It’s February! Black History Month 2015 Begins

Hello Everybody!

I wanted to start off this year by telling you thank you, again, for always reading and supporting me. I always genuinely appreciate all your comments, thoughts, and kind words. For those of you that follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or Tumblr you have probably seen quite a bit from me during the last half of 2014. I have been reading a lot of different media outlets and struggling with a lot of what is happening back home. It has been an incredibly tough 8 months for me in regards to social justice. That being said, I have never been prouder to an American. Seeing so many people take to the streets to protest injustice and using their social media saavy to engage others in digital townhalls and/or discussions has been an incredible thing to watch. I am lucky to have an incredible support system here in Japan and back home. I couldn’t make it through these struggles without all of you. I would also not be able to stay motivated to work harder and smarter without you all.

I want to take a moment, okay a long moment, to thank some of these people individually before we jump into this year’s focus. In Japan I have had constant support from Jeff Horton and Roberte Foster. I am thankful that you two are with me every step of the way and that we understand each other, truly. These two are always willing to hear me vent and are always willing to vent back. They are also willing to brainstorm and that is crucial. We went to the Tokyo Solidarity March together back in December and it was an incredible experience that I will never forget. It was a great way to feel like we were able to DO something.

I’ve also had some amazing support from my faithful friend Ai. She listens and offers new perspectives. Plus, she’s a fierce friend. Ann Tonpakdeethum, Paul Richards, Jamie Duck, and Brett Hamilton have been amazing. It’s not always easy when we grew up in different countries to see where we are all coming from, but there has never been a time where we make each other feel invalid and that is invaluable. Marvin Dangerfield has become my big brother in every aspect of the word. His life experience gives me a new perspective whenever we speak and sometimes when I get too loud he puts me in my place. Thank you. Katie Martin, through teaching me about feminism, has also given me new tools to discuss systemic racism. I am grateful for always receiving articles from you and lunches where we get to shake our fists at the world. Jarrett Gonzalez, I am thankful for you because we get to laugh at the hypocrisy together and you introduced me to the GREAT Ta-Nehisi Coates. Eternally grateful.

Back home, I would like to thank my parents and my brother for always letting me discuss these things with you. Seriously, it is such a lucky thing that I can discuss stuff that is so important to me with you. It gives me a chance for you to know me more and for me to know you. These discussions aren’t always easy, but I thank you for always listening and telling me what you think. This goes for you too Elaine and Jeff. You too, Uncle P and Aunt Cheech.

Asheley Brown, who is constantly volunteering her incredible skills to make me banners every year and helping me make my blog look more snazzy, thank you. From the bottom of my heart.

Patricia Fitzwater, Staci Robinson, Adam Ragan, Stephanie Thorson, Shaleese Beasley, Asheley Brown (again), Matthew Ferguson, Jeff Williams, and Michael Weeks. You guys are always down to listen. You are always down to talk. I am forever grateful for that and for your constant and INCREDIBLE friendship. Staci and Adam have read over my thoughts before posting countless times and I can’t thank you enough for feedback. Tyler Olson, Frank Ugochukwu, Chris Carr, Lilia Toson, Kimberly Swanner, NaKenya Shumate, Kim Morris, Paul Washington, Lemmie Nelson, and Amber Richards are constantly giving me articles on Facebook (ie I stalk your pages) and inspiring me to do more. Thank you.

Rick Fearnley and Shona Lawley. I have been so appreciative of your listening ears and hearing your thoughts. I have also appreciated your support immensely.

Ben Murray. We have vehemently disagreed about almost everything. Not everything, but close. However, I am thankful for your constant discussion and respect. I think we have been able to facilitate some discussions online that may not have brought some people in before. I thank you for this and look forward to continuing our discussions as time goes by.

I am also thankful for the resources I have accumulated over the last couple years. Whether it is Eunique Jones-Gibson and her amazing Because of Them, We Can campaign or Luuvie Ajayi and her humor blog that is also insightful or the BYP 100 and their incredible non-stop organizing or Urban Cusp and their amazing online campaigns like #NotOneDime or #BlackOutBlackFriday. Thank you for constantly feeding me with new information and thoughts.

Okay, so that’s enough thanking. 🙂 It’s getting too mushy over here. Lol.

Here is what we are doing this year! Since this year is the 50th Anniversary of the Selma march, the Malcolm X assassination, and the Voting Rights Act I thought it may be a good idea to reflect on 1965. I would also like to reflect on how what happened 50 years ago is effecting today, but also how they are similar. I will have some guest writers this year so please be on the lookout for them.

Thank you again, and Happy February 1st!

Hugs and Love,

Heather

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