“I think that for a culture to really speak the power of its truth, there are artists who have to produce that truth. And I firmly believe that truth blooms through concrete. You can pave it over, you can bomb it out of existence, but somehow, it manages to manifest.”

“I’ve been black 24-7 — all day, every day, seven days a week, 12 months a year. So there’s been a lot of contention for me around a single month. But boy, without this month (laughter)? At least it serves as a kind of reminder, but it shouldn’t have to be a reminder. This history is American history, it is world history, and in a minute, it’s gonna be intergalactic history…”
– Daphne Muse, writer, educator, Civil Rights Activist. Check out sfgate.com to read interview.

***ANNOUNCEMENT: CORRECTIONS FOR CALENDAR: March 8 “Speaking Fierce” event is at the FIRST CONGREGATIONAL CHURCH. 2501 Harrison St, Oakland, NOT the Humanist Hall. Also, the FACES and KPFA events are FEB 17, not FEB 14.***

Happy February and Black History Month!

Browsing through the SF Chronicle a few days ago, felt blessed to glean some wisdom from this elder, Daphne Muse. I found myself reflecting on all that we have to learn from the Civil Rights movement; and the shared histories of African Americans and Filipino Americans…Our struggles for freedom and dignity. The division within our communities, and the solidarity. I thought about the Black “Buffalo Soldiers” who were sent to fight on behalf of the USA against Filipinos during the Filipino-American War, and many of whom “defected” to fight on the Filipino side against the US imperial forces. (Scroll down for some info/background.)

I think about the Afro-Filipino musician, Joe Bataan, whose songs, “Afro-Filipino” and “Gypsy Woman” have become indelible on the American musical landscape… Check out http://www.joebataan.net

And I think of all of the Black women, both living and passed, who inspire me as a writer and an educator: Audre Lorde, June Jordan, bell hooks, Maya Angelou, Toni Morrison.

Let’s take a moment to consider what Daphne Muse points to so rightfully: why do we need a Black History Month? A Filipino History Month? Would we otherwise forget all of the bloodshed, the accomplishments, the ongoing struggles? But since it’s there as a “reminder”…let’s shout it out. Let’s take a moment to learn. And let’s make history turn on its head.

This Spring is going to be abundant! So be sure to visit the new CALENDAR. Some highlights: the launch of the SPRING SERIES of MAKING SOUL including a WOMEN OF COLOR workshop on March 11. Sign up today for the 1-day intensives or the full 8-week series: check out “words/work” and “workshops” for full details. Also, there are a couple of new photos up from the Oct 1st “Pagbabalik” show!

Keep letting your “truth bloom through concrete.”


“Following the Treaty of Paris, which ended the Spanish American War in December of 1898, the United States took control of the former Spanish colonies of Puerto Rico, Guam, and the Philippines. Companies from the segregated Black infantry regiments reported to the Presidio of San Francisco on their way to the Philippines in early1899. Filipino nationalists (Insurectos) led by Emilio Aguinaldo resisted the idea of American domination and began attacking U.S. troops, including the 24th and 25th Infantry regiments. The 9th and 10th Cavalry were sent to the Philippines as reinforcements, bringing all four Black regiments plus African American national guardsmen into the war against the Insurectos. Within the Black community in the United States there was considerable opposition to intervention in the Philippines. Many Black newspaper articles and leaders supported the idea of Filipino independence and felt that it was wrong for the United States to subjugate non-whites in the development of what was perceived to be the beginnings of a colonial empire….” (http://www.nps.gov/archive/prsf/history/buffalo_soldiers/philippine_war.htm)