Vote, dammit!

This is just a small side bar for any readers here in Multnomah County. The mayoral race is getting hectic and the ballots went out over the weekend. I just want to encourage ya'll to use your voice and vote.

Now here's my beef.
I've been grueling over who to vote for mayor and I don't have a good answer. I don't like any of the candidates' (especially Eileen Brady's) answers or understanding of issues I find important namely: gentrification, plutocracy and police brutality.

This is what I have to choose from?!

All I can say at this point is that I really, really hope that Portland doesn't elect Eileen Brady or Charlie Hale. They are most definitely the worst candidates out of all the rest. Hale kept a residence in Oregon while living in Washington to escape taxes and Brady is just a lying, incompetent fool. 


Te cuento el cuento

Cuantos días hacían? Cuando me dijiste que me amas.
La verdad es que no sé. No quiero contar los días por miedo de perderlos.

Recuerdo que fue un año horrible para nosotros. Tú huiste a Berlín y yo me quedé aquí en Portland. Después de tantos meses sin trabajo yo trataba de alcanzar una nueva vida en Boston pero la universidad no me quería y fue imposible de encontrar una alquiler. Los alquiladores fueron pendejitos.

Cuantos horas pasaron pensando en ti? Cuantos tiros en bares desagradables? Cuantas citas con hombres estúpidos, cuantos besos que no quería darles? Cuantas noches solitas? No lo recuerdo.

Solo sé que volviste en mi vida, y el color de mi vida cambió. Tú regresaste y te convirtió en mi héroe.  Así que no cuento nada, por qué no es necesario más tiempo. 


Personal Space: The Grocery Store is Not a Country Club

My friend S. recently told me a disturbing story. This is nothing new to me, but it was one of the first times he had experienced racism in Portland due to his experience. So you know, S. is half Moroccan like me, but he has darker skin than I do.

S. is health-concious and prefers shopping for his food at places like Whole Foods, New Seasons etc. He was in NW Portland's Whole Foods (located on the skirts of the Pearl District) last Sunday to do some shopping but he had to use the bathroom. Whole Foods has a customer only policy on bathrooms, and S. for all intents and purposes was a customer. He did not have the entry code on a receipt though, because he wasn't finished shopping. This is where the trouble started. S. waited while the bathroom was occupied and then tried to enter after an older White man came out. The man tried to stop S. from going in, demanding to see his receipt and when S. didn't answer him the man started calling for security. S. theorized to me that his skin color and his reticence (and possibly his attire) led the man to believe he didn't speak English nor was a customer of the store. It was humiliating and afterwards S. went to the manager and told him what happened. Fortunately the manager was sympathetic. Unfortunately there is nothing he can do about. Nor will it be the last time something like this happens.

I have had many experiences like S.'s and sadly I was not surprised by his story. I was disgusted, of course, and also saddened that he had to experience this. S. comes from a more multicultural/multiethnic community in Pennsylvania and I don't think he has had to confront other people perceiving him as an "Other" before.

I found myself thinking more about this incident and then about two days later I had an epiphany. Rich (and/or) White people constantly feel entitled to question the presence of people like us in a space that they perceive as "theirs". The neighborhood in which this particular grocery is located is demographically-speaking, overwhelmingly White and furthermore the Whole Foods brand attracts mostly wealthy White customers.

What I don't understand is why the customer decided to intervene. It really wasn't any of his business. That is what Whole Foods employs security guards for. Moreover, S. was carrying a Whole Foods bag, so theoretically he was also a customer. This man decided that my friend did not belong in his space, his neighborhood and felt threatened. Why do White people feel they can question this? The rest of us are certainly made to feel that we can't question gentrification, be it in our working class neighborhoods, our gay bars or our religious community centers.

The grocery store is not a country club.


Celebrate with irony!

I found the juxtaposition of these two images/articles on the Huffington Post very interesting. Also, I despise the way the media fawns over the British Royal Family.

If your god rose from the dead today, Happy Easter! I'm celebrating my people's escape from slavery instead (Pesach).


Beam Me Up to Good Times!

Sometimes when shit get's real, the universe sends us a little moment to make us forget all the bad juju. Here's our prez with the lovely Nichelle Nichols a.k.a. Lieutenant Nyota Uhura of the USS Enterprise. Live long and prosper, ya'll.


UPDATE: Protest at City Hall (4/2/2012)

This morning I walked down from my flat to city hall in downtown Portland to attend the protest/rally against the ruling to reinstate Ron Frashour, a Portland police officer who shot an unarmed man in the back with an assault rifle in January of 2010. Frashour had already been fired by the department but an arbitrator recently made the recommendation that he did nothing wrong after an almost two-year battle. 

The protest was fairly well-attended and there were multiple keynote speakerings including the very eloquent Rev. LeRoy Haynes of the Albina Ministerial Alliance, representatives from the Urban League of Portland and many local lawmakers. Haynes urged us on and demanded that we never give up this fight for justice. 

Unfortunately, I noticed some people milling around with signs that had the faces of various members of Socialist groups "for president" pasted on the placards and not one but two people from different so-called Socialist groups came up to me and tried to give me their literature. For the record, I lean Socialist, but their obvious co-opting of the event to spread their propaganda kind of pissed me off. Especially when a super-blonde milktoast beardie guy was trying to explain to me the connection of racial profiling. I've been racially profiled, more than once. I don't need a straight White man to tell me what it is. Another representative that spoke to me was from the Bread and Roses Center, a location of the Freedom Socialist Party, and I have had dealings with them when working for the Portland Queer People of Color group and Las Mujeres de La Raza (associated with M.E.Ch.A.). Basically they wanted our support as tokenism, which of course none of us were okay with. Shockingly, all these people with their magical flyers disappeared as the keynote speakers began, which I felt really spoke to their true agenda. Thanks guys.

I know I am digressing, but that really set the tone for my day and was really disappointing. I am, however, very grateful for the White allies and allies from other communities of colour that were truly present. I only hope that as we continue to protest this ruling, more people can join us in our demand for justice and racial equality in Portland. 
Signing off, 
Fuck la policia!