Citizen Earth
For most of history, man has had to fight nature to survive; in this century he is beginning to realize that, in order to survive, he must protect it.
Jacques-Yves Cousteau (via nationalaquarium)

People’s Climate March

Houston, Texas

photos by Elizabeth Brossa

thebookbyitscover:

María Ligia Chaverra (featured in the video above)

She is a human rights defender in the Afro-Colombian community from Curbaradó River Basin, Las Camelias Humanitarian Zone who is facing threats from both sides of the armed conflict.

A land rights leader, she has faced intimidation and harassment by armed groups, as well as constantly facing risk of displacement from the Colombian state and military.

By establishing Humanitarian Zones, María and other land rights leaders have been able to denounce such attacks and the theft used to displace communities.

Watch the video to learn more about María and the humanitarian zones of the Curbaradó and Jiguamiando basins.

strangelfreak:

"I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."

strangelfreak:

"I’m fed up to the ears with old men dreaming up wars for young men to die in."

oldtobegin:

interactyouth:

Inter/Act has been working with MTV’s Faking It on building a (more) true-to-life intersex character, Lauren (played by Bailey Buntain). We anticipated a few new people to our page, wondering what exactly intersex is. The following intersex FAQ was compiled by the members of Inter/Act. It is intended to be a living document that we will continue to tweak, change, add-to and subtract from. Please feel free to reference it, re-blog it, and ask us questions (at inter.act@aiclegal.org)
What is intersex?
Intersex is an umbrella term that describes people born with intersex conditions or DSD (Differences of Sex Development). There are over 30 different conditions that cause intersex people to have physical differences inside and/or outside their bodies, making their sex neither purely male or female. Biology class has always taught us that sex is merely black and white, “male” or “female,” but now we know that’s not true. There are a lot of awesome gray areas in the middle!
What are some intersex conditions?
There are over many conditions that fall under the intersex umbrella including, but not limited to: Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Klinefelter Syndrome, Hypospadias, Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), Swyer Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, 5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency. Please see the ISNA (Intersex Society of North America) website for more information on specific conditions.
How common are intersex people?
Intersex people are roughly 1 in every 2,000 people. That’s as common as natural born redheads! We’re not rare, just invisible.
So how come I’ve never heard of intersex before?
The intersex community has a long history of shame and secrecy, for so many reasons. For starters, many doctors have told patients that they’ll never meet anyone like themselves. Sometimes they’ll even tell them not to talk about their conditions to anyone! On top of that, doctors and parents often try to “fix” intersex kid’s bodies with unnecessary surgeries, trying to make them fit into their idea of “normal.” Not to mention each condition is different, so educating the general public is hard when there is so much information to talk about.
It sounds like intersex conditions can be hard to care for!
They can be. Finding a good doctor that you can really connect with is so important for intersex people. Sometimes doctors don’t know the best way to handle each specific person. We all need to be informed about our bodies, our options, and the research that’s been done so we can make the best decisions possible. Making an informed decision is the most important thing an intersex person can do, so please don’t rush into anything. 
How does gender fit into intersex?
Not quite as simply as you might think! Intersex relates to biological sex and a person’s genetic traits, internal and external reproductive organs, hormones, and secondary sex characteristics. Gender is more about the way somebody feels or identifies. This means intersex individuals identify as female, male, man, woman, or a multitude of identities just as non-intersex individuals do. Some examples include genderqueer, agender, third gender, two-spirit, intergender, and the list doesn’t end there.  It’s important to remember that gender is fluid, not stagnant, possibly alternating its course during a person’s journey 
How does intersex differ from transgender?
Intersex is often confused with transgender, but they are actually very different things. Intersex is when your biological sex doesn’t neatly fit into the male/female binary, but transgender is when you feel as if your assigned sex does not match your gender identity. Someone can be both intersex and transgender!
What terms can I use to talk about intersex people?
Intersex and DSD are the two current terms that most people use interchangeably. However, they both are controversial for different people.  Some of our youth feel more comfortable with DSD as it might be the only term they are familiar with, while others prefer intersex over DSD. All intersex folks have the right to self define themselves at any particular point in their journey. It’s better for people to come to their own conclusions about how they want to identify, rather than be told or pushed into identifying a certain way. If you don’t know how someone identifies, feel free to ask!
Can I use the word hermaphrodite?
No. Hermaphrodite is a harmful term that is widely considered a slur, please don’t use it. It’s a stigmatizing word that people associate with having both sets of working genetalia, which is rarely possible in humans, if at all. Some intersex folk have started reclaiming the term, but that is for them to decide and use, not for you. 
What are some other terms I should know?
Ambiguous Genitalia - Genitalia that doesn’t look clearly “male” or “female.” However, no genitals look the same, and nobody’s genitalia is “ambiguous.” It’s all just genitals!
Dyadic - Some intersex people have started using dyadic to describe those who are not intersex (meaning, they fit the “male” or “female” binary)
Cisgender- When a person’s gender identity matches their assigned sex. For example, a person assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman is considered cisgender. This term can get confusing with intersex individuals - some use it, some don’t.
HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)  - This is an important tool in an intersex person’s tool box. HRT ensures that an intersex person’s physical and emotional health needs are properly maintained. If someone’s hormone needs (for things like development, body regulation, or bone growth) aren’t being met, they may go on HRT to figure out the best hormone levels for their bodies.
Informed Consent - This term gets thrown a lot, especially when talking about surgeries of intersex people. Basically, it means that nobody should be operated on without their full knowledge of circumstances, repercussions, reasoning, etc. For example, babies and children are too young to fully understand and give informed consent.
Preferred Pronouns - Many people (intersex or otherwise) don’t identify as a binary gender, especially when their bodies don’t line up in a typical binary box. Ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is. They’ll love you for it!
What are some other intersex resources?
We have an ever-growing list of resources on our page. Please check there for more information on support groups or legal help.
What can you do as an ally?
Call out others when they say harmful things. Be our advocates where you can, but also give us a chance to educate. Don’t speak over an intersex person, as chances are we’re a lot more familiar with these issues than you are. Listen and try to understand our stories, as we’re pretty incredible people. :)

i guarantee that you know an intersex person, whether you know it or not. 

oldtobegin:

interactyouth:

Inter/Act has been working with MTV’s Faking It on building a (more) true-to-life intersex character, Lauren (played by Bailey Buntain). We anticipated a few new people to our page, wondering what exactly intersex is. The following intersex FAQ was compiled by the members of Inter/Act. It is intended to be a living document that we will continue to tweak, change, add-to and subtract from. Please feel free to reference it, re-blog it, and ask us questions (at inter.act@aiclegal.org)

What is intersex?

Intersex is an umbrella term that describes people born with intersex conditions or DSD (Differences of Sex Development). There are over 30 different conditions that cause intersex people to have physical differences inside and/or outside their bodies, making their sex neither purely male or female. Biology class has always taught us that sex is merely black and white, “male” or “female,” but now we know that’s not true. There are a lot of awesome gray areas in the middle!

What are some intersex conditions?

There are over many conditions that fall under the intersex umbrella including, but not limited to: Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome (AIS), Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia, Klinefelter Syndrome, Hypospadias, Mayer-Rokitansky-Küster-Hauser Syndrome (MRKH), Swyer Syndrome, Turner Syndrome, 5-Alpha Reductase Deficiency. Please see the ISNA (Intersex Society of North America) website for more information on specific conditions.

How common are intersex people?

Intersex people are roughly 1 in every 2,000 people. That’s as common as natural born redheads! We’re not rare, just invisible.

So how come I’ve never heard of intersex before?

The intersex community has a long history of shame and secrecy, for so many reasons. For starters, many doctors have told patients that they’ll never meet anyone like themselves. Sometimes they’ll even tell them not to talk about their conditions to anyone! On top of that, doctors and parents often try to “fix” intersex kid’s bodies with unnecessary surgeries, trying to make them fit into their idea of “normal.” Not to mention each condition is different, so educating the general public is hard when there is so much information to talk about.

It sounds like intersex conditions can be hard to care for!

They can be. Finding a good doctor that you can really connect with is so important for intersex people. Sometimes doctors don’t know the best way to handle each specific person. We all need to be informed about our bodies, our options, and the research that’s been done so we can make the best decisions possible. Making an informed decision is the most important thing an intersex person can do, so please don’t rush into anything.

How does gender fit into intersex?

Not quite as simply as you might think! Intersex relates to biological sex and a person’s genetic traits, internal and external reproductive organs, hormones, and secondary sex characteristics. Gender is more about the way somebody feels or identifies. This means intersex individuals identify as female, male, man, woman, or a multitude of identities just as non-intersex individuals do. Some examples include genderqueer, agender, third gender, two-spirit, intergender, and the list doesn’t end there.  It’s important to remember that gender is fluid, not stagnant, possibly alternating its course during a person’s journey

How does intersex differ from transgender?

Intersex is often confused with transgender, but they are actually very different things. Intersex is when your biological sex doesn’t neatly fit into the male/female binary, but transgender is when you feel as if your assigned sex does not match your gender identity. Someone can be both intersex and transgender!

What terms can I use to talk about intersex people?

Intersex and DSD are the two current terms that most people use interchangeably. However, they both are controversial for different people.  Some of our youth feel more comfortable with DSD as it might be the only term they are familiar with, while others prefer intersex over DSD. All intersex folks have the right to self define themselves at any particular point in their journey. It’s better for people to come to their own conclusions about how they want to identify, rather than be told or pushed into identifying a certain way. If you don’t know how someone identifies, feel free to ask!

Can I use the word hermaphrodite?

No. Hermaphrodite is a harmful term that is widely considered a slur, please don’t use it. It’s a stigmatizing word that people associate with having both sets of working genetalia, which is rarely possible in humans, if at all. Some intersex folk have started reclaiming the term, but that is for them to decide and use, not for you.

What are some other terms I should know?

Ambiguous Genitalia - Genitalia that doesn’t look clearly “male” or “female.” However, no genitals look the same, and nobody’s genitalia is “ambiguous.” It’s all just genitals!

Dyadic - Some intersex people have started using dyadic to describe those who are not intersex (meaning, they fit the “male” or “female” binary)

Cisgender- When a person’s gender identity matches their assigned sex. For example, a person assigned female at birth and identifies as a woman is considered cisgender. This term can get confusing with intersex individuals - some use it, some don’t.

HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy)  - This is an important tool in an intersex person’s tool box. HRT ensures that an intersex person’s physical and emotional health needs are properly maintained. If someone’s hormone needs (for things like development, body regulation, or bone growth) aren’t being met, they may go on HRT to figure out the best hormone levels for their bodies.

Informed Consent - This term gets thrown a lot, especially when talking about surgeries of intersex people. Basically, it means that nobody should be operated on without their full knowledge of circumstances, repercussions, reasoning, etc. For example, babies and children are too young to fully understand and give informed consent.

Preferred Pronouns - Many people (intersex or otherwise) don’t identify as a binary gender, especially when their bodies don’t line up in a typical binary box. Ask someone what their preferred gender pronoun is. They’ll love you for it!

What are some other intersex resources?

We have an ever-growing list of resources on our page. Please check there for more information on support groups or legal help.

What can you do as an ally?

Call out others when they say harmful things. Be our advocates where you can, but also give us a chance to educate. Don’t speak over an intersex person, as chances are we’re a lot more familiar with these issues than you are. Listen and try to understand our stories, as we’re pretty incredible people. :)

i guarantee that you know an intersex person, whether you know it or not. 

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Remembering Hispanic/Latino Victims of Murder/Police Brutality
Andy Lopez, 13: Killed By Police Brutality on October 22, 2013 In Santa Rosa, California By Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus
The term, “police brutality” was coined by the New York Times in 1893; yet, minorities victims have felt the blunt force of billy clubs, fists and guns much earlier than that. The police’s use of excessive force isn’t new, there is a definite and pronounced history of police using violent tactics as a tool for oppression and/or coercion. There are countless cases where police officers have been accused of being the force used to keep minorities in their place, and history books overflow with details of these crimes. Violence is “repeated almost every day in (America), the police (get) away with murder, beatings, and other lawless acts — poor Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims for their faith and ethnicity their usual victims.”
Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 22, 2013: 13-year-old Andy Lopez was walking near a friend’s home while carrying a non-lethal airsoft gun designed to appear like an AK-47. Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office mistook the airsoft gun to be real, and unloaded seven bullets from his 9mm handgun into Lopez’s body within 6 second — two being fatal gun shot wounds, the bullets striking him on his side as he attempted to turn and face the sheriff. Lopez’s retired body was then handcuffed, before he pronounced dead.
Gelhaus claimed that he demanded that Lopez drop his gun, apparently feeling threatened by the manner in which Lopez had raised the BB gun, though Gelhaus couldn’t recall whether he’d identified himself as police office, beyond his uniformed appearance and arrival in a marked police cruiser.
Protestors and activists swelled in the streets following the 13-year-old’s murder. They roared with outrage, insisting that the shooting was a case of police brutality. Several movements ensued during the months following the shooting, protests even going into the new year. The largest protest was attended by 1,000 people in a downtown Santa Rosa protest, done in the form of a mass march.
On Nov. 4, Lopez’s family filed a lawsuit against Santa Rosa and Petaluma police, stating that the Deputy Erick Gelhaus fired at Lopez “without reasonable cause.”
The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office concealed the name of the second deputy on the scene, citing him as a potential “witness” to the incident. The second deputy was behind the wheel of the patrol car and was on a training assignment with Gelhaus. Four days after Lopez’s death, the FBI conducted their own investigation — but declined further proceedings, concluding that the shooting was justified.
Gelhaus was initially placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but he returned to his duties in early December.
Santa Rosa and Petaluma police delivered a report on the fatal shooting of Lopez that won’t be made available to the public until agency investigators deem it necessary. The wait is apparently a part of the process when reviewing officer-related shootings. While reviews done by the district attorney are meant to follow guidelines that suggest that reviews are completed within a three month period, it usually takes four months on average. However, that happens to be a quicker turnaround under District Attorney Jill Ravitch direction, who was elected in 2010, than prior to her placement. Ravitch has stated that she will not rush her review of the incident, but promised to be “to be clear and transparent with whatever decision.”
Latinos have been prime target for hate crimes, discrimination, false incrimination, and racial profiling. Border patrol killings are an additional offense experienced by the Latino population. California, Connecticut and Arizona are the primary states where Latinos suffer the most at the hands of police officers. [Latin Post]

thepoliticalfreakshow:

Remembering Hispanic/Latino Victims of Murder/Police Brutality

Andy Lopez, 13: Killed By Police Brutality on October 22, 2013 In Santa Rosa, California By Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus

The term, “police brutality” was coined by the New York Times in 1893; yet, minorities victims have felt the blunt force of billy clubs, fists and guns much earlier than that. The police’s use of excessive force isn’t new, there is a definite and pronounced history of police using violent tactics as a tool for oppression and/or coercion. There are countless cases where police officers have been accused of being the force used to keep minorities in their place, and history books overflow with details of these crimes. Violence is “repeated almost every day in (America), the police (get) away with murder, beatings, and other lawless acts — poor Blacks, Latinos, and Muslims for their faith and ethnicity their usual victims.”

Santa Rosa, Calif., Oct. 22, 2013: 13-year-old Andy Lopez was walking near a friend’s home while carrying a non-lethal airsoft gun designed to appear like an AK-47. Sheriff Deputy Erick Gelhaus of the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office mistook the airsoft gun to be real, and unloaded seven bullets from his 9mm handgun into Lopez’s body within 6 second — two being fatal gun shot wounds, the bullets striking him on his side as he attempted to turn and face the sheriff. Lopez’s retired body was then handcuffed, before he pronounced dead.

Gelhaus claimed that he demanded that Lopez drop his gun, apparently feeling threatened by the manner in which Lopez had raised the BB gun, though Gelhaus couldn’t recall whether he’d identified himself as police office, beyond his uniformed appearance and arrival in a marked police cruiser.

Protestors and activists swelled in the streets following the 13-year-old’s murder. They roared with outrage, insisting that the shooting was a case of police brutality. Several movements ensued during the months following the shooting, protests even going into the new year. The largest protest was attended by 1,000 people in a downtown Santa Rosa protest, done in the form of a mass march.

On Nov. 4, Lopez’s family filed a lawsuit against Santa Rosa and Petaluma police, stating that the Deputy Erick Gelhaus fired at Lopez “without reasonable cause.”

The Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office concealed the name of the second deputy on the scene, citing him as a potential “witness” to the incident. The second deputy was behind the wheel of the patrol car and was on a training assignment with Gelhaus. Four days after Lopez’s death, the FBI conducted their own investigation — but declined further proceedings, concluding that the shooting was justified.

Gelhaus was initially placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but he returned to his duties in early December.

Santa Rosa and Petaluma police delivered a report on the fatal shooting of Lopez that won’t be made available to the public until agency investigators deem it necessary. The wait is apparently a part of the process when reviewing officer-related shootings. While reviews done by the district attorney are meant to follow guidelines that suggest that reviews are completed within a three month period, it usually takes four months on average. However, that happens to be a quicker turnaround under District Attorney Jill Ravitch direction, who was elected in 2010, than prior to her placement. Ravitch has stated that she will not rush her review of the incident, but promised to be “to be clear and transparent with whatever decision.”

Latinos have been prime target for hate crimes, discrimination, false incrimination, and racial profiling. Border patrol killings are an additional offense experienced by the Latino population. California, Connecticut and Arizona are the primary states where Latinos suffer the most at the hands of police officers. [Latin Post]

sonofbaldwin:

missworded:

Kym Worthy, the prosecutor who just brought charges against Theodore P. Wafer for shooting Renisha McBride, has a long history of being a total badass:
Prosecutor leads effort to test long-abandoned rape kits, brings justice to victims

Kym Worthy, the prosecutor, the BLACK WOMAN, who ensured that Renisha McBride’s murderer was brought to justice, who was PIVOTAL in ensuring that it didn’t become another George Zimmerman debacle, has a history of being an incredible advocate for actual justice, rather than the facsimile justice (injustice) America usually doles out to marginalized groups.

sonofbaldwin:

missworded:

Kym Worthy, the prosecutor who just brought charges against Theodore P. Wafer for shooting Renisha McBride, has a long history of being a total badass:

Prosecutor leads effort to test long-abandoned rape kits, brings justice to victims

Kym Worthy, the prosecutor, the BLACK WOMAN, who ensured that Renisha McBride’s murderer was brought to justice, who was PIVOTAL in ensuring that it didn’t become another George Zimmerman debacle, has a history of being an incredible advocate for actual justice, rather than the facsimile justice (injustice) America usually doles out to marginalized groups.

rdotsmith:

thee-renaissance-man:

Just gonna leave this right here

Yes…..yes….

rdotsmith:

thee-renaissance-man:

Just gonna leave this right here

Yes…..yes….

thepeoplesrecord:

Eviction & intersectionality: Why black women need housing justiceSeptember 14, 2014
My heart sank once I realized it was an eviction notice. After coming home from an underwhelming day at work, I looked forward to zoning out on TV realities that were infinitely more exciting than my own reality. I never imagined I would be greeted by a real-life soap opera in the form of an official-looking notice posted on my door. That day, I became the recipient of a one-way ticket on the eviction train, party of one. Needless to say, the notice put a wrench in my ambitious plans for the evening.

Where did I turn first? Google. I didn’t know the first thing about eviction. At that point in my life, I thought simply mentioning evictions was a little taboo — I believed eviction only happened to people way more downtrodden than myself. Growing up, whether it was true or not, I always considered my family middle class. Surely, an eviction could never happen to a girl like me (I had yet to recognize that my current job hardly qualified me for a place in the middle class and that my salary bordered those of the working poor).

Upon Googling the foreign concept of tenants being forced out of their homes, I found nothing to ease the anxiety gradually building in the pit of my stomach. The legalese, convoluted language and complete lack of tenant resources I encountered on the Internet provided little information and no peace of mind. I felt lost, dazed and confused. Surely the nice ladies in the office of my apartment complex were willing to negotiate with me to ensure a roof over a fellow woman’s head.

Rude awakening: Any sisterhood I ever had with my apartment’s white female property managers was null and void now that I was headed to Eviction Land. Solidarity be damned! After pleading with them for a merciful payment plan, they told me my best option was to pay off my balance and move immediately. Of course, I did not have enough money to pay them what I owed — I was paying far more than 30 percent of my income, which explains why I fell behind on my rent. No safety net in sight, I needed to stay in my apartment as long as possible (which was not very long according to the Google gods).

I never saw the sheriff — I vacated my apartment just in the nick of time. With my tail tucked between my legs and feeling irresponsible as ever, I moved back to Georgia (my home state) to crash on a family member’s day bed. I wish I knew then that my shame was unwarranted and that my story of eviction was not an extraordinary one. A recent study conducted by the MacArthur Foundation revealed that poor Black women are disproportionately impacted by evictions. The study found that while Black women were only 9.6 percent of Milwaukee’s population, they experienced 30 percent of the city’s court-ordered evictions. This distressing statistic was attributed to a number of factors including low wages, intimidation by male landlords and triggering the aggravation of landlords because of child and partner-related incidents. Apparently, several landlords find eviction justifiable when a Black woman merely makes a complaint about mold affecting her children’s health or when she lives with an abusive partner who causes domestic disturbances.

My “Blackness” and my “womanliness” are both things that I love about myself and other Black women; however, neither polls well in today’s discriminatory housing market. Black women face higher eviction rates than any other group because of our marginalized identities. While the term “intersectionality” has been appropriated to reference a plethora of social phenomena, it was originally coined by Black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how the multiple oppressed identities of Black women collectively contribute to how people perceive us in society. If you asked me to hypothesize why women of color bare the brunt of evictions in this country, I would point you down the path of intersectionality.

In the tradition of countless resilient Black women that came before me, I made lemonade out of lemons by carving a career path out of a hardship — stopping evictions became my line of work. After moving back to Georgia, I tapped into a vibrant community of activism, which eventually led to a job as an organizer for a housing justice organization called Occupy Our Homes Atlanta. Our mission was to repair the devastation caused by the housing crisis in Atlanta by fightingforeclosure and eviction through direct action and public pressure. 

Unsurprisingly, the majority of our residents-in-struggle were Black, and many of them were Black women. These women inspired me to no end — they were smart, radical and ready to salvage their slice of the American Dream by fighting like hell to save their homes. I will never forget one of my favorite resident-activists, Mildred Obi. A daughter of the Civil Rights Movement, she occupied her home after being evicted and eventually won it free and clear from Bank of America. Mildred harnessed her power in the name of housing justice and continues to help others in danger of losing their homes. She is a prime example of why Black women need housing justice: Because when we fight, we can win. As Black women, even the seemingly simple act of survival is a fight, so fighting for our human right to housing is inherent in us.

I carry Mildred’s spirit with me in my new position as a community organizer with the Tenants Union of Washington in Seattle, which was recently named the number one city for apartment rent increases in the country. Any push for rent stabilization in Seattle will be a hard-won fight due to a statewide ban on rent control. Displacement and gentrification both run rampant in the city as for-profit developers snatch up affordable housing and drive up rents in historical communities of color. While our city’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance prevents landlords from terminating tenancies at will, still approximately 10 households are evicted every day. I brace myself for all of these challenges knowing that other Black women are in this fight with me ready to create space for other Black women in the housing justice movement. I fervently believe that my role in this movement is to amplify and elevate the voices of Black women because more than any other population, we need housing justice and we need it now.
Source

thepeoplesrecord:

Eviction & intersectionality: Why black women need housing justice
September 14, 2014

My heart sank once I realized it was an eviction notice. After coming home from an underwhelming day at work, I looked forward to zoning out on TV realities that were infinitely more exciting than my own reality. I never imagined I would be greeted by a real-life soap opera in the form of an official-looking notice posted on my door. That day, I became the recipient of a one-way ticket on the eviction train, party of one. Needless to say, the notice put a wrench in my ambitious plans for the evening.
Where did I turn first? Google. I didn’t know the first thing about eviction. At that point in my life, I thought simply mentioning evictions was a little taboo — I believed eviction only happened to people way more downtrodden than myself. Growing up, whether it was true or not, I always considered my family middle class. Surely, an eviction could never happen to a girl like me (I had yet to recognize that my current job hardly qualified me for a place in the middle class and that my salary bordered those of the working poor).
Upon Googling the foreign concept of tenants being forced out of their homes, I found nothing to ease the anxiety gradually building in the pit of my stomach. The legalese, convoluted language and complete lack of tenant resources I encountered on the Internet provided little information and no peace of mind. I felt lost, dazed and confused. Surely the nice ladies in the office of my apartment complex were willing to negotiate with me to ensure a roof over a fellow woman’s head.
Rude awakening: Any sisterhood I ever had with my apartment’s white female property managers was null and void now that I was headed to Eviction Land. Solidarity be damned! After pleading with them for a merciful payment plan, they told me my best option was to pay off my balance and move immediately. Of course, I did not have enough money to pay them what I owed — I was paying far more than 30 percent of my income, which explains why I fell behind on my rent. No safety net in sight, I needed to stay in my apartment as long as possible (which was not very long according to the Google gods).
I never saw the sheriff — I vacated my apartment just in the nick of time. With my tail tucked between my legs and feeling irresponsible as ever, I moved back to Georgia (my home state) to crash on a family member’s day bed. I wish I knew then that my shame was unwarranted and that my story of eviction was not an extraordinary one. A recent study conducted by the MacArthur Foundation revealed that poor Black women are disproportionately impacted by evictions. The study found that while Black women were only 9.6 percent of Milwaukee’s population, they experienced 30 percent of the city’s court-ordered evictions. This distressing statistic was attributed to a number of factors including low wages, intimidation by male landlords and triggering the aggravation of landlords because of child and partner-related incidents. Apparently, several landlords find eviction justifiable when a Black woman merely makes a complaint about mold affecting her children’s health or when she lives with an abusive partner who causes domestic disturbances.
My “Blackness” and my “womanliness” are both things that I love about myself and other Black women; however, neither polls well in today’s discriminatory housing market. Black women face higher eviction rates than any other group because of our marginalized identities. While the term “intersectionality” has been appropriated to reference a plethora of social phenomena, it was originally coined by Black feminist scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw to describe how the multiple oppressed identities of Black women collectively contribute to how people perceive us in society. If you asked me to hypothesize why women of color bare the brunt of evictions in this country, I would point you down the path of intersectionality.
In the tradition of countless resilient Black women that came before me, I made lemonade out of lemons by carving a career path out of a hardship — stopping evictions became my line of work. After moving back to Georgia, I tapped into a vibrant community of activism, which eventually led to a job as an organizer for a housing justice organization called Occupy Our Homes Atlanta. Our mission was to repair the devastation caused by the housing crisis in Atlanta by fightingforeclosure and eviction through direct action and public pressure. 
Unsurprisingly, the majority of our residents-in-struggle were Black, and many of them were Black women. These women inspired me to no end — they were smart, radical and ready to salvage their slice of the American Dream by fighting like hell to save their homes. I will never forget one of my favorite resident-activists, Mildred Obi. A daughter of the Civil Rights Movement, she occupied her home after being evicted and eventually won it free and clear from Bank of America. Mildred harnessed her power in the name of housing justice and continues to help others in danger of losing their homes. She is a prime example of why Black women need housing justice: Because when we fight, we can win. As Black women, even the seemingly simple act of survival is a fight, so fighting for our human right to housing is inherent in us.
I carry Mildred’s spirit with me in my new position as a community organizer with the Tenants Union of Washington in Seattle, which was recently named the number one city for apartment rent increases in the country. Any push for rent stabilization in Seattle will be a hard-won fight due to a statewide ban on rent control. Displacement and gentrification both run rampant in the city as for-profit developers snatch up affordable housing and drive up rents in historical communities of color. While our city’s Just Cause Eviction Ordinance prevents landlords from terminating tenancies at will, still approximately 10 households are evicted every day. I brace myself for all of these challenges knowing that other Black women are in this fight with me ready to create space for other Black women in the housing justice movement. I fervently believe that my role in this movement is to amplify and elevate the voices of Black women because more than any other population, we need housing justice and we need it now.
fernwah:

this would make everyone shut up 

fernwah:

this would make everyone shut up 

huffingtonpost:

Hey, White America, You Need To Hear What These Ferguson Kids Have To Say

In a new video from social justice-oriented T-shirt company FCKH8, several Ferguson children lampoon the excuses white people give to avoid getting involved in ending discrimination in America and deliver a call to action to stomp out racism.

Watch the full video and see these kids explain how racism is still a huge part of even getting an interview for a job.

blobertson:

soycrates:

"Now buy a house!" (smbc-comics)

@catfacemeowmers

wertheyouth:

When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a black transgender woman, walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being “known for prostitution,” that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution. It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.
In April of this year, Monica was convicted of violating this overbroad and vague law. Today she appeals that conviction, and the ACLU, along with other advocacy and civil rights organizations, filed a brief in support of her appeal.
We #StandWithMonica because transgender women of color should be able to walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being arrested, or worse, for simply being themselves.
When Walking Down the Street is a Crime. Chase Strangio, ACLU

wertheyouth:

When an undercover officer saw Monica Jones, a black transgender woman, walking down the street just a few blocks from her house, in an area that the officer described as being “known for prostitution,” that was enough to convince him that she intended to engage in prostitution. It was on that basis that he approached and stopped her.

In April of this year, Monica was convicted of violating this overbroad and vague law. Today she appeals that conviction, and the ACLU, along with other advocacy and civil rights organizations, filed a brief in support of her appeal.

We #StandWithMonica because transgender women of color should be able to walk down the street in their neighborhoods without being arrested, or worse, for simply being themselves.

When Walking Down the Street is a Crime. Chase Strangio, ACLU