31.3.16

Who is She? 23- The Women's Building (SF)

Founded in 1971, the San Francisco "Women's Building" became the first building of its kind to be owned and operated by women in the country. It started as a way to help facilitate the projects of both artists and activists in the SF Bay Area. It was founded on the idea that all women no matter where they came from should be respected and have a safe place to take care of themselves. Inside services range from childcare, wellness classes, help with taxes, tutoring, help with immigration papers, and now computer classes, and help with tech.  I have walked past this building so many times, and been invited there to participate in social justice workshops or performances. It is a beacon for women to find assistance with social issues, social justice, advocacy on their behalf, and connecting with the many facets of their community in the Bay Area. Organizations like SFWAR (SF Women Against Rape) and Mission Neighborhood Centers have functioned and/or grown out of its belly. I'm sure there are a lot of men and maybe even women who would wonder why such a place is needed. But once you see the care, warmth, and toughness of its staff and vibe you'll see how it helps. Conversely if you are a woman and seek help through the typical city or state run programs it can feel a lot more sterile, institutional, and uninviting.

In 1984 one of my mentor's muralist Juana Alicia, along with Miranda Bergman, Susan Cervantes, Meera Desai, Yvonne Littleton, Edythe Boone, and Irene Perez painted an enormous mural all over the two main sides of the building facing 18th and Lapidge st highlighting beautiful images of women from all over the world. in 2012 it was restored and still stands today. The Women's Building is part of what is San Francisco, and part of what makes the Bay Area my home.

Sources: The Women's Building (site)

Who is She? 22- Black Lives Matter

Give thanks and nuff respect to Opal, Patrice, and Alicia for being. And thanks to all of the chapter members and allies across the world for doing the work; prominently Black women leading the work. All of them lit a spark that grew into a movement. For those who haven't heard. Three Black women from different cities and similar minds made up the term, hashtag, and movement called "Black Lives Matter". In LA, Oakland, and NYC it started and spread to Florida, Missouri, and other states; each having their own unique fights. If you want to read the words of the founders I suggest reading the statements directly from their site and interviews in The California Report, Truth-Out, The Root, and Democracy Now.  But, read from several sources to get the full picture. Some people cover the root causes and some people merely want to capture the "cool".

In 2012 I remember it rising from frustration of being murdered by police with absolutely no consequences for taking of life. It came from the media's misinforming the public about what happened and who BLM is. It comes from the state's (city, state, and national governments) record of violence (physical, environmental, financial, and mental) on the lives of Black people all over the world. It came from turning that frustration into affirmation and saying yes we are here, we exist, and our lives matter. We've been facing it, struggling outside of the system, and going by the book. But when they finally had enough and stood up and said "no more" is when people started to take notice. Some people who understood joined in solidarity.  Others, who simply don't see why BLM activists couldn't just wait, calm down, or whatever used thinly disguised racism to attack them.

And well this is simply for affirming their very existence black folks from Toronto, Cincinatti, Minneapolis, Chicago, San Francisco, New York, Sacramento, Pasadena, Philly, D.C., Cambridge, Denver, Boston, Tennessee, Texas, and other cities. For saying "no you can't just oppress us" without a fight. For saying "Black Lives Matter". What I admire most about the adults and youth doing the work is that they wont be categorized or placed in a neat box for older white conservatives or leftists to digest. They are changing the way we think, act, and act up. And they are not settling. Respect to the activists facing charges today, and those who stand up to the tired arguments that try to do everything but acknowledge the racism that exists overtly and covertly in our courts, classrooms, offices, police departments, banks, I could go on. The whole damn system is guilty.

Sources: Black lives Matter (site), Deomcracy Now (video), AJ+ (Video)

30.3.16

Who is She? 21- Deldelp Medina

A Colombia native and Bay Area home grown entrepreneur/ activist Deldelp has done something no one else in the tech scene has done. Please correct me if I'm wrong, but from what I can tell she is the only Latina (Latinx/Raza/Indigenous) woman to be the CEO of a start up tech company that nurtures and assists other Latina's to build their own companies. Ms Medina started "Avion Ventures" in 2014. It is what is known as a start up accelerator. It guides women, helps them develop their ideas, practice their pitches, mentors the, and helps them get the support they need to be entrepreneur's. Deldelp has worked to promote Latino culture through Cine+Mas (Latino Film Fest), as an activist with California Crime Victims, and worked in development and management through multiple non profit organizations,

Why is Avion Ventures revolutionary? Well, without getting into a huge history lesson about colonization, white supremacy, wealth gaps, and the myths of meritocracy I'll just say that numbers don't lie. Some of the biggest names in tech have disclosed their numbers on who is working for them, and for such huge companies which serve everyone and claim to be for everyone they are ignoring a huge group of people who already make up the majority in the US. Not only are they not paying attention to Latinas and Latinos but they are loosing vital ideas, genius, and insight into communities they may not know intimately. Engaging Latin@ communities is not only good business if companies wish to stay relevant, its 2016. Come on!

Also, it takes a huge amount of resources, money, time, and risk to start your own business which I know as a freelance artist. Also, in order to succeed in tech, that factor multiplies; not just for resources, but who you know who is connected. So, as Deldelp has said, she has been in too many rooms where she is the only woman, the only bilingual speaker, or the only person of color. That needs to change and she is leading that change alongside organizations like Code 2040, Hack the Hood, Latina Geeks, and Black Girls Code, and the Latino Start Up Alliance.

Sources: LatinPost (site), Platform (video), Deldelp.com (site), NPR (Radio), Avion Ventures (site)

Who is She? 20- Junko Tabei

Junko Tabei was the first woman to climb to the top summit of Mount Everest (Sagarmatha) in Nepal/Tibet. Junko was born in 1939 in Fukushima Japan and began climbing in her 30s. She has climbed many mountains to date. Some of the tallest are Mt. Fuji (Japan), Erta Ale (Ethiopia), Puncak Jaya (Indonesia), and the Matterhorn (Switzerland). Junko started a women's climbing club in the late 60's called "Ladies Climbing Club" and went with an expedition of women in 1975 to climb mount Everest (Sagarmatha). They spent months training and preparing for the expedition. Two special things about this woman's achievement. 

One, it is hard as hell to climb/ hike to high elevations. You carry gear with you for eating, sleeping, etc and you must take your time using safe routes to reach the top. The mountains she climbed were the most enormous in the world, with Everest measuring in at over 29,000 feet high. There are hundreds of people who even with the help of local Sherpa's (guides) die trying to make this trek. It is incredibly difficult.

Two, at the time when Junko climbed the mountain she was battling a lot of sexism in Japan (and the world). In her country women were viewed as less than. Men did not view women with the respect they do now. They thought women should be at home, blah blah, blah. Junko made this climb anyway, with her 3 year old daughter at home with her husband who was also a mountaineer. Juko is still climbing and leads an organization called the "Himalayan Adventure Trust of Japan" which helps support the trips of students who wish to climb, and the Sherpa's who help people survive the treacherous climb.

Sources: NBC News (site), Wikipedia (Site), Japan Times (Site)

Play-Well Teknologies! (For kids)


Hey parents, please be on the look out for this organization that teaches engineering skills to girls, boys, and gender non conforming students all across the US using LEGO's!! I took my son to one of their workshops a year ago and invited them to his school science & wonder fair and the kids loved it. The organization holds workshops, classes, summer camps, birthday parties and more. Please check them out.

http://www.play-well.org/

27.3.16

Who is She? 19- Sylvia Rivera


Sylvia is the one who threw the first bottle. She was one of many who set it off. Sylvia was a Puerto Rican Trans woman who lead a life of activism for young gay and trans youth in the city of New York. Along with Marsha Johnson and others she dealt with the harassment, the threats, and bullying of the NYPD, straight society, and even fellow Gay and Lesbian folks in their movement. Sylvia lived from 1951 to 2002 and inspired a generation of LGBTQ activists to stand up for their rights. I'm still learning and admit that I know very little about the Gay Rights movement, or the lives of Trans folks, but I do see that their history, herstory, stories need to be told so people learn about the discrimination, homelessness, activism, triumphs, legacy, classism, patriarchy, and love that is their story. Sylvia founded an organization with Marsha P Johnson called STAR-Street Transvestite and Rvelutionary. This organization pioneered advocacy and support for young gay and trans youth who were on the margin, kicked out, ignored, and murdered simply for existing. She challenged Gay and Lesbian activists who wanted nothing to do with trans folks and by throwing a bottle at the NYPD, she helped to ignite a rebellion that no longer accepted being oppressed. I consider her a woman to be talked about more during "Women's History Month" for Latinos, people of color, lgbtq folks, and straight/cis people like myself to learn about.

Sources: Pay it No Mind (documentary), Sylvia A Radio Onda Rossa (interview), Wikipedia (site)

24.3.16

Who is She? 18 - Eiko Tanaka


Eiko Tanaka is one of the founders of Studio 4C, a Japanese based animation studio specifically focused on anime for televsion, feature length films, music videos, and short films. Eiko began this company in 1986 with animator/illustrator Koji Morimoto. Eiko worked as a line producer on several Studio Ghibli films and has acted as producer for several of Studio 4c's films such as "Animatrix" and "TekkonKinkreet". A producer's job is to communicate between executives and creatives. Their job is to make sure the project stays on time, does not go over budget, and that the creative teams have what they need. As the CEO of the studio she now oversee's the scope of the company's current and future projects. Because she and her staff do such amazing work, her studio has received acclaim and awards from all over Asia, Europe, and the United States.

Sources: Studio4c.co.jp/english/ (site), Wikipedia (site), The Origins of Ash panel (youtube)

Who is She? 17- Queen Lisa Lee


MC and rhyme champion Lisa Lee. I saw her in Wild Style and Beat Street and wondered, "yo, who is that rhyming" and then she said her name. Lisa Lee was born and raised in the Bronx. In an interview she said her and her brothers started to learn drums and mixing at a very young age in the 70s. She went to a party being held by Afrika Bambaataa and Disco King Mario where she got on the mic and started rhyming. She went on to be a part of the Universal Zulu Nation, an organization founded by Bambaataa to unite all the gangs in the Bronx around peace, love, music, and culture. Lisa would go on to star in the films I mentioned as well as make several records such as "I'm a pioneer". I feel like she does not get enough shine and there needs to be more of a spotlight on her life and achievements while she's still here. Much respect to Queen Lisa Lee!

Sources: Bee Shine (youtube), Real Queens of Hip Hop (site)

21.3.16

Who is She? 16-Hazel Ying Lee

Hazel Ying Lee was born in 1912 in Portland Oregon. Her parents were immigrants from China. She was a pioneering woman in aviation, being one of the very first women to fly fighter planes for the US military's WASP (Women Airforce Service Pilots) and one of the first women to offer her flight services to the government of China during World War 2 at a time when the Japanese were invading China. Hazel started her flight training at a young age and received her pilots license at 19 being one of the first Chinese American women to obtain such a license. After she was rejected as a fighter pilot (because she was a woman) she flew commercial planes in China, and then returned to the US after the attack at Pearl Harbor to enlist in the newly formed women's airforce. She flew planes that accompanied newly built bombers and fighters and faced some challenges as women were not given the full benefits of male pilots and were not treated as air force officers, but as civilians. It wasnt until the late 70s after much fighting that the women were recognized as military personnel. Hazel died as her plane collided with another during a routine trip, but she inspired many of her fellow pilots and a generation of young Asian American women and women of all races. The first time I heard of Hazel and any Chinese American women who were pilots was at the NYC Museum of Chinese Americans.
Sources: hazelyinglee.com/main.html (Site), Wikipedia (site), www.mocanyc.org

Who is She? 15- Susan and Zakiya (Hack the Hood)

I met both Zakiya and Susan several years ago here in Oakland. Susan Mernit and Zakiya Harris are the Co-Founders of a ground breaking Oakland based organization called "Hack the Hood". The organization brings in mostly African American and other students of color to learn about the tech field. From the interview I heard with Zakiya on "Blacks in Technology" it sounds like a stretch for some at first, but they soon realize that everywhere they go they are no only participating in the tech industry but they can be active makers and producers in it as well. The students learn basic and complex coding skills by building websites for local businesses. They are not only learn coding, but they learn people skills, how to work with clients, and what it takes to run a business-therefore bringing more people of color into a extremely white, homogenized, and exclusive field.  Along with other organizations like Code 2040 they are changing the landscape of tech and empowering young people to be creators.

Susan comes from a background in tech, working for corporations such as Yahoo, Aol, and Netscape. She also founded or Co-founded several media and tech savvy businesses here in the Bay Area such as Oakland Local. She is the CEO and Executive director of "Hack the Hood". 

Zakiya I know from Oakland's historic arts culture of music. She was one half of the group Fiyawata, is currently working on a solo music project called "ShapeShifter". Zakiya has a long history of community organizing and youth education through organizations such as Grind for the Green at Ella Baker Center, TED, The Youth Leadership Institute, Global Exhcnage, and countless others. She is also a founding member of Oakland's Impact Hub which is the only HUb out of many worldwide run by Black women!
Sources: Blacks in Technology (podcast), http://www.hackthehood.org/our-team.html(site)

Who is She? 14- Susan La Flesche Picotte

Susan was the first Native American woman to be recognized by US school standards as a doctor. I say recognized because women and men have been caring for and looking after the health of their families and tribes way before the term MD (Medical Doctor) was a title here in the US. Susan was from the "Omaha" tribe and was born in what is now known as Nebraska in1865. She was raised in a family that encouraged her to pursue her education. In 1884 she attended the Hampton Institute, which was founded to educate freed slaves. Her parents also encouraged her to learn about both the Native American and White world, which were crashing, rapidly changing, and mixing. When she finished, she returned to her reservation where she served her people, ding her best to stop outbreaks of smallpox, diptheria, and influenza. She owned and operated her own clinic in Nebraska and was instrumental in founding a hospital that is now a national landmark in her name. As an advocate for health she also participated in political efforts to protect Native Americans.

Sources: nrcprograms.org (site), biography.com/news/susan-la-flesche-picotte-biography-facts (site)

19.3.16

Who is She? 13 - Antonia Hernandez


Antonia Hernandez is an attorney based in Los Angeles who now runs the California Community Foundation. She is the daughter of Mexican immigrants from Coahuila, Mexico. She graduate from Garfield high school in East LA, and went on to get her law degree from UCLA in 1971. She quickly began using her degree to fight for the rights of Latinxs in East Los. I found out about her through the ground breaking documentary "No Mas Bebes" about Mexican mothers who were sterilized against their will or without their knowledge. Antonia with several of the women who were victims of this practice sued in a landmark case that would make it illegal to perform such activites without a bilingual representative and the documents in the mothers native language. Later Antonia would become a part of MALDEF-the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund. There she would work over 20 years fighting for immigration, language, voting, and healthcare rights for Latinxs nationally. From an early age she was involved in boycotts for the UFW and attended many protests. She is a fighter and has been awarded many times for her work.

Sources: CalFund.org (site), Prof.chicanas.com/ (site)

18.3.16

Who is She? 12 - Hermanas Ehlers


Adriana and Dolores Ehlers were sisters who were pioneering women in filmmaking. They lived from 1894-1977 and were from Veracruz Mexico. They were working class girls who started their own portrait studio of photography after one of the sisters learned the process of shooting and developing film. They were then given a grant by President Carranza to study photography in the United States in 1916. After they learned more about photography, they were given a chance to learn filmmaking through a program with eh US army which was making instructional videos for soldiers. Upon their return to Mexico they set up shop to shoot again and were brought onto the Mexican government as part of the Cinematography and censorship department. The sisters made several films about Mexico and were involved in directing, camera operation, film development, production, and sales and instruction of film equipment. The sisters would make short news reel films about current events happening in Mexico and they also sold a lot of film and camera equipment. They were pioneering women in Mexico and film.

sources: The Women in Film Pioneers Project (site), CineMexicano (site)

17.3.16

Who is She?11- Emily Pilloton


Emily Pilloton is a designer from the Bay Area who founded a non profit organization that teaches design, engineering, construction, and problem solving called "Project H". As her bio reads, she was inspired by the fictional TV maverick/problem solver with a toothbrush and a wire; MacGyver! She studied architecture and building, and went on to work on design projects that were not only beautiful, but served a purpose. Some of her projects include building water drums with folks in Africa-BUT, I don't get the vibe from her that she's going in and solving people's problems or viewing anyone as less than or poor. Rather, she is going in and working with people, combining their knowledge and hers to collaborate on a design solution to a problem. Take for instance, the classes her organization currently teaches in Berkeley to empower young girls and their mothers to build!! By putting a drill in their hands she is shifting minds and breaking expectations. I found out about her through the documentary "If you build it" which followed her and designer Matthew Miller as they revolutionized what a high school class could be, by building things with their hands, engaging students, and inspiring new ideas about who they could be.

Sources: If you build it (documentary), Ted Talk (video), Lecture CIDIM (video)

16.3.16

Furqan's First Flat Top UPDATE 4


Peace everyone, this is for folks who supported my kickstarter campaign for "Furqan's Furst Flat Top" back in the summer of 2014. If you check your kickstarter emails regularly you already know I got the proofs back from the printer, but if you have not received the messages here is a quick update. I just got the actual book (YES, the real book) in the mail and it looks incredible. The printer will let me know shortly when they arrive from Singapore to Oakland. I'm estimating 5 weeks but I will return with a definite date so you know when to expect yours in the mail. For now, thank you for your patience and support. This process has taken a lot longer than I thought it would and I can't wait to share the book with you and the little ones in your life.

To purchase a copy before the shipment arrives GO HERE

15.3.16

Who is She? 10- Olive Morris


Props go to @Gabstamatic from "I am the Nu Black (UK)" for making me aware of this great Woman. Olive Morris was an activist from the Uk who worked for Black liberation, women's rights, and housing. Born in 1952 in Jamaica, she moved to the UK with her family as a child. She died very young at the age of 27 from a form of cancer, but not before she founded or worked with several prominent activists groups in the UK such as the Brixton Black Panther Party, the bBrixton Black Women's Group, the Organization of Women of Asian and African descent, the Manchester Black Women's Group, the Squatter Movement, and many more. She also left an astounding impact on so many people, a multi-generational group of educators, activists, and students founded a group called ROC "Remember Olive Collective" to put together a narrative and story of her life and accomplishments.  From what little I've read, she was a student of sociology, an organizer and an activist who helped to organize strikes, supplementary schools, pickets, groups of people to purchase homes, and
 not only spoke about what was happening to Women of Color and Black folks in the UK, but  walked the walk. I would much rather see a film of her life than any Hollywood sequel redoing a film from the 70s or 80s.

Sources: Rememberolivemorris.wordpress.com (site), thefword.org.uk/2009/03/olive_would_hav/ (site)

13.3.16

Who is She? 9- Gulabi Gang


The Gulabi Gang is a group of women in Uttar Pradesh India who are activists for women's and human rights. The group was started by a woman named Sampat Pal Devi who was fed up with being mistreated by her family after being married off as a teen. The gang started with her seeing a man beat his wife. When she tried to stop him, he hit her as well so she came back with a heavy wooden stick and many other women to hit back. News spread that she was willing to fight back and women around her way began to ask her for help. Slowly, case by case other women started to join her and they began to wear pink (Gulabi) sari's to signify their unity together. Sampat began helping women dealing with abuse, fights, and family disputes. Many things would go unchecked by local police but she has been proven to challenge her local police as well. And now because she fights back and teaches other women to fight the men give her more respect. Now the work of the Gulabi Gang extends to helping people get employment, fixing roads, and fighting for women's empowerment and education. The crew has earned several awards in India and internationally and continues to inspire, now through video stories done by International media. They walk through the streets chanting and are now thousands strong!

Sources: http://www.gulabigangofficial.in/ (site) , "The Unstopabble Indians (video)

11.3.16

Who is She? 8-Rue Mapp

3 or 4 years ago this lady with big hair handed me a sticker that said "Outdoor Afro"( now on my sketchbook). I didn't realize how cool the concept was until I embarked on my first backpacking trip with my wife and our homie Tiffany. I didn't see any Black folks out there while I hiked or backpacked, but I thought to myself that there must be some Black folks who do it (just not often in my family). But I knew there must also be some historical reasons for why Black folks didn't or do not feel comfortable going to the "outdoors". Founder of "Outdoor Afro" Rue Mapp, was frustrated with the lack of visuals/media/ representation showing Black folk out in nature launched an organization. The organization started small in Oakland with a small group of folks, and has since flourished to include thousands of members and a national membership that meets regularly in over 15 states! Sim ply put, they are here to connect Black folks who love nature or are curious. Putting a name to it, and providing a vehicle to mobilize the many folks who've never been hiking, rafting, or backpacking and people who've been doing it for years it is a truly inspiring organization. Go head Rue! 
Sources: Outdoor Afro (Website), Ted Talk (video)

Who is She? 7 -Trung Sisters


My wife told me about the Trung Sisters the other day and I had to draw them. The Trung Sisters were from Vietnam and are folk heroes there still to this day for fighting back against China. From what I've read they were alive around the time of 40 AD and not much is known understandably about their birth. What is known is that the Chinese were invading what was part of Vietnam back then and controlling the people of the area. These two sisters, fed up with this organized their own army which the Chinese Government underestimated. Thinking two women could not organize an army formidable enough to fight back, they were surprised when the sisters were able to organize thousands with many female generals leading them to kick the Chinese out of their area. The twins would and the Vietnamese would lose control three years later, but they fought back and are a part of a larger legacy in Vietnam of fighting against oppression and rule.

sources: Wikipedia (website), and "Trung Sisters History" by Tiffany Dang (youtube)


8.3.16

Who is She? 6-Marley Dias

Two things come to mind when I think of Marley. 1. Each one teach one-an old saying. By doing what she's doing, she is using lessons she was taught i'm sure and she is teaching the next generation. 2. Do the work. There are a lot of people out here talking about solutions and problems, far less people actually doing the work to solve the problem.

Marley Dias, if you're off social media is an 11 year old young lady from New Jersey. Marley loves to read, and was tired of seeing the lack of books in her circle that reflected her face and her life. So rather than just complain about the lack of diversity in the books she was seeing, she did something. It was for her, but more importantly it is for other young people so they too can see themselves or see someone they don't know yet. Her campaign to get 1000 books featuring young black girls was started and quickly caught the attention of local and national media. The hashtag for it is #1000BlackGirlBooks. If you have written or illustrated a book that features a young black girl as a protagonist, send it to Marley, and her homies Briana, and Amina at welovebam.com/1000-black-girl-books/

When She Rises-This saturday in Oakland

When she rises is this Saturday 
When: Saturday March 12th, 8-11pm
Where: Studio Grand Oakland
Who: Cece Carpio, Erin Yoshi, and Nisha K. Sembi (Trust Your Struggle Collective)
Why/How?
In honor of International Women's Day, Studio Grand Oakland and Galeria de la Raza are pleased to bring Cece CarpioNisha K. Sembi, and Erin Yoshi, the women of the Trust Your Struggle Collective, together at Studio Grand for this show honoring the stories of women and their resilience. This exhibit specifically looks at the countries of origin of the three artists - Philippines, India, and Japan. Come out and celebrate at the Exhibit Opening :: When She Rises on Saturday, March 12, 8:00pm-11:00pm. DjLeydis DeCuba will help us bring the show in. So much love to Cece, Nisha, Erin, Ani Rivera, Melanie Cervantes, Galería De La Raza, Trust Your Struggle Collective, and the good folks over at the Akonadi Foundation for helping us make this happen. Together, We Rise!

7.3.16

Who is She? 5 - Debby Tewa

Debby Tewa is a solar electrician from a Hopi reservation in Arizona. She grew up without electricity or running water until the age of 10, and when she was in high school decided to enroll in an electrician's program; even though they geared it towards boys. She started with a Hopi company called Native Sun and has worked with many Indian families in reservations of Arizona and New Mexico. She is also a college professor that teaches at Central Arizona College. There she teaches students how to measure their use of electricity at home, how to reduce it, and how to install solar panels for their homes. I love the idea of folks being able to have some independence from a larger grid of electricity, and to be able to use a renewable source of energy.

Source: "Heroes of the Environment" (book), Sandia.org (website)

6.3.16

Who is She?4 - Pura Belpre


Pura Belpre was NYC's first Puerto Rican librarian. She was a storyteller, educator, and a pioneer in library programming and learning for children. She was born in 1899 in Puerto Rico and came to the US in 1920. In 1921 she began working in the New York City public library system. She has been called a pioneer because of her outreach to the Latino community offering programming in spanish. She founded a mobile puppet company that went around the neighborhood performing her stories. She looked for and purchased books in spanish for the library when multicultural literature was not a thing. As a storyteller she brought stories from her country like "Perez y Martina" and shared them with the children uptown, while also translating them and publishing them in books for the first time. Because of the amazing work she did as an advocate for literacy and education in the community an award has been named in her honor by the American Library Association. I did not hear a single thing about Ms Belpre until I was in my 30's. But, her dedication to engaging children and getting them to read inspires me. And I hope that more about her life is uncovered and that we as kids and adults learn about stories like hers. Check out the book "The Storyteller's candle" and the documentary by the Center for Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College called "Pura Belpre" https://vimeo.com/30837106

Sources: Wikipedia (website) and "Colorin Colorado" (blog)

5.3.16

Who is She? 3 - Keiko Fukuda


Mrs Judo as they called her lived from 1913 to 2013. She was born and raised in Japan and came to the US in 1966 establishing her own dojo in San Francisco. She began her study in martial arts at the age of 21 and had over 70 years experience as a practitioner and then teacher of Judo. She was the highest ranking woman in Judo history (10th degree blackbelt). She was the last living student of Jigoro Kano, the founder of Judo. As a martial artist, and as an unmarried woman she faced much struggle, sexism, and strife from traditionalists. But through it all she lead the life that she wanted to live and taught many many people. She started Keiko Fukuda Joshi Judo Camp the first Judo camp dedicated to women.

Source: http://keikofukudajudofoundation.org/

3.3.16

Who is She? 2- Merata Mita

Merata Mita was an indigenous Maori filmmaker from new Zealand. Born in 1942, she was thr first woman in NZ to direct a documentary film. Patu! , her first film was about the protests and acts of civil disobedience that many New Zealanders exhibited when a rugby team from the then apartheid state of South Africa came to play matches in NZ. She went on to direct and act in several films, saying that she wanted to tell stories instead of give foreign filmmakers the key to Maori lives. She was a pioneer in NZ pushing the filmmaking forward in the country. A documentary by her son about her life is in the works and Sundance has named an award for film after her. 

Sources: The Independent UK (blog), Interview by Karin Williams (youtube)

2.3.16

Who is She? 1- Alice Augusta Ball (Women's History Month)


I've decided to do a series of drawings for women's history month entitled "Who is She?".

Here is the first one of a scientist named Alice Augusta Ball, born in Seattle Washington in 1892. She was a chemist who developed a drug to aid in the treatment of Leprosy by isolating a chemical compound of Chaulmoogra oil. Her research lead to an effective treatment for countless people before a cure was found in the 40s. She died very young and credit for much of her work was taken by a man. Later another doctor uncovered what she'd done and she was recognized by the University and by the state. She was also the first Black person to receive a masters degree from the University of Hawaii.

Information found via "Women Rock Science (Tumblr)" and "On the shoulders of giants (youtube)".

1.3.16

Array & CAAM

Please go see Ashes & Embers in the theater or watch it on Netflix. This is one of Array’s (formerly Affirm) first films for “Array Classics” which is an effort to restore and redistribute films from the past that either did not get the attention they deserved, or need to be revisited for new audiences. I include myself, because I’ve never seen the film either. Pass it on. 

In case you're in the Bay Area and you're not hip to CAAM, it is an annual film festival held in SF and other cities in the Bay highlighting and showing new films by Asian and Asian American filmmakers from across the world. This year greats like Ang Lee will be there, alongside new directors such as Sanjay Patel of the Oscar nominated "Sanjay's Super Team". Go check out the films and the live discussions w/ the filmmakers.

Thinkbeat Radio + Under the Sign of the Rainbow (interview)

This month I was interviewed by Simon Abramowitsch, my brother since high school about Black History Month. He has been working on a series of podcast shows talking about multicultural literature and history. The segment is featured halfway through the "Think Beat Radio" show which airs on kpfa on fridays from2-4 am i think. Please listen here and share. You can hear more of the interview on the Under the Sign of The Rainbow site.


DJs Wonway Posibul and Dion Decibels have been doing "ThinkBeat" for many moons spinning Hip Hop, electronic, soul, jazz, funk, salsa, and everything in between for radio and live audiences all across the Bay Area and in various other cities.

School Library Journal Feature



This is pretty awesome. I am Sausal Creek one of the books I illustrated was featured in School Library Journal by Amy Martin. I'm excited and very blessed to be included among some great artists and writers such as Janine Macbeth (Blood Orange Press), Zetta Elliott (Rosetta Press), Innosanto Nagara (A is For Activist), and Melissa Reyes( I am Sausal Creek). I hope this means SLJ and other industry veterans will take notice of the quality work independent author/illustrators are putting out focusing on diversity.
LINK to article by Amy Martin (Town librarian)