Day 80, with Nebulas, Protests and Curfews

Holy crap, folks.

Okay, so first, because it’s most MOST important and this blog is for me to remember dates and times things happened* as much as it is to share with others, this past weekend there were nationwide protests about police brutality, systemic racism and government-sanctioned murder. It’s amazing to watch these protests unfold, and I cheer for folks and wish I could be out there with them. It’s also amazing to me that we’re finally seeing, via video, how white people undermine protestors. I wouldn’t care much about looting – I got disabused of the belief that the word “looting” isn’t dogwhistling for racism during Hurricane Katrina – but I DO care that white people are expressly going against the instructions of organizers, manipulating Black pain for their own ends.

And apparently over the weekend, Atatiana Jefferson’s home was vandalized too? If you don’t know her name, look her up. You SHOULD know her name, because it’s one of the stark demonstrations of how Black people still cannot even be inside their own damn homes minding their business and be safe.

While all this was going on, I was also attending the Nebulas online. I had been planning on attending in person, but WOW am I glad this was done this way because I could do so so much more like this. My physical constraints meant that I’d have missed probably half of what I got to do online, and I’m thrilled to have had the opportunity. Plus, what an AMAZING demonstration of what’s possible!! We were all on the airship Nebula, and coming from TechWorld myself, I know how many things could have gone wrong. This was so so well done and so smooth and easy to get through. Even the technical issues were framed in a delightful way and just… aahhh I can’t even.

Additionally, usually because I can only go to a few panels during a con, I have a favorite. This time? Nuh uh. So freaking many extraordinary panels and people and moments and connections and aaaahhh

(Though I admit extra EXTRA squee when Cat Rambo won for Carpe Glitter, because I’d been watching her work on that in her Discord. Feels more personal when you’ve borne witness to something.)

I’ve ordered…. <counts> 18 e-books because of these panels. I mean, wow, that’s a lot for me for a weekend.

Here’s the kicker for this weekend, though – at around 6 pm for both Saturday and Sunday, I received a phone alert that a curfew was being established due to the protests. No notice for the first; very little notice for the second. So for me, very low logistical impact: I had to skip panels in order to figure out how we’d take care of the dogs.

But for anyone protesting? Anyone working? There was NO WAY they could get home. It was an excuse. An excuse for the cops to start arresting anyone they wanted to. (ahemIwonderwhothatwouldbe)

Which means a lot of folks need bail.

I’ve donated, but there are lots of bail funds around the country in cities where curfews have been established. I encourage anyone who has a little room in their budgets to consider donating to help these folks out. Particularly when essential workers are caught out in this curfew as well, and are vulnerable.

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* I’m really bad at remembering time. Like, REALLY bad at it – and it’s nothing to do with age, this has been since I was very young. I can barely remember what year I graduated high school or college.

Black History Month: Charities from 2/2 – 2/6

Black History Month 2017As discussed before, I’m posting about the work of the charities I am targeting for this year’s Black History Month. It’s all amazing work and I encourage people to go to the sites I am linking and read about the projects and programs for each charity, in their own words.

2/2: You should know Black Girls Code – if you don’t, why don’t you?? – as the terrific org that encourages young women of color into STEM careers. I’ve been following them on Facebook for a while. They support hackathons, training, classes, all sorts of awesome things…. and recently partnered with 20th Century Fox to provide free screenings of “Hidden Figures” in their 11 chapter cities.  Seriously, this is a great organization. Follow them! Go! Now!

2/3: The Black Women’s Health Imperative is a national charity focusing on the overall health – physical, mental, emotional and financial – of black women. In November they released Indexus, a report that is the “first comparative index of Black women’s health based on healthy Black women,” aggregating 20 years of research. The report at that link is free, and it’s pretty damn cool. They have a ton of other initiatives, but this is the first report I’ve read that focuses on a specific positive angle – what black women view as health for them, and what supports them staying healthy according to that view.

2/4: The National Congress of Black Women is an organization dedicated to making black women’s voices heard in our nation’s capitol. Their causes are very diverse, from human trafficking to supporting justice for American Indians to scholarships for black women to creating a culture supporting those with disabilities. They were founded by a large group of amazing black women who were in positions of public service, all of whom deserve a blog post all their own. Their founding chairs are Representative (and presidential candidate) Shirley Chisholm and the Honorable C. DeLores Tucker, Secretary of State for the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. They’ve been a little quiet on Facebook since the middle of last year (I’m not surprised), but I’m looking forward to the results of their conference this coming September.

2/5: The National Black Women’s Justice Institute is devoted to helping black women and girls who have interacted with America’s justice system, with a specific focus on California.   Their mission is “focused on the reduction of racial and gender disparities in the justice systems affecting Black women, girls, and their families.” Their initiatives span from research into how existing policies in schools affect young black women to finding employment for previously-incarcerated women. They’ve got a fascinating pilot educational reentry project underway in the Bay Area, and their working paper about that project is free and downloadable from the front page of their site (and in the resources tab there are a ton of other excellent educational materials and articles).

2/6: Did you know that black women are 10% less likely to get breast cancer than white women, but their survival rate is more than 10% less? I didn’t until I read all about Sisters Network. They are a breast cancer survivorship organization for black women and they’re based right here in Houston. They provide mammograms, help black women who are having problems affording breast cancer treatment, and teach teens about the importance of breast health. They have a breast cancer conference that they are taking on tour! They’re starting in Houston and going to Baton Rouge, Memphis, Austin, Greensboro NC, Chicago, Portland (OR), Tampa Bay, Bergen County NJ and Hampton Roads, VA. And they’re organizing their 8th annual 5k Walk in April. You can follow them on Facebook to check out their past events and keep tabs on their amazing work.