the minority project

March 4, 2013

in our neighborhoods
the avenues are packed
with fast food restaurants
that starve us slowly.
value-less meals
dipped in special sauce
deplete our bodies.
we consume chemicals
that turn our stomachs
into quarter-pounds of fat.
obesity and heart disease
the golden arches
of our health disparities.
they. are. loving. it.

in our neighborhoods
the avenues are packed
with churches
but nobody is being saved.
church leaders get rich
on the poor’s faith;
halleluiahs are a business now.
bankrupt souls.
our biggest debt
is to our spiritual selves.
let. the. church. folk. say.

in our neighborhoods
our schools are packed.
failing and falling apart,
our abc’s are tested
on a system that was fixed
to educate a different
group of students,
who have a different set
of resources.
but we get the “F”
and the reports
leave us wondering
why the kids couldn’t
carry the one…
“well you know Mis’
it’s difficult to add
when all of your
life you’ve been subtracted.”
our children
become common denominators.

in our neighborhoods
the streets are packed
with people who walk with no direction.
all the roads say one way.
this was never built to actually
make you feel at home.
we are displaced in our own communities.
nothing belongs to us. not even our thoughts.
we have street signs named after dead leaders
and road blocks have been built
in the name of infrastructure
we arrive at dead ends
with every corner we turn.
you can’t have a dream here.
there is no moving on up
when the east side
is being gentrified.
so we’re moving on down.
ghettos are for sale.
buy cheap. sell high.
if you build it
they will leave…

hungry. poor. uneducated. displaced.

this is how you keep a majority labeled minority.

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open letter to campaign x

December 5, 2011

dear campaign (fill in the one of your choice there are hundreds to choose from),

please, under no circumstance, mistake organizing with campaigning.

organizing is when you gather a people, have THEM identify the issues, provide the tools necessary so that they may advocate for themselves and they LEAD the way to systemic change created from within.

campaigning already has a set agenda and you invite others because you NEED them to meet your goals.

did you catch the difference? (i hope you do. i mean, you and all your law degrees and political jargon and your corporate behavior dressed in non-profit should see it clearly).

the former starts from its people, works with its people, and then its people create the change they wish to see. the latter, well, just wants to move a personal agenda and when it realizes it doesn’t have “enough people,” they scramble to find tokens in a jar of spare Blacks, Latinos, Queers, women, low-income people… throw us a t-shirt and some event, catered by who else but us… and expect us to join or even more baffling, fight for… what YOU want.

well, shit… have you stopped to look at your campaign from the perspective of the tokens in your jar? have you taken the time to really look in your jar? i mean, honestly… stop looking at people like they’re just people. it makes you insensitive, shallow, and disconnected. plain and simple. take the mutha’ fucking time to really learn a people. go with intent. sit and have a cup of coffee with someone you might never sit with. learn their struggle. see if you can taste it. learn what moves them to continue in light of their struggles. try to have a genuine human connection that tugs at your heart.

…but you won’t.

you’ll keep pushing your campaign based on political strategies created by the same people you claim to be fighting against. in the end, you might win… ’cause money, well… money is money.

and conversely, in the end… you will not have changed anything. because the system remains the blueprint for legislative oppression created by the oppressor.

but please, do me at least one favor… don’t call it a movement if it ain’t moving.

sincerely,

Sarahí Y. Almonte