Three Good Things that Happened this Weekend

It was a good weekend in terms of sports, activism, and hey, weather. Let’s recap:

1. Duke lost in the first round of the NCAA tournament. Sorry, Dukies. But my bracket and Maryland loyalties are both very happy.

2. A group of smart, serious Oakland community activists held a powerful town hall against the recent ‘war on women.’  In the aftermath of the stone-age sexist comments from Rush Limbaugh (to whom the best response was from my favorite political artist Favianna Rodriguez) and Too Short (who was at the Oakland town hall, addressing his recent XXL controversy), this inter-generational gathering tackled the all-too-real issues that such mysogynistic language promotes: domestic violence, rape, and the overall degradation of women, especially black and Latina women.

The forum was the beginning of a new attempt to change the course at all levels, from policy to our personal lives. And most importantly, it let women take the mic. My hats off to the organizers and everyone who attended. Let’s keep this energy going — for the women in our lives, but for the men too.

3. I arrived in Miami! And yes, there to greet me at the airport were Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas themselves, welcoming me into the ways of Miami Vice.

Okay, so maybe I won’t be riding around South Beach solving international crimes and conspiracies…but I will be rolling through the many barrios of this beautiful city as the Tigertail artist in residence for the week. I first met the good folks of Tigertail through Brave New Voices, where their youth poetry slam team impressed me year after year. Now I’m excited to be able to return the favor. I’ll spend most of the week in high schools across greater Miami doing performances and workshops in preparation for their local slam finals. As far as the two public events, here’s the scoop:

WordSpeak Youth Poetry Slam
with special guest host Josh Healey
Wednesday, March 21 – 6:00pm
Miami Beach Botanical Gardens

Art is a Hammer! – Reading and Performance
with Tigertail artist-in-residence Josh Healey
Friday, March 23 – 8:00pm
Coral Gables Books & Books

There’s been a lot of crazy stuff going down in and around Miami recently, from the murder of Trayvon Martin to the raid on Occupy Miami. Racial tension, police violence: I thought I was getting away from Oakland! But hey, this is America. And this is what it means for me to be an artist in residence — to learn from the residents, and hopefully offer some inspiration, some tangible skills, and some solidarity in their struggle for justice and healing.

First day here, but I already know the deal: hit the beach, rock the mic, and always keep your eye out for the cops. Especially if they’re wearing pink polos and white linen pants.