Thursday, July 14, 2016

Denial Is Not Peace & Unity

I tried to go to the Service of Peace and Unity in Corpus because I am so, so for peace and unity but when the #AllLivesMatter talk started, I had to leave.  There can be no peace without justice.  There can be no justice without truth.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Black Children Matter

This edition of Wednesdays with the Subversive Children's Book Club is dedicated to the people of color who have been murdered by police this past month, and also to Diamond Reynolds' little girl who so tragically had to witness something no child should see in a world where far too many children of color see it.

Primary and Lower Elementary 
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • Sister Anne’s Hands by Marybeth Lorbiecki
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold 
  • Amazing Grace by Mary Hoffman
  • A Pocket For Corduroy by Don Freeman
  • Aunt Harriet's Underground Railroad in The Sky by Faith Ringgold
  • The Snowy Day by Ezra Jack Keats
  • Tar Beach by Faith Ringgold
  • More More More, Said The Baby by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Cains 
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • A Sweet Smell of Roses by Angela Johnson  
 Upper Elementary
  • One Crazy Summer and P.S. Be Eleven by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Junebug by Alice Mead
  • Locomotion by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Lions of Little Rock by Kristin Levine 
  •  Double Dutch by Sharon Draper
  • Moses:  When Harriet Tubman Led Her People to Freedom by Carole Boston Weatherford
  • From Slave Ship to Freedom Road by Julius Lester
  • Like Sisters on The Homefront by Rita Williams Garcia
  •  Tyrell  by Coe Booth
  • Kendra by Coe Booth
  • Fast Talk On A Slow Track by Rita Williams Garcia
  • After Tupac and D Foster by Jacqueline Woodson
  • The Hoopster, Hip Hop High School and Homeboyz (a series) by  Alan Lawrence Sitomer
  • My Mother The Cheerleader by Robert Sharenow
  • Al la Carte  by Tanita Davis 
  • Warriors Don't Cry by Melba Patillo Beals.

Readings For Ignorant White People

It is hard to know what would be helpful to post, in the darkness following so much tragedy.  I am already involved in trying to advocate for civil rights and hold our governments accountable at every turn.  I try to educate children and young people about equality. I push back when other white people spew their racist rhetoric.  If I were not doing those things, it would be time to start, but also well past time. Mostly at a time like this, I want to listen to people of color if they want to talk and I want to give them space to find what peace they can amidst the horror.  It is not my place to take any charge of a just response. I am here to be an ally.

That said, there is one thing that is my responsibility and the responsibility of other white people to take charge of at such a time - we need to push back harder at the racists around us.  I am deeply horrified at what I am hearing out of the mouths of other white people this past week. The disgusting #AllLivesMatter rhetoric and the excuses, excuses, excuses and more excuses they are willing to make for murder.  It is frankly bad enough when I hear it from uneducated white people who are struggling economically and whose experiences have not included enough sociology or breadth to really understand institutionalized racism.  I know a lot of people like that and I am frustrated by their ignorance and hatred and fear but I also kind of see where it comes from, not that it is an excuse, but beleaguered humans have always tended to tribe up and get all us against them whenever possible, to want to find someone they can stand on when they feel like others are standing on them. It's the impulse that makes progress towards more civil rights and human rights so hard.
When, however, I start hearing #AllLivesMatter crap and all the excuses as to why it was justifiable for innocent people to be murdered, from people in education or mental health fields, it is Just Completely Inexcusable.  Go do some reading.  A whole giant ton of reading.  Start with the selections below and don't come and spew your ignorance at me until you have finished, please.  Or at least get another job where you can do less harm.  I mean it.

  • The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness, by Michelle Alexander
  • Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  •  This Bridge Called My Back: Writings by Radical Women of Color, by
  • Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, by Monique W. Morris
  • For White Folks Who Teach in the Hood... and the Rest of Y'all Too: Reality Pedagogy and Urban Education, by Christopher Emdin

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Democracy! Active Citizenship!

In honor of the 4th, this installment of the Subversive Children's Book Club is about active citizenship:  books that help show our children about being active, participating citizens in our democracy.  Enjoy!

Primary and Lower Elementary:

  • Click, Clack, Moo:  Cows That Type by Doreen Cronin
  • A Is For Activist by Innosanto Nagara
  • The Streets Are Free by Kurusa
  • Si, Se Puede!: Janitor Strike In L.A. by Diana Cohn
  • You Forgot Your Skirt, Amelia Bloomer! by Shana Corey
  • Sit-In:  How Four Friends Stood Up by Sitting Down by Andrea Davis Pinkney
  • If A Bus Could Talk:  The Story of Rosa Parks by Faith Ringgold
  • Ruby Bridges Goes To School:  My True Story by Ruby Bridges
  • The Ballot Box Battle By Emily Arnold McCully
  • Wangari's Trees of Peace By Jeannette Winter 
Upper Elementary and Teen Books:

  • The Landry News by Andrew Clements
  • The Loud Silence of Francine Green by Karen Cushman
  • Crash by Jerry Spinelli.
  • Standing Up to Mr. O by Claudia Mills.

Monday, July 04, 2016

Happy 4th! Remember What Democracy Is Actually About!

Remember, y'all - real patriots educate themselves about the issues and the democratic process - not by watching Fox News or by listening to a bunch of racist, classist stories, but through actual research.  

Real patriots weigh the issues and make mature, informed choices about what will work best for the nation in every election, large and small, taking into account all that is at stake and making hard choices, not childish ones.

Real patriots always, always vote.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: Summer

This edition of the Subversive Children's Book Club features books about summer and travel and family visits. Where are the children's books abut raspas, though?  Somebody write one, please.

  • Beach Babies Wear Shades by Michelle Sinclair Colman
  • Three Days In A River On A Red Canoe by Vera Williams
  • Just Us Women by Jeannette Caines
  • My Aunt Came Back by Pat Cummings
  • The Relatives Came by Cynthia Rylant
  • The Raft by Jim Lamarche
  • The Sea House by Deborah Turney Zagwyn
  • One Crazy Summer & Gone Crazy in Alabama by Rita Williams Garcia
  • Revolution by Deborah Wiles

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Reproductive Justice for Texas

The Whole Women's Health decision was a victory indeed for women's right to control their own bodies. Things were getting scary in Texas, and it will be a long time fixing the damage that was already done, but I am thankful to Wendy Davis for her filibuster, to the RGV for its passionate and tireless activism and to the awesome women of the Supreme Court for putting women's safety and autonomy first.

No one takes decisions about pregnancies more seriously than the person who is pregnant.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Supreme Court Ties on Immigration - Creating American Orphans

So American children cannot have their parents with them again.  The Supreme Court just sided with destroying families and not allowing immigration enforcement efforts to prioritize criminals instead of parents.

Mediocre Abby

Affirmative action is still allowed in Texas universities - no tears from the Supreme Court for mediocre children of privilege who did not get to carry on their family's legacy in Austin. Can I have a sarcastic "Pobrecita", y'all? Maybe Abby should try working a little harder to earn her privilege rather than complaining about policies in place to honor the work of students who excelled in circumstances where less was handed to them.

House Sit-In

Some of the gun reform legislation that the House is sitting in to bring to a vote is problematic.  Due process concerns are real.  So is the need for expanded background checks and some kind of definition of what kind of background findings disqualify an American from gun ownership. The fact that bills need some discussion and work is not a reason to scrap them, as the Senate Republicans have tried to do, when the needs are so real.  I am very proud of the Congressional Democrats for insisting that this work must get done.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Wednesdays with The Subversive Children's Book Club: LGBTQ Families

In support of our LGBTQ brothers and sisters, this edition of The Subversive Children's Book Club features books about LBGTQ youth and families:
  • The Family Book by Todd Parr
  • Alice on The Outside and Alice Alone by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
  • Geography Club by Brent Hartinger
  • Aristotle and Dante Discover The Secrets of The Universe by Benjamin Alire Saenz
  • Luna by Julie Anne Peters
  • Happy Families by Tanita Davis.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Texas Mamas: Monday Is For Calling on Dan Patrick To Resign

Today we all woke to the horrible news of the Orlando mass shooting and the tragic loss of life.  As we pray for those left behind, we must also act to keep assault rifles out of the hands of dangerous terrorists and we must act to create a culture that does not seethe with the dangerous bigotry that infects the people who commit such atrocities.

We must also get Dan Patrick out of office in Texas.  His perversion of the Galatians verse about man reaping what he sows by tweeting it in response to this act of terror shows clearly that:

1.) He should not be allowed to call himself a Christian since he has no desire to follow the teachings of Christ and publicly perverts them, and

2.)  He cannot lead our state as Lt. Governor due to his overwhelming bigotry towards our LBGTQ brothers and sisters, many of whom are Texas citizens after all.

Bright and early Monday morning, all of us Texans need to call his office and call upon him to resign due to his bigoted tweet.  Tell him he has proved himself unworthy to be our leader and that we need someone else.  Tell his staff you would like to receive a reply to your message and leave contact information to make sure you get one.  When you do, come back and tell us about it in the comments.  Start calling at 8am and keep trying until you get through.  Flood the lines.  All day long.

The Comment Line is (512) 463-5342 and the Office Line is (512) 463-0001.  Call both.  Email him, too, starting at 8am tomorrow:

Please share this far and wide across Texas so we can all call in a coordinated response to his unacceptable behavior. Thank you, Mamas.