10 January 2009

Who missed the memo?

2009 is supposed to be the year of change, hope and innovation. That's what we've been hearing about and with the inauguration of President-Elect Obama looming, this was supposed to signal a turning point for race relations in this country. So why was a Black man shot by a police officer while he was on his stomach with his hands behind his back on the very first day of this year of hope?

Since the shooting of Oscar Grant, no action has been taken by the BART police or the city of Oakland to investigate or prosecute the officer who fired his gun. Despite video evidence that is splashed across news media and YouTube, the officer has been allowed to resign and the mayor only released a statement after protests turned to near riots. All this only 7 days into the year of change.

Sadder still is the story of Kalynn Moore, a New Jersey mother who not only experienced the sudden death of her son in childbirth but was further horrified to learn that the hospital had thrown the infant's body out with the trash. And to top it all off, the hospital has given up the search for the body.

I am not a person who likes to shout racism, every time a Black person is wronged but these are two situations where not only the authorities but the media have failed to do what they are charged to. Oscar Grant was a young father who was shot in the back, yet no steps have been taken to investigate his death, and the media has chosen to portray him and the people of Oakland as thuggish and deserving of such treatment. Kalynn Moore has seen first hand that the people in power view both her and her child as disposable not even worthy of search that lasted more than a week. I hate to sound pessimistic but I honestly believe if this child had been White, there would have been a prolonged and exhaustive search for its body. It would be national news and people would be holding vigils. Because that is the value of a White life in this country.

If we hope that 2009 will truly be a year of change then we need to be that change. The United States has been talking about an American dream that cannot be realized when the lives of some Americans are worth more than others. I'm happy for President Obama but we are not all Barack Obama, we're much closer to being Oscar Grants and Kalynn Moores. "Hope"fully, that will "change".

05 January 2009

Eyes Wide Open

Here we are in 2009! I'm not a resolutions person at all but I do like to reflect on the year and let's just say ... I'm glad 2008 is over. What seemed like a promising year, turned out to be not so much of one and it (thankfully) flew by. But the good thing about a crappy year is that it always comes to an end and if you're smart enough you can learn from it.

I spent my pre-New Year's driving down to L.A. I stopped in Big Sur and spent some time hiking and thinking. It was a wonderful get away (even if it was cold as balls). I hung out with some locals and just breathed in some fresh air. After a pretty dismal Christmas without my family, I needed to feel like things could be different. And there's something about standing in a forest where things seem so static but are constantly changing, it makes you feel like your cirumstances are only temporary. We camped and I laid down my burden (down by the riverside bum-bum!)

Afterwards we continued down the California coast and if you have not driven down the coast, please make it a priority. It was AH-MAZING! Sometimes it was foggy and eerie and other times it was just picture perfect. The entire drive was surreal. I felt like I was in a movie.

And finally we hit LA. I always have mixed feelings about LA. I love that my friends are there, the vibe is faster than Oakland (and therefore closer to NY) but the schmooziness (yes, it's a word) weirds me out. I adore Venice. And I like the Arts District. In many ways, I was made for LA. I'm such a tv/movie freak it seems a no-brainer that I belong there ... and honestly I think I should be there.

I love the Bay but I feel the restlessness settling in. And I know I'm not happy with what I'm doing. I love the kids, and the school and the people but it's not what I want to be doing. After reflecting on the new year I've come to the realization that I need to get my shit together. School, work, whatever it needs to come together. I need a plan and I need to execute it. 2008 was the year of procrastination but 2009 needs to be the year of action. No resolutions just actions. I'm going to make it happen. (As soon as I figure out what IT is)

While I do that anyone want to get me some shoes?
... size 8