear, say, or do what you want. And you are ultimately only allowed access if you are spending money or look like you have the potential to.
While the suburbs developed largely with the lack of public commons / public parks, most urban areas have managed to hang onto public parks. Something else is happening here. The public parks in Richmond seem to be slowly slipping out of public hands. The parks are not getting destroyed, but they are having entrance fees for events, new rules, new security, and other restrictive aspects applied to them. This neoliberal trend of privatizing the public needs to be confronted and stopped.
You might not have noticed what is happening with the parks in Richmond, so here are some examples for you.
Brown’s Island, and the Friday Night Cheers concert series used to be free. Now, Brown’s Island is “overseen” by Venture Richmond. Venture Richmond receives hundred of thousands of dollars annually from the City of Richmond. Members of City Council, Dominion Power, Massey Coal, all the major banks, lawyers and more sit on the Board of Venture Richmond. They very clearly represent the interests of those with money and power in Richmond. Under Venture Richmond, the Friday Night Cheers concert series now costs money, making Brown’s Island inaccessible to the public during those events. The finances of these things don’t make much sense, for the public that is. In many cases, Venture Richmond seems to be skirting the law. They take public money regularly, they avoid paying taxes on the property they manage, and yet they are profiting from events they hold. Tredegar Green is one aspect of Venture Richmond’s strange and likely corrupt relationship with public parks.
Monroe Park is now leased the the private group the Monroe Park Conservancy at the rate of $1 a year for a 30 year lease. The plans presented by the Conservancy are a very transparent attempt to gentrify the park and remove the visibly homeless. Monroe Park has been the site of free food programs such as the weekly Food Not Bombs for over 21 years, and a site of public protest for even longer. The entire process of privatization by the Conservancy (who’s board consists of multiple Venture Richmond members and mostly rich and powerful folks) has been very UNtransparent. When the renovation plans for Monroe Park came under fire, the conservancy removed the plans from the internet. The Wingnut Anarchist Collective had saved a copy and was able to make the plans accessible again. Even now, the status of the Conservancy’s fundraising (they need to come up with 3 million), timeline for development, etc. are not publicly available. City Council members are even unsure as to the status of this project. For now, Monroe Park remains the same, but at any point this could change. Which would lead to a major social and political struggle.
Now Kanawha Plaza is on the chopping block. Renovation plans for Kanawha Plaza come with the post script, that once renovated Venture Richmond might be given control of the park. The WHY aspect of this change of management is ignored in the Times Dispatch article. The motivation or need for such a change is ignored.
Also largely ignored in Richmond is the history of inappropriate and largely corrupt action by Venture Richmond. From their spending on the political lobbying Loving RVA campaign to support the Mayor’s terrible Shockoe Baseball Stadium plan to the admission by Henry Marsh that Richmond Renaissance, the precursor to Venture Richmond was a “shadow government”, Venture Richmond has its own agenda, and does not seem to give a shit about what the people of Richmond want.
The best solution to neglected public parks is not privatization. It is for the local government to stop the neglect! Maintenance, provision of public restrooms, adequate lighting, and more would all allow public parks to thrive while still remaining public. The success of the James River Park System shows that Richmond can totally do successful public parks. We have problems in some existing parks. We should choose the logical solutions, not If people and organizations like Venture Richmond or the Monroe Park Conservancy are simply genuinely concerned with improving public parks, then surely they would be willing to do so without taking control or profiting off of them.
If Venture Richmond and the Monroe Park Conservancy and others are not interested in supporting thriving public parks without taking control of them, well then we, the public, need to be highly suspicious of their motives. It is difficult enough for the public’s desires to be truly represented by local government. Throw in corporate control, and I wonder about how well tolerated say, No Atlantic Coast Pipeline protests might be. I know from the wording in the Monroe Park Renovation plans that visibly poor people are being explicitly targeted. It is past time to stop the privatizing of our public parks. Let’s stop spending money on Venture Richmond and start spending it on our schools and parks and other amenities that everyone regardless of income needs access to.
Come on Richmond, let’s do this.