#LondonToFerguson

On 26 November, a vigil was held here in London in solidarity with protestors in Ferguson against Darren Wilson’s non-indictment. I went for a number of reasons: solidarity to the protestors all across the U.S., cathartic healing for the intense pain I’ve been feeling about the constant presence of black death at the hands of the State, and curiosity about what a solidarity event would look like some 4,196 miles away from where it all began. In my first post, I noted my sadness about leaving Chicago and the U.S. at a time where I felt I was most needed. I thought this would be an opportunity for me to feel as if I was doing something useful, despite being so far away.

I am currently working on a project for the final assessment of my practical course this term. The project I’m doing looks at the relationship between political protests and social mobility and I approached the march as both a participant and documenter. This ultimately gave me a disconnected perspective. In my attempt to capture everything that was happening through video using my DSLR, and live-tweets, photos, and audio recording on my phone, I missed a lot of what was actually occurring around me. For example, I didn’t notice until I went through all the footage this week that the crowd was predominately white and that there were quite a few agitators present attempting to redirect attention from State violence against black bodies, solidarity with Ferguson, and Black Lives Matter. I’m glad I went because my curiosity of what could have happened would have made me regret the decision had I not. However, I’m disappointed that it was dominated by white lefties and wasn’t a cathartic experience of solidarity with other activists and like-minded folks here as I hoped it would be.

Below are some photos from my phone.

Continue reading #LondonToFerguson

At a lost for words

Or, how I let my fear of vulnerability stop me.

A lot has happened in the two months since I last posted. I wrote a 1,770-word essay that I’m considering sharing, but am not sure what the repercussions may be, so that’s some progress. lol

In other news, I went to an “unconference” on free and open source software at the beginning of October. I was very observant of the diversity – or lack thereof – at the conference, so tweeted about it. This blog post was written in response to my tweets. I didn’t read all the comments to his post, but I did listen to a discussion that the folks over at Ubuntu UK Podcast had in response/as a result of Mark’s blog post. Both Mark and the Ubuntu UK hosts pretty much understood the points I made and seemed open to discussion within the free and open source community. However, from the few comments that I did read, as well as the tweets I received the day Mark posted the article, quite a few people chose to become defensive and misinterpret my points, which pretty much shows they’re not particularly interested in “diversifying” the conference – also, it’s worth noting that it’s not just about OggCamp though since the same criticism can be made of many tech conferences and spaces, especially in the free and open source software community as a whole.

Last Friday, one of my classmates asked our professor why there were only middle-class white people in the pictures from a research project she conducted and was sharing with us. She responded with a round-about answer that basically said “diversity is hard.” When I asked, “why was it difficult,” she gave some bullshit answer that beat around the bush instead of her just admitting that she could have reached beyond her (and her colleagues’) networks, and done so without tokenizing the non-white people she encountered (she made some comment about going up to non-white people on bikes being like “We want YOU at this event. It’d be great if you came.” SMH.

Why do white people continue to think that “diversity is difficult” or “I can’t stand attempts at forced diversity” (as one person said in the comments to Mark’s post) are good excuses for why so many of the spaces they occupy – jobs, academia, community organizations, friend groups, etc. – lack diversity?

I’ve noticed more interracial couples with black women here in London than I’ve seen in the few cities I’ve lived in in the U.S. It also seems that there are more black people with natural hair than there were when I first came to visit London in 2011.

In other news, I have some thoughts about home, particularly the making of “home,” roaming in my head. I’m having trouble putting the thoughts into words though, but will share once I can.