Remembering Kathy Change

Hello everyone. May blooms with many celebrations and remembrances. May is not only Mental Health Awareness Month, it also includes World Goth Day (May 22nd), Cinco de Mayo. Asian American and Pacific Islander Awareness Month also takes place in this month named for the Greek goddess Maia (Geek Show and Tell over).

May is Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month

My mother and I love sharing books. She recently gifted me with a copy of MELUS Ethnic Women Writers VI: The Journal of The Society for the Study of Mult-Ethnic Literature of the United States. I read about authors I either forgot and rediscovered or authors who were new to me, such as Maxine Hong Kingston. Kingston was criticized not only by her family for sharing subjects that would have been considered “taboo”, but she was also criticized by a fellow Asian-American author, Frank Chin. Chin thought that gender issues should be subordinate to racial and ethnic matters. I don’t agree with him because as a woman, who happens to be black, there’s something called intersectionality where gender and ethnicity overlap and can give you an on-the-house-extra-serving of discrimination you didn’t even ask for.

The remainder of this post contains potential trigger warnings. It is raw, unfiltered, and unedited moi.

*Suicide

*Depression

Moving on. After all, this post is about Kathy Change and her message of change. She called Earth “her soul”. She thought that she could change the world through music and dance. Damn it, I too, wish that could happen. Forget about controlling the weather. To be able to heal the world through song and dance?! I’m game!

Instead of nuclear bombs, genocide through gunfire, bombs, and biological weapons couldn’t people just resolve problems by participating in DANCE BATTLES?! This sounds funny, but at times, I’m effing serious! No weapon shall prosper against our mad skills:

Eddie Tekken

Capoeira-ing on. Since I wanted to learn more about why Chin treated Kingston so harshly, I looked up his biography to get a better feel of what kind of person he was (not is; he’s still alive and I hope and believe that people can grow and change) I came across Kathy’s name in his Wikipedia biography. Frank had been married to this lovely Chinese-American writer.

I wanted to learn more about her, so I clicked on her name.

I then learned that she had died on October 22, 1996.

Kathy Change was born on October 10, 1950 as Kathleen Chang.  She gained recognition for her performance art. In addition to being a writer and a performance artist, she was a passionate political activist. Right now, I am sitting at home in the midst of COVID-19, police brutality, protest, rallies, in lieu of more murder and violence on black bodies that broke out a couple of days after the murder of George Floyd. In the midst of so many other deaths some white people are striving to be allies by copying and pasting support. Here’s an example:

I have privilege as a white person because I can do all of these things without thinking twice:

I can go birding (#ChristianCooper)
I can go jogging (#AmaudArbery)
I can relax in the comfort of my own home (#BothemSean and #AtatianaJefferson)
I can ask for help after being in a car crash (#JonathanFerrell and #RenishaMcBride)
I can have a cellphone (#StephonClark)
I can leave a party to get to safety (#JordanEdwards)
I can play loud music (#JordanDavis)
I can sell CDs (#AltonSterling)
I can sleep (#AiyanaJones)
I can walk from the corner store (#MikeBrown)
I can play cops and robbers (#TamirRice)
I can go to church (#Charleston9)
I can walk home with Skittles (#TrayvonMartin)
I can hold a hair brush while leaving my own bachelor party (#SeanBell)
I can party on New Years (#OscarGrant)
I can get a normal traffic ticket (#SandraBland)
I can lawfully carry a weapon (#PhilandoCastile)
I can break down on a public road with car problems (#CoreyJones)
I can shop at Walmart (#JohnCrawford)
I can have a disabled vehicle (#TerrenceCrutcher)
I can read a book in my own car (#KeithScott)
I can be a 10 yr old walking with our grandfather (#CliffordGlover)
I can decorate for a party (#ClaudeReese)
I can ask a cop a question (#RandyEvans)
I can cash a check in peace (#YvonneSmallwood)
I can take out my wallet (#AmadouDiallo)
I can run (#WalterScott)
I can breathe (#EricGarner)
I can live (#FreddieGray)
I CAN BE ARRESTED WITHOUT THE FEAR OF BEING MURDERED (#GeorgeFloyd)

White privilege is real. Take some time to educate yourself about white privilege and how it impacts the lives of people of color.

#BlackLivesMatter

*I copied and pasted this … please do the same if you benefit from white privilege*

Applauding

Posting this is all fine and dandy and I unfurl no shade when I write this. HOWEVER, we will need actions. Action! I’m happy to see white arms linked arm in arm as a protective barrier in a display of humans protecting fellow humans from hate and injustice:

White Protesters Form A Protective Barrier
Hmmm. I’m getting Peele’s US vibes. Why? Nah. It’s just the pessimistic horror writer in me. 😐

But this is merely a start of something. The spark of something that was needed decades ago! We have held hands, we have written signs, we have protested, we have prayed, we have pleaded, we have written posts . . . and now we need something more.

We will need reformations that rewrite centuries-old institutions. We will need to be the United States we were meant to be. But that will not and cannot happen until racism is acknowledged for what it is and consciously exorcised. But why would people who benefit from it let it go so easily . . . ? Some will buck, fight, and try to undermine this great work, but we will not be thwarted.

So that way this fascist tide doesn’t drown us all! I have written about Historical and Cultural Trauma here. I warned you all about “white following black” here. The underlying message that is often unspoken is that these traumatic and violent things happen to black people because they MUST HAVE DONE something WRONG to have caused their deaths. Stop making excuses for a system only willing to upload the wicked and keep a boot on the throat of the oppressed! If we don’t stand up as a united front against fascism wearing a White Supremacist Beard, we will all suffer.

This post isn’t meant to glamorize suicide. It is to draw attention to so many natural empathetic, creative, wonderful, and intelligent people that crave, thirst, and need order, peace, love, harmony, as if their lives depend on it — BECAUSE guess what? THEIR LIVES DO DEPEND ON IT! They need it for a world that is so blatantly opposed to these beautiful traits that should come NATURALLY! I empathize with Kathy Change and those who have died too soon. My second oldest brother was a lot like her. He wanted a world where ALL people not only survived, but lived and thrived. He desired a world where people valued their lives and the lives of their neighbors. And now that he is gone,  I want this kind of world more than ever. Kathy, too, was a suicide survivor. As a child, she found her mother dead by her own hand. Kathy wanted to save the world in the same way that she had wanted to save her mother. When you live in a world such as ours that is so beautiful (the blue of the sky, the birds singing and building their nests, the oceans, the mountains, the rivers, and deserts) and think of what it should be like — a paradise for all — and regard what it really is? And you, one person, having no real power to change it, I imagine that it is an unsettling and devastating feeling.

As a human race, We speak of God (atheist you may be your own god because humanism is a thing), We speak of souls, We speak of righteousness, We speak of judgment, We speak of karma, We speak of fighting Monsters, and are too proud to realize that we often wear the face of evil, too. When will these words be spoken into existence! When will we act upon what is good, right, and just?

As I type this post, I have N.E.R.D.’s (a rock and hip-hop band) underrated and legendary song, Lapdance ON REPEAT.

Here’s my favorite part:

It’s so real
It’s How I Feel
It’s this society
That makes a nigga want to kill
I’m just straight ill
Ridin’ my motorcycle down the streets
While politicians is soundin’ like strippers to me
They keep sayin’ but I don’t want to hear it...

Oooh baby you want me?
Oooh baby you want me?
Oooh baby you want me?
Well you can get this lap dance here for free
Now you can get this lap dance here for free
Well you can get this lap dance here for free
Oooh baby you want me?
Now you can get this lap dance here for free

This society is steeped in such negative and selfish energy. Kathy saw it for what it was and wanted to change it!

I gotta channel my rampant anger and listen to something else:

SPYAIR Some Like It Hot (Samurai Heart)

Hey!! Hey!! Answer me. Is there anybody there?
No matter how much I search, there’s no answer back.
Hey!! Hey!! Only I will make myself, so
Even if I cry, even if I smile, even if I hate, I’ll live my life with love.
Hey! Hey! Samurai Heart (Some like it hot)

Hey!! Hey!! kotaete dareka imasenka?
zutto sagashite mo kotae nai ya
Hey!! Hey!! boku dake ga boku wo tsukuru kara
naitatte, waratte nikundatte aishite ikite yukou
Hey! Hey! SAMURAI HAATO (some like it hot)

Dear Kathy Change,

I wish that I knew you. I wish that I could have met you. I wish that I could have embraced you and worked with you. I wish that your dreams, your hopes, your desires, the very essence of your being — our being —  could have changed the world. I would have danced with you and wept with you. Because Kathy, now the world is burning, divided, and reeling with sickness.

Sincerely,

Monique

From Wikipedia:

“On October 22, 1996, Kathy Change committed suicide by self-immolation on the spot where she had often performed in an effort to engage Penn students in the progressive causes she championed; the packages of writings she delivered to six Penn students, two local residents, as well as Penn’s campus newspaper and other news organizations contextualized her carefully planned suicide as both protest and a vehicle for her message.”

If you have plans to harm or kill yourself, please get help. If you know of someone that has plans to commit suicide — even if you think it’s just a plan — GET THEM HELP! 

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
1-800-273-8255

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