The location is one of Manila’s largest squatter areas, somewhat euphemistically known as Temporary Housing. Thousands of people live here, crammed together in barracks, built for ‘only’ hundreds, over 20 years ago. The original residents were families being relocated from the city’s infamous Smokey Mountain garbage dump, just a mile up the road.Read More
Peace, a concept of societal friendship and harmony that we strive to aim to achieve. Peace, an ideal that I was brought up believing that my country nurtured and cultivated. Peace, a paradise that our ancestors fought for us to enjoy the fruits of. Peace, a state in which no blood is shed, but hatred is brewed. Peace, a fleeting dream that our outstretched hands so desperately reach to grasp despite knowing it may never be so.Read More
When the four young African Americans approached us on Chicago’s Red Line subway, feelings I had long forgotten came rushing back. It was midafternoon on a weekday. We were checking off an item on my wife’s Chicago Bucket List: to ride the elevated, aka the “L.” My wife was raised on a farm in central Illinois. I was raised on the South Side of Chicago, but left forty years ago to live in much smaller towns in the West.Read More
I grew up in Wakefield's biggest council estate, Wakefield being a relatively small city in West Yorkshire. Most council estates in Yorkshire have a factory or a closed coal mine at the fringes, the rest of the estate sprawling off it. The one I grew up in was no different; a plastic factory only a street away churning out black smoke on a daily basis, occasionally setting on fire every now and again.Read More
Doesn’t almost every girl dream of a perfect wedding, marriage and kids? Isn’t it every woman’s goal to find a prince charming, a soul mate, the best man in the world, the one and only and crown their happiness by a ring and a piece of paper that says “happily married ever after”?Read More
We’re all of us looking for a seat, but none of us look like we’re looking for a seat. It’s a sleight of eye kind of thing, a slight twitch in the angle of the head right and left especially when the doors open and people pour out and pour on and slide like slippery eels into recently vacated spaces claiming them for the duration, closing their eyes like everyone else with a seat, sleeping or not, smug yet also guilty that they are seated and the only-slightly-elderly woman hanging and swaying and stumbling as the train lurches is not, but they are dog-tired after a long day and desperately in need of a snooze so have a right to be seated. Right?Read More
Woman of color in space, or science fiction in general, is a topic I will return to time and time again; there’s much to discuss. For now, though, I’d like to talk about the color green. Specifically women of the color green.
Star Trek has a mixed track record when it comes to women of color. On the one hand, we have Uhura, a black woman, in space, treated no differently than her colleagues, and who engages in the very first interracial kiss on television. Cool. Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry expressed that his vision of the future is an inclusive one; for him, progress is made, and anyone of any color or creed could join Star Fleet. Though perfectly understandable now, at the time, this was groundbreaking. COOL.Read More
When you are a child, you don’t understand anything; dynamics, relationships, feelings, even perfectly clear events leave you mystified. Adults seem terrifying, with all the power to love and comfort or to threaten, hurt or abandon you. And abandonment is a real threat. This is how it was for me. Emotions are heightened. Images are vivid. Events imprint themselves on your brain forever.Read More
I stared across the street as a group of adults, some strapped with guns, yelled at me for holding a “Racism does not equal Patriotism” sign. I’m not even seventeen yet and I’m terrified. I was at a protest in a small northern Michigan town 40 minutes from mine, protesting their village leader for a racist and Islamophobic post he shared on Facebook.Read More
We were there to celebrate a friend's daughter graduating from high school and being accepted into The University of Texas. Not a bad deal, in my book. Especially considering this young lady is the product of a broken home, her single mother struggling to support three children on her own.Read More
I was reminded of my own emotions this week, in an unexpected way. I gave too much of myself away, into my artwork, and to my mind. The aftermath? I was leaving a person with no home base — bathed in loneliness and half-finished sentences. It was as if I was holding a grenade; the exploded shards piercing the humanity back into me. I started to wonder, genuinely, if what I was doing had even an ounce of purpose. A thought, that never phased me — my confidence wavering.Read More
I first heard the phrase, "everything is temporary," from my Mom; a woman who is my inspiration, as she is exceptionally in-touch with her inner-self. This phrase has stuck with me, and in the last few weeks has been the single thing pulling me out of bed in the morning.
Flashback many years ago when this conversation came to light: My legs were crammed up against the back of a passenger seat, an enormous pile of luggage teetering to my left. I was completely boxed in, except for a cracked window on the right, letting in the cold mountain air. If my father had the sudden NASCAR urge to circumvent a slow 2001 navy Subaru in front of him; the dog and I would be the first to feel the effects of luggage, and snacks crushing our lungs. This would most definitely be the case if said Subaru lacked winter tires. My Father would be on the gas pedal the second he saw the Massachusetts tags.Read More