First of all I’m reading TONIGHT at Lit Hop PDX – I’ll be cohosting a reading mash-up for The Rumpus and Future Tense Books with Kevin Sampsell. Also, the rest of this week’s line up of readings throughout Portland are up my weekly Notable Portland column at the Rumpus.
Bylines you may have missed in June so far include:
- Solidarity With Charleston Unity and hope ring out after black church massacre. (June 23, 2015). This is a look at how Portland is dealing with Charleston terrorist attack fall out and what our community is doing in the aftermath.
- Race, Faith & Justice Ferguson activist to lead talk on black humanity. (June 23,2015). You should totally read this for an exclusive look at Reverend Sekou, a man who comes to Portland this Monday to meet with Portland community leaders, including president of the Portland NAACP, Jo Ann Hardesty.
- Final Approval for Armed Police at PSU. (June 16, 2015). Portland State University is about to go against pretty much every activist and professor I’ve spoken to and arm their already aggressive police force, at a hefty price tag of $1.2 million, which I suspect will be passed along to already loan-burdened students.
- Black Pride! Gay rights supporters celebrate. (June 16, 2015). I got to highlight the nation’s only Black PFLAG chapter here in Portland and all the work they are celebrating this June. If you want to celebrate some of those victories, tomorrow I’ll be at their annual celebration at the Holocene, Rice, Beans and Collared Greens.
I’ve been SO slammed. I have to make a very difficult decision tonight: leave my own reading early and push forward on an extremely-behind fellowship application due tomorrow, or stay at my reading, celebrate this massive event with my local literary community and finish this week’s paper with a little more focus. I am leaning towards the latter, which is sad because I have pushed for a long time for this particular writers of color fellowship to exist for a very long time. I’m ecstatic it exists. I suppose I can always try to do BOTH. I can let tonight go. And if I can manage, I can call tomorrow a new day and always race to turn something in. But again, I don’t just want to turn in something. I want to manage to turn in a reasonably competent application, one with a significantly different manuscript than the one I turned in for a similar fellowship from the same organization last year. We will see. I still have to do finishing touches on whatever I’m going to read tonight.
Speaking of which I am excited for a gorgeous updo with braids, a shit-ton of eyeliner, and a gorgeous flowing dress tonight. I hope I look fabulous and love myself and make people laugh and don’t feel anxious later. I hope I drink a bit but not too much so I don’t feel sick or paranoid. I hope I take compliments with love and remind people how much I love them. I hope that I am not in a position of conflict at any point of the night between my humanity and my network – I will always choose myself. I love myself too much to let someone tell me about their love for the confederate flag, their concerns for Rachel Dolezal, their sincerely irrelevant opinions on “the long gun man” who destroyed a black community in the house of god. I pray that I will deal with any such affronts to my person and my humanity with a swift wave of my hand. I pray that I am a true libra – full of grace and a demand for justice. Diplomats are paid. I am not. I am a human being, a young woman and refugee who travelled continents and eons to arrive here and I will not be dismissed. I will channel the Statue of Liberty and Nicki Minaj and welcome my communities warmly to my first night out in a very long time – a lovely summer evening that I’ve been meaning to have for a long time.
And god, with over 60 readers and 450+ confirmed guests on facebook I suppose it’s the chance to see everyone you’ve missed for seemingly centuries, all the good things and wonderful work they’ve done is finally bubbling up and any opportunity to celebrate them should be a victory dance for everyone in Portland to be honest.
See you in blue, I’ll be the one in the aqua.