What Mamita Mala Wants

Last week I was honored with the opportunity to speak at the NYC stop of the This is What Women Want tour.

I had written and chosen my words carefully and well and was nervous pero happy with the reception. I wasn’t ready however to see a woman I admired, a woman whom represents so much of my own struggles as a Puerto Rican woman. I thought I saw her before I entered the theatre where I would be speaking, pero I wasn’t really sure till I was up on stage, all nervous and energized. I knew it was her by all the places she applauded at: at my mention of Richie and of Puerto Rico. You can hear her bracelets moving in the video above. And after my speech, as I stepped down , she was there, with open arms to embrace me. I couldn’t help but cry.
“Do you know who I am?” she asked.
“Of course” I said
She was Dylcia Pagan, former political prisoner, always Rican freedom fighter.

Mamita Mala wants to keep working for freedom.

Mi Vida es Mi Trabajo

My work is not my life pero my life is my work.

It is an extremely privileged position to be in, to make my living with transforming my life into words. It’s a meager living in terms of money, no doubt, pero I didn’t choose this life for the money. I chose this life because I wanted my daily routines to be rooted in me and my values and my community. I am so so grateful for this gift.

That said I am behind on my work. I am behind on my life. I feel like I have wasted time in bad spaces with negative people and influences and I feel that only now am I opening my heart and soul wide fucking open. It’s not easy. It’s even painful at time, not just to me pero to people around me as well. Just as we write and then edit, we live and then reflect and move forward.

My dear prima said I seemed happier and more focused than ever, and she’s right. I am.

Just to share one of my most recent intersections of life and work. Last weekend I was honored to read from a blog piece published in Just Like a Girl.

You can see pictures of the amazing evening here.

You can read the original post here.

What was so amazing that night was that women weaved their tales about their bodies, their loves, their hurts and we all in some way make our lives our work.

Gracias to all who came and supported and the new people I met.

It bugged me out being asked to sign books, sign on the pages where my name was printed. I still need to learn to take ownership and pride in my life/work, tag my name on the paths where I walk porque coño, my life/work leaves its mark. I need to make sure it’s my mark.

What Does Mamita Mala Want? Find Out Tonight at Laguardia Community College

Tonight, I am one of many wonderful featured speakers at the Queens, NYC stop of the nationwide This Is What Women Want Speaking Tour.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008
7:00pm – 9:00pm
LaGuardia Community College
Mainstage Theater, 31-10 Thomson Avenue
Long Island City, NY

Got something to say about the economy, the war, health care, or any other issue?

Then don’t miss This Is What Women Want: a pre-debate speakout in NYC!

This Is What Women Want is your chance to cut through the spin and tell the media, the candidates and the world exactly what you want this election season.

We’re on a This Is What Women Want Tour of speakouts across the country. We started in Boston on Thursday, 8/21, and now we’re taking it to each debate city the night before the debate.

On Tuesday, October 14, local and national media will sit up and listen to women in NYC – from national leaders to the not-yet-known. It could be your voice at that mic!

Come tell us exactly what you want from the candidates, the media and the next President. We’ll be sending the best speakouts to the media and the candidates.

From the economy, to sexism, racism, and other bias in the media’s coverage of the campaign, to immigration, war, poverty, health care, reproductive justice, sexual freedom, worker’s rights, violence, education, environmental concerns and more, this is an unprecedented chance to set the agenda for the country. Whether you’ve got a criticism of the status quo or a visionary idea that no one has yet considered, we want to hear from you.

Our goal is simple: to ensure that the real and varied concerns of women are a force to be reckoned with this election season.

Others slated to speak are Kate Bornstein, Kety Esquivel, Shelby Knox, Betsy Reed, Amy Richards, and Carmen Van Kerkhove.

My words will kick ass tonite. I promise 🙂

Columbus Day Observed

Columbus Day Observed 2006

I wanted to sleep in today,

Warm beneath my sheets,

Warm inside my house,

Leaving the early crisp October chill just beyond my comprehension,

Behind barred and shaded windows

That keep me and the public shielded from reality

But the sound of US sponsored bullets

Ricocheting off of innocent Iraqi skin

Shook me from my sleep and pulled me out of bed

A screaming reminder me that no matter what the calendar says

It’s still the same colonization invasion game going down

On this so called U S of A holiday.

I wanted to mourn today

Stay home and dress in black for the Palestinians and Lebanese killed by Israeli soldiers today.

I wanted to light candles for Afghanistan

Burn incense for the first nations

And cry my eyes out for Filiberto y Puerto Rico.

The 514 year old wounds bleed fresh

Spilling raped, mixed blood.

And I wanted to fast today

Deny my body the comfort

Of first world fast food disposable genitically modified drugs

But my children,

Born and yet to be born

Demanded to be fed

Demanded answers for their homework from the halls of miseducation.

Because she has off today

to celebrate her so called discovery

And I am left nervous

Wondering if when I remind her of the truth

She’ll agree that we were better left uncivilized.

I wanted to celebrate today,

By torching court houses and tearing down prison walls,

bombing national monuments

And taking back every last thing that has been stolen from me and those before me

From us.

I wanted to scream at the top of my lungs a huge

“FUCK YOU y VETE PA’L CARAJO”

to the spirit of Columbus marching down Fifth Avenue

and the Italianos using genocide as costume for their pride

But I was too busy struggling to survive today.

I was too busy working today.

I was too busy counting change to get onto the under constant terror alert subway today,

With its cops with machine guns standing in front of NYPD recruitment ads

the ones with the White cop hugging a Latina viejita?

I had to get to my job

as a 12 dollar an hour corporate whore for hire

Watching billions of bloody dollars

Being robbed from the third world and the third world within.

Finally when the day comes to a close

And I return

Defeated by another day

I can drown my sorrows in the made for t.v. scripted news

Falling asleep to the drone of lies we’ve gotten too used to.

In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue

And got lost

But not lost enough.

Tonight la Mamita Mala Acts Just Like a Girl

Soy pura mujer: Esa chica walking into the bar that you couldn’t resist, la madre de tu hija x2, twitterputa, blogfresca, Puerto Rican poeta. I am honored to have a tiny pedazo of me inside  Just Like a Girl:

Just Like A Girl is a rough-and-tumble, sassy, kick-ass travelogue through the bumpy, powerful, action-packed world of GIRL. A world where girls and women know how to pick themselves up and brush themselves off. These are the clever girls. The funny girls. The girls who know there is no sin in being born one.

Tonite in the Lower East Side of Manhattan, home of many Malaventuras,  join editor Michelle Sewell and contributors Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Maegan “la Mala” Ortiz, Sara Herrington, Jade!, Ellen Hagan, Tanisha Christie, Penelope Laurence, and K. Coleman Foote for a sizzling, provocative, and boundary pushing reading.

Saturday, October 11, 2008 – 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
New York, NY

Y mira, not for nothing, the piece I have in the libro, came straight from my blogging, and is hot. Hope to see some of your there.

M

Write a Letter for Renata Hill : One of the NJ 4

Thank you for your continued support of the New Jersey 4 case. Please read below for an urgent request to support Renata Hill, one of the NJ4. For more information and background on the New Jersey 4 case, please go here

Renata Hill, who is one of the New Jersey 4, had her appeal heard on June 3rd, 2008. The First District Appellate Court found her innocent on the charge of Assault in the Third Degree and granted her a retrial on the charge of Gang Assault in the Second Degree, based on a judges error. She was originally sentenced to eight years in maximum-security prison. After the appeals decision she was moved from Bedford Hills prison to Riker’s Island. On August 29th, 2008, she was released on bail after over two years of incarceration. Her retrial date is set for October 14th. The trial will be heard in front of the same judge, Judge McLaughlin, who originally sentenced her. The same Appellate court found her co-defendant, Terrain Dandridge innocent on the same Gang Assault charge, based on insufficient evidence. Terrain is currently the only one of the seven (the other three have felony convictions with five years of probation) who was found innocent of all her charges and has no criminal record, after she too served two years in prison. The remaining two, Venice Brown and Patreese Johnson are awaiting their appeals, which will be held this November.

We are planning to flood the District Attorney’s office with letters encouraging him to not prosecute Renata any further. She has already served two years for defending herself against a man who harassed and initiated a fight with her and her friends in the West Village during August 2006. Two weeks before she was bailed out, her mother passed away. Judge McLaughlin refused to lower her bail from $75,000 to the $5,000 so that she may attend the funeral. However, one week later the Appellate court lowered it to $5,000 and activists across the country were then able to raise the money and bail her out.

Please take the time to download the attached letter, fill in your name and the date where appropriate and mail to the below address:

[Your Name]
[Your address]
Robert M. Morgenthau
District Attorney
New York County
1 Hogan Place
New York, NY 10013

[Date]

Re: People vs. Renata Hill

Dear Mr. Morgenthau:

I am writing concerning the case of Renata Hill, who is currently awaiting a retrial on charges stemming from an incident in August 2006. Her conviction for Gang Assault was recently overturned on appeal.

I want to encourage you to stop further prosecution in this case, and to release Ms. Hill so that she may get on with her life. Ms. Hill has already served two years on charges resulting from a street altercation that she did not initiate. While she was incarcerated, she was separated from her young son. She also suffered the death of her mother, whose memorial she was unable to attend. Since their convictions on Gang Assault charges, the felony convictions against both Ms. Hill and one of her co-defendants were overturned by the appellate courts. The two other defendants are currently awaiting their appeal hearings.

Notably, the complainant in this matter has commenced a multi million dollar lawsuit and runs a website, Dwayne Buckle Foundation for Justice, seeking donations to his cause based on virulent anti-gay and lesbian attacks.

I believe that further prosecution and incarceration of Ms. Hill would be unjust. She has been punished enough for her role in the event – both by actual imprisonment, and in the impact that imprisonment has had upon her life. I appreciate any assistance you can provide in preventing any further injustice.

Thank you for your consideration.

Sincerely,

Or you can come by FIERCE this Thursday:

Letter writing solidarity party
Thursday, October 9th
5:30 – 7:00pm
@ FIERCE

147 West 24th Street, 6th Floor
F/1/E/R/C to 23rd St.

FIERCE will provide snacks, drinks, materials and postage to send letters. Please feel free to help us save money by donating postage (bring stamps if you can).

If you plan to attend the letter writing solidarity party, please RSVP to NJ4@fiercenyc.org so we know how much food and materials to plan for.

Below is the information for Renata Hill’s retrial if we are unable to get the DA to stop further
prosecution of her case. FIERCE will send out any updates on the trial as we receive them. You can also check out our website for updates here: http://www.fiercenyc.org/index.php?s=128

Renata Hill retrial

Tuesday, October 14th (time TBA)

Supreme Court Criminal Term

100 Centre St. in part 93.

Your timely support by sending letters to the DA is extremely important. Renata has now been out on bail for just over a month. Please help her so she does not have to go back!!

In Solidarity,
FIERCE

From : Problem Chylde