On Wednesday I was very blessed to participate in a panel on "Building an Inclusive Scene" organized and moderated by Ari Beedie and Musical Family Tree. The other panelists were Stacia Moon, Tajana Rebelle, and Mina Keohane. We were all non-male femmes including Ari who moderated. This was the most seen and heard I'd felt in a long time and it helped so much to have the support and encouragement of my fellow panelists. If you'd like to watch the video, you'll soon be able to find it here on Musical Family Tree's website. Now, the MEAT.
Image from Ari Beedie's IG @ariattacks
Being on this panel had me thinking a lot this week about what it means to organize and to be an activist. When I consider the definition of what it means to be an "activist" a lot of images come to mind. People who block bridges and stop traffic, people who chain themselves around trees, people who march, wield signs. I'm not that kind of activist myself but supporting these people is possible even if you'd rather not be so boots on the ground. And you don't have to be that kind of activist to advocate, activate, and to create change. You can support these people by boosting their posts online, creating physical space for them to organize and plan in your home or neighborhood, donating bottles of water and materials needed for organization. You can give money, time, or your talents to the cause as well--something Stacia put simply on Wednesday. She said, "All people have one of three things, Time, Talent, or Treasure. Give what you have."
This same theory applies to supporting organizers--but with one easier option, just show up. If there are people creating safe spaces and unique culture in your city, show up for them and if you can't, tell your friends. For example, VOCAB--seriously, if you haven't been to the VOCAB open mic every second Wednesday at The White Rabbit, where has your support been? This open mic has been in operation for over 12 years. That's a long time for a community to start, grow, and flourish. Don't miss out. Also, Stacia Moon organizes The Build over at The Kheprw Institute. This is a discussion on the current and future state of music that happens on the third Thursday of every month. Ari, our moderator organizes Face A Face Collective which also hosts regular events.
Let me just give you my list of who to follow so you can show support:
Ari Attack and Spaceyamz- FAF Collective
Mariah Ivey- That Peace Open Mic
Allison Victoria- Localmotion
Chantel Massey- UnLearn
Gizelle Fletcher- For Colored Girls Book Club
Tatjana Rebelle- VOCAB
Stacia Moon- The Build
Poetry On the Fringe
Savannah Goins- Indianapolis Area Author's Network
Hoy Polloy Art Gallery
Future Friends Holographic Magic Club
Indy10 Black Lives Matter
Tea's Me Cafe
State Street Pub
Cat Head Press
Pay-pal/Venmo them, show up to their events, share their posts, comment and like things to help boost posts, donate supplies or time to them, make purchases from them, etc etc etc.
Use your heads and your hearts and you too can help create positive change in this city.
A LITTLE WHAT NOT TO DO BECAUSE I'M STILL STEAMED ABOUT JONATHAN BROOKS
A lot of you heard the recent blow up about Beholder's dirty bunny mural. Now, I don't believe in censorship and I don't think the mural was bad for children to see or whatever kind of prudish things Jonathan Brooks is trying to force this conversation around. What I do care about is when businesses take advantage of economically struggling neighborhoods as places to "develop," when in fact they have already been developed and are being supported by residents. Brooks' vision is not only inaccessible to most Eastsiders, it's alienating. Imagine someone who lives at 10th and Rural saving up some money to take their mother out for a nice dinner, so they walk into Beholder and how do you think they're going to feel? Jonathan Brooks claims he's so much for supporting local that he's actually losing money on local produce. But, *just because you're buying high-end local produce doesn't mean you're supporting your neighbors.
*edit: here's an idea: pay a local farmer 50.00 to hang out for 2 hours on a Thursday night and teach anyone. For FREE. how to grow vegetable scraps into kitchen gardens. Bring in a local business to explain how hydroponics works. Raffle off some equipment. Post fliers three blocks out either direction. Serve snacks. Costs approximately 150.00 if you help staff it and engage with your neighbors.
When a local resident complained about the mural, Brooks told the woman to "hold and suck" and "you're welcome for the rising property values." He knows exactly what his business is doing on the East Side and it's not benefiting residents, it's taking their legacy, repackaging it, and selling it to the bourgeois. Eating at an edgelord's restaurant in an edgy neighborhood doesn't make you cool, it shows you as what you are, desensitized to the physical world around you and too comfortable in your privilege to do anything about it.
I'm going to do something. Writing this blog post is a start. Just wait for what comes next.