4 Poor Bodies of Color Under Attack Needing Decolonization By Any Means Neccessary-PNN Toronto is Born

Tiny - Posted on 30 August 2012

Lisa Gray-Garcia, daughter of Dee, Mama of Tiburcio/PNN

Pictured from Left: Maggies SKolaz; Monica Sehovic Bowen Forrester, Kyisha ka Ackees, Chanelle LeLovely, Phoenix KattMandii Nanticoke and Tiny




...i took a trip to a place -
 not so defined by this violent hate-
yes it was a colony started by more wite men stealing aboriginal land
with settler dreams and brutal plans
yes racism is still alive n well -
but there is a difference seen and unseen in the people-
its a difference u cant taste or smell -
but in the shadows it dwells...
excerpt of Not so defined by this Hate (see below for complete poem)

Each day I walked slowly, almost painfully, down a street called St. Clair in Toronto. It was a slow-motion journey through the almost Global Warming-esque heat to get a cup of plain, non-yuppie, still-not-starbucks- coffee at a staple Canada-based chain business called Tim Hortons. And although it was just a benign walk in pursuit of caffiene, it felt to be so much more. 

My ancestors running over fields.... Brixia 2012

Unclear to me at first, I began to realize why my typically strong body, labored so, I was carrying something. In fact, I was carrying somebody, somebodies I was carrying my African-Taino abuelito Roberto in diaspora in the 1940's cause of poverty to the US from Puerto Rico, who dealt with so many racist abuses of his beautiful dark-skinned body, I was carrying my Roma(Gyosy) grandmother who dealt with so much anti-poor people hate that she couldnt raise my mama, and at the forefront of the pile, my po' indigenous mixed race mama, hated so much for being po and of color and a wombyn, all who sufferred a deep kind of anti-immigrant, anti-poor people of color hate, so specific to the United Snakkkes of Amerikkka. And so with each laborious step I took, they wrapped their legs tighter around me, smiling, free for once, unafraid, tasting a subtle decolonization that was almost intangible, but not,  and i along with them.

And they and I weren't without critique, they knew we were walking on a colony started by settler/killers who stole aboriginal land  with wite privilege still ruling the roost, but yet they and i knew there were differences.  "yeah it is different here," said Sadina Fiati, artist from R3 collective, which describes itself as" recovering indigenous roots and resisting colonial oppression through music, dance, visual art and theatre.

I had the blessing of meeting, hearing, speaking and healing from so many of the artists sharing their work at an event Called Riddems of Resistance - a benefit for the Toronto Rape Crisis Center/Multi-Cultural Women Against Rape held in Toronto the night before i had to leave. From the story-filled lyrics and billie-holidaymeets 21st century sounds of Brixia to the opening drum and song of native sisters from Cherish Blood including the amazing Rosary Spence, not to mention the best form of decolonized dance this danzante has ever seen known as, Ill Na Na.

Riddems of Resistance was the decolonized cherry on top of the revolutionary cake. This poverty/indigenous skola had been "sent", called or perhaps directed in this journey by the powerful poverty skolaz, sex worker skolaz and aboriginal skolaz of Maggies Sex Worker Organizing Project, to teach with, share with, and learn with from the poor people-led liberation curriculum me and my mama created for POOR Magazine's PeopleSkool (Escuela de la gente) which begins by teaching on why we as poor, indigenous, disabled, im/migrant, incarcerated and/or unrecognized workers are in fact skolaz. And that our skolarship is just as valid, legitimate, important and powerful as any knowledge you could get from an institution. That we as folks in struggle must lead with our own voices, tell our own stories and direct our own self-determined revolutions.

In the workshop we covered poor people mythologies perpetuated in corporate and even some "independent" media, POOR's redefinition of media and journalism as poetry and spoken word and grafitti and hip hop and visual art, poetry journalism, poverty journalism, the Slam Bio and so much more. And finally began to construct each one of the participants "revolutionary blogs" with the dream of launching PNN Toronto.

From Sex Worker and Mama Skola Phoenix Kat who writes for her bio; Stuck in this place, in this body letting my mind do the walking. While I try to talk less and listen more my eyes tell the inevitably story of a sex working ho mother struggling and surviving. to Monica who did a  PNN-TV re-port on trans-feminism, bringing her perspective of trans-skolaship to new revolutionary levels and finally an interview with Aborginal Skola Mandi Nanticoke on the beautiful mural from in the park near Maggies.

I got a hint that something was different about the decolonized minds of Toronto after being introduced in the Bay by POOR Magazine's indigenous Peoples Media Project co-founder Mariposa to Krysta and Erin from another people-led organization, Native Youth Sexual Health Network(NYSHN) who were so clear in their analysis of colonization and liberation of native peoples

The Sex worker, poverty and aboriginal skolaz at Maggies made my year, they were embued with the clarity of mind and power that only poor people-led organizations can feel and present. Knowledge rooted in their own liberation and clearly aware what they needed to work on, " I hate social workers," said chanelle, sex worker advocate with, Maggies, my host and one of the coolest skolaz i have encountered in a minute. All of these powerful leaders at Maggies were working on rights of trans-feminists, the criminal In-justice system, the criminalized work of sex workers and the ways they need to keep safe to practice their profession

"Yes, it is different here," Maggies director Keisha Scott, shared a ride to and from the airport and discussed the kind of very raced and classed poverty of the US. She continued, "I had been to New Orleans before Katrina and had noticed that the people living in the very poor, black neighborhoods were gone somehow," As Keisha spoke, I nodded my head, I knew that kind of blank-ness- so often found in the eyes of people in the US lost to the violence of poverty and racism and hate, like the eyes of so many of the young people in the high schools POOR Magazine teaches at - like the eyes of the young people of the families that POOR Magazine works with who have been long ago gentriFUKed out of the Bay Area to poor people suburbs and trailer parks of Sacramento and Vellejo, like my own aunties and in the end, even my mama, suffering as she would poetically name, to many little murders of the soul.

So how is it different?- well for one thing even though, Amerikkkan-style devil-opment forces are moving in at a clip and million dollar prisons are being built as we e-speak, thanks to the new conservative government,  one of the crucial pegs of the gentriFUKation process, i.e, the release and perpetration of liquor store licenses in neighborhoods "designed/slated" (cuz its a plan, not an accident) for blight and eventual "re-devil-opment" aren't there, The Government controls the sale of liquor, which as weird connotations herstorically for me as an indigenous person ring through, its still makes sure that "corner stores" actually have food in them- fresh milk, veggies and fruit and then in almost every neighborhood, poor or rich, there is a real food supermarket, which like all of us living in all the food desserts around the bay know, is pretty revolutionary.

Also, they also have killings of people with mental illnesses by Po' Lice - the po;lice just aren't as present, lurking around every corner of poor peoples hoods like they are here.

And before the conservative government took over, they had a standard program in place, that if you needed help with your move-in fees, (1st , last n deposit) all you had to do was make a phone call. One phone call,

And although they have a class based immigration policy similar to the US, it is in NO way like it is here. I was passed by a bus with a side poster on it saying, "We Love Our Immigrants". What??, I screamed internally. You have got to be kidding me. There was no "illegal aliens" concepts splattered all over the corporate media and in fact the "diversity" of the small businesses which lined St Clair street were markedly different.

But the final straw, the one that only fellow poverty skolaz will feel me deeply on, was the bathrooms. As I was sitting in the Tim Horton's place and two other cafes in other neighborhoods, one after the other, people of all colors, ages and skolarship walked in and used the bathroom. They didnt necessarily buy anything, or even stay for any period of time, but they used the bathroom with impunity. Without asking. Without getting a key and most importantly without getting a "no" cause we only "serve" customers. The city was very clean, the bathrooms were very clean and this cleanliness was kept in place by everyone. Perhaps because everyone felt somehow less under attack

On my last morning there I walked up to St Clair av, one last time. I think this time the ancestors decided to give my back a break, cuz my step was lighter, or maybe its just that i had spent four days and three nights in a place where the bodies of poor peoples of color weren't under attack, so my body felt lighter. Hopefully, with the words and work of the powerful skolaz of PNN Toronto, the journey to the continued decolonization of our youth, adults, elders and ancestors in poverty and struggle will continue....

(read the 1st submission of PNNToronto by clicking here

Not So Defined by Hate-

(Dedicated to Toronto sist@z Phoenix, Chanelle, Keisha, Kyisha, Monica, Mandi, Krysta, my mama and all the poverty & aboriginal skolaz across Pachamama)

by Tiny

I walk in shadows-
I walk in sorrow of shadows
 of so many hearts eaten hollow

and minds -
 skin and life treated like im
any better than anyone-

what r u complaining about - you who live in your wite skin-
why shout?
half colonizer-but heart n soul black, brown and filled with struggle of kin
all hated, criminalized, removed, displaced and incarcerated
outside and within

my struggle pales to their pain-
 to the pain of my mama
left out, kept out
and hated
until she permanently was stopped by the trauma

I walk down every street in the United Snakkkes
 seeing lies and hate,
almost too much to take
in the shadows of glances away-

U see i am the houseless african man on the corner asking for change
 i am the migrante mama who had to leave her children behind false borders, rape and no pay 
- that was me and my Black indian mama-
mi taino abuelito and gypsy grandmother
But U see i took a trip to a place -
 not so defined by this hate-
yes it was a colony started by more wite men stealing aboriginal land
with settler dreams and brutal plans
yes racism is alive n well -
but there is a difference seen and unseen in the people-
its a difference u cant taste or smell -
but in the shadows it dwells

a vibe of so much -less internalized drama-
lives not defined by herstorical trauma

Herstories of Chattel Slavery - words like "illegal" and aliens when we talk about familes and their babies
Endless constructs of racist hate and fear
which fill the hearts and minds of the wite- supremacy always near

The Veneer of sorrow that lurks in the shadows of all the indigenous peoples, African Peoples and All peoples of color
always somehow under attack,
in defense,
in remission,
in trauma,
in diaspora
cuz of imperialistic moves across pachamama

This place isnt perfect but my very poor body havnt really been many places out of United Snakkes of AMerikkka
and so when i went to this place called toronto which is trying to import US stye gentriFUKation drama - i went thru it

This place isnt the same - there is a difference and when i came back  - i wantd to scream- help me and all of us from these hate- from this violence rooted in this capitalistic state

Let me go back- and yet,
 i can't
 this is my fate,
to struggle -
 to feel the hate -
to work as a soldier for the people every day in this colonized place
to tel the truth bout columbus-
false borders, prisons and all us poor folks in struggle and all the other setller killers-
in this giant Po'Lice plantation defined by pillage

to remember that that in my wite skin
 i must suffer the hate of my brothers and sisters  -
i must carry the struggle of my mamas and sons of color dying within

I must believe that we will bring decolonization-
 even if only within-
 i must believe that we will manifest decolonized realities for my ancestors,
 for Creator and for all the children  coming-
 still coming, not here yet -
 but on their way in
to unearth the shadows
to heal the sorrows
to manifest liberation
into the tomorrows

So, Lisa Gray-Garcia, daughter of Dee, Mama of Tiburcio, if Canada loves immigrants so much, why don't you become one, and move there?


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