Martha Cinader speaks with Opal Palmer Adisa in Jamaica, author of Pretty Like Jamaica, published by Caribbean Reads.
Martha also speaks with author Chavisa Woods, Executive Director of A Gathering of the Tribes in New York City.
Tony Robles reads poetry from Issue 16 of A Gathering of the Tribes Magazine.
Pilar Uribe with quotes from notable women. Original music is by Jay Rodriguez Sierra. Dan Klink provided some sound doctoring. Stick around for one last tidbit from Martha’s Kitchen Garden, produced by Crystal Waters, from last summer when the resident snapping turtles were attacking my newly adopted Muscovy…
Contributors: Pilar Uribe , Jay Rodriguez Sierra, Crystal Clear Waters, Tony Robles
00:00:00:02 - 00:00:21:19 Speaker 1 We keep praising women and not making men accountable, which to me is like, Oh, there's something wrong with this. And we are not understanding or certainly we are not vocalizing the full social emotional impact not only on the children and the mothers, the burden that it places, but on the entire society. 00:00:21:22 - 00:00:46:10 Speaker 2 I met a poet in, I think, Chicago during the like poetry slam who said that they knew a blind retired professor who was looking for a personal assistant in New York City and would often give people like a place to live, like young writers, a place to live in exchange for work in the Lower East Side. 00:00:47:13 - 00:01:12:26 Speaker 3 Hi. This is listen and be heard. I'm Billary. It's Women's History Month. And here are some things you can do. Watch your documentary about women's rights and read books about women's rights. Watch TED talks by women leaders. Learn some women's History Month stories. Learn more about the history of women's health. 00:01:14:03 - 00:01:28:05 Speaker 2 I met Steve through a network of poets when I was 21. I was living in and Queer Anarchist Collective in Saint Louis and writing, and I wanted to move to New York City and wasn't sure how I was going. 00:01:28:05 - 00:01:28:18 Speaker 4 To. 00:01:29:14 - 00:01:30:17 Speaker 2 Like do that. 00:01:31:01 - 00:01:39:22 Speaker 1 Dick and Mama stoop down and look me right in the eyes and see what are we pretty like? Jamaica. You're pretty calm. Done. 00:01:41:14 - 00:02:36:21 Speaker 4 Hello. I'm Martha, Senator. And this is listen and be heard. We're here today with a recipe of ideas and feelings to for you and me. We'll mix the batter in a bowl, bake it into a sweet treat for your soul. We'll start with Opal Palmer, a Addison author of Pretty Like Jamaica. Published by Caribbean Reads. Who I spoke to on Sunday morning in Jamaica, we have more notable quotes from Pillar, the Baby and a little later will hear Tony Robles read poetry from the Black Lives Matter issue of a gathering of the Tribes magazine and a conversation I had with Chavez, a Woods author and executive director of a gathering of the tribe's cultural organization 00:02:37:03 - 00:03:08:14 Speaker 4 in New York City. Opal Palmer Desert. We knew each other or came across each other's paths in the Bay Area and I realize now from looking at your at Opal Palmer Datacom that you have moved on from there. Why don't you tell me a little about what you're up to these days? 00:03:09:23 - 00:03:35:13 Speaker 1 It feels like I'm off to a lot these days. So I am back in Jamaica where I was born, but where I had lived for many, many years because I was in California. So I've been back here six years now. Yeah. And the first five years I was teaching and well, I was directing a program at the University of the West Indies, Moana, the Institute for Gender and Development Studies, from which I was tired. 00:03:35:16 - 00:04:02:17 Speaker 1 I'm still teaching an undergraduate class in creative writing, and right now, until I die, I just really want to. There's a lot of books I want to write for children, specifically for Jamaican children or Caribbean children. And I'm engaged in several advocacy projects, namely Thursday in Black, which is promoting an end to gender-based violence, which is pretty high in Jamaica. 00:04:03:06 - 00:04:06:26 Speaker 1 And yeah, I'm just being a creative and an advocate. 00:04:07:14 - 00:04:25:17 Speaker 4 I see. That sounds great. And now I'm looking at your blog right now on my screen, and you're the author of many books, not children's books. So what is the choice here for writing that you now want to write this children's books? 00:04:25:28 - 00:04:50:18 Speaker 1 Because, you know, we say it as a phrase that children are the future and our children are really, as I as a child pointed out to me, Ms.. We are the present. And I said, yes, you're right. You're the present and the future, and I want to contribute to that future. So who are these children now? Who will be our future leaders, our future educators, our future writers? 00:04:51:02 - 00:05:12:16 Speaker 1 I want to contribute to their well-being in as much as I can. I want to infuse them with Jamaican and Caribbean culture, because when I was growing up, that was not something that I was exposed to. So that's where that shift has happened. I'm still going to write books for adults and I'm still going to write poetry for adults and plays for adults. 00:05:12:24 - 00:05:26:16 Speaker 1 But there there's, there are ten children's book projects that I am thinking about, two of which I'm currently working on, and more of which I will be working on. 00:05:27:05 - 00:05:34:22 Speaker 4 So pretty like Jamaica that's coming out and or it is out or it's coming out. 00:05:35:02 - 00:05:39:17 Speaker 1 It's it's out at the end of March. It's officially end of March. So we're there. 00:05:41:04 - 00:05:43:21 Speaker 4 And there's no Caribbean press. 00:05:44:07 - 00:06:08:18 Speaker 1 Yes. Caribbean Reads, which is also something that I decided when I came home that I wanted to promote because most of my work has not been published in the Caribbean at all. And so here was a Caribbean press, a small Caribbean press by a woman. So my feminist ideology here that was promoting literature not just for children, but primarily for children. 00:06:08:28 - 00:06:21:26 Speaker 1 And so when I met Carol and this was what she was doing, I was like, I want to work with you. And so this will be actually my third children's book that she has produced. 00:06:22:00 - 00:06:50:19 Speaker 4 Uh huh. So this one is dedicated to all children in Jamaica, throughout the Caribbean, Africa and Latin America, whose parents, often mothers, are forced to leave them and immigrate often to North America in order to provide for them. That's that's your dedication in the book. Would you like to. Well, why often mothers. Let me ask you that. 00:06:50:20 - 00:07:17:24 Speaker 1 Well, you know, it's so interesting because I saw an article just a week ago that was talking about how the immigration issue has changed throughout the Caribbean and that whereas we still have a lot of men going to the farm workers, it's mostly women for the last 20 years that have been migrating to North America. Teachers, nurses, hotel workers, just the regular person. 00:07:18:06 - 00:08:02:17 Speaker 1 So there's been a shift in that pattern. There's also been a shift in the last 30 years of single parents, which is a term I'd like to completely debunk and get rid of. So mothers now who are solely responsible for their children and find it extremely difficult, especially women who are undereducated and under scale to adequately provide for their children in Jamaica, in Barbados, in Trinidad, in Guyana, wherever, and so choose the route of migrate in, immigrate to North America or Canada or England, depending on the location or some of the European country, to in order to provide for them. 00:08:03:04 - 00:08:24:13 Speaker 1 And this is a real big issue in Jamaica that we now have the term barrow children so that mothers go away. And, you know, people still have the naive idea that America's streets are paved with gold and that they will somehow come get a job on very quickly, be able to send for their children or amass wealth or something like that. 00:08:24:13 - 00:08:51:06 Speaker 1 And that doesn't happen. And so there are thousands of children, certainly in Jamaica and in other islands growing up without their mothers living with their grandmothers. Catherine is a lucky case or living with her aunt or living with some of the relatives waiting for their mothers to send for them. 00:08:53:16 - 00:09:35:28 Speaker 5 You walked on our bones for centuries, turned them to sand, poured into sandboxes for your children to build sand castles. And when the sand became translucent, filled with the sunlight burning your eyes, you found more to sacrifice Sent vultures to strip away our skins and built ladders formed from our ribs, limbs and skulls on which you climbed to get a better view of the lands you planned to conquer. 00:09:37:03 - 00:10:19:27 Speaker 5 And now we rise are joined by some of your children and grandchildren who have eaten of shame and refuse to travel on the rails. You laid with our bones. And each of you who blocks our path tries to press us back, will be blinded by our brilliance. Blinded, blinded, blinded by our brilliance. 00:10:20:12 - 00:10:25:13 Speaker 4 Another interesting thing about it is the Jamaican speech. 00:10:26:28 - 00:10:51:12 Speaker 1 And it's not heavily Jamaican speech, but, you know, Katherine and most Jamaican children, except for a very middle and upper middle class children, speak the Jamaican language. And so I wanted to make sure that Katherine and children like Katherine, the Barrow children, are comfortable and understand that how they speak is also an acceptable part of who they are. 00:10:52:26 - 00:11:15:04 Speaker 1 But it's again, you know, the Jamaican language is a continuum. So in the book, there's a continuum. It's not heavily nation language that would exclude a lot of people, but it does employ some of the syntax and the phrasing that are used. And yes. 00:11:15:12 - 00:11:30:23 Speaker 4 It made me curious what happens in the schools there in terms of how do you learn English and do you speak a different English at home from what you're learning in school? Or is there some kind of synthesis there? 00:11:31:11 - 00:12:00:06 Speaker 1 Well, you know, there has been and continues to be, I guess I'll use the word friction between Jamaican nation language, which is popular called patois and standard English. And there are those who opposed the Jamaica Nation language and says that's why our children aren't learning to write and read in English. More and more there is a relaxing that has happened that what many of us are saying is that Jamaican nation language is a language of its own. 00:12:00:22 - 00:12:27:09 Speaker 1 It employs the syntactical and the grammatical structure of three Ashanti from Ghana, which is where most of the genial A-G is traced. Jamaicans are said to be come from that area of Ghana. And when you look at the language and linguists who have studied the language than the Jamaican nation language uses that grammatical structure. We do the to Ashanti doesn't have a t a D sound. 00:12:27:09 - 00:12:49:02 Speaker 1 I mean a t h zone. So our t h becomes d our little sometimes is little, you know. So there are a consistent grammatical structure that is in the Jamaican nation language. When I was going to school, we were told that we left our mother tongue at the door of the school or at the gate at the school. 00:12:49:02 - 00:13:17:04 Speaker 1 And you had to speak standard English now, because Jamaican nation language is spoken so widely on radio and on TV, there isn't that in some schools that is still the case. In some of the prep schools are what we call uptown schools. That is still the case. But in most schools, that is no longer the case. And what we've been advocating is that we have to teach English as a second language, because in truth, it is. 00:13:17:04 - 00:13:45:15 Speaker 1 And we do want our children to be proficient in English because that is still the official language, and the language is more currency and commerce and education. But we also do not want to denigrate or dismiss the nation language which is so colorful and which has a cosmology of who we are and who we need to be. But yes, so there is that debate that's going on still. 00:13:45:23 - 00:14:00:23 Speaker 1 And I believe that the Jamaica native language, while it employs a lot of English words, it also employs a lot of teaching into words and like English, which employs a lot of different language. 00:14:00:24 - 00:14:02:03 Speaker 4 Right, right, right. 00:14:02:10 - 00:14:25:17 Speaker 1 That we need to teach it as a second language, because many of our students are failing in English. And I think that's because we keep trying to pick one language against the other, which to me is just nonsensical. And let's just admit this is what the language is and this is what English is, and let's make sure that our children and our people are proficient in both. 00:14:26:21 - 00:14:30:20 Speaker 4 That sounds like a sensible approach. I think so. 00:14:32:12 - 00:14:53:08 Speaker 1 We allow language changes when we think of all the words in the English language now in even in the English language that we didn't have internal cell phone bills. You know what I mean? It's like, what are we calling about? People as we develop and as new things come into being, we create a language for it and we accept that. 00:14:53:08 - 00:15:06:07 Speaker 1 So why is there this quarrel between Jamaican nation language in English? There needs to be no quarrel. But you know, those powers that be or whatever has decided that there should be this quarrel. 00:15:06:07 - 00:15:08:15 Speaker 4 And so and so there is. 00:15:08:21 - 00:15:39:08 Speaker 1 And so there is a Catherine, this very feisty little girl, you know, who is one of the children in Jamaica who's privileged in that even though her mother is away, she's with her maternal grandmother who loves and cares for her dearly. And unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case of many children who are left, even though their mothers might, you know, send money for them. 00:15:39:08 - 00:16:05:00 Speaker 1 Sometimes it is squandered and they are treated rather badly. So this is Catherine's voice somewhere in the middle of the book after her mother has sent for her two younger siblings, two years ago, Mama sent for my older brother and sister, Patrick and Janice and leave me one with granny mitted vexed bad and wouldn't speak to Mama when she called me Miss Patrick and Janice so bad. 00:16:05:00 - 00:16:18:20 Speaker 1 Sometimes that made me hear it crying. Granny hugged me tight and kissed Nancy, though mine precious the last shall be first one day and is true because me always first with Granny. 00:16:20:02 - 00:16:22:27 Speaker 4 La long Mama. 00:16:23:03 - 00:16:45:24 Speaker 1 By that I want to encourage loving relationships and I want to depict loving relationships because they exist. And I think too often we only talk about the bad relationships. And I want to let people understand that there are these loving, kind relationships that exist. And maybe if they see more of that, it's possible. Well, yes. 00:16:47:02 - 00:16:48:01 Speaker 4 I like that. 00:16:48:01 - 00:17:09:19 Speaker 1 Don't often we don't give children a place to voice what they're feeling, which is why I was very careful in this book to make sure that Catherine articulated her feelings, because I think a lot of children are told to be grateful that their mother is away working to send for them. And so they're not allowed to feel bad. 00:17:09:25 - 00:17:31:26 Speaker 1 They're not allowed to see Miss Mama. They're not allowed to say, I wish Mother was here with me. Rather than send me a barrel of food and clothes kind of stuff. And so I was very careful to ensure that that Catherine was able to voice these feelings and and voice. I love Granny, but I miss Mama. You know, I love the things Mama sent me, but I wish Mama was here. 00:17:32:07 - 00:18:04:02 Speaker 1 So, Catherine, feelings really reverberate throughout the entire book because I want to give children the opportunity to articulate and to validate that what you feel, you feel. And it's okay to feel that way, you know, even when you're grateful, even when you're sad, it's okay to feel that way. And I think certainly in Jamaica and I can only speak of Jamaica, we sometimes do not give children the space to voice what they're feeling. 00:18:04:22 - 00:18:12:22 Speaker 4 And you actually have notes from Dr. Chi Morgan in the back of the book that speak about some of these things. 00:18:12:22 - 00:18:22:24 Speaker 1 Yeah. And I was very happy and very grateful that that after came Morgan and read the book and and I didn't even know what she was going to do. I just wanted her to read the book. 00:18:23:05 - 00:18:23:23 Speaker 4 Oh, it's. 00:18:23:23 - 00:18:24:05 Speaker 1 She. 00:18:24:19 - 00:18:38:10 Speaker 4 She really added to it. I think for for educators, parents who want to read this book, it's a helpful way to even expand on the lessons and the experience of that story. 00:18:38:10 - 00:18:59:11 Speaker 1 Really. She really she loved it, which was really nice. And she really zoned in and said, You're so right. It will help children. It will help educators, it will help parents and grandparents, too. It provides it, it expands the book. And so I'm very grateful for that expansion. 00:18:59:11 - 00:19:00:03 Speaker 5 Why. 00:19:01:13 - 00:19:43:04 Speaker 1 I wanted to celebrate this little girl and I wanted to celebrate Jamaican culture, because I think a lot of times we people from outside of Jamaica, they see Jamaica through the filters of either the music or some other way. And so I wanted to make it as localized as possible. And what someone not in the urban area, but in a rural area like Catherine would see and be every day the beach, the goats, you know, the dogs, all of those things which are very much common in the in the Jamaican landscape. 00:19:43:19 - 00:20:13:19 Speaker 1 And so for me, the story is not just about Catherine, but it's and I also want to because so often we are told that in order to improve ourselves, we have to go away. I want it to also, as we see Jamaica become Jamaica, that Jamaica has a lot to offer and the granny symbolizes that. She said Jamaica is big enough for all of us and you know that the granny compare is that we have nice beaches and fruits and all of those things. 00:20:14:02 - 00:20:37:25 Speaker 1 And so the story is about Catherine and the fact that she, like so many other children, are barrow children, meaning that their mothers are away and you know, for times for the year, send them a barrel with all kinds of stuff. But also that she is loving the landscape and the culture in which she is being raised and that she is being taken care of. 00:20:37:25 - 00:20:56:08 Speaker 1 So that was also important to me. And most important was to give this little girls and boys to make sure that her feelings were clearly articulated, whatever the myriad feelings that she had and that people were able to feel and understand that. 00:20:57:06 - 00:21:08:02 Speaker 3 This is listen and be heard. I'm Hillary Uribe. If you don't like the road, you're walking, start paving another one. 00:21:08:18 - 00:21:09:00 Speaker 4 Too. 00:21:09:15 - 00:21:31:07 Speaker 3 Dolly Parton. What you do makes a difference and you have to decide what kind of difference you want to make. Jane Goodall. Beware of monotony. It's the mother of all the deadly sins. Edith Wharton. 00:21:35:10 - 00:22:07:12 Speaker 4 I'm Martha, Senator, and this is Listen and be heard. You've been hearing a conversation I had with Opal Palmer Adisa, author of Pretty Like Jamaica, which is available now at Amazon and Barnes and Noble and in bulk from the publisher Caribbean Reads. You can watch the entire Zoom meeting at Listen and be heard dot net where you can also find links to references made in the conversation. 00:22:09:00 - 00:22:37:00 Speaker 4 You also heard Tony Robles read down Professor by the four major, one of the poems in the Black Lives Matter issue of a gathering of the tribes. Tribes, as we call it most of the time, is the legacy of Professor Steve Cannon, who was my mentor back in the nineties as he was for countless writers and poets almost a year ago now. 00:22:37:11 - 00:23:13:27 Speaker 4 I traveled to New York City to participate in a poetry marathon that was part of the Whitney Biennial exhibition that recreated Steve's living room because they understood it, along with Tribe's current director, that Steve's living room was an institution prolific in its influence and profound in its support of the unsupported surface of words. Novelist is also the executive director now of a gathering of the tribes and is carrying on with the legacy. 00:23:14:07 - 00:23:23:07 Speaker 4 And I spoke to her in New York City. Living it is love in a man. You're not supposed to love. It's given way to emotions creating. 00:23:23:16 - 00:23:40:03 Speaker 2 It was I don't know. It was an amazing experience coming from like a small farm town, then Saint Louis, then to the Lower East Side and being immersed in this intensely like multicultural, avant garde ethos. 00:23:40:03 - 00:23:40:20 Speaker 4 You know. 00:23:40:29 - 00:24:27:22 Speaker 2 Right now, everyone and everyone always arguing and then doing collaborative projects together in the same day. It was just it was a beautiful space. It was a chaotic space at times. It was open. He was just completely open living. He was giving it. After Steve passed away, I kind of thought tribes would end. But when I spoke to the board about it and started just seeing this need that people still wanted to gather as a gathering of the tribes, and that I thought that there was a real opportunity to to just continue his legacy and to honor his memory and the amazing work that he had done all of your time. 00:24:28:01 - 00:24:55:06 Speaker 2 So we were really fortunate that a few months after I came on the Whitney Biennial through, David Hammons contacted us and said that they wanted to do an exhibition honoring the history of tribes. And I had a chance to be part of designing that installation with Adrian Edwards, who's the curator of the Whitney, and also with Tracy Williams, who has been with tribes for many, many years. 00:24:55:25 - 00:25:22:25 Speaker 2 And David Hammons was also part of that behind the scenes. And when I looked at that, how we were going to do the exhibition, I really tried to include as many voices and as many people from the history as possible, which is why when you walked into the exhibition, it wasn't necessarily one or two people's photographs or one one installation that it occurred at Tribes or one exhibition. 00:25:22:25 - 00:25:44:04 Speaker 2 It was we decided to use fliers from all of the events and all of the types of exhibitions that had happened at Tribes over the years, so that you can see the descriptions and the names and the variety because it's not only a variety of people of different ethnicities and sexualities and identities, but it was also a lot of different schools and mediums. 00:25:44:04 - 00:26:08:26 Speaker 2 Like he would have musicians there one day and it would be a concert hall almost, and then he would have a really classical play the next day and then avant garde performance another day. So when he called it a gathering of the tribes, you know, he named it that for a reason. He was saying all different people from all different schools of thought mediums of creativity and identities coming together in this place. 00:26:09:07 - 00:26:40:07 Speaker 2 Because ultimately, Steve thought xenophobia was the death of the intellect. And that's what tribes that's always been pushing against. So we still uphold his original mission, which is to support traditionally underrepresented artists and writers in traditionally underrepresented voices of diversity. And I hope that we're still upholding that mission. I you know, that's my goal every single day when I wake up is just to keep this legacy going and see what it looks like in this new era. 00:26:41:08 - 00:27:35:02 Speaker 5 This is a poem for Mumia Abu-Jamal by Julia Wright from a gathering of the tribes. Issue number 16, the Black Lives Matter issue. And time runs out of steam. As Mumia struggles to breathe, his weary pulse beats to the drum of our collective heart. He senses our footsteps in the ashes of their furnaces. He touches his walls to hear the throbbing of our songs and takes another gulp of fresh hope. 00:27:38:08 - 00:27:43:10 Speaker 2 Well, Steve actually published my first book through a Gathering of the Tribes through Fly by Night Press. 00:27:43:28 - 00:27:46:04 Speaker 4 I didn't realize that. Which book was that? 00:27:46:27 - 00:27:50:26 Speaker 2 Yeah, it was. Love does not make me gentle or kind. 00:27:51:11 - 00:27:56:09 Speaker 4 Hmm. Okay. So that was fly by night and that kind of. 00:27:56:14 - 00:28:19:14 Speaker 2 Fly by night press, it sold out within, like, four months, which was amazing. And then got picked up by a ton of media, press, and then, you know, so we went through a second publishing and because of that success, then I got picked up by seven stories press for my second book, which was the albino album. 00:28:19:23 - 00:28:23:09 Speaker 4 Right. That's the one that I was a big no and enjoyed very much. 00:28:23:28 - 00:28:45:13 Speaker 2 But I was I'm from a really small farm town, and a lot of the people in my area and half of my family suffers from generational poverty. And I was queer and I had moved away from home as soon as I was 18. And I really I don't know who maybe someone else would have given me a chance. 00:28:45:13 - 00:28:56:05 Speaker 2 I don't know who would have given me that chance right then. But I am eternally grateful to Steve and to fly by night press, night gathering of the tribes for giving me that chance and publishing. 00:28:56:08 - 00:29:19:21 Speaker 4 It was his vision. That was his vision for someone like you to come and have that opportunity where you may not have found it somewhere else. And so that's a great example of what he he did. And I think he did it for many people. Many people can look back and say they got their start, maybe not with Fly By Night Press. 00:29:19:21 - 00:29:28:06 Speaker 4 It might have just been something that was published in one of the magazines. But certainly Fly By Night was a very important project of his. 00:29:29:23 - 00:29:52:17 Speaker 2 But so right now we're publishing and then the online magazine, we're publishing people constantly. And a lot of people, it is their first time publishing and we publish a very diverse array of authors and voices and we are trying to raise funds so that we'll be able to pay a small stipend to all of the artists and authors that we publish in the online magazine. 00:29:52:17 - 00:29:55:25 Speaker 2 That really does mean something to debut in emerging authors. 00:29:56:19 - 00:29:57:24 Speaker 4 That absolutely does. 00:29:57:25 - 00:30:26:07 Speaker 2 And right now, we're also sponsoring a visa from a Canadian author of a Ph.D.. We're also running a small paid volunteer program. So we have, you know, interns who have become editorial assistants now who are starting their second year with a gathering of the tribes. So I'm still trying to keep a lot of those programs that he put in place going and do for the community at some fraction of what he did. 00:30:29:00 - 00:30:49:09 Speaker 2 We're always looking for new volunteers, and we are also currently fundraising right now because right now we're trying to meet our yearly budget. It's a little bit of a difficult time since the emergency funding we've been relying on for the last two years has stopped. But the funding that we relied on previously is not necessarily back to pre-pandemic levels. 00:30:50:04 - 00:30:57:12 Speaker 2 So definitely fundraising, like any donations or gifts that you can make right now helps. Buying copies of Tribe 16 helps. 00:30:58:28 - 00:31:10:00 Speaker 4 Has there been other issues where there was an actual theme for the issue, or is that a departure to have a Black Lives Matter issue where we focus on one thing like that? 00:31:10:20 - 00:31:39:06 Speaker 2 That's a departure. And that's that was my vision going forward. Something to differentiate these issues from the ones that Steve did. Not to say that they're better or worse just now. It's a new it's sort of a new series to let Steve's issues stand as they were. I didn't want to try to do the exact same thing. And I'm hoping that the next issue of the magazine will actually be, although we have to get funding for this because it's a lot of work to put out a magazine. 00:31:39:06 - 00:32:00:17 Speaker 2 But I'm wanting the next issue of the magazine to be the Steve Buchanan issue, a collection of our and writing about our founder, Steve Cannon. Because a lot of the reason that we exist now is to honor Steve's legacy. And I think now is the time to have this collection solidly in some tangible form that people can hold in their hands and and keep. 00:32:01:21 - 00:32:35:05 Speaker 5 This is a poem by Kim McMillan from a gathering of the tribes. Issue number 16, the Black Lives Matter issue. This poem is called Somebody Stole My History. Somebody Stole My History. I look for it in books. It wasn't there. I asked my people, Where's my history? They looked down, too much pain. Why do we deny our ancestors? 00:32:35:29 - 00:33:03:24 Speaker 5 Listen, they want to talk. The voices in our heads are screaming. I want to know who I am. Why do we walk past the living pretending we don't see the lie? Pretending our truth is found in books that we didn't write. Pretending we don't need to know. We don't need to heal. How long do we sit at this table? 00:33:04:16 - 00:33:35:12 Speaker 5 Till the ghosts of the Middle Passage rise from waters to deep with pain. That calls to us shouting. Bodies clad in the past with words written on the sea floor, dark with tales untold begging to be heard. Why can't we just say, I hear you? How long will little black girls and boys be told? Just do what is right. 00:33:35:26 - 00:34:15:18 Speaker 5 Look straight ahead. Don't talk. Don't question particularly the dead. But we are the dead. But we are not damned. We are here. Spirits, warriors rising. Telling our truth. You can find us in the soil. You can find us in rooms long empty. You can find us in your hearts. Opened or closed. We are still here. We breathe in centuries as the first air of truth. 00:34:16:07 - 00:34:55:00 Speaker 5 We wish to hear our stories told. We have traveled with you for hundreds of years. We have built great cities. We have rebelled against injustice. We held our babies while inhumane, anarchy, branded and burned. We have kneeled in prayer, asking that our voices be heard. Our lineage is the past, present, future, and worlds in between. We speak words to heal, to find lost parts of ourselves. 00:34:55:11 - 00:35:21:03 Speaker 5 Don't look away. We have been in corners, in dark places. We are moving towards the light, whether you come or not. If you want to hear our stories. Sit. Question. Don't deny us. Don't deny your history. It is everywhere. You have only to look. We are waiting. 00:35:23:25 - 00:35:59:29 Speaker 2 Oh, I definitely want to keep publishing the online literary journal. Right now we also have a physical sponsorship program. It's really low threshold, and we provide fiscal sponsorships to unincorporated art groups and individual artists. Use of our 501c3 for funding. And we have a fiscal sponsorship portal on the website of that program. We're running a lot of programs right now for such a small nonprofit organization, the fiscal sponsorship program. 00:36:00:19 - 00:36:30:28 Speaker 2 The publications on the online magazine. We get about 60,000 readers each year. So that's a lot of visibility for, you know, emerging and debut artists. We're also doing several readings a year. We're publishing one print journal by and by every two years. They get biennially instead. And we're running the fiscal sponsorship program and a visa sponsorship program as well as having an internship program. 00:36:30:29 - 00:36:58:15 Speaker 2 So that's a lot for such a small nonprofit. We are still less than $150,000 a year. So right now I am trying to solidify that budget and keep all of these programs going because there is a need for all of these programs right now. If we can solidify this budget regularly for the next two, three years and go above it, I would like to possibly build out an actual because what Steve said I was doing was a writing residency program. 00:36:59:03 - 00:37:10:24 Speaker 2 I would like to have some physical space that would provide long term residencies to young writers and artists. That is a bigger goal, but we have to get there. 00:37:11:20 - 00:37:18:29 Speaker 4 So how do you get a budget? What is a woman running an organization on the Lower East Side? 00:37:19:00 - 00:37:45:00 Speaker 2 We are heavily funded by David Hammons. He gives us a substantial amount of money every year. He's our largest major donor. We also have a handful of regular, major individual donors each year. We also are funded by have been funded for the last couple of years by CLP, by the Amazon Literary Project, by the de Kooning addition, by the Henry Luce Foundation. 00:37:45:13 - 00:38:07:16 Speaker 2 So I'm, my background is also in grant writing. So I do a lot of grant writing and fundraising to foundations as well as to individual donors and selling magazines. So that's how you get a budget with a nonprofit organization. People have to decide that they want to invest in our mission or foundations have to decide that. And what you're really deciding then is all of this art that you encounter. 00:38:07:16 - 00:38:35:22 Speaker 2 It doesn't just happen like someone has to be able to pay their rent while they're making the art. And that is a little bit of what tribes does. We siphon money and resources and connections back traditionally underrepresented artists. We also give them visibility and sometimes give them their first break, which has happened with many of our artists and writers or I took over tribes in April of 2020. 00:38:36:01 - 00:38:56:11 Speaker 2 I started accepting the job in January of 2023, and then the contract was signed in April. And I was like, That was still when we were thinking maybe COVID would go away in a month and it didn't. So trying to restart programs that had been inactive for a year or two, some say longer, some will say less long. 00:38:56:11 - 00:39:11:23 Speaker 2 It's kind of restarting programs during the pandemic has been difficult. So, you know, we're really happy if anyone wants to invest in keeping this alive and helping us do the next issue of the magazine and making sure all of our programs remain stable for the next year. 00:39:12:23 - 00:39:19:13 Speaker 4 Well, people who are interested can look they can go directly to tribes dot org. 00:39:20:07 - 00:39:34:14 Speaker 2 Tribes dot Oregon click, donate or buy a copy of the magazine or buy a hoodie. And you can also download digital copies of back issues of the magazine. There are also books from Fly By Night Press, as well as some of our partner organizations on the website. 00:39:35:15 - 00:39:56:08 Speaker 4 Well, SIFISO, thank you very much for talking to me a little bit about the behind the scenes of the gathering of the tribes and what it takes to just be there and be doing it. And I really appreciate the fact that you are there in that you are carrying on Steve's legacy. And I do believe. 00:39:56:08 - 00:39:56:19 Speaker 2 It's a. 00:39:56:20 - 00:39:57:18 Speaker 4 Very capable. 00:39:57:18 - 00:40:14:25 Speaker 2 Hands. I do want to say read the online magazine. I think you're going to love it. We have some really great new short stories and we have some beautiful new poetry. Our last batch of poetry I think is spectacular. 00:40:18:16 - 00:40:52:28 Speaker 4 This is listen in. We heard I'm at the senator in Greenville, South Carolina. I was speaking with a piece of wood's in New York City. You can visit a gathering of the tribes at tribes dot org where you will find poetry, essays, art and more. Go to listen and be heard. Now for more information about everything you've heard in this podcast, watch videos of Tony reading the poetry by Deborah Major Julia Wright and Kim McMillan. 00:40:53:25 - 00:41:23:13 Speaker 4 Next week, Tony will speak with Glennis Redman, the first poet laureate of Greenville. The original music for this podcast is by Jay Rodriguez Sierra. Stick around for a little turtle talk at Martha's Kitchen Garden by filmmaker and my daughter Crystal Waters. And thank you for listening. 00:41:27:13 - 00:41:48:19 Speaker 4 So this is the second turtle trap I'm making today. I'm not just trying to trap turtles. That's trying to trap snapping turtles. Unfortunately, some of these other turtles are sitting in there, but none of them are going to die. They're going to be released. I'm just waiting for my friend to show me. 00:41:48:20 - 00:41:53:24 Speaker 6 How to handle the establishment because I'm scared of because. 00:41:53:25 - 00:42:23:09 Speaker 4 They have snapping jaws. And so far it's killed two of my ducks. Not directly, but because they injured them. Then they. Then they perished yesterday. So they're fierce. They catch something and they hold on, you know, and it's no joke. And even like I'm a little worried about my dog. And the thing is that they have no predators. 00:42:23:09 - 00:42:49:11 Speaker 4 Once they get to be a certain size, there's just nothing that's going to prey on them. So right now, they're totally ruling my pond. They knew me here for decades and they had no competition. And so now I want to even out the odds a little for my ducks, because we need to have, you know, a sure variety of life. 00:42:49:11 - 00:43:23:27 Speaker 4 We can't have snapping turtles. Eliminating the possibility of having other species in the pond like ducks. And I've seen them actually kill the chicks of wild mallards several times. It's kind of heartbreaking that when I see wild chicks on my pond and then they don't make it. So I feel like I'm doing the right thing, trapping these turtles and I'm learning something cause I really never intended to trap turtles in my life, you know? 00:43:24:24 - 00:43:54:25 Speaker 4 But I'm doing it. So there we go. And it's kind of interesting to see, like, watch the pond behavior and understand a little more about all my surroundings. You know, I think I've actually seen the alligator snapping turtle, too, that claim they don't exist here in South Carolina. So maybe I'm wrong or maybe I'm right. Let's see when I start pulling some more turtles out of this pot.