July 10, 2016

From Ned

Janaya Khan, co-founder of Black Lives Matter Toronto (BLMTO), shared an open letter on Tuesday, responding to criticism against Sunday’s Pride protest and outlining, importantly, BLMTO’s demands for a more inclusive, safer Pride. Khan sheds more light on these issues in a recent interview with Maclean’s.

Among the myriad of pieces reflecting on Toronto Pride is  Desmond Cole’s op-ed, which nicely employs an intersectional lens to understand what’s at stake in the way we choose to talk about BLMTO: “The idea that BLMTO ‘hijacked’ the parade to advance its own agenda assumes that the black struggle is somehow separate from that of Pride. This assumption — that blackness is somehow divorced from queerness and queer politics — explains why blacks have been so unwelcome within one of the largest queer celebrations in the world from the beginning.”

Organizations and individuals that have since voiced public support for BLMTO, include:

Open Letter in Support for Black Lives Matter (BLM) Toronto Pride Action by Peoples of Latin-America (Abya Yala) and Caribbean Diaspora in Toronto;

Pride Toronto volunteer team lead Jacqie Lucas (who also resigned this week).

There’s now a petition you can sign to support and honour BLMTO.

“Blockorama Is Where Black Lives Mattered at Toronto Pride” – Fader profiles Blockorama 18, one of Toronto Pride’s “longest running stages celebrating black love and unity.” The photos of folks attending the celebration are gorgeous.

There’s a really important conference happening next week in Toronto – Black Futures Now!
“The mission of the Conference is to create a space in which Black gender nonconforming folks, youth, and women can come together to discuss and workshop ideas around social and political issues they care most about, ranging from politics around representation in creative and social justice fields.” Be sure to check it out!

Black Futures Now Conference Poster

Roxane Gay wrote about watching the video of Alton Sterling’s killing: “The video of Mr. Sterling’s death allows us to bear witness, but it will not necessarily bring justice… Charges might be brought against the two officers involved, but, as history both recent and not shows us, it is rare for police officers to be convicted in such shootings.”

MTV offers an overview of the the racist origins of gun control in America.

More from MTV – an essay about Diamond “Lavish” Reynolds, who on Wednesday witnessed and live-streamed the aftermath of the police shooting of her boyfriend, Philando Castile.

Aya De Leon created a beautiful story about Bree Newsome in an effort to teach her daughter about anti confederate flag activism, and racism more broadly. She also offers some excellent thoughts on how we should teach children about racial inequality.

Randi Gloss, the creator of the social awareness brand GLOSSRAGS, shares how to engage in self-care in “times of Black trauma.”

“Pinkwashing Settler Colonialism,” a worthy read by Emily Zak, considers the ways settler colonial states (though focusing primarily on Israel) work to co-opt gay rights to legitimize occupation.

Elena Ferrante’s book covers are a bit of joke among her readers – they are notoriously bad, with cheesy images and pastel colours, conjuring comparisons, as The Atlantic writes, to “bridal magazines” or “beach resort brochures.” A short, but thoughtful piece on the visual aesthetic of women’s writing.

Rapper Cadence Weapon reflects on the evolution of the Canadian music scene over the last two decades, and the growth of the country’s once underground hiphop scene.

A courageous piece by Raquel Willis on the struggle to reconcile feminist ideals with cosmetic surgery when transitioning. “To eschew archetypal transition goals is courageous in a society that stipulates we must all identify as either a man or a woman, and fit into the narrow scripts of what those categories ‘should’ look like.”

A short profile of three sisters who were separated as children by the “Sixties Scoop,” only to be reunited decades later.

Jason Kenney is on to us, folks! Here’s a video of the conservative MP scolding “bohemian” youth for making communism look “fashionable.”

Below is a snippet of “Do Not Feed” by Jillian Christmas; you can read the whole gorgeous poem here.


this world wants me angry all the time
thick tongued
frothing emotions too big to be trusted


wants me running
out of the house in my nightgown
ashy knees making love to the concrete
howling and wailing
may as well be admitting
the animal they already thought I was


this world thinks me sweeter with my jaw
clenched shut
too-ripe throat                  splitting its seams


 it wants me begging
 and always saying thank you
 when I’ve had enough


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