Category: Local Topics & Opinion
By admin on Jul 10, 2009 | In Local Topics & Opinion
On July 24th, 8:30am-9am, I'll once again join the fabulous Shaul Turner, award-winning anchorwoman for Fox News, alongside guests, Michael McDonald (Scrubs, Mad TV, Seinfield) and others TBA, for a powertalk on local Colorado news and topics on the national radar. Please tune in, TIVO or DVR the show on July 24th or watch the video stream after the show at www.kdvr.com and e-mail your thoughts to firstname.lastname@example.org
Also, this Sunday, July 12th from 10am-12Noon, at the Denver Black Arts Festival at City Park on the Joda Village Stage, there will be a pivotal community discussion, "Common Threads in Spirituality: An Interfaith Community Dialogue," featuring some of Colorado's most innovative spiritual and cultural leaders. This panel was visioned by our very own Griot, Opalanga Pugh...modupe!!! (thank you).
Panel Moderators are Ifalade Ta'Shia Asanti (National Institute for Indigenous Cultural Studies/Ile Ori Ogbe Egun) and Baba Maurice Sangosanya (Poet, Food Justice Activist, Founding Member Ile Ori/Eastside Growers). Panelists include: Dr. Rachel Harding (Brazil Candomble), Baba Maurice Sangosanya (Ifa), Denver Shekem-Nmuta Jones (Ausar Auset/Kemetic), Rev. Ronald Wooding (Christianity), Baba Sangobeyi (Ifa), Fatu Judy Henderson (Native Indigenous), Ifalawo Oshunike Ifadoyin (Ifa ) with Iyanifa Ifayale Adeoni Senakhu Riddick (Ifa) and the Ile Ori Orisa Ensemble sharing history of a 6000-year-old musical tradition from West Africa.
We are still hoping for representation from our Islamic and Buddhist communities.....
The Denver Black Arts Festival begins today and continues through Sunday with performances by Denver's top talent. Please come out and support your community. Admission for Festival is Free. Donations of $1.00 and up are needed and highly appreciated! Great vendors (don't miss Nanina Ra's life-saving healing products and her talk on Black health at the Joda Village), great food, fabulous art and performances.
Finally, my partner closed our Denver business office (Chicago still open) and has a state of the art laptop package for sale. The package includes an almost new lap top (Windows Vista) loaded with the full Microsoft Office suite (word, powerpoint, publisher, excel, access), wireless internet ready PLUS an 18 inch LCD screen monitor, PLUS a wireless mouse and keyboard. All for $650!!!! This will not last. First come first serve....sorry! Write to email@example.com asap if interested.Welcome to Life, Literature, Culture & Spirit in Denver By Ifalade TaShia Asanti
This blog explores crossroads of culture, literature, spirituality and life in Denver and abroad. This blog also speaks to individuals and families who seek to connect with socially conscious, activism-centered, creatively driven communities of color and the allies who support them.
Ifalade TaShia Asanti is the best-selling author of two books-The Seer & The Sacred Door. TaShia lives and works as a journalist, priestess, filmmaker, human rights activist and cultural teacher. More about Tashia's work can be found at www.tashiaasanti.com</em>
I am homegrown feminist. A free woman who celebrates life, love and self. I affirm the core essence of my being through self-care. Self-pampering, regular medical check-ups, long spa visits, extended vacations, passionate interchange with my partner and doing my life work as my career--these are only some of the ways I celebrate me. I was not always this woman.
I grew up with women who knew and owned their power yet celebrated their womanness. Don't get me wrong, these were sisters who loved the brothers--a few were married to some of the most influential Black men in history. What I loved and admired is that they never lost contact with who they were and what they wanted while loving their mates or their children.
The examples they set for me--accomplishing their dreams independent of their mate, not accepting abuse or mistreatment on any level--it is these and other experiences that would serve as a standard for my own life journey of living life in a female body.
So often we as women relinquish our goals for those of our families and those we love. We are falsely taught that this is our role in society and in love--to serve. For me, finding a delicate balance between caring for family and doing what makes me feel passionate and alive, is paramount to my mental, spiritual and physical health.
I feel fortunate to have the consciousness to praise and honor the yearnings of my soul. I came to this place by learning to ask myself life questions related to my own peace and empowerment.
Questions like: What do I really want for my life? Have I given myself permission to live my best life? What kind of work makes me feel happy and content? If my life could be any way I want it, what would that life look like? What makes my body feel good and alive?
I live by these affirmations: I am whole and complete in and of myself. I deserve peace, love and goodness just because I am child of the Most High. I forgive myself daily in the knowingness of my human soul. And the most important: I am enough.
More about Ifalade Ta'Shia Asanti's work can be found at www.tashiaasanti.com.
Day 1 DNC: Black Woman Presidential Nominee? Ward Churchill, Hill Harper, Angela Bassett, Danny Glover in Denver!
Blog By Ifalade Ta'Shia Asanti (All Rights Reserved @ 2008. No Portion Can Be Used Without Written Permission of Author)
It is the first day of the Democratic National Convention and what an incredible day this was!
My godson Julius, my partner Pepper and I, left home around 8:30am this morning to try to attend the Green Party Rally at Capitol Hill. We were concerned about the detours and the police presence which several friends had called to warn me about. The detours weren't as bad as we expected but the police presence was strong and that is putting it lightly. We decided to assume the positive--that the police were there to keep us all safe. So we went about our day in this spirit.
We pulled up at Lincoln and Colfax and noted masses of people gathering both at the park and on the steps of the Capitol. The energy was high but it felt positive so we drove around until we found the event we were looking for.
There on the steps we saw some folks who fit the bill of the group we were looking for. We walked down the steps and began a conversation with the early arrivals. One of them happened to be none other than Ward Churchill. Many Coloradoans and people across the world remember Ward as a former tenured professor at Colorado University who, according to community and media reports, was fired as a result of taking a firm stand against the war in Iraq and being outspoken against racism and oppression in this country. The University has a different story but the aforementioned version is what we gathered from our research.
Ward's spirit was warm and gentle yet strong and vibrant. Branded by the harsh realities of life as an outspoken personality on the subject of racial and social oppression, he seemed grounded and a tad more serious than his early days. I asked him to speak with us about the DNC, his work and his life journey. He chose to speak instead about the political prisoners that he wanted to see freed. From the Cuban 5 to Mumia Abu Jamal, he named them and spoke to his personal commitment to doing the work to see them walk the earth again as liberated men and women.
Another woman came over to us and pointed to an African-American woman sitting quietly on the steps preparing for her speech at a forthcoming rally. That woman was Cynthia Mckinney. I'd read so much about her and her controversial career as a politician. She agreed to let me interview her. I was honored to say the least.
During our interview Ms. Mckinney proclaimed that she has officially been named as a Presidential nominee for the Green party and that Rosa Clemente, a Puerto Rican woman, would be her running mate and the candidate for Vice President of the United States of America. If you'd like to see a blurb from that interview, go to youtube and search Cynthia McKinney at DNC announces presidential nomination.
And if interviewing one of the rare few Black women who have run for president isn't exciting enough, later this morning I attended the New Voices event organized by a designer named Chris Christmas with assistance from Iya Ashara Omilade Ekundayo, founder of the Pan African Arts Society and the famed Cafe Nuba: Its Hot & Its Black Poetry Set.
There was a huge crowd drawing for the New Voices event. I was very pleased to see so many community members present. DJ Ietef Hotep Vita was spinning the wheels of steels and mixing hip hop beats with speeches by Martin Luther King. The energy was so high--it was wonderful.
There were so many people there who I wanted to interview for my forthcoming documentary, "Reel Democracy: Voices for Social Justice from the Democratic National Convention," so I started filming various activists and community leaders. Just as I decided to take a break, in walked the handsome gentleman, Hill Harper, who had been slated to facilitate the event's panel presentation.
A few minutes later a tall, handsome gentleman strolled in, unaccompanied--no security whatsoever. People started rushing him but he didn't freak out. Mr. Danny Glover simply posed for the flashing cameras, smiled politely and seemed thankful that folks saw him in such a respectful light. The event organizer eventually rescued him and led him across the room to a seat in the VIP area.
Chris stepped up to the microphone to honor Danny Glover to which the entire audience rose to give him a standing ovation. And he truly deserves it. He has done amazing work in Africa in ending the AIDS epidemic and has worked non-stop to end all forms of violence in across the world.
And you would think the morning couldn't get any better, but it did. Chris took the mic again and acknowledged that award-winning actress Angela Bassett had arrived.
Hill Harper was formally introduced and prepared to begin the panel. Hill was his eloquent and oh-so-real self, per usual. Instead of sitting on the stage in the chair they had for him, he came down off the stage to the outskirts of the audience. He seemed to want us to know that he was with us, that he was a part of who we are just as we are a part of who he is. That was so Hill Harper of him. To see the footage to get a glimpse of this real star, in every sense of the word, go to youtube and search Hill Harper at DNC.
But before the panel kicked off, Hill gave us a treat beyond treats. He called the illustrious Angela Bassett up to the stage. Angela spoke to the importance of supporting the vision of the DNC and completing the task at hand. See live footage by going to youtube and search angela bassett @ DNC.
The panel started and a pretty impressive list of speakers assembled including Whitney Traylor, a local Denver activist and attorney, who discussed pivotal issues facing the American people ranging from health, environmentalism, the media, public education to the importance of voting.
I left the New Voice event painfully and trekked on over to the Colorado Health Conference hosted by Trinity United Methodist Church and Epworth Church organized by Brother Ronald Wooding with assistance from various organizations and individuals including mwah (me).
My daughter and several members of my temple were there along with 10 of this country's leading HIV/AIDS activists and agency directors who were gathered to discuss propositions for Barack Obama's National AIDS Plan with feedback from a lively audience.
Jeanne White-Ginder, the mother of the famed Ryan White, who has a national fund named after his legacy, was among the speakers. Tearfully, Jeanne spoke about the discrimination and injustice that she faced from the Christian church when her son was diagnosed with the then mysterious AIDS (then called GRID) virus in the mid-1980's.
"People wouldn't even shake his hand at church. He had a light cough and everytime he would cough a little, people would turn and stare at him like he was a leper. It was horrible." Said Jeanne.
Phil Wilson, founder and director of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles took the floor and declared that, "HIV/AIDS has become a Black disease." Several panelists and audience members echoed his statements agreeing that the disproportionate numbers of HIV/AIDS infection in the Black and in sub-saharan African communities was shameful. Members of the panel disagreed and said that it was unfair to put a race to the disease when so many people from different ethnic identities were suffering.
Minutes later we were blessed by an unexpected but thankful visit from the award-winning actress, Sheryl Lee Ralph, (famous for the long running sitcom Moesha and dozens of films and TV appearances) who entered the room with her immeasurable grace. She was not on the panel but was asked to speak by one of the dignitaries. She graced participants with a powerful rendition of a folk song that made the room pin-drop quiet and gave a passionate plea to the community to, "Do something. We all must do what we can to stop this deadly virus. Doing nothing is what got us here," Said Sheryl.
Audience and panel discussions spoke to potential solutions to the epidemic to the exploration of holistic and/or indigenous medicine offering a possible cure to the virus. Few panelists responded when the subject of a cure was mentioned. "Do you feel there is any validity to the claims of African doctors and other medical practitioners having found a medicine that renders the virus undetectable?" asked an audience member.
Only Phil Wilson responded. He expressed a belief in the possibility of homeopathic medicine offering hope to those infected with AIDS and HIV but warned the community against, "Quackery" or people who exploit those infected with HIV/AIDS for the purpose of financial gain.
The event ended on a high note with the audience geared up to get involved with the fight to end the epidemic in whatever ways they were led.
After a deliciously catered reception which many of the speakers hung around to enjoy, the group departed. My group and I began our journey home with plans for an early dinner, a nap and a group viewing of Michelle Obama's speech scheduled for later that evening.
Introduced by a filmed interview with her mother and a short intro by her brother, Michelle's speech was heartfelt and touching. Also a native of Chicago (like me), Michelle talked about her meeting and falling in love with Barack and her unwavering love and work in the community. She talked about being a wife and a mother and the importance of those jobs over all others. There was a mixed response in my home about Michelle's speech but personally I was touched deeply by this softer side of the powerhouse I have seen in other appearances.
Its off to bed so that I can rise early tomorrow for a full day at the convention center with events throughout the day!
Wish you could be here.....and if you are here, remember, drink lots of water and wear comfortable shoes!
Be the change you want to see!
By TaShia Asanti on Apr 22, 2008 | In Local Topics & Opinion
Over the course of nearly 50 years, I have been retracing my steps back to Spirit. Connecting with the Spirits of my ancestors, tuning into the Spirit I was born with, heeding the call of my heart-spirit--this is what has driven me. My arrival in the Rocky Mountains nearly a decade ago was a key factor in the steps toward resurrecting that which would make the puzzle complete.
Words have been my guide along the path--both my own words and the words of the individuals the ancestors placed along the road. These words would be channeled through poets, activists, writers, filmmakers and practitioners of indigenous spirituality. These words would appear in the form of African and indigenous history. Sacred words moving through the mouths of cultural gatekeepers and spiritual warriors who represent the rich history of Africa, Kemet, Brazil, Cuba, Puerto Rico and Haiti. Prayers spoken into the smoke of tobacco offered during ritual in honor of my Choctaw ancestors.
Yes, Colorado is rich in indigenous history.
Upon arriving here in Denver I thought I could not survive in a city with seemingly so little diversity. But slowly, the cultural havens of the Mile High City would reveal themselves. From Brother Jeff's Cultural Center to Inner Light Spiritual Center to the phenomenal Pow-Wows. From the powerful events of Africa Agenda to Ashara's Cafe Nuba: Its Hot & Its Black--the essence of soul is alive and well in this part of the world.
Soon these places would become my village....
And then I remembered my future. That I would marry my life partner as part of a Sweat Lodge Ceremony in Longmont hosted by Ladydrummer. That I was destined to work for one of the oldest Black newspapers in the city, Denver Urban Spectrum. That I was slated to start the first Ifa temple in Colorado which now has 12 distinguished Orisa priests and priestesses. That I would join Sister Ashara Omilade as the co-director of the Pan African Film Festival and help Opalanga bring visibility to the city's Kwanzaa celebrations. It all started to make sense.
I remember the day I met distinguished poet and activist Trinidad Sanchez (now an ancestor) at a poetry reading at Brother Jeff's. He gave me a big hug and made me feel a welcome part of the family. We would go on to share the stage at many sets over the years.
What I did not find in Colorado, I was led to create. And this work has fed me like the milk from our mother's breast. If you are new to Denver or if you are feeling a bit disconnected, know that all you have to do is reach out and get involved. There is so much here to quench one's cultural, spiritual and community thirst.
Greet the Rockies with open arms and she will answer you in the most beautiful voice ever to welcome you home to her majestic pride....her snow capped mountains, her rushing rivers, the legacy of Five Points' poetry, art and jazz and much more. Just knock with the right sound and Denver's doors will open...
More about Ifalade TaShia Asanti's work can be found at www.tashiaasanti.com.