Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fight for Sara Kruzan's Freedom... She speaks the unjust story of many

"We've got to start respecting life yo" -Common

There are approximately 225 juveniles in California serving a life without parole sentence. California has the worst racial disparity rate in the nation for sentencing juveniles to life without parole. Black youth are given this sentence at 22 times the rate of white youth. A number of California cases have recently been highlighted in the media due to the background of the juveniles who received the sentences, and the circumstances surrounding their crimes. One such case involves Sara Kruzan, now 28. She was raised in Riverside by her abusive, drug-addicted mother. Sara met her father only three times in her life because he was in prison. Since the age of 9, Sara suffered from severe depression for which she was hospitalized several times. At the age of 11, she met a 31-year-old man named G.G. who molested her and began grooming her to become a prostitute. At age 13, she began working as a child prostitute for G.G. and was repeatedly molested by him. At age 16, Sara was convicted of killing him. She was sentenced to prison for the rest of her life despite her background and a finding by the California Youth Authority that she was amendable to treatment offered in the juvenile system. (See video of Sara Kruzan). “Life without parole means absolutely no opportunity for release,” said Senator Yee. (of California) “It also means minors are often left without access to programs and rehabilitative services while in prison. This sentence was created for the worst of criminals that have no possibility of reform and it is not a humane way to handle children. While the crimes they committed caused undeniable suffering, these youth offenders are not the worst of the worst.” “As a society we’ve learned a lot since the time we started using life without parole for children,” said Elizabeth Calvin, a children’s rights advocate with Human Rights Watch. “We now know that this sentence provides no deterrent effect. While children who commit serious crimes should be held accountable, public safety can be protected without subjecting youth to the harshest prison sentence possible.”

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The World is Saddened - R.I.P Michael Jackson

Many have spent ions attempting to perfect that moves, the sounds, and the swagger that Michael Jackson projected so naturally. Michael's spirit will be remembered for his contributions to the music world but he will also continue to be remembered for the way he complicated understandings of race on the national and international spectrum. 

As onlookers into the life of Michael Jackson, we saw a black man rise to stardom like none other and also simultaneously witness his interactions with race, particularly his own blackness, and the complexity that comes with being a black person in a white world. 

As Michael's physical appearance changed over years, Michael continued to complicate his image with song like "They Don't Care About Us" which showed that inside he was well aware of his black positionality and what that meant to the world. The music video for the song outlined a view that represented understandings of oppression that were complex and deep, from child famine to the abuses experiences by the prison industrial complex, ultimately illustrating the worlds war against people of color. The imagery of the black prisoner, societies scapegoat and phobogenic object, as the main image invoking thought throughout the video is brilliant to say the least. As a mainstream artist, Michael took it there, to say and show that the black prisoner subjectivity is a product of continual racialized oppression and not a factor as we have all been led to believe of unbiased justice.

I would push to argue that Michael is the biggest star the world has ever known, and in a world of anti-blackness who would have ever conceived that to be of the little boy from Gary, Indiana with the big voice and charisma. 

Rest in Power Michael Joseph Jackson the world mourns you (August 29, 1958 – June 25, 2009)

Sunday, May 24, 2009

The Complex©ity Begins

Life is a big candid camera, you never know when you might catch a real shot. To be glamorous is to be you, and to be raw is to be you, it is never a product of the contrived. Our states of being are mirrors of our world. We live within it and do not exist without it. Our search for originality only brings us back to an existence that already has a connotative meaning. 

Complex©ity (ComplexeVille the literal French translation) highlights aspects of subset worlds that give the dominate world its meaning. The proper recognition is never giving to the subaltern but this blog is designed to give space to those who make this world such a non-normative complex and beautiful place.

R.I.P - Ms. Octavia St. Laurent Mizrahi