Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Featured Right Now Radical Woman Of Color: Lailan Huen

Lailan is born in Oakland, raised in OUSD public schools, incubated in New York City, and cultivating her love for art, education, and community transformation back in the town. She is actually a graduate student in Media Studies at New College, but likes to audit classes at SF State in her spare time and won't go anywhere without her CIG. She currently works at the Avenues Project at East Oakland Community High School, at Oakland Leaf in the Fruitvale, and enjoys doing graphic design & silkscreen posters for the movement. She wants to work with youth & communities in Oakland to generate counter-narratives, transform public spaces, and take back community power over our own educational processes for liberation.

So, following a recent communication from Lailan (a long-time loved one of mine, and zach's and kai's) I felt so inspired that I just had to find a way to share it. As you may have noticed...there really is no such thing as the "Featured Right Now Woman of Color" on this blog or in the wider culture...until RIGHT NOW. Yes. Lailan is just that badass. She makes us create new culture forms through which to acknowledge greatness. To give you some small idea on the impact that one person can have when she lovingly engages community 24/7
Here is a love poem that I wrote to Lailan based on my experience working with her in NYC BEFORE I even knew all of the dope stuff that she was up to back in Oakland. And take some time checking out all of the amazing projects that she's working on. I see Lailan's approach, not only as an individual firework to the possibility of beauty and liberation, but also as a model for what community (can) look like.

Lailan's beautiful prints

A DOPE holistic community center that Lailan is helping to Build

MySpace page for An Embattled Social Justice Community High School that (of course) the local school board consistently hates on
AND the struggle to keep the school open.

An innovative program to empower youth with alternative education forms. I especially love the "Love Cultivating Schoolyards Program" June Jordan, if I may say.

And of course my girl is sees the creative process of loving and lifting up youth as a peace producing endeavor...I also get the feeling that she made this flyer.

So...let's all become friends with Lailan and her crew of radical educators for real liberation and get schooled on what that looks like here (wherever you are...but especially in Durham!)

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Beautiful In Deed

UPDATE!!! Victory!

March 19, 2007

Dear friends:
Today, at 2 p.m ., the six of us broke our 14-day hunger strike in response to a written assurance by the Madhya Pradesh Government conceding our key demands. It has been an eventful and drama-filled month for all of us. In the last four years, we have sat on five hunger strikes. We have succeeded in enforcing our will in every one of them. The confidence with which we undertake hunger strikes has all to do with our conviction in our demands, and even more importantly, our knowledge that we Bhopalis are not alone. The overwhelming support by friends young and old in the US, UK, India and elsewhere; the round-the-clock phone-in and fax campaigns set up by our young friends in the US have shown the Madhya Pradesh Government what our muscle power is. More than 2000 faxes and 500 phone calls. That did shake the Government up. We are all for this kind of grassroots globalisation. Although, thanking anyone for their support would be inappropriate, we do wish to acknowledge our friends around the world -- the website updaters, the callers, the faxers, the sms senders, the bloggers, and just about anybody who had their thoughts tuned to Bhopal.

In struggle and solidarity,
Rashida Bee
Shehzadi Bee
Guddi Bee
Jabbar Khan
Rachna Dhingra
Satinath Sarangi

Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Stationery Karmchari Sangh, Bhopal Gas Peedit Mahila Purush Sangharsh Morcha, Bhopal ki Aawaaz, Bhopal Group for Information and Action

Many more pictures are available on the front page of

I don't have much to add to what the Bhopalis have already said, but I did want to point out that the movement for justice in Bhopal is stronger today than it ever has been in the 22 years since Carbide turned Bhopal into a gas chamber. There are many reasons for this, and foremost among them is the commitment, determination, and dedication of the survivors themselves. Gassed, poisoned, sick and often destitute, they've created one of the world's most important movements for justice and corporate accountability. This 15-day hunger strike is only the latest example of the grueling struggle which the survivors continue to wage for one very simple reason: they want to live. Although the Bhopalis are considered 'expendable' by so many – the corporations, their government, the global marketplace – they believe in their own right to live, and they won't give up the struggle until that right is recognized.

But the Bhopalis cannot do it alone. The support of compassionate people all over the world – people like you – has helped us win several important victories over the past few years (see – victories that have improved the lives of tens of thousands. We know that it's possible for ordinary people to make a difference because we've seen it happen. With your help and support, we'll continue to build the movement for justice in Bhopal until there are no more victories left to win.

Justice for Bhopal!
RB is ME

Take Action TODAY to Support the Bhopalis' Right to Live!
Sorry for duplicates UBUNTU
Send a FREE FAX to the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh here:

Twenty-two years after their loved ones were gassed to death, their health stolen, their dreams shattered, survivors of the 1984 gas disaster in Bhopal continue to suffer at the hands of their own government. For years, the Madhya Pradesh state government has delayed and denied basic means of survival to tens of thousands of Bhopalis: things like poison-free drinking water, competent health care, and jobs or pensions for those too sick to work. But the Bhopalis believe in their own right to live, and a year ago a group of Bhopal survivors walked 500 miles – from Bhopal to Delhi – to ask the Prime Minister of India for help. Although both the Indian Government and the Supreme Court have ordered the MP government to act, little has been done and the Bhopalis have launched a sit-in to demand justice. If the state government doesn't take action, the Bhopalis - gassed by Carbide, poisoned by contaminated water, forced into destitution – have pledged to starve themselves to death.

Read about the victories we've won thus far...
Read daily updates from the Bhopal dharna blog!
Learn more about the sit-in and how you can help!

The Bhopalis Demand:

1. Adequate health care
2. Economic rehabilitation by providing jobs for 10,000 survivors of the disaster
3. Social support in the form of a monthly pension
4. Supply of safe drinking water and toxic waste containment
5. Set up a proper administrative system in charge of long term relief and rehabilitation of the survivors
**Read the complete demands online.

22 Years is Enough! The Bhopalis Demand Justice and a Life with Dignity!

Friday, March 02, 2007

not only

"Poetry is not only dream and vision; it is the skeleton architecture of our lives. It lays the foundations for a future of change, a bridge across our fears of what has never been before."

Audre Lorde in "Poetry is Not a Luxury"