Girls What They Have To Do To Survive

I found it really interesting in the section of findings for individual violence that the stories that were told by these women have left them scared for life. There were recurrent times of sexual abuse by gang rapes, being stalked and raped by johns as well. The two bullet points that really caught my attention was 1) The theme of control and manipulation was related to pimps and boyfriends who would withhold financial resources necessary for the girls and for their children. Threats of having their children taken away were used to control them and keep them in line. 2) Physical violence is a reality in girl’s lives–perpetrated by boyfriends, pimps and johns. Most often it goes unreported for fear of further violence and based on a belief that the police will not believe them and will, in fact, blame them for the violence they experience. The beatings they experience are also a threat to their children, further cutting off access to help. This honestly makes me sad and also breaks my heart on how women have to go through these things nowadays and I feel as if it’s becoming reoccurring. Especially with human sex trafficking. Women are being kidnapped, raped and used for sex trade more and more nowadays and some make it out alive but some don’t. The ones who make it out alive are the lucky ones and should be vulnerable about what has happened. I feel as if some women are scared to go to the police because they’re being threatened by their pimp or whoever it may be if they were to tell on them. This creates this fear that you cannot express yourself to anyone else and have this trauma that stays with you for the rest of your life.

I really liked that this article and about Young Women’s Empowerment Project because it kind of gave me this empowerment as a woman that you are strong and you can stand up for yourself. I liked the section where they spoke about resilience and how connecting with other girls about this situation to help protect themselves. You can create a community with other girls that are going through similar hardships and connect on a different level. At the end of the day, us women shouldn’t feel as if we are alone.

Meditation

I really liked that in the reading “Attention liberation, Attention Reparations” By Adrienne Maree Brown that she focuses her attention on meditation. We get so easily distracted by the news and the negativity that we sometimes don’t take a break for ourselves or take a couple minutes of our days to focus on ourselves. I liked when she said “Attention is one of our most valuable resources we can train our attention, train ourselves to pickup our attention up and place it where we want it, where we need it to be. I do this with meditation” I myself try to focus my attention to meditation. I try to do it everyday for 10 minutes in a quiet place and workout right after. I find myself focusing my attention to other things in life like school, work, stressful situations and more. I also find myself always on my phone scrolling through social media for hours and sometimes I don’t even realize it because I am so into it. I find this really harmful and sometimes I feel guilty because I wasted so much time just laying down on my bed scrolling on social media when I could’ve done more productive things. I really loved when Adrienne said “I don’t want to spend my life reacting to other people’s cycles, their mistakes, lies, or ignorant projections, or the domination cycles of those who measure their humanity in false supremacy. those things will continue. but what we pay attention to grows. so i pay attention to the places we as a species are learning, changing, getting free, experiencing pleasure and joy” I completely agree with this because as I said before I don’t always want to focus on negativity because it will not help me, it will only harm me. So if I focus on doing more positive things and do things that make me happy, even if its for 10 minutes a day, I feel happier within and I am in tuned with myself. If I am always learning new things, changing for the better and experiencing new things in life, then I feel as if I am growing as a person. What we focus our attention to can really affect us and we should all learn how to give ourselves at least 10-30 minutes a day to meditate. It’s not easy at first but I feel as if it helps with stress and helps you clear your mind. I also believe that the more that you do it and make it apart of your daily routine, it will help you grow as a strong person and also may help you be more productive in life.

Attention to Self

Only one week left in the semester, and I think I’ve finally found some peace to find space within me to write.

Yesterday, around 6:50 am, I walked onto campus and walked past the track next to the library. The snow was falling in big pieces, like large pieces of confetti. I stopped when I caught a glimpse of the snow fluttering in a beam of light. Thousands of snowflakes dancing and whirling to their own mysterious music as they finally lay to rest on the ground beneath. I was transfixed for several moments until I realized that it was already 7am, and I had to leave. At that moment I felt some inner clock begin ticking again and I began walking towards the library.

This moment to stop and just observe life is essential to being human. It really can take you out of the moment of pressing deadlines (and boy, they are pressing!), and put things in perspective.

School represents a positive use of your attention, however, there are plenty of places that vie for attention. Most notably our cellphones. They are a source of infinite attention. They never seem satisfied, – always flashing banners, pop ups, and little red marks – begging for “one more”.

Cell phones and the apps therein, have created an attention economy, where they all compete for the focus of your eyeballs. Apps often work to track all of your clicks and movements within their app. If they are especially insidious, they will be running in the background and collecting your data on the use of your phone. If you have location services on, they can also track your location.

Besides deleting questionable apps, I suggest a more deliberate use of your time. adrienne marie brown suggests “meditating by focusing on your breathing” like we did in class. My own personal method is to wake up early and sit in the quiet of the morning with a cup of coffee in a comfy spot. Just focusing on the stillness of the morning, adjusting my wavelength to the still world around me. It’s great.

At least until the alarms start going off, and it is time to begin a new day.

It Takes A Village

I think one of the most powerful concepts of mutual aid is the recognition that you are not alone, and that you can’t possibly do everything by yourself. It’s a powerful thought. I have an insane drive to be self-sufficient, but what does that really mean? It means nothing, because to cater to the illusion of self-sufficiency is to disregard all of the help and privilege you’ve received along the way. I think that it is important to recognize the sacrifices people around you have made in order to make room for your success, and especially to help you when you are down.

This is one of the major things I have learned from my mom. To never forget the people that have reached their hand down to help lift you up. To recognize the strength it takes to lift someone up –  is immense, and to realize that you have been a recipient of that labor is humbling. It is an act of love to do this, and I know I could do better in recognizing this more in my life.

Mariame Kaba mentions responsibility in her interview with Eve Ewing. When talking about overburdening yourself with a large movement and expecting to get through it along Kaba says “You’re going to burn out. It’s not humanly possible for you to just be your Lone Ranger self out there in the world”. Hefting the problems on your shoulder, can crush you if they are large enough. Why not share the burden? It takes a village, and I think that’s important to approach problems with this mindset.

As I’ve gotten older, and have gone through my own ups and downs, I have seen how important relationships with other people are. I’ve received so much help from my family, and those that I love, and all I want to do is pay it forward and sideways.

I come from a big family. I mean a really big family. My immediate family is: my parents, 3 other siblings, and three nieces and nephews. That’s 15 when you add their spouses. If I start with my eldest aunt – she has 14 kids, and they each have their own set of children. That’s somewhere around 32, not including their respective significant others. This also fails to include my mother’s 10 other siblings who all have large families – and I haven’t even gotten to my father’s side! Needless to say, it’s a lot of people.

One of the ways that the concept of mutual aid was brought to the forefront of my mind was when my father passed away a few years ago. My immediate family was distraught and had no idea what to do, and where to go, or how to organize a funeral. Immediately, a cousin of mine (who handled the funeral of his father several decades prior) picked me up and took me to a funeral parlor where I saw to making arrangements. When I got home, people were already showing up to help organize the house and prepare for the wake. That night aunts, uncles, cousins I hadn’t seen in years showed up with food. My friends visited. So many people. It made my heart swell to see these people be there to support and comfort us. It was distracting and immensely helpful. My eyes were opened.

I began to recognize the power in helping people and receiving help. It created spaces within me that I didn’t know were there and allowed this position of self-reflection within myself that wasn’t so harsh. It created a softer, gentler voice within me. It created feeling that I want to perpetuate, so other people can experience the impact of community care.

The Unveiling.

“Am I being as vulnerable as I need to be in order to keep growing as a human being and keep learning?” And, “Am I being vulnerable enough that people can experience my humanity”

I’m sure many of us has experience feeling vulnerable. Example can be coming to a friend, a teacher or maybe your boss with a pressing matter but was fearful to approach them because you felt that it may have shown that incompetent , weird , rejected ,or not loved.

So many people go through different levels of anxiety day to day. Unfortunately there are so many individuals that walk around with burdens on their backs because they didn’t feel vulnerable to seek counsel from someone or to simply vent their frustrations.  I for one use to be an individual who would carry on in my daily activities with so much on my mind that was building up to the point where I reached my peak and breakdown emotionally.

Adrienne Brown piece on ” Vulnerability, Playfulness, and keeping yourself honest was such an eye opener as to how transparent and relevant not only in society but myself.

This really hit home!

To unveil is to uncover.

Being Vulnerable and honest does not make you weak , it shows that you’re human. Sometimes hiding can do more bad than good. Mental illness is so rampant especially in young teens and adults because best practices were not implemented to encourage in expressing oneself.

The media does a great job in exploiting the stress and burdens that we carry in resolving them by drinking.

Adrienne mentions that we have been afraid of our own yes. It so true, fear paralyzes us to go for what we want and we believe the lie that we do not deserve it.  That cycle must break, we only live once. We should live our lives to pursue the things we want without the need to push someone under the bus. That is only masked in insecurity. If we serve our mental state attention then we can live up to our untap potential and creativity.

I encourage all to live in their freedom and create time to express and release. I know in the moment that I feel overwhelmed and perplex I go straight to prayer initially and speak with someone that I trust to unload and be honest without feeling bad. Not only will you benefit from these practices but also others around you will feel confident to do the same.

 

 

Weak Plea Bargain

“NYC’s multi-billion dollar jail plan is one of many across the country and a cornerstone strategy that reinvents and guarantees a future of surveillance and control.”

The quote mentioned above comes from the statement Mayor De Blasio administration propose to promote creating new jail by shutting Rikers Island. In my opinion that is a weak plea bargain

Let’s face it, creating small jails is a storehouse that is made for those that are African Americans, Latinos . Though the extreme circumstances of some of these deaths stand out, most jailhouse deaths go largely unnoticed by the broader public, especially when they are attributed to an individual’s pre-detention health problems.

Death is suppose to be a natural thing that will eventually reach everyone, However when reports come back from the medical examiner or coroner writes the words ‘natural causes,’ it serves to absolve the jail system of responsibility, Some type of accountability needs to counted for.Although they claim these new jails will be smaller provided a better space for safety they will all turn into Rikers!

This jail construction plan is a death sentence  waiting to happen. This is not the correct approach to start with 4 new jails facilities to expand and built more hospitals jails for many who will not be provided with the correct care verses civilians in society. Just because they are serving time does not mean they should be treated like animals banished into exile. They are human beings whose lives matter.

The new Jail plan to reduce the number of people incarcerated through a series of reforms to 3,300. So  why are they building extra beds if the goal is to reduce the number of people who are incarcerated that will cost nearly 11 billion dollars to built this new infrastructure . The funding that is being used for this plan can be put to better use. There are so many ways the community and schools can benefit from this funding. If we are going to build , let us built toward something progressive such as Affordable housing and money towards repair for NYCHA developments where tenants do not not necessities such as hot water and gas for heating accessible.

The New Jail construction needs to be sentence to exile and a new innovative approach needs to be establish that will enhance our communities but also those incarcerated to assist them to become suitable to thrive and contribute to society instead of leaving them to rot in a ” surveillance” facility.

Is Capitialism Brutal

A couple of years before he was convicted of securities fraud, Martin Shkreli was the chief executive of a pharmaceutical company that acquired the rights to Daraprim, a lifesaving antiparasitic drug. Previously the drug cost $13.50 a pill, but in Shkreli’s hands, the price quickly increased by a factor of 56, to $750 a pill. At a health care conference, Shkreli told the audience that he should have raised the price even higher. “No one wants to say it, no one’s proud of it,” he explained. “But this is a capitalist society, a capitalist system and capitalist rules.”

This is a capitalist society. It’s a fatalistic mantra that seems to get repeated to anyone who questions why America can’t be more fair or equal. But around the world, there are many types of capitalist societies, ranging from liberating to exploitative, protective to abusive, democratic to unregulated.

It’s true that we see these things happen all the time. We are used to capitalism and it can hurt us badly. Many businesses try and take advantage of the consumer to line their own pockets and it’s not right.

However, we need to remember that their is no perfect system to govern our economical process. Capitalism is a good idea, but it’s abused and demonized due to the actions of heartless corporations and executives that only are about making a quick buck.

What we should do is help improve capitalism in a way that is fair and balanced, instead of trying to get rid of it for another system that could ultimately fail.

Fetishism of Comadities

Over the course of our lives we’ve come to own many objects. Many of them are things we’ve bought, made or where given. When it comes to these things we eventually gain an attachment to them. Sometimes is harmless, you have it around to remind you of something good in your life or even to remember someone you lost.

“The mystical character of commodities does not originate, therefore, in  their use value. Just as little  does it proceed from the nature of the determining factors of value. For, in  the first place, however varied the useful kinds of labour, or productive activities, may be, it is a  physiological fact, that they are  functions of the human organism, and that each such function, whatever  may be its nature or form, is  essentially the expenditure of human brain, nerves, muscles, &c. Secondly, with regard to that which  forms the ground­work for the quantitative determination of value, namely, the duration of  that  expenditure, or the quantity of labour, it is quite clear that there is a  palpable difference between its  quantity and quality. In all states of society, the labour time that it costs to  produce the means of  subsistence, must necessarily be an object of interest to mankind, though  not of equal interest in  different stages of development.[27] And lastly, from the moment that men in any way work for one  another, their labour assumes a social form.”

This quote from the article  helps in trying to show how we give meaning to everything. Sometimes this could lead us down a path where we use these objects we hold dear as a way to honor ourselves and others or we possess them in an unhealthy way which turns to obsession.

I for one believe that being attached to objects is fine, but we need to be careful we aren’t too attached to the point we only care about that object

“How 10 Latinxs Built Their Own Empowering Spaces Through Zines”

Expressing yourself is one of the most beautiful things a person can offer . There are so many different ways of expressing yourself . You can express yourself through words, actions, and my personal favorite; art . There are so many forms of art that you can use to express yourself, and ultimately that is what creating art is all about . You can express how you feel through music . You can express your situation through film . You can express your emotions through drawings and painting . The ways you can express yourself through art seem endless, but through class and the readings I found a way that was brand new to me; Zines .

Even though Zines are new to me, they certainly have been around and people have been producing them for quite some time . From the article I learned that Los Angeles hosted it’s 6th Annual Zine Fest, 2 years ago . There were 200 creators there that sold and traded their handmade booklets . So there have certainly been a bunch of people that have already been utilizing Zines .

What I find wonderful about Zine is they can focus on anything, so just like many other forms of art, it can be created in a way that expresses the creator in some shape or form . Alma Rosa from the Frijolera Press was at that years Zine fest and she discussed how she felt about Zines; “Zines spread knowledge, it can be political things, topics about mental health, it can be poetry, or your art. It’s spreading things without having a filter or having to wait for someone to let you release the information” . I think that they put that wonderfully and that is exactly what makes Zines so wonderful . You expressive yourself in an extremely pure form, in where no one can tell you how to produce it, because they way you produced it is true to you . 

Natasha Hernandez and Isabel Ann Castro, who also attended the Zine fest, had this to say about Zines; “Historically, no one is publishing us or asking us to be in their gallery shows. We have to do it for ourselves. With our zine, me and Isa are not waiting for someone else to give us these opportunities. It’s an amazing access point and no one is telling us what to publish” .  Once again, I feel like they articulated Zines in a fantastic way . They also put Zines in a way which I did not quite think of, and that’s not having to wait for anyone to tell you when or if you can publish it, you create it on your terms .

I think Zines are wonderful and should be used even more as a way for people to express themselves due to the lack of boundaries and being able to be as pure as possible .

adrienne maree brown: “attention liberation, attention reparations”

I believe when you have a personal connection to any piece of work; writing, movie, show, it goes a long way . I had a this sort of feeling with this piece of writing . Not too long ago I had a conversation with one of my close friends about having to accept certain things that are out of your control . We felt that we should not stress or burden ourselves over things that we ultimately have no control over . We knew that concerning ourselves with things that we could not control, would ultimately damage us . This is a conversation that stuck with me for a while and it is something I feel that more people need to recognize . This conversation is still very fresh in my mind, so when reading Adrienne’s piece, I felt a certain connection . I felt many of the themes of my friend’s and I’s discussion were also in this writing but even more magnified, but also solutions and specific ways we can combat this way of thought, which I appreciated tremendously .

“Attention is one of our most valuable resources”

The very first line hooked me right away . Time, in my opinion, is the most valuable thing in the world . No matter how hard you try, time is something you could never get back, and that is a bit scary to me . Adrienne mentions where we could place our attention, that is so valuable . If we placed our attention; “on gratitude, collective power, experimentation, curiosity and celebration” we’d gravitate to a more healthy lifestyle .

Adrienne also mentions that there are many forces that do not have our best interest in mind and they benefit from keeping our attention elsewhere, so they could puppet us into predictable responses . I find this important because we can not give others that power, especially to those people that have so much power already .

A method Adrienne uses that she mentioned, that I may implement into my real life, is meditation . She mentions that she focuses on here breathe for 10 to 30 minutes each day . She feels when she forgets to practice, she becomes reactive and that her attention is back to places it should not be; scrolling through the news obsessively and feeling powerless in the time being . I think this speaks to finding a habit, a hobby, something that keeps  you occupied and focus, and how important it is to keep up that habit .

I really enjoyed this piece and found it very helpful . I hope more people take something like this into account and realize the true power behind their attention .