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Protest, Race, and the conversation:

A must-have list of books for every bookshelf…

1.) Sulwe, Lupita Nyong’o (age: 3-7)
A beautiful and powerful celebration of blackness and black skin from the queen that is Lupita. Gorgeous illustrations accompany this book which I highly recommend as a perfect way to show your kids books where they are the central characters.

2.) The Hate You Give– Angie Thomas (teens, 13-up)
One of the last years’ New York Times bestsellers, Angie Thomas’ The Hate You Give tells the story of a young black girl who is present at the shooting of one of her friends, a young black boy at the hands of a police officer. This is powerful, harrowing and a necessary glimpse into what sparks the kind of anger we are seeing today. It’s a fiction and also has a movie to go with it!

3.) We Need to Talk About Race, Ben Lindsey
For the preachers and spiritual leaders in our communities working with majority black church members and communities, Ben Lindsey’s We Need to Talk About Race is an engaging look into this issue.

On police brutality and organisations that you can engage with in Kenya:

IMLU-ORG – IMLU is a non-governmental organization with a vision for ‘A World Free From Torture, Violence & Discrimination

MUHURI KENYA – An NGO audaciously non-partisan and a bold defender of human rights, the marginalized, and constitutionalism in Kenya.

UHAI WETU – Social Justice Centres Working Group Research team for in-depth research & information on campaigns against police killings & abuses in the ghettos.

A growing list that will be added to as we go!

Rehema.


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ALL THESE WALLS OPPRESSION BUILDS WILL HAVE TO GO!

In a time of such heartbreak, we say their names: George Floyd. Ahmaud Arbery. Tony McDade. Regis Korchinski. Breonna Taylor. David McAtee. Justin Howell.

Cr Black lives matter.

Sometimes we can feel something like compassion fatigue. There is so much going on at once and so many things wrong. But even when we are so tired, we still must carry on using our voices, our words, our funds where possible and our hands in peaceful protest so that we can build the world we want to see.

One where justice is real, safety for our black bodies is assured and one in which we are not afraid to live.

This article in the cut details a list of places that you can donate to for George Floyd and the #blacklivesmatter movement.

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Finding Home

I’m in the midst of a seismic change in my life and it has thrown me for a loop! Between figuring out how to be independent but still connected enough to the people that matter to me so that I am not totally isolated, it’s a balancing act.

But a new year deserves a new effort.

Turning of the Year

BY JUDY RAY
We never know if the turn
is into the home stretch. 
We call it that—a stretch 
of place and time— 
with vision of straining,
racing.  We acknowledge 
each turn with cheers 
though we don’t know 
how many laps remain. 
But we can hope the course
leads on far and clear 
while the horses have strength 
and balance on their lean legs, 
fine-tuned muscles, desire 
for the length of the run. 
Some may find the year smooth, 
others stumble at obstacles 
along the way.  We never know 
if the finish line will be reached 
after faltering, slowing, 
or in mid-stride, leaping forward.
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Home, Change and Saying ‘I Do’ to Yourself

It’s been a while (I often seem to begin my posts in this way!). A lot has happened over the last month and a bit. Let’s see…I went home to Nairobi for my sister’s wedding and a desperately needed break, came back and moved to a new city for a new job, and picked up a writing project that I had put down because I was in an awful place mentally and had nothing creative to give. Whilst I was away, I was drafting my thoughts in bits and pieces and so here are some of those thoughts…

On Home….

My God how I needed this trip. To be reminded that my world is not so small. That it contains the absolute beauty of my nephews laughing; the joy and miracle of knowing they are living in the same world I am in. The trust when they look at me and say “hug” or the confidence that I will play with them whenever they want to. In my world, I am an auntie.

My world is not so broken. This year has been filled with pressing weight and anxiety, panic attacks and weeks spent hiding under the covers but still, it is not so broken. I am not so broken. This trip has reminded me that in my house, I am the peaceful one. The one that’s goofy and silly and happy to be childish. That my mother leans on me for strength. And my older brother enjoys my silly humour. That my younger brother turns to me as a confidant, and my older sister loves me despite how often we rub each other wrong, and my sister-in-law enjoys my company. I am many things to the people who love me and know me and those things are worthy.

On Moving

Moving is terrifying. Doing something for just me is terrifying. It’s ironic that I have spent the past six years dealing with some pretty heavy health-related things both personally and with a dear and close family member but this move away from home and alone again makes me feel more scared than I have been in a very long time. Perhaps because I got used to the situation I was in, it wasn’t setting off the alarms in my mind quite so much, but right now, I’m spending a lot of time telling myself to breath easy.

On Saying I Do to Myself…

I share this poem by Caroline Bird, a fantastic poet and writer (I just love her collections!). It says it all really…choose yourself. I’m certainly (slowly and at times painfully) working on it.

Megan Married Herself
Caroline Bird


She arrived at the country mansion in a silver limousine.
She’d sent out invitations and everything:
her name written twice with “&” in the middle,
the calligraphy of coupling.
She strode down the aisle to “At Last” by Etta James,
faced the celebrant like a keen soldier reporting for duty,
her voice shaky yet sure. I do. I do.
“You may now kiss the mirror.” Applause. Confetti.
Every single one of the hundred and forty guests
deemed the service “unimprovable.”
Especially the vows. So “from the heart.”
Her wedding gown was ivory; pointedly off-white,
“After all, we’ve shared a bed for thirty-two years,”
she quipped in her first speech,
“I’m hardly virginal if you know what I mean.”
(No one knew exactly what she meant.)
Not a soul questioned their devotion.
You only had to look at them. Hand cupped in hand.
Smiling out of the same eyes. You could sense
their secret language, bone-deep, blended blood.
Toasts were frequent, tearful. One guest
eyed his wife — hovering harmlessly at the bar — and
imagined what his life might’ve been if
he’d responded, years ago, to that offer in his head:
“I’m the only one who will ever truly understand you.
Marry me, Derek. I love you. Marry me.”

At the time, he hadn’t taken his proposal seriously.
He recharged his champagne flute, watched
the newlywed cut her five-tiered cake, both hands
on the knife. “Is it too late for us to try?” Derek whispered
to no one, as the bride glided herself onto the dance floor,
taking turns first to lead then follow.