My house been purged of dirt and trash. My laundry room is humming with the last loads of 2012. I haven’t done my “big” shower yet (super exfoliating, super long, super awesome), but that will happen after this post is over. I’ve had my chittlin’s and my pig-feet (you can take the girl out of the south….), and I’ll have my collards and my black-eyed peas tomorrow. Tonight, by request of my husband, it’s fajitas, rice and beans, and friend plantains for dinner. I’d love to say that I’ll be having champagne when the ball drops, but let’s be honest: That bottle is getting opened at 8:30 after the boys go to bed. I don’t think either of us are going to make the ball drop this year.
In essence, 2012 is over, and I’m cool with that.
I’m looking ahead to 2013. I’m prayerful, hopeful, and trepidatious. I have very high expectations for the world this upcoming year, especially because I consider 2012 to be quite subpar when it comes to the hope/mercy/humane department. Here is the world I’d like my sons to live in next year:
- A Dawn of the Era of the Brown Woman/Mother: I’m going to start with my pet project, an advancement of women of color. I firmly believe that, in the next four years, Barack and Michelle should elevate the status of Black and Brown mothers in this country. I believe that we women of color (or women who are the mothers of children of color) should be courted politically and given the same political power as white suburban women. It is appalling to me that, in the current context of our politics and our population, that suburban white women are given so much power in national conversations. I’m not saying that their voices should be extinguished. I’m not even saying that they should be significantly diminished. I’m just saying that the volume of the voices of Mothers of Color should be bumped up a notch or three. I think that organizations should be started, focus groups created, Super Pacs formed (if necessary! In my dreams!!), leaders elevated to make this work. There are too many of us to be so silenced. The only people who can change the trajectory of our children’s lives are ourselves. Schools, neighborhoods, cities, jails, a nation: All of these spheres need the molding of women of color. There are plenty of women out there who can make it happen. I think that Michelle is the perfect person to get the ball rolling. I’d also like to see Barack elevate a Black Woman to the Supreme Court. Do for our daughters what you did for our sons, please! If we couldn’t get Ambassador Rice for Secretary of State, I hope that you can find at least one judge out there to sit that bench.
- “Conversation” converted into ACTION on gun regulation: I never want another Newtown to happen again. Or an Aurora, or a Deep Creek, or any other mass shootings. I’m done crying. If we can come up with a TSA that can do cavity searches on every living soul that wants to get in an airplane in a post-9/11 world, we can come up with safe, legal and reasonable ways to limit the use of guns in this country in a post-Newtown world. That’s right, Post-Newtown World. Newtown is this decade’s 9/11 in my point of view. 9/11 changed the world. Newtown should as well. Just as this country came together and created memorials, organizations, foundations, pay-it-forward campaigns, laws, policies, world view in order to honor the victims of 9/11, so too should we change our ways after Newtown. Never forget. Never again.
- People demand a functional government. Government functions.: This is a pipedream, I know, and that is what makes me angry. I’m not saying that we need a new Occupy movement, I’m just saying that I think that the people of this country need to get more angry with their government. As I write this, we’re about to go over the Fiscal Cliff. A self-inflicted wound. My beloved President and this Congress created this situation and they can’t get out of it. That’s ridiculous. I say we break out a bit more civic demonstration here: More protest, more letters, more phone calls, more rallies, more volume. It’s in the hands of the people to make our government function. We have the tools. Do we have the will? (I suspect not…)
- Movement toward integration: This is another pet-project of mine. I specialized in segregation/re-segregation/integration when I studied for my master’s degree. The move toward re-segregation in this country over the past two decades have been appalling. No one wants to talk about it, and it hurts our children daily. Living in an extremely segregated North, I have few options for living in and having my sons schooled in an integrated community. This makes it extremely difficult to practice what I preach: The pre-schools I’m applying two are monstrously segregated. The playgroup that my sons participate in is racially diverse, but not socio-economically diverse. I have to go out of my way to make diversity happen for my sons up here. In the DC area, where I’m from, integration is easy, fluid, required. If only I could do that up here. This is one of those things where I need to create a world specifically for my children. But, especially with action in my request #1, maybe the country can go back in an integrative direction.
- A conversation about Poverty emerges, but in a productive way: I’m ready to talk about poverty. I’m ready to talk about how we, as a nation, have just accepted the poverty of our fellow citizens. I’m ready to talk about how our President has let poverty become a silent, invisible thing. I’m ready to talk about how we have absolutely no moral standing in the world when we allow a large part of our citizenry go hungry, nightly, especially children. I’m ready for our government to step up and get serious, and not make poverty a racialized wedge issue. Let’s talk about “welfare,” let’s talk about “food stamps,” let’s talk about food deserts, let’s talk about reasonable expectations for standards of living in this country. Let’s talk about how we can work with food organizations to distribute perfectly good food that is going to waste because of some regulation or another. Let’s talk about the system that the Mormons have made for distributing food to the needy, or what chains like Panara Bread are doing. Let’s buttress Faith-based soup-kitchens and community based gardens and grocery stores. Let’s make a national commitment to the stomachs of our children. No child hungry. Period. (See action item 1 for where the leaders should come from).
- A conversation about Education emerges, but in a productive way: I’m going to put this out there, this is going to come off as a bit racist or divisive, but this is my narrative and truth. I’m sick of middle-class white people being the only leaders in the Education Reform movement. I’m done with it. Much respect to Arne Duncan, but I’m done. I’m done with Doug Lamov and Uncommon Schools. I’m done with the boys from Kipp. I’m done with the individuals who were mediocre teachers who went and got Master’s degrees at Ivy League schools and decided to “build” new schools because that was their fast track to fame, glory, influence, and yes, money. I have an axe to grind because I used to work for these people. I used to work at a charter school full of White people who, most of them, were in it for all the wrong reasons. I’m ready to see more people step up and ask for a productive conversation about education reform in this country. It isn’t just about standards, it isn’t just about curriculum across states, it isn’t even totally about money. It’s about empowerment. It’s about voice. It’s about uplifting multiple generations of people. You have to uplift the parents AND the children simultaneously in some places and cases. You need to speak to people with respect and as if they are human beings who are on your level (because they are). You have to decide that you want the young people you are teaching to be capable of following the same path as you did, because they are worthy of it (because they ARE). If Education is a civil right. If urban education is the civil right issue of our time. Let’s treat it that way. That means more voices from people who live there. More Geoffry Canadas, please! (Yes, he’s an Ivy Leaguer too. Yes, he’s got a bit of the shine on him right now. I still like him more than many of the other leaders I’ve encountered.)
- More than just 26 Acts: People decide to keep all of the love and goodwill that has started this December going in 2013. The whole way through. More than just 26 acts of kindness. Let’s make it 50 acts. 100 acts. Let’s make it 365 days of humane acts in 2013. A smile to a stranger will do it. Some of the best and most powerful things you can do for a person are absolutely, positively free.
- More good books: Less 50 Shades more Freeman. (Let’s be clear, I’m not knocking 50 Shades because it was erotica. I’m knocking it because it was just straight up poorly written.) If the Today Show can do multiple features over multiple weeks over drivel like 50 Shades of Grey, they can spend a little more time on the books that are actually worth reading.
- More reading in general: I don’t get OWN, so I don’t know anything about Oprah’s Book Club 2.0. But I’m just saying, I miss the campaign for a reading nation. Can someone pick up the cause? I’m going for 50 books in 2013. Who wants to join me?
- More civility and looking out for your fellow man: Why are we letting people push other people onto train tracks? I just would like to see more of us be our brother’s keeper in 2013.
- More food with less sugar and sodium: Less fat-police. Less “Eat this, not that.” Less Julian Michaels yelling at over-weight people on my TV. More smart choices and more companies choosing to make real food that is not utterly, utterly bad for you. Are you telling me that the only way you can make canned soup is if it has 30% of my daily allotted sodium in it? Really? Why is that? Is it because it’s cheaper to produce? Come on…
- Justice for Trayvon Martin: I just want Zimmerman to sit in front of a jury of his (multicultural) peers. I want him to look them in the eye and tell his story. I want a jury to give him a guilty or not guilty. I’ll accept whatever the verdict is. I just want the opportunity for justice. I think that is all anyone could or should ask for.
- Safety and justice for Women: I want a world where women are not gang-raped on buses, or shot in the head for getting an education. I want a world where our uteri are not up for political discussion. I want a world where our equality is not publicly questioned. I want a world where little girls matter just as much as little boys. Where sex slavery is forbidden (in this country as well as all others).
There are so many other things that I want for 2013. More will come to mind, I’m sure. The bottom line is, I want us to do better in 2013. I want us to be better as a collective. I don’t think we made the grade in 2012. I’m looking forward to a clean slate tomorrow.
What do you want in 2013? Happy New Year to you all!!