The Porchlight – A Change is Gonna Come

By Kristy Gomez

Good afternoon, friends!

How are you feeling today? Seriously, let’s do a check-in. Whatever you’re feeling or however you want to feel, click the appropriate vibe below and cultivate the soundtrack for reading some of today’s Porchlight. All moods are encouraged.

😈 Like a savage. Smitten kitten. 🐱
😐 Melancholy. Shakin’ my ass.💃🏽
😒 Kind of annoyed. Fired up! 🗣🗣🗣
🌿 Wakin’ and bakin’. Need coffee; gimme a sec ☕️

All set? Cool. Hit play and let’s get into it.


It’s Only July. WTF?

As shocking as it sounds, we’ve only just entered the second half of 2020. The year that started full of best-laid plans to start that thing, finish that thing, or just do something different from what wasn’t serving you, but – to oversimplify – things went left.

Ultimately, this epic disruption of the status quo is rooted in America’s desperate need for a cultural shift and systemic change. To that end, while assembling this month’s Porchlight, the theme of change continued to come up, so let’s lean into that. When it comes to change, I’ve been attempting to follow the philosophy of Bruce Lee’s words about ‘being like water‘:

Bruce Lee Art by SportsManias
“Don’t get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now, you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup; You put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle; You put it in a teapot it becomes the teapot.”

Be like water. Adapt to change

At my house, we didn’t celebrate Independence Day for a number of reasons (like keeping children in cages), aside from simply being Black with a capital B, and brown in America. NPR has been on a roll with their video content lately, so I’ll let Fredrick Douglas’ descendants elaborate via his What to the Slave is The Fourth of July speech.

While researching bread recipes to feed my husband’s newfound enthusiasm for baking (he’s perfected a modified version of Ligurian Focaccia from Salt Fat Acid Heat), I came across a New York Times article calling for changes in leadership at the Southern Foodways Alliance. Among those in the article using their voices for change is South Indian-born, Atlanta-based chef Asha Gomez, owner and proprietor of The Third Space. You can support this womxn-led business this weekend, July 10, by bringing home some deliciousness from The Third Space pop-up with touchless pick-up.

Photo by Melissa Alexander.

Member of The Lola, Kwajelyn Jackson uses her voice to speak truth to power on the front lines of  the reproductive justice fight and as executive director of Atlanta’s Feminist Health Center. Kwajelyn recently participated in the Defending Black Bodies Townhall about how the Black Lives Matter movement must include reproductive justice and highlight reproductive health inequalities for Black women. Check her out in this Now This News video representing for the Feminist Health Center and give her a shout-out on Slack.

Art by Florence Given.

As more advocates, activists and citizen journalists use social media as a tool for change, it’s taking a toll on social media professionals. We know the mental (and productivity) benefits of social breaks, but the LA Times op-ed by a Black social media manager for a news organization highlights how consuming a stream of trauma is a hazard of the job. Her insight prompted me to scale back on social and be more intentional and strategic when using it.  I do miss the memes, though.

Good Things

THE LOLA STAGE PRESENTS RUBY VELLEJULY 10. No big deal. Just a virtual acoustic performance by Ruby Velle full of Stax hits, Soulphonic originals and some surprises. RSVP here for an intimate soulful session of live music and cocktails by Keyatta Mincey-Parker in support of Stax Music Academy.

360 DEGREES OF BLACKNESS PERFORMANCE. JULY 10.  360 Degrees of Blackness is a live performance of poetry and prose from Sonia Sanchez‘s 1971 anthology 360 Degrees of Blackness Comin’ At You, featuring authors who attended her workshop in Harlem. Register here.

ACCOMPLICES OVER ALLIES. JULY 14. These days, I’m encouraged by the accomplice work The Lola Members are doing in the area of allyship. Member Nikia Phoenix is hosting How to Be A Compassionate Ally with Love + Kindness, exploring how we show tenderness to ourselves and each other as we work to dismantle systemic racism together.  We appreciate Nikia’s emotional labor around this subject, and recognize every cultural movement has important accomplices. Case in point: the UK’s “Rock Against Racism” movement of 1977, fueled by the burgeoning punk scene featured in the new documentary, White Riot.

THE INTERSECTIONAL FEMINIST BOOK CLUB. A Members-Only Community Group, led by Abi Lambert and Franchesca Winters, the first Book Club selection (available for purchase here) is Are Prisons Obsolete? by Professor Angela Y. Davis. Here, Angela expands upon the fallacy of prison reform featured in her book. 

BROKEN RECORD PODCASTBroken Record rests in my podcast sweet spot – intimate interviews, nostalgic storytelling and unapologetic musical nerdom. Described as “liner notes for the digital age,” my favorites episodes feature host and prolific producer Rick Ruben with Tame ImpalaBrittany Howard and Andre 3000. For us Atliens, I want to call out the surprisingly candid interview with Andre 3000,  Atlanta’s Black Unicorn.

Visual Stimulation

With so much stimulation, I hesitate to add ANOTHER bit of stimuli, but you need to see this! Bisa Butler is a New Jersey-based artist who uses traditional quilting techniques to create layered fabric portraits of the Black experience. Click the image for texture details of “Sisters” by Bisa Butler.

Call to Action

Thanks for joining me for another issue of The Porchlight. Before I let you get back to your day, I want to leave you with a few calls to action.

1. #SAY HER NAME. The police officers who killed 27-year-old EMT worker Breonna Taylor still have not been charged. Let’s continue to #SayHerName, demand justice and find out what you can do here at The Grassroots Law Project’s Stand With Bre campaign. Photo by Jason Connolly.

2. WEAR A DAMN MASK. Keisha’s got COVID-19, and had no symptoms, so please, do your part and wear a mask, stay home if you can and social distance when you’re out.

3. LISTEN TO ESTHER PEREL. Iconic couples therapist Esther Perel’s podcast Where Should We Begin started a new season, including Couples Under Lockdown, a series specific to couples immersed in various states of quarantine. F’real, she just might save us all.

That’s all for now, friends. Stay ready, so you don’t have to get ready. I’ll see you next month for more from The Porchlight. 

Kristy Gomez | IG: @bkmagnolia




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