Otherwise, I’ve largely been offline (checking IG and twitter once a day and then deleting the app) and that’s very good. When I do go on IG, I’ve been using the Archive feature to see what I’ve posted this on this day in years past. Because life seems so largely event-less and my life so void of people, places, and things, I’m finding comfort, even more than usual, in seeing days past mapped and layered on top of my current life. Where was I two years ago? Five years ago even. Do I remember where I was when I shared that post? Posted that IG story? What did it feel like to be me? Who was around? It’s helping me answer questions about what it feels like to be me right now, somehow. It’s also making me feel connected to people I don’t get to see. I’ve been able to identify a couple friendship anniversaries through the recalling — four years since the conference in Detroit, five years since my first time in Chicago. Time will go on. There will be more to remember, sometime, somehow.
My Beautiful Laundrette (1985, screencap above) which is a really tight look at white nationalism, class, and assimilation in Thatcher’s South London. Daniel Day Lewis has been a hottie at every age. Between the Lines (1977) gave us some good 1970s Boston scenes and the end of a counterculture scene.
Perfume Genius in W Magazine. Two months after the release of Set My Heart on Fire Immediately and the album keeps working its way into me.
"I Walked All 1,114 Blocks of My ZIP Code Just to Catalog How People Style Their House Numbers” Extremely my shit. Thanks for sharing, Cara. Feels like a good companion to this piece on how the architecture of homes can portend gentrification.
Before quar, we saw Colored People Time: Mundane Futures, Quotidian Pasts, and Banal Presents at the MIT List Art Center. My mind keeps wandering back to one specific piece in the show, Martine Syms’ Mundane Afrofuturist Manifesto. Digging back into this piece led me to this Artbound episode on the contemporary Black aesthetic in art.
Starting this week, I’m supporting an initiative that feels so aligned with some of the learning and reflecting I’ve been doing on what access to land and nature means to Black people and other people of color. ABUNDANT BEGINNINGS COLLECTIVE, FOREST FREEDOM SCHOOL (ABC, FFS) is a Black-led community education and empowerment initiative that has been re-imagining how communities can grow learners who think critically, live responsibly, and create meaningful change. They’re aiming to raise $1MM to invest in their plan to purchase and build out land for a residential nonprofit/co-housing community space, provide scholarships for Black and Brown families, invest in their educators and more. I’d like to help out by raising $800 — can you donate today?
The Black School is raising funds to build a Black Art School in New Orleans. This project, a community center that will house a Studio, a gallery, a reading/meditation room, a kitchen, an artist-in-residence space, and an open access community garden looks like a damn dream come true. The Black School is the real fuckin’ deal and you should learn about and support their work if you’re interested in supporting Black designers and artists, if you have visited and love New Orleans.
I’m continuing my casual but increasingly passionate study of the relationship between Black Americans, civil rights, and the land. Land trusts can hold property for community use and can be an engine for economic security for Black communities. Farms were stolen (and continue to be) from Black farmers through “legal” and “illegal” means. Connected to land and civil rights is of course, food. I’m learning about the Freedom Farm Cooperative, Fannie Lou Hamer, Booker T. Washington, and George Washington Carver’s role is socially and environmentally sustainable agriculture and food access for Black folks in Freedom Farmers: Agricultural Resistance and the Black Freedom Movement by Monica M. White. I haven't quite figured out why this is but my interest in food, agriculture, and restaurants grow. I liked this piece on Omar Tate and his journey back to food. I haven’t really thought of cooking as a creative endeavor in my life, just something that needs to be done and I enjoy doing with or for people but this interview with Klancy Miller made me wonder if there’s something there for me.
You can support a group in Mississippi looking to purchase 20 acres of farmland "as an extension of [their] Black farming and land-based community.”
Left: Spotted this awesome campaign poster for Andrew Young's run for congress in photos of the Freedom Farmer Cooperative in the book.
The Say Her Name rally in Boston on July 4 brought me closer to the streets of Boston, which I’ve come to miss exploring. We walked across five hot miles from Nubian Square to the Common, ogling and being ogled by “Independence Day” celebrators on restaurant patios and roof decks on the South End. I remembered that Sandra Bland was just about my age when she was murdered in jail, after she was arrested during a traffic stop on her way to a new job. Support Violence in Boston and reflect on how to protect and support Black women (in your life and elsewhere) materially today and always.
"Mostly, I just want to feel free. I want to be unburdened from the expectations I set for myself... Often, this means I try to act free. I try to fake free.” —Tiana Reid, Biking in New York Traffic Forced Me to Learn to Take Up Space
After attending the Boston Bike Ride for Black Lives here in Boston a few weeks ago and experiencing James’ piece about a bike rally in Brooklyn, I was thinking about what biking has meant in my life. I wrote this piece on the autonomy and sense of self riding my bike brought me back in 2014. When I shared this writing with James, he shared "Biking in New York Traffic Forced Me to Learn to Take Up Space” and my heart cracked open. So much here resonated with me about freedom and self through biking. Reading my piece from 2014 made me feel a little embarrassed about my own self-righteousness, how I felt like such a threat to the status quo by being a young beige woman on a bike in Brooklyn. But now, acknowledging my privilege does not make me want to be quieter, to simply check myself and feel gratitude for my safety but to see my struggles for freedom and autonomy as connected to others. What it means for me to feel safe and free riding my bike around town, especially in Boston (the third most intensely segregated city in the country), is very different from what that might mean for a Black woman. To understand that my safety isn’t real, is stolen or unearned, while other women don’t have that. I want us all to feel free and to actually be free. Support Broadway Bicycle, Crimson Bikes, and Spokehouse in Dorchester. Attend the Ride for Black Lives on July 25.
(Above: My bike when it was new to me back in 2014.)
I deeply miss browsing. Browsing CVS on my lunch break and buying a nail polish or a lip stain. Browsing a museum. (The ICA is opening soon and I feel deeply tested in my conviction to not visit any non-essential indoor spaces for a long time.) Browsing a bookstore. Browsing the library. When I was a teenager, somehow I was mostly offline. I never owned an iPod and I didn’t really get into learning about music online. I learned about a lot of music from the library. I miss the feeling of going to the library after school, while the kids were playing Pokemon and other latch key kids used the computers. I liked the books of course, trolled around the non-fiction section, checked out and never finished Mrs Dalloway (still!) But most of all, I liked flicking through the CDs in their hard cover plastic cases. There are some albums I associate so strongly with the library, namely Fever to Tell by The Yeah Yeah Yeahs and The Woods by Sleater-Kinney. I have such an intense memory of waiting for the bus the morning after spending the night at a friend's house in high school and hearing those opening parts of The Fox. Browsing to me is about discovery and chance but it’s also so much about freedom and independence. (No one follows me around stores when I browse because they think I’ll steal, as far as I know.) Browsing isn’t for anyone but me. It’s not planned out grocery trips or even shopping for a specific thing. It’s my own time to zone out. I miss walking into the Copley branch of the BPL, pausing my podcast to check out the Lucky Day collection, wandering up to the second floor. I worry about what not being able to browse will do to my creativity. Everything that comes into my life, and my home, and my mind is so controlled. Carefully calculated shipping deliveries. Groceries twice a month. So little ephemera. No little papers picked up from museum visits. No copies of the Boston Compass picked up form City Feed. I miss taking things in and picking things up.