queer resilience; Cochabamba, Bolivia; NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit

over the last few months, there have been multiple instances when i tried to write my meditations and political musings. my body has been so exhausted, it has been hard to get passed the first couple of sentences, sometimes passed a few words. but this time my motivation is different. i am writing this on the heels of watching a documentary on netflix.

since i’ve been single, i have had some “spare” time on my hands and have tried a whole range of activities to keep me entertained. instead of cyber-cruising for hot, NSA… (i’m just sayin’), although that’s not really my thing anyway (i mean), i decided to finally consider one of my therapist’s suggestions. my therapist is ALWAYS recommending shit. so tonight, i finally drank the kool aid. tonight. after a long ass day at work (typical) and many failed attempts to connect with friends (everyone seems to be out of town- it is conference season, i suppose), i decided to watch Nuyorican Dream.

loca, that shit was heavy. the story is about a Puerto Rican family’s struggle in NYC. one of the protagonists is Robert, the eldest of his mother’s children. He was the only one in the family to graduate from high school and college. He’s a teacher. Robert is surrounded by his mother who migrated from Puerto Rico who was forced to abandon her education to work the fields as a child, his younger brother who is in and out of prison and his sisters who are single mothers struggling with drug addictions. The documentary follows the family for 4 years and does an excellent job of capturing Robert’s personal struggle to balance an active life with his family plagued with the conditions of poverty and his autonomy as “someone who made it out of the ghetto”. At one point in the film Robert says “it hurts to be so far from and so close to my family. it hurts. it’s almost like i can touch them but i can’t feel them or they can’t feel me anymore.” This brotha gets deep on a few occasions throughout the film.

In spite of the poverty, the drugs, the lack of opportunities, amid the chaos, Robert prevails. this brotha got a resilience that sexier than ricky martin doing yoga at the beach with his beau. what distinguishes Robert from his siblings is really one thing- he’s gay. the more i thought about his sexuality within the context of his environment, the more i concluded that this sexuality stuff is what cores are made of, what dreams are made of. being able to define and choose one’s sexual allegiances and to name our desires is a endless source independent of power.

it’s this power that has pushed me beyond the limitations imposed upon me by others. this particular power has stretched my political muscles in ways that have transformed entire systems of oppression. how beautiful is that?

watching the documentary, i couldn’t help but to think about where i’ve come from and where i’m going. in the immediate sense, i’m headed to the Conferencia Mundial de los Pueblos Sobre el Cambio Climatico y los Derechos de la Madre Tierra (World’s People Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth) in Cochabamba, Bolivia. how does queerness change up the conversation about Mother Earth’s rights? what’s does a queer mother earth look like? is she a lesbian (she betta be)? what will this queer body be exposed to at this particular conference and what will this queer body expose to others in that particular space?

as the son of obatala, i often ask these types of questions. i’m hoping elegua knocks some practical sense into me and get me back on track to thinking about what the hell i’m going to be talking about in bolivia. after these messages, we’ll be right back.


okay, so, i was reading my last post from march 2009 (over a year ago) and realized i was pontificating about a youth of color encuentro on climate change. 1 year later, it’s called the first ever NYC Climate Justice Youth Summit- Our People, Our ‘Hoods, Our Future, taking place next weekend, April 16-17 (a day after, me voy a Bolivia). It’s been a busy year. I am proud of the work I’ve been able to achieve in the last year. Shout outs to ALL the supporters and mentors that have provided guidance and love that has brought this summit to bear. it’s been a pleasure working with so many wonderful people committed to getting the generations that will be most affected by climate change informed about the issues and empowered to take action. I am thrilled to see the outcomes of the upcoming summit and to build with the burgeoning leaders in the environmental justice movement. feel free to come through to check out the summit if you’re in town. we’ve all put a lot of love and hard work into this project. axe!

register online @ http://www.uproseyouthsummit.blogspot.com

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