The Great Humanistic and Historical task

The hard truth, that I learned with ABL, I am working with:

“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well. The oppressors, who oppress, exploit, and rape by virtue of their power, cannot find in this power the strength to liberate either the oppressed or themselves. Only power that springs from the weakness of the oppressed will be sufficiently strong to free both- Paulo Freire”

Now take allllll of that in…………Ill wait…………………………………

Deep huh?

While I understand that the liberation of ALL is a personal task, I am beginning to understand my POWER of influence. This power I speak of  has been both socially given & taken, and grown within. The intersections of my identity provide me with a unique outlook. As a queer woman of color in I navigate through a patriarchal, heteronormative, white and gender rigid society that THINKS its power is found in my inferiority. As an fair complexion intergenerational multiracial femme presenting woman with her masters degree in Education, I have ASSUMED power. I am assumed to be smarter, able, prettier, better and this list can go on.

These intersections provide me a critical view of society both as  privileged and marginalized. Now please be clear, it is the responsibility of those who have ASSUMED power to be aware of themselves to work WITH oppressed communities. As Lila Watson, Aboriginal activist, says “If you have come to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.”

This all boils down to one important truth the social ills of the world presses down on ALL of us and damages our ability to see our mutual humanity. We must release ourselves from systems that enable us to be blind to the humanity of EVERYONE. This is my human task.  Those of us that chill on the borders have the power. We have the most honest power because it is rooted within. This is my lifework. I address it everyday as an artist, educator, daughter, sister, friend and partner.

I am invested in the transformation of power not is transaction. I challenge my ideas of what I have been socialized to understand power as.  I wish not to oppress, suppress, repress my being onto anyone because I know to well what that PRESSING does to the soul.

My power is rooted in ME.

Where is your power rooted?

Come and Celebrate with me: Self Care & Love in Continued Terror of Black Live in America #sayhername

I am settling into my home, NYC, after 2 weeks away in Andover, Mass. I was a selected participant in the Andover Bread Loaf writing workshop for educators. I must confess I attended with selfish intentions. This experience was embraced for Tiffany, the person not teacher Tiff. I was hyper aware of my need to challenge my self damaging notions of my inability to write. I needed a space in which I would approach my writing with a new attitude. I needed to be affirmed. And I was.

I am a re-born poet! And newly born writer!

The 2 weeks gifted many lessons, that I intend on writing installments on this blog. *lets manifest this yall*

While away news of the passing our sister Sandra Bland hit my newsfeed. Rage, sorrow, confusion, hit my heart & soul. Questions still remain unanswered.

In these times when we can easily be buried from the weight of the heartbreaks, the wakes, the shakes in the foundation of humanity, I chose to find the space to celebrate. To remind myself that this work is worth it because life, HUMANITY, is beautiful. Through celebration; laughing, loving, dancing; humanity shines through the terror and I am recharged to do the work.

It is also when I turn to my ancestors and elders for guidance. Our ancestors have left us their wisdom in song, dance, art and writing. These artifacts have become my spiritual doctrine, their life is a testimony of the magic, beauty of the universe, of the divine nature of brown people.

Our mother ancestor Lucille Clifton spoke to me during my 2 weeks away in her poem, Won’t Celebrate with Me.

won’t you celebrate with me
what i have shaped into
a kind of life? i had no model.
born in babylon
both nonwhite and woman
what did i see to be except myself?
i made it up
here on this bridge between
starshine and clay,
my one hand holding tight
my other hand; come celebrate
with me that everyday
something has tried to kill me
and has failed.

—Lucille Clifton
I celebrate because I AM HERE, YOU ARE HERE, WE ARE HERE! Our loving, our laughing, our healing is our mojo. It is the life force that Mother Lucille knew was our pot gold. We are the unwanted but the most needed. Everyday something has tried to kill us and has failed. We are unstoppable. Remember to say our ancestors name, celebrate them. Sandra, my sister, I say your name because they took you from us, from those who loved into the powerful woman you are. They tried to kill your legacy and failed.
Sending my love to you all.
Take care of yourself.
I close this post with Mother Lucille reading her word magic.