Some brief requests & reminders before we begin 2017:

  1. “Alt-Right” as a term matters and needs to be used, not instead of white supremacist/neo-nazi etc, but understanding them as a unique faction of white supremacy. Instead of being nitpicky about the Alt-Right, let’s question our overusage of popular buzzwords like “privilege” and be more intentional with our language about power in the future (more on this from me later).
  2. Trump is not my president, but neither is Obama, nor would have Hillary been if she won. No “democratically-elected leader” of a stolen colonized land built up by stolen colonized labor has ever been my president 👌🏽
  3. 2016 sucked because our pop culture idols are aging and dying after dealing with the brunt & ramifications of fame, celebrity culture, misogyny, racism, ableism and fat-shaming & using substances to cope etc., and the Western world is swinging even farther right than it has been. That all is amplified by our quick access to news and media which isn’t to take away from the tragedy of the loss and the state of our world politically/culturally/socially but to name the truth of why we feel it so hard. However, it was amazing in many ways too, and we should acknowledge and elevate those who made it awesome, whether on a national or international scale or our own lives and communities.
  4. Mainstream media has been a sham, dishonor and disservice to the people for quite some time now. It has always, to one extent or another, barring some decent truth-tellers actually committed to their job, been a tool of power & the state. Don’t let them put the blame on others. We can’t fight the new tide of fascism and white extremism with fact-checking and state-sanctioned politics and their empty biased ideas of “balance”. We cannot let mainstream media demonize independent and POC journalism & news. We cannot let mainstream media determine and name what is or isn’t news.
  5. That said, let’s stay vigilant and honest and keep our news media to a high standard and tell our truth with dignity and facts. This is the only instance where “when they go low, we go high” applies. Let’s also document and resist intimidation and the silencing our our journalists and media.
  6. We have the power to change shit. Stop depending on political leaders and inherently violent white systems of oppression to free us because they won’t. Depend on each other. The revolution is in us. Liberation is in our hands.
  7. Standing Rock is still happening. Flint is still happening. Police brutality and mass incarceration is still happening. Please do not forget them and so many other struggles.
  8. White feminism is white supremacy. White women do not define feminism or women’s struggles.
  9. Stomp yr local fascists, & if that includes liberals and democrats who say shit like “two wrongs don’t make a right” or “let’s give them a chance!” or “You have to respect their difference in opinion” then so be it.
  10. The world is ruthless, always has been. Sometimes defiance, anger, strength in conviction, agitation and savagery in return is merited, but we also need to be patient, understanding, loving, doting and caring to ourselves and one another when needed. Call in more, be tender and kind, listen and breathe and disagree and educate and learn with an open heart, go on dates with friends, have potlucks, start a book club, confess to your crush, save a stray, buy yourself or a friend some flowers. Embody and practice real love and passion in your activism and daily life. Anger and rage and reacting has its use and power, but you do not build. and sustain community with these things.
  11. Environmental issues are and always have been Indigenous and Black, intrinsically. Reclaim and take the face of that back from white people in 2k17
  12. The “Everybody is Afro-Caribbean/West Indian” trend is so over. Even us immigrant kids born in the US get our island card yanked because being from there is totally different from being born to Island parents. Instead of jocking our cultures & styles, let’s care about the people and the struggles and the ways they are still being exploited by the West. 👌🏽
  13. New Year’s Resolutions & goals are hard and can often be toxic. Give yourself time and be easy on yourself. Change is important and growth is essential (even when you don’t want it or it is a struggle), but you need to do it FOR and WITH yourself. If you are deeply fighting and hurting your body, mind and spirit to be something or become someone, is it worth it? Is it a good goal? Evaluate your goals based on what’s best and reasonable for you, not based on racist, capitalistic, heteronormative, ableist, classist, fat-shaming etc ideas the world has about beauty, power & success. Remember, it’s that pressure that’s killing some of our favorite people. And while you are spending time focusing on where you still need to get and grow, celebrate how far you have come. Do not only see yourself for how you are lacking, see yourself for how much you have accomplished and where your body and mind, neuroatypical, different, broken or “unhealthy” as it may be, has already taken you.
  14. Stop worshipping and prioritizing and deifying whiteness and white people. Learn to love and see and center and build community with people of color, by people of color, for people of color. This includes romantically/sexually as well!
  15. Destroy “ally” culture and build and create solidarity, accomplices and race traitors instead.
  16. Invest in women of color & femmes, emotionally, culturally, socially, financially. Love us, pay us, see our hurt and our suffering as easily as you see our resilience and strength and your objectified ideas of our sexuality and womanhood. See us in the ways you do not yet want to or cannot yet fathom or understand. Let us be us and thank us for letting you be you.
  17. Telling the truth about power and “them” is important and necessary stuff, but for many it is easy. What is often harder is to stand up to “us”-our family, friends, immediate community and ourselves. It’s a hard thing to face, when we ourselves or our loved ones or those in are circle are being toxic, problematic or abusive to others or even our own person, especially when we come from communities so used to being torn down, accused, victim-blamed, criminalizes and pathologized, but we have to practice our values and truths everywhere, not just when and where its easiest and you can sit on a high horse. We have to investigate, interrogate, question, critic and discipline ourselves as well.
  18. We need to face the fact that violence, rape and abuse are huge issues in our communities that disproportionately affect women and children. We create alternatives to discipline and re-educate and deal with cycles of abuse and trauma in our communities. If there was a way 2016 was hard for me, it was how I was not believed as a victim of trauma and abuse by those in my own communities who wish to protect our abusers because they’re “good” activists/artists/poets/men of color etc. I deserve better. We deserve better. We cannot be free of patriarchal white supremacy if we do not challenge how we have internalized and practice it.
  19. Honor and thank your ancestors. Learn about your roots. Learn your indigenous ways. Love your native tongue and features. Build your identity and take pride in it. Decolonize, decolonize, decolonize! & decolonize your decolonization FOR REAL. If your “indigenous” identity is homophobic, transphobic, misogynist, gender essentialist, patriarchal, it’s still of the white man. Let’s leave hoteps, transantagonism, and womanizers behind in 2016. Honor our POC queers and trans folk and women 2k17.

Love and power to you all in this upcoming year!

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Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com

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Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Briana L. Urena-Ravelo

Writer. Community organizer. Errant punk. Ne’er do well. Fire starter. Email: Dominicanamalisima@gmail.com

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