Culturefest Performance: On the Question of Justice

The ACPA Convention has come and gone for 2015. This year, Culturefest’s theme was “A Demand for Justice” and a call was put out to perform a spoken word piece relating to the topic. The following is the piece delivered by James Engler to represent the Multiracial Network.

On the Question of Justice

James Engler

 

On the question of race

They ask me to write down my race

And I think

And think

Very seriously

And consider writing down the truth.

These lines echo in my mind

Ringing with the brilliance of the authors

Quique Aviles and Michelle Banks

Shared with me in the 8th grade:

The first time I looked at my race.

The truth.

The truth on the question of race.

 

The truth is, it’s complicated.

It’s complicated because I’m White

Because my grandparents were blue collar

So my dad could be white collar

And they worked hard to fulfill the

American Dream.

White means German, Swiss, French

Race tied to cultures and classes.

It means an older immigrant background.

It also means former slave owner.

White means I waited until 8th grade

To talk about race.

 

It’s complicated because I’m Latino

Because my grandparents ARE immigrants

And my mom worked hard

To get a different version of the same

American Dream.

Latino means Mexican and Panamanian

Being proud of ceviche and saying piñata right

But ashamed because I can’t roll my R’s.

 

Being White and Latino means

The question of race is my lived experience.

The question of race is hard!

 

On the question of justice

They ask me to write down my demands

And I think

And think

Very seriously

And consider writing down the truth.

The truth.

The truth on the demand for justice.

 

The truth is, it’s simple.

It’s my job and my field of higher ed.

“To create safe, supportive, and inclusive living-learning communities.”

“With liberty and justice for all.”

It’s simple because we all want justice.

No one here would say “We’re finished!”

Our demands haven’t been met

We’re not done.

We demand as part of our jobs

The journey and the destination

Social justice for all.

 

But I am more than my job

More than my field.

I’m a person.

I’m… complicated.

 

I’m racially under-represented

But I’m not a person of color.

What does that even mean?

When others hurt, I hurt, I mourn.

Those are my people!

My people who are followed

Harassed, ignored, targeted, beaten, jailed,

Lost down some pipeline that all too often leads Straight to death.

 

Those are also my people!

That is also me,

Who walks with privilege and confidence

With a voice at the table

To choose who we remember

And if we forget, well,

We didn’t mean to!

Those are my people, the judge, the jury

The victims

We built the pipelines and we were lost in

them.

I live in the “both/and”.

 

When I demand justice,

Do I accidentally

Act the savior or

Unfairly play the victim? Both.

Am I privileged or underrepresented? Both.

Is it harder or easier for me? Both.

I always and never feel like I fit in.

 

But those are my people.

And because I am complicated

I can help on both sides, on all sides.

I can talk and listen as White to Whites

Help us see where we hurt others

See where we are blinded by power

See where we can stop, listen, and

Lift others up.

And because I’m complicated

I can talk and listen as Latino to Latinos

To heal from paints I feel

In different ways

To connect and support in

Solidarity, unity, familia.

To stand beside our brothers and sisters color

And demand justice together

And because I’m complicated

I will stand as a multiracial person

Rejecting a simplistic census on race

Creating spaces for those

Who don’t see where they fit

Homes outside the box.

 

The truth is, on the question of race,

I check all that apply and add

“Multiracial” with a smirk.

 

On the question of justice

I respond “of course” and

Do my job with care and concern

 

On the demand of justice, I say

“Count me in!” and I help with a smile

Alongside the communities

Where I belong.

 

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Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry

Sign up for the Bone Marrow Donor Registry with MRN at #ACPA15

By Rachel Luna & Victoria Malaney

At the ACPA15 convention in Tampa, the Multiracial Network (MRN) is engaging in advocacy by inviting people to register with Be the Match for the National Bone Marrow Donor Registry, as this is a major health issue for people afflicted with certain life-threatening diseases and who come from diverse backgrounds.  At the same time, we recognize that this organization is required to adhere to current FDA regulations that are discriminatory toward “men who have had sex with another man” and those who identify as trans*.

Patients are most likely to match someone who shares their ancestry
Donors who are mixed race and from diverse backgrounds are in demand for the National Bone Marrow Donor registry

Why this important for mixed folks and folks of diverse backgrounds?

Every year, over 30,000 people are diagnosed in the US with life threatening blood diseases like leukemia. For many patients, a bone marrow transplant is their only chance at survival. Only 30% of patients find matching donors within their families. The remaining 70% must search for an unrelated donor. On US’s national Be The Match Registry, a total of 30% of donors are minorities and 3% of potential donors self-identify as mixed race. Though this approximately matches U.S. Census data, more mixed-race donors are needed given the sheer genetic diversity of the group (Statistics from MixedMarrow.org).

What is particularly challenging for mixed-race individuals is that theNational Marrow Donor Program (NMDP) is unable to provide a patient and their family the likelihood of finding a match for patients of mixed heritage. However, the greatest challenge for finding a match is that the growing community of racially and ethnically diverse people have tissue types that are very complex making it harder to match. The chance that two people from two different groups will create a new tissue type in children is very high. This is why there is such a great need for donors from all backgrounds to join the Be The Match Registry – to increase the likelihood that all patients will find a match  (Statistics from MixedMarrow.org).

Acknowledging discriminatory policies

We are working to hold the dissonance between advocating for a need in our populations and working within a discriminatory institutional system and medical complex.  We plan to confront the incongruence of social justice values in these ways:

  • Be transparent about the FDA regulations, the organization’s response, and MRN’s opposition to the discriminatory policies;
  • Write an open letter from MRN to the FDA advocating for policy change; and,
  • Share sample letters and resources with other professionals wishing to contact the FDA.

Additionally, we seek to find ways to partner to create space for dialogue on this issue with our larger ACPA community. We are open to continuing the conversation during and after convention to address the complexity of intersections of race, sexuality, and gender, and challenging systems that are inherently oppressive.

Take action and more info

Mixed Marrow Logo
Find more information about bone marrow donation and the needs within multiracial populations with Mixed Marrow and Be The Match

MRN at #ACPA15

We are very excited to Consider. Collaborate. Create. Commit. with everyone who is joining us at the ACPA15 Convention in Tampa, FL.  For those who are able, please join MRN at our events:

Wednesday, March 4

MRN Pre-Convention Social 3/5 at 9:30
Join MRN at our ACPA15 Pre-Convention Social, Wed. March 4 at 9:30pm at Jackson’s Bistro Bar and Sushi.

Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) Pre-Convention Social

Marriott Tampa Waterside – Florida Salon IV @ 8:30-9:30pm

MRN Pre-Convention Social

Jackson Bistro & Sushi, Island Bar Area @ 9:30pm

Thursday, March 5

CelebrACPA Opening Event

Tampa Convention Center – Central and West Hall @ 6-7pm

CultureFest: A Demand for Justice

Tampa Convention Center – Ballroom A @ 7-8:15pm

Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) Social

Tampa Convention Center – Ballroom A @ 8:15-10pm

Friday, March 6

Standing Committee for Multicultural Affairs (CMA) Open Business Meeting

Tampa Convention Center – Room 30B @ 9:30-10:30am

Multiracial Network (MRN) Block Social

Marriott Tampa Waterside – Florida Salon II @ 9:30-11pm

Saturday, March 7

Multiracial Network (MRN) Open Business Meeting

Tampa Convention Center – Room 32 @ 12:30-1:30pm


We also love folks who are joining us in spirit, so please join us virtually by following @ACPA_MRN on Twitter, liking our Facebook page, and following hashtags like #ACPA15 and #MRNatACPA on your social media.