May 27, 2015

Daddy Thoughts 9-Continued

Disclaimer, this is a two-part blog post, to fully get this part, you should read the first one.

Now, this is a continuation of what I was saying previously about responsibility and the chore chart I made with my partner through research and asking other parents for advice. My son was dodging any responsibility for anything. He would say, “Why do I have to do this”. “I didn’t know”. “It’s not fair”. You name it. But now I feel that because I have made stricter rules and made them clear, he knows what I expect of him. (He does well with rules/boundaries/plans).

Fast-forward to today’s call. He got in trouble because la maestra called me to tell me he was not listening to her requests. In the scheme of things this is not a huge deal, but I made a point to bring it up to him in conversation because I don’t want to let it slide. So, I should preface this by saying that my son is learning about what it means to take responsibility for what you say or do. Meaning, do not place blame on someone or something because you messed up, or you made a mistake. In addition to teaching him to handle his responsibilities, I’m trying to teach him to think about his actions and what he can do to shape his life. Back to this conversation. The first thing he says when I question him about why I got a call is “these other kids weren’t paying attention during my presentation”. “And?” I asked. “And, I decided to read during their presentations”. So we started to talk about revenge and how the world is in a fucked up place because people keep seeking revenge, or better yet; people keep trying to communicate how bad they feel by making others feel worse. We agreed that this was true, and he named some aspects of WW2 that would not have happened if the adults simply apologized.

The next question I asked was how he could have used his voice to tell the kids how he felt. We agreed that he had the ability to excuse himself and command the floor by asking for every ones attention. I told him that in addition he could ask his teacher for assistance by making it known that others were not paying attention, thereby expressing himself and communicating his needs.  I think this part of the conversation was great because for once he didn’t resort to the “it’s not fair” argument and simply said he would try next time. Then we started to talk about his responsibility in listening. He told me he wasn’t trying to disrespect his maestra; that he had been the one feeling disrespected. But when I explained how hard it is to be a teacher and get the attention of 20-25 students he empathized and understood how his actions (ignoring her requests to stop reading) made her feel, and why she called me.

After this, we talked about what he could do on his own behalf and what consequence there would be for his actions. I didn’t suggest a consequence, but rather asked him what he thought was fair. In the end he knew what I was thinking, and we both agreed that no TV or computer was to be watched the next time it was my weekend. Ok, so this right here. Right here, this shit! This was #$%^&* amazing! Not only did we come to an understanding together, but also while dealing out a consequence I praised him for his honesty and maturity for taking responsibility for his actions. And that felt great. No fighting, no argument, no crying. We got up, I made dinner with my partner Joy, and he sorted his Pokémon cards. Nice.

Character 95-Futuristic Mother & Son

I wanted to do a Poc futuristic family who were space traveling warriors. This is my version of that. A mother and a son together; painted using watercolor.

Dig this? Check out this collage of characters from that year

May 26, 2015

I am Sausal Creek-Post 1 (PubSlush Launch)

Hello everybody, I have been working on this book since the beginning of the fall last year. I met Melissa Reyes through some mutual friends and family many years ago and I was immensely excited and inspired to begin work on this project when my TYS crew mate Cece recommended me to the to illustrate it. To my great surprise Melissa checked out my work and wanted me to work on the book! Tiiight! Immediately after reading the story I knew I wanted to work on it because unlike so many other kids books, it was not only informative but a smooth read (not too much, not too little)!

I started thumbnails, sketches, etc for this book many months ago and have gone through every phase except painting, which I'm doing now literally. Melissa has an incredible, beautiful, well written story that will be invaluable to children, educators, and parents once it is completed. Not only does it help educate about environment and history, but it also tells of a rich local history here in Oakland California. The creek that the book is about is still flowing and still supporting life and laughter. Not only that but it is supported by an awesome team called Nomadic Press, and is translated by a local organizer/parent by the name Cinthya Muñoz. 

I can't wait to see this book in schools and on shelves everywhere, please check out the video and see some sneak peaks at some of the drawing and painting for the book "I am Sausal Creek/ Yo soy El Arroyo Sausal".

LINK to support

May 25, 2015

How Ghettos are made-NPR

This is one small fraction , one small movement of a much larger beast known as White Supremacy and Capitalism here in the US. This story picks up right where writer Tanehisi Coates left off when writing about some of the national and federal policies which reinforced, permitted, and encouraged racist ideas and practices towards African Americans (and other people of color) through out the US. In this story on Fresh air author Richard Rothstein talks about federal regulations for housing, bank loans, etc and how federal policies created black ghettos. Which, are ironically being sought after and "discovered" invaded rapidly by young whites from suburb or affluent areas. Connect this to Baltimore, Ferguson, Brooklyn, Oakland, etc.


Note: I disagree with his viewpoints on "misbehavior" because it puts absolutely no responsibility on the part of the cops, the police departments, the district attorneys, the mayors, the governors, and even the president to put a stop to out right racist policies-a virtual green light to punish, beat, or murder any black person without accountability. The viewpoint of "misbehavior" makes it seem as though Blacks who simply behave, follow the law, or come out on top despite the tremendous inequality in every sector of life will not be targeted by Cops-and this is not true.

May 20, 2015

Minorities in Publishing-Episode 16 w/ Zetta Elliott & Renee Watson

So great to share this podcast with you, it deals with a lot of sentiment, first hand experience, and knowledge about the publishing industry from African, Latino, Asian, and Indigenous perspectives. For evidence of why this is needed please refer to the We Need Diverse Books Movement, the studies Lee and Low has been spearheading, and the discussions organizations like the CBC Diversity have been having. These two authors focus on Young Adult and middle Grade novels/books but their ability and interest reach far beyond. Please listen, share, and comment on soundcloud.

May 13, 2015

La Cocina-Reem's featured

La Cocina from c o - p i l o t on Vimeo.

So dope to see my homie Reem Assil from "Reem's" featured in he video. If you live in the Bay Area, look out for future events she's throwing, Palestinian street food. Her food is not to be missed!

Daddy Thoughts 9-Accept responsibility part one

This post will be broken up into two parts because it is very long.

Today I get a call from one of his maestra’s telling me my boy is reading a lot in class. At first, I think “Oh wow, that’s a good thing”. But it turns out the teacher asked him to put his book away and pay attention to other class activities. I am super excited that he is reading without anyone telling him to. I’m glad that he finds happiness in it on his own. It should be some form of entertainment, learning, and escape all at the same time. But, the problem is listening.

This past year it was tough because I felt like a broken record. I was repeating myself and asking him to do the same things day in and day out. Brush your teeth, hurry up, finish eating, take a shower, wash your dish, etc. It got to the point where it was starting to annoy me, so I know he was annoyed. I thought about how to handle this because he had no problems remembering to turn on my computer and watch a cartoon or a documentary about World War 2. So, I made a list-something I love to do-of all of the things I wanted him to do. The things he would be responsible for. And I made a list of all of the privileges he gets with help from him of course.

Now I know some parents will disagree with the method, but it has worked for me. I’m strict. My dad was strict, now I’m strict. My mom was strict about some things, but generally she was more lenient that my dad was. Now, I feel like that pattern is happening again with my son. But, I feel much more comfortable expressing emotion and feeling. I tell him I love him all of the time. I try to tell him how I feel, etc. And I ask that he do the same.

Now, back to the list of things. I decided I wanted to change it to a chart. So, I looked up responsibility charts online and found a lot of different examples for chores and many other things. I’m still trying to figure out allowance and jobs that I will pay him for, but what was nagging, arguments, frustration, whining, and yelling has turned into a more positive pattern. My partner helped me organize the chart. When he handles his morning activities (brushing teeth, making his bed, etc) he gets a point. When he cleans his room  (sweeps, dusts, cleans up, organizes) he gets two points. And there are more responsibilities. But basically I award him for handling these things I’ve laid out with time to watch cartoons, play video games, or choose a dessert. I’ve also asked him to list other privileges he wants like sleep over’s, going out to the movies, or buying legos. These other things require “saving”.

This has worked out great because now, I just say go look at your list of things to do and handle it (based partially on other parents recommendations too) and he does it. If he doesn’t then he doesn’t get to do the stuff he wants to on my weekend. He forgot to do his chores once. I didn’t remind him. And when the time came to chill out on the weekend, there was no TV, no computer, and no privileges. He was pissed! But he learned a lesson that day, and hasn’t missed his chores since. I try not to punish him, but rather award him for the stuff he is able to handle. It has improved our relationship greatly because in 2013, my fiancée, myself, and him all moved into a house together. And he acted out because. Well, because kids don’t always know how to say how they’re feeling. To be continued......

May 4, 2015

Hands off Assata

Back to the inks

I think its fair to say that Assata has inspired so many by taking the time to write her story. Too often Black freedom fighters are written out of history by historians, media, and governments who want young people to see a fraction of a picture. Because I read her story I understand a bit more what young Black folks went through to bring awareness to the next generation. As the US government tries to co opt Cuba, and get their hands on a people who have stood strong, they're going to try and paint Assata as a villain. We know how ever now though that cops/govt's make up whatever story they want to to cover up their true deeds.. Hands Off Assata!