dear berkeleys multicultural community center

May 12, 2010 § Leave a comment

first of all, i gotta say
mad love and respect. love and respect
i dont even know how i can begin to describe the depth of appreciation i have for you. i feel like you are the one physical space on this campus that ive cried for, prayed for, thought of day and night, and just poured myself out on for the last five months of my life. and its not really just those five months. its the whole five yrs of my berkeley days that led up to this point. all that ive learned gone through strived for (albeit unknowingly for awhile bc it takes that much time to NAME what your heart really desires) finally bringing me to here. now.

when i took off a semester from cal last spring, one thing i feared was a slow deterioration of all the communities ive just started becoming a part of. and each invitation friends sent me to campaign to come through for a mtg or a concert or a rally to speak blah blah i turned down because God told me clearly im not to be on campus during my dormant time. i prayed again and again God i want to be there you know my heart. lynn then said its time for plowing the ground. what you are doing right now is preparing the soil working and breaking the ground because only after doing that can you sow and see things grow. the time you spend with the Lord hidden from the world, waiting on Him and wasting before Him, is needed for the work your next season.
sounds nice, but i couldnt have known how those words will turn out
if i hadnt listened and gone on with my degree, if i pushed through my last semester as normal and graduated that may, if i just “sucked it up” and “made most of whats left,” i wouldnt be where i am who i am today. i wouldnt have been able to intern with apasd, to see and participate first hand with the state wide walkouts protests marches, to become introduced to the wonderful space that is truly a multicultural and community-driven center, to meet all the amazing individuals activists from the native, black, chican@/latin@, and mixed communities, to get involved and learn to support human rights for palestine in the divestment bill process, or to work with the interns here as an assistant programming coordinator. i wouldnt have seen the fruit of the prayers i wanted. i wouldnt have been as confident as i am now to say that i have a home with the progressive communities @ cal and pray for them love them befriend them do life together with them

so
five yrs. trying psych and jazz, thinking i could be a musician and stepping up to ccf leadership, burned bad both with love and duty, spiral downward only to be sanctified purer. im here
feels like coming full circle. finally. three yrs ago i thought i graduated with the class of my friends. found out that even if i felt like i was done here, berkeley wasnt done with me yet. came back a little hesitant but unapologetic about what i really want. this time more focused more strategic more intentional. now the third and final graduation. we can say goodbye in peace.
mcc youve been so good to me. youve fed me more than all my friends have combined (mmm may not be true actually. but close enough). you were there when i had to pray because the burdens of intercession on behalf of my friends and the whole campus were heavy on me. you provided life changing eye opening conversations that deepend my committment to social justice and loving those He loves. you brought countless firneds who inspire me and teach me and humble me and make me laugh to no end. you also angered me tortured me at nights cut me open time and time again. but i guess thats what unconditional love is about. i dont remember your wrongs

you make me a better human being
the fact that we are sitting here and meeting right now is a revolutionary act in and of itself
luke is the shit
i see what decolonizing means here. the way we were taught to see and think. the way we were brought up and conditioned to be. breaking that all down
community can happen cross borders language barrieres with the most unlikely people. ive seen it happen with my own eyes. i believe it
this is where i feel the most safe

thank you for:

  1. the dances to rasta beats
  2. boba runs yogurtland dates and chipotle chips
  3. moving chairs couches tables
  4. nasty garbages to be taken out
  5. bridges and calserve mtgs till 3am
  6. pandora station sharing with lupe fiasco lauryn hill boyz 2 men
  7. 500+ high school kids from under resourced communities rolling through for senior wknd
  8. always giving away free food to the hungry
  9. hiphop heads poetry slams rocking it female mcs and djs
  10. live art going on solidarity with people of iran
  11. ucpd brutality asuc auxilary tullys busllshit telling us what to do who we are, but we still here and proud
  12. muslim brothers sisters praying
  13. southeast asian community fists in the air
  14. words of archbishop desmund tutu and writer alice walker gracing our walls
  15. black community holding emergency townhalls
  16. same wk we see uc wide homophobic hate crimes calling our queer communit yand allies to action also
  17. fierce debates on the future of mcc tangeld up in the lower sproul redevelopment project by our interns
  18. yining leading everyong to sing rain down
  19. febreezing couches after homeless ppl come through
  20. geting stuck in the elevator
  21. filming interviews for our documentary
  22. culture shows after culture shows
  23. bridges study jam holding it down 9am to midnight
  24. mass txts and emails about hunger strike out on california hall
  25. conversations about native languages bieng lost throguh generations till late at night

cant list enough memories!!!

thank you. you make me me. im a better christian because of you. im a better womyn because of you. im a better activist because of you. im a better human being because of you
i didnt have anything like this when i entered cal as a 1st yr. if this i what can happen at the end of my five yrs and if this is what you can make of yourself with all the love and support from the communities that make us, then i am excited for what will come out in the next five yrs ten yrs long after everyone here now is gone. the new generation of students coming in getting politicized by you through you and building up the dream of our third world college. where a different way of thinking seeing being and relating to one another is truly possible. decolonizing ourselves
again. mad love and respect
i pray that what i was able to sow in tears we will reap in joy

ps- i usually dont do this, but i may be posting this on fb just so i can tag all my interns

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idk if i can do this entry justice

May 5, 2010 § Leave a comment

power and privilege. i guess also identity
what you let identify you will also rule you, said ryan.
the last month or so ive been thinking about this day and night night and day 24/7 over and over. i couldnt get it out of my head my system. my eyes see everything through this lens, and all the actions words filter through that net, and im just so tired really so tired of questions coming up words to fire back anger and frustration ultimately tears as red flags come up up up and i cant stop them. thats how ive been wired.
i think whats happening is this:
im seeing how power and privilege bought by whiteness are actually identifying a person to the point where when that power and privilege either forcefully get taken away by political revolution or some rare times given up voluntarily as one recognizes their oppressive nature, those whose identity are wrapped up in the two become uncomfortable, hurt, pained, even believing they are ‘being oppressed’
i feel almost sick right now. kifahs voice rings in me
i cant believe i just cried for that. i mean it wasnt just right now. probably what ive been feeling this whole month the past four yrs. i felt so uncomfortable i had to leave. i just couldnt stay there. i mean wtf this is the one place ONE PLACE i feel safe on this campus. and they had to come here. i went over to some muslim brothers. i want to be comfortable!
two jewish males come in. if it werent for their tikvah tshirts i think i wouldve just seen em as ‘white.’ which is tragic. jews arent white. they were not white. but like other ethnic whites who are without question now accepted ‘whites,’ they have bought into whiteness.
so they want to film mcc. all my flight or fight instincts kick in, and i ask them what its for. they say something about for another country. documentary on student life campus stuff. first mistake i say they can as long as they let us know what its being used for and email us the clips. but the real tension isnt the permission to film public spaces or the artists privacy. as elisa steps out to deal with them, my heart is already full of all the words this guys said at the last senate hearing and his proud students for israel tshirt. when i saw kifah in her hijab — she doesnt wear it usually. i know that was her statement. hey im a muslim woman. yes youve seen me, im in students for justice in palestine. i helped with the divestment bill, and i work here. this is MY space — walk out to the other side, my heart just hurt. the tension, whether the two jewish students knew or not was between the old blatant in your face white supremacy now disguised in color blind western democracy spreading freedom and equality by the dollars everywhere we go bullshit and the long centuries long hystory of coloniality oppression dehumanization borne by the people of color womyn queer all who are non white non western europe non self ‘others trying a shot at human dignity self determination our own definition of life knowledge community values spirituality power love.
the two jewish students dont know dont understand how not with their consent the fathers and mothers of same blood scorned as the niggers paupers strange ethnics in the ghettos dreamt for them a better future just like the palestinian parents do the vietnamese elders black single mothers everywhere. somehow they traded in their colors for that shot, gladly jumped on the american dream bandwagon shedding all prayers in the secret remembering the holocaust faces in the public supporting democracy the usa usa ivy leagues and lawyers doctors bankers congresspeople whiteness whiteness. now you can come in assuming all the privilege you can walk in anywhere feel comfortable anywhere never be questioned never be stopped and have to explain themselves. im sure the things your parents kept in you were the images stories screams of those bleak years, everyones suffered son. but they cant become badges of entitlement. how could we let this happen? thats what power does. where do we go from here? hystory. we cant fight hystory
what identifies us will also rule us. i dont want fake power fake privilege that end up hurting both those who hold and those who are held to rule over me. to the point where i cant recognize myself away from them. and to you who think that somehow my fight to deconstruct the privilege — of not even having to think about whether some people dont have the choice to feel safe when they are around the police for they are colored because you would NEVER experience that in your life — is an attack of their ‘white’ identity, im sorry. you have been bought by the whiteness you didnt create didnt name didnt choose to let that rule over you. and if yous for real, if you want to talk to me like eye to eye soul to soul human to human yous going to have to hurt a little. yous going to have to face that the sweet comfort of ignorance when you can take things for granted is built on the backs of those who were born with no shot at buying that same whiteness. yous going to have to deconstruct that identity too. who you are isnt what you can/cannot do or what you are/arent comfortable with or what you do/dont agree on.
sigh
i see God in you

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