Happy Black Friday! Around here we’re normally not much for the shopping insanity that comes with the day, but we *had* to introduce our 2019 Women of Power Calendar! Each page honors the powerful roles women of color embody in the world; show a fierce woman in your life that you see her strength with this calendar! $15 in our Shop. (Oh, and don’t forget, there are a few days left in our Fall for All sale! Use discount code FALL4ALL at checkout for $10 off any purchase of $40 or more!)
Tomorrow is Election Day here in the US, and that means many people will be taking time out of their day to go and vote, if they haven’t already. Depending on where you live, that may mean going to a polling place to stand in line, use some machine or other, and cast a ballot; it might mean driving a mail-in ballot to some official collection spot; or else perhaps checking an app for the status of the absentee or mail-in ballot you sent back days or weeks before.
No matter how it looks or who you vote for though, the important thing is to do it, though sadly lots of people don’t, and while understand the frustration some feel in the process, the fact that it can be obtuse at times, or the persistent fears that our votes may not count or be counted for one reason or another, we maintain that it is incredibly important to go out and vote… and especially if you’re a parent, to involve your kids.
For Our Kids’ Future
The first and most important reason to vote as a parent is for the sake of your children, and specifically their future. Bear with us – we understand this sounds very crunchy – but the reality is that whether or not you feel that the elections will have a direct impact on your life, it is certain that the choices made each election will have an impact on theirs. Without digging into the specific politics and policies, it’s a safe bet that each election season, there are some mix of candidates and ballot measures that will impact you children’s schools, parks, play spaces, and beyond for years to come.
Perhaps school funding is on the table, as in many places here in Colorado. Maybe there’s a candidate who is dedicated to making more green spaces for kids to play, or expanding access to school lunches, or improving teachers’ pay. All of these things impact our children tremendously, and us as well.
Another big reason to involve your children in your voting process is to model skills. Even if you largely vote a straight ticket (all for one party or another), there’s a process that you follow to make your decisions, and to cast your ballot. So, this comes in two parts: first, modeling your decision-making process (which could include research, conversations, or even family traditions), and second, modeling the process you use to actually cast your ballot, once your decisions are made.
Modeling research skills is of course important because our children are doing just that every day in school. Demonstrating that research happens at home, too – that it’s applicable in everyday life – lets our kids know that it’s a transferable skill, something that, if developed, they can take with them as part of their learning toolkit for the rest of their life.
Modeling the process is equally important: voting, though not perfect and not quite universal, is an integral part of the function of groups, communities, and nations across the planet. Moreover, by demonstrating the process to our children (who we already know are sponges for everything we say and do as parents), we normalize the practice, and so make it less intimidating for our kids, when the chance arises for them.
It’s (Probably) Not Taught In School
Many parents, even younger ones, still remember some version of Social Studies or Government classes from our time growing up, and those classes almost invariably encompassed some broad concepts of the functions and processes of government, or “civics”. Essentially, for better or worse, voting used to be taught in school, but that is largely no longer the case. Much as with “Sex Ed”, art, and music, civics is (ahem, strangely) considered to be too controversial a topic for schools to be able to “properly” handle it, and so it has been pushed further and further to the wayside.
Whether you feel this is a problem or not, the result is the same: your children will almost certainly not learn about the process unless you teach them. If you care that your children become voters as adults, the best way to ensure it is to model it.
Although you may have thoughts about our politics here at Collage, we care more that you vote than for whom or what you cast your ballot, because at the end of the day, voting makes a difference. For better or worse, in large ways or small, our system of government allows us to have a say in the direction that we move as a society. It is a tremendous and unprecedented amount of power in the grand arc of history, and something for which so many of our ancestors fought and sacrificed dearly.
As such, our votes and our actions around the process are the greatest legacy we leave our children, collectively. Let us leave one we can be proud of.
There are lots of wonderful resources available to help inform your voting process. We would love to cover more, and we may in the future, but for today we would like to recommend Ballotpedia, a fantastic site that gives clear and comprehensive breakdowns of virtually every ballot in the country, in a nonpartisan format.
Today, we honor the incredible strength, fierce dedication, tremendous innovation, and exceptional brilliance of Women of Color.
Women of Color are the foundation of our society; to paraphrase Melissa Harris-Perry in her book Sister Citizen, Black women are the group by which our country can gauge our progress toward true social equity. They are the roots that hold our society aloft, nurture its foliage, and still anchor it to reality. As long as Women of Color are attacked, maligned, and diminished, we are poisoning our roots and will not grow. As long as our girls of color see matriarchs trodden under the feet of patriarchy and misogyny, none of us can move forward.
So today, honor the Women of Color in your life; know that they are Goddesses, Leaders, Queens, Innovators, and so much more.
Be Well, Fam.
Despite what any administration may say, we at Collage Colorado know that Trans folks are #toofierce to be erased. We stand by the Trans community, and we hope that you do as well.
Resources for Trans Folks and Allies
The Trevor Project (and their help line at 866.488.7386)
Trans Lifeline (and their help line at 877.565.8860)
“Ultimately, DuVernay has done more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she has also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.”
There is really no doubt about it – Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a fantastic story; in equal parts it blends magic and science, fantasy and fear, and a persistent theme beneath it all of the many sorts and expressions of love. It’s a story that has appealed to literally millions of readers over the past five decades since its original publication, and continues to be enjoyed by millions more. Despite its controversial (and frequently-challenged) nature, the book clearly stands on its own as worthy literature, but recently, there’s been a shift…
Seeds of Change
Given the book’s controversy and incredible success, it was clear from early on that it was rife with possibilities. Numerous adaptations of the story have been made over time, including a 2003 Disney TV movie that was, well… pretty boring, but still kept up interest in the by-then classic.
Virtually all of these adaptations were as one might expect – plain, more or less true to the source imaginings of the story. All fine and dandy, but at some point the same old thing no longer advances the conversation, and that can make a story go stale (one of the worst things that can happen to a work of literature). Though nothing can take away the beauty of the words, it seems likely that A Wrinkle in Time was on its way to being irrelevant.
A Risk, and a Paradigm Shift
By even her own account, there was a lot of risk in Ava DuVernay taking on the role of director for the newest adaptation of L’Engle’s work. From the outset she needed to take on (from many sides) the misogynist doubt that a woman could direct a successful science fiction movie. Others considered it a strange departure from her previous work. No matter what she did, DuVernay was constantly taking risks in making this movie.
Rather than shying from that, however, she took in on, head-on. In one interview with her, DuVernay describes the moment she decided to make the film, when she was offered the chance to “build worlds”. What she did in fact was bigger though; DuVernay began a genuine paradigm shift.
More than Building Worlds
Ultimately, DuVernay did more than make worlds (and she invented many for the movie), she also fundamentally changed our own, just by making her film.
Normally, making a movie out of a book is risky business of its own. Even in our current era of remakes and reboots, there are many that are outraged at the adaptation of page to screen, arguing that it ruins, demeans, or debases the material. We at Collage are maybe not so militant, but we do generally agree that it’s always best to go to the source, at least first off.
In making A Wrinkle in Time into the modern film it is, however, DuVernay worked real magic, and on a global scale. Almost overnight, she transmuted a character forever into something more than she already was: she gave her real dimension. By making the main characters of the story biracial, Ava DuVernay added further depth to a character who was already deeply emotionally complex… but in a way that was utterly organic. In doing so, she imagined the family so artfully that, for millions or even billions of readers for at least the next several decades, that is who Murry family will be.
It is an epic accomplishment, and one that we feel is worth celebrating here at Collage Colorado.
What do you think about the book, or the movie? Let us know in the comments!
Own the Book or Film!
We absolutely love both the book and most recent film versions of A Wrinkle in Time, and we highly encourage you to read and watch them as well! Follow the links below to see both on Amazon.
Spirit Day is an annual celebration organized by GLAAD, the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (though in reality, they are so much more), as a day of solidarity against bullying and bigotry, and particularly for LGBTQ+ folks.
From GLAAD’s #SpiritDay launch page:
“Spirit Day is a means of speaking out against LGBTQ bullying and standing with LGBTQ youth, who disproportionately face bullying and harassment because of their identities. Pledging to “go purple” on Spirit Day is a way for everyone — forward-thinking companies, global leaders, respected celebrities, neighbors, parents, classmates, and friends — to visibly show solidarity with LGBTQ youth and to take part in the largest, most visible anti-bullying campaign in the world.”
I tell this story today in honor of #spiritday, a campaign against bullying. I’ve told this story in confidence to a small number of people in my life, but today for the first time I am going to share it publicly. I won’t name names. I don’t want pity. I made my peace with this event years ago.
TRIGGER WARNING: LGBT bullying, sexism, misogyny, physical assault, and some language. I want to warn you now that what I am about to describe is not pretty, and I will not censor it; that may be triggering for some, and if it is, I fully understand if you don’t keep reading.
All of my life I’ve been a small guy. Heck, I’m 5’5” NOW (and I ain’t growin’ any taller, let me assure you). In high school, I wasn’t just short, I was also pretty meek. I read a lot, raised my hand in class all the time, and spent as much time talking to teachers as I did talking to peers. I was a nerd.
I don’t know when he first targeted me. He was an upperclassman, a year or so ahead of me. At some point he decided I was gonna be his proverbial punching bag. I don’t know why. I don’t care. All I know is that we had Spanish together for a year, and sometime during that year he decided that I was the kid who was going to take his assaults.
At first, it was all verbal. Every day, he would find some reason to call me “gay” or “fag” or “queer”. I didn’t know how to respond. Once or twice maybe I told him to “f*** off”, but guaranteed that didn’t change a thing. The teacher apparently didn’t know how to respond either. If she overheard him calling me something, she’d meekly reprimand him, but that’s about it. It hurt me a lot (and yes, I am gay, I am queer, but that’s beside the point). I don’t know if I cried. I do know that at the time, it made me hate myself, and it made me hate going to class. But I had no choice. I wanted to go to college. I lived in a tiny little town, part of a regional district that took three whole towns to make one high school. My parents couldn’t afford private school. I had no options, I had to stay.
If it had stayed verbal, I probably could have dealt with the assaults. It didn’t. One day I came to class; like any other day I hiked the stairs of the old school, and got to class a little early (I never used my locker… I don’t even remember where it was, but it would have been a joke trying to get to it and then to class without being chewed out for being late). That day, the teacher wasn’t there yet, but he was, as well as most of the class. I think he was waiting for me. I got to the door and he was standing there in the frame. He wouldn’t let me in. I tried to push past him, but he was a good deal bigger than me. I got frustrated, and was about to walk away when he pulled the pointer out.
It was one of those old, three-and-a-half foot long wooden pointers with a bullet-shaped rubber tip, and a short nail in the back end to hang it on the wall, near the chalkboard. He scratched my arm with it. I was horrified. I didn’t know what to do. He scratched again, on my other arm. And again. I started to walk away… I don’t know where I thought I was going, but I sure as heck wasn’t going to stand there. When I turned around to leave, he scratched me, HARD, on the back of my neck. I was trying to walk away down the hall when the teacher walked up. She didn’t notice the scratches. I tried to tell her what happened, but she was flustered, and told me to go in and sit down. I did.
After Spanish class, I had lunch. There, my friends noticed the scratches, which were bleeding and swollen. I explained what happened. They told me to go to the nurse… I resisted a bit, but finally agreed and asked some teacher for permission to leave. The nurse was shocked. She put Neosporin on the cuts. She told me she had to tell the principal. I begged her not to; I was so scared. I went back to lunch, and then to my next class. Sometime during that class, I was called to the vice-rincipal’s office. I explained what happened. The vice-principal asked if I wanted to do anything about it. I said yes. His response? If I wanted him to do anything about it, I would have to sit and tell my “side” with the other kid there, next to me. I refused… I was so scared. He said if that was the case, there was nothing he could do. I left. I cried in my next class. Quietly.
When I got home, my parents noticed the cuts. They were really obvious. I told them what happened; my dad was furious. I’ve maybe never seen him so angry. He went into the other room and called the school. I remember him shouting really loudly. He told me when he came back that they’d promised to suspend the other kid. I didn’t feel much better. A little bit, maybe.
The next day, I went to school. The guy who’d cut me was there, too. In Spanish. Walking the halls. The next day, too. And the next. I don’t know who told me, but I asked someone (a teacher, maybe) what was going on. They told me his mom was on the school board, and that she had insisted there was “no way he could have done such a thing!” He was never suspended. He was never punished. I had physical scars for a year. I hated that guy for longer… more years than I’m proud to admit. I wanted some sort of retribution. At some point I let it go, but it tainted – it scarred – a part of my soul for a long time.
Please never take bullying lightly. I recovered. My scars healed, but so often, and for so many, they never do. So many beautiful lives are lost each year to the trauma of bullying. Please, no more. Never again.
If you read all the way through our first-ever Revolutionary Read of the Month post a few days ago, or you’ve been looking around the site recently, you probably saw this mentioned. #WhenIBegan is a hashtag campaign that we’re starting at Collage Colorado… and it needs your help! If you haven’t already, check out the #WhenIBegan hashtag campaign page!
Watch the intro video below!