Wednesday, December 3, 2014

10 Days of Gratitude - Day 10 by Imani Evans

Originally my plan for the 10 Days of Gratitude was to write about how my so-called character defects are actually utilized to propel my life forward. Then came the no bill indictment in the Michael Brown case and my plans changed. Instead I chose to write about the gratitude I embody for my very survival. It is abundantly clear to me that a culture rooted in racism, heterosexism, classism and misogyny has no investment in my emotional and spiritual sustainability as a Black lesbian, who is living out loud. 

As an artist and creative sometimes my rage is too big for normal sentences. In those cases only prose and poetry can loosen the noose of anger choking me and disallowing the passage of reason. It is then that I feel compelled to take pen to paper and speak my mind to free my heart. Sometimes the creativity is plentiful and other times it is just enough to shift me back into compassion. 

As our world has transformed from the industrial age to the information age, I often feel bombarded by ignorance and hatred. It is everywhere: Twitter, FaceBook, Google+ and it even seeps into my text messages. It is a laborious task to keep from spewing venom back into the mouth of the snake, with no care of its carnage. Then just as I am destined to succumb to the cycle of viciousness, I am reminded of grace, true strength, dignity and compassion. In those moments...I am saved by my art. So I write.

Today I am grateful for my very existence, despite their efforts to kill me. See, they have been trying to kill me since ancient times. 

They have been trying to kill me since my name was Sekhmet, Oshun, Saarjie Baartman, Amarinta Ross, or Audre Lorde. 

They have been trying to kill me because my voice is that of a light-bringer, a consciousness-shifter and world-changer. But I am still here. Maybe I won't be in 20 years, maybe I won't be a year from now, or even tomorrow. am still here. 

The "they" that I speak of are the dark ones, the negative forces, the racists, the oppressers, the despots, the ones whose ignorance and fear serves as a guide for their actions and supersedes their logic. Them...they...those ones who know exactly who they are, despite their ever-present denial to my face. I will defy you...

I will defy you with my sheer determination to stand upright and straight-backed in the face of brokenness.

I will defy you with my ingenuity to create nations out of nothing and morph magnificence out of malevolence.

I will defy you by holding hands with my beloved on the streets of the elite and shattering your unrighteous laws with my joy.

I will defy you by reincarnating with perpetual greatness and evolving beyond your recognition.

See you cannot kill me for my Earthly existence is an illusion. And when your hatred seeks my destruction...I will defy you with my very existence and my will to be all that I am called here to be...
for whatever time that I be.

Shem Em Hetep!
Imani Evans, MA, CLC
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Tuesday, December 2, 2014

10 Days of Gratitude: Day 9 - Gratitude Video by Onyx Keeshaa

First and foremost I thank you! I am truly honored to be a part of Create Love "10 days of Gratitude series". As a filmmaker I decided to make a video. I decided to do the video bare without makeup and as transparent as possible, for me that is what gratitude is all about. Being bare, open, transparent and THANKFUL for all of you without any fluff. Please enjoy the video.

Below are links to some of my work. Once again thank you so much! 

CHURCH HURT TRAILER (my next project)

Never Forget Part 1 and Part 2

Shattered Serenity

Monday, December 1, 2014

10 Days of Gratitude: Day 8 - Be Grateful by C.C. Carter

Sometimes we forget.   Forget to see gratefulness in the details of the everyday and everything. 

We forget that breathing today means we get to recreate the life we want again. Second by second, moment by moment we get to start again and as a result we should be grateful for that.

We get stuck. Stuck on the situation we are in now, the financial debts we have acquired again, the loved ones we have lost once more.  We get stuck in the loss, the pain, the suffering and we forget that in this second of awareness we once had a gain before the loss, a joy before the pain, we had living before the suffering. We forget that we should have been grateful when we had them and we punish ourselves because we recognize we should have been more present in those moments, with those people, in those experiences.  For as the gospel song states, it is never too late to…

Be grateful.
Be grateful.

God has not promised me sunshine,
That's not the way it's going to be;
But a little rain mixed with God's sunshine,
A little pain makes me appreciate the good times. 
Be grateful, be grateful.
For it will be alright... (Kurt Carr)

We forget to learn from the lessons of the past so we can be truly grateful of moments of clarity, of moving through, of persevering on, in spite of.   We forget to be grateful that guess what? I’m still here.  We forget to not get stuck in the “why” something is happening or the reason I’m going through this or went through that”.  We forget to be present in the moment and ask the real question, “What have I learned or am learning as a result of the experience.”  For when you can truly answer those questions, you can move on to being present in the now.

Flowing from my heart
Are the issues of my heart
It’s gratefulness
(Hezekiah Walker)

No one is asking you to forget, no one is asking you to not be angry or hurt still. But what you should remind yourself is “From these experiences, I’ve learned ____________ and in this moment, this second…. inhale… I am grateful for… exhale… this moment of gratefulness”

C.C. CaCarla (C.C.) Carter, Ph.D. is a lifetime educator, having spent over 27 years as a teacher and administrator in junior high and high school settings. She is currently the curriculum and compliance specialist at Joshua Johnston Fine Arts and Design Charter School in Chicago.  She is the lead coordinator for the development of the Lorde-Rustin Social Justice Educational Program, to be opened in the Spring of 2015, which will serve 75 high school and older adult LGBTQ and allied students wishing to receive a diploma.  She is a Master Teacher Trainer in the areas of Brain-Based Learning, Multiple Intelligences and teaching to Diverse Learners.   In addition to her educational career, C.C. is an award-winning poet, has been published in over 15 anthologies and is a staple on the Women's Music Festival circuit including as a principle artist for Olivia Travel, a Lesbian travelling company. Her work as an activist for women and youth has earned her two places in the Chicago Gay and Lesbian Hall of Fame. She recently earned her Doctorate of Divinity and a Ph.D. in Christian Education.rter
Executive Director, POW-WOW Inc773.592.3492