a year ago today, i lost my wonderful grandmother, Virginia Lee, a strong and fierce dancer, poet, tailor, and mother of six who laughed too long at her own jokes. She kept closets full of coats that was my own Narnia and a metal box full of writings that inspired me to write too
She thought my generation was wasteful for discarding clothes with rips and missing buttons, rather than repairing and loving them. I only wear pearl earrings because she loved pearls. She lived most of her life in poverty or at the brink, so her wardrobe was an investment
As she aged, she would say that sugar took from her. her legs. her sight. her health. It was worse than the cancer spreading in her bosom. Sugar wasn't just sugar. it was the cocktail of conditions that lead to premature death. it took a lot from other Black people. It takes.
And I am bitter because of it. I watched my professors become emeritus and live second and third lives in their 70s, 80s, 90s. Travel, have second and third homes. Immortalize and archive themselves in books and buildings while she fought over better treatment from her nurses
I also feel lucky. From her bed, my she was a global citizen. NPR or Democracy Now stayed on the radio. Any time I'd visit her she would keep me abreast about what's going on in Turkey or tell me about the origins of fabrics or share Kanye's latest antics. We'd debate and laugh
and i miss her. i miss her more than anyone that i've ever missed and then some. what i would give to know what she's thinking about the political climate or climate change or for her to ask me to bring her a fish plate on my way to see her. What I would give.

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More from @dereckapurnell

17 Feb
Student debt cancellation is not a Harvard, Yale, Penn rich kid problem. It is a racial justice problem.

Per Brookings, "Four years after graduation, black graduates have nearly $25,000 more student loan debt than white graduates: $52,726 on average, compared to $28,006."
"Black-white disparity in student loan debt more than triples after graduation."

The average school debt for black women with a bachelor’s degree is about $25,000, that level of education does not provide the same level of financial security for black women as it does other groups, including white people with less education.
Read 6 tweets
18 Jan
the united states has convinced do many people that MLK day is a day of service. MLK wasn't interested in "service," he was interested in the redistribution of wealth to render poverty obsolete. Less service, more redistribution
He was called “the most dangerous man in America” by the FBI, not because he was interested in community service, but because he was promoting anti-militarism and anti-capitalism
He was organizing a poor people's campaign to use direct action against the US government for maintaining economic inequality, not to "help out poor people," but to end the idea of poor people
Read 9 tweets
14 Jan
peep this terrible NYT piece on Shirley Chisholm from the 70s:

“... she is not beautiful. Her face is bony and angular, her nose wide and flat, her eyes small almost to beadiness, her neck and limbs scrawny. Her protruding teeth probably account in part for her notice able lisp” Image
i can’t stop thinking about it. Like wow she was running for president and you said yes to publishing this paragraph
part of the staunch defense of Black women politicians- regardless of their politics- probably comes from having to read nonsense like this about your sheroes all of your life
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
Biden: "This is not America."

Narrator: "It was America."
The United States is a country built on genocide, theft, and slavery. the spectacular and violent maintenance of white supremacy is exactly what america does, and denying that does not make it not true
and emphasis on the spectacular display of violence today. Most of America's violence is mundane and happens on the floor that was taken over by rioters
Read 4 tweets
6 Jan
exactly. also, lots of excitement for black women like Harris and Abrams who perhaps maintain u.s. electoral politics, capitalism and militarism, not as much excitement for the black women who threaten it, like Ilhan Omar and Cori Bush
the liberal negroes are magical, the critical ones are dangerous.
Notice that the Black women who are saying defund the police, medical for all, green new deal, campaign finance reform, and abolish ice are not that magical
Read 5 tweets
8 Dec 20
hi, some personal news— so grateful to write two books that I deeply believe in, for my city, for all of the protestors, organizers, and thinkers who make our liberation work possible, and for you, too.

so eager to learn what you think! Image
very thankful to my literary agent @AliaHanna and wonderful editor, @alessandra115 for making this project possible!
and tremendously thankful for so many of my political homes and comrades, most recently Belinda Hall, the Ferguson Collaborative @ActionSTL, @Dreamdefenders for trusting me as a thinker, lawyer and organizer
Read 6 tweets

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