Blackness Without Borders: Global Caribbean Solidarity for Haitians

Today, Danticat along with another U.S.-based Caribbean writer Junot Diaz are calling for protests, including travel boycotts against the deportations of residents of Haitian descent. For the Dominican-born Diaz, the blame lies in the “indifference to racial and political tensions” that exploit and dehumanize Haitian migrants, “who are attempting to save themselves from the ruin inflicted by other people.”

I am struck by the way that injustice is legislated. Whether we speak of the Holocaust, Apartheid or Jim Crow, legality has been used as a political construct that validates human rights abuses and absolves lawmakers of the moral depravity of their actions.

Creation of nation states are always accompanied by a hierarchy of personhood and one that is not exclusive to the Caribbean. With Canada and the United States both finding migrant workers fit to produce the bulk of the food supplies, even recently bringing in dozens of Mexican firefighters to Edmonton, Alberta to help battle wildfires in northern Alberta, but without affording any of the rights and protections given to a citizen.

Read more at Telesur

Latina Magazine: Creating New Representations of Love

Why is this mini-series so important, and revolutionary, for you, and for black youth, including Afro-Latinxs?

Kim: I grew up with diverse examples of love. My grandmother is Venezuelan, and my grandfather is Indian. When I moved from Trinidad to Canada, I was struck by how white the media representations were. The same is true here in the U.S. And, as Dominican-American author Junot Diaz said, the way to make human beings feel like monsters is to deny them any representation of themselves. If we don’t see ourselves, we begin to feel like we don’t belong, like the love we imagine for ourselves doesn’t exist. We wanted to be that model, and show that there are loving relationships. - via Latina Magazine

Sista Ink Magazine: SATE Interview

Our feature SATE is in good company with a history of powerful and eclectic artists who are 'formerly known as'. Reinvention takes guts, something she has in abundance. It seems so fitting that this come with her new release. I remember the first time I saw her on stage as part of Manifesto, Canada's largest hip-hop festival.

Read more via Sista Ink

Stigma And Silence: Black Canadians And The Fight For Mental Health Awareness

"For African, Caribbean and black (ACB) Canadians, the struggle for mental health is often a silent one. With misunderstandings within the community around what mental illness means and barriers that prevent individuals from accessing help or safe spaces, dealing with depression, anxiety and other disorders becomes challenging and complicated... Yoga is about developing union between your body and breath, which can help immediately reduce anxiety as well as be a long-term solution for coping with mental and physical stress." via Huffington Post

How Yoga Can Help With Anxiety

"You know your body and your needs better than anyone else, your comfort and safety is most important," [Kim] notes. "Yoga doesn’t require specialized clothing or any particular body type, so it is important to find a place that allows you to feel welcome."

In the video above, Milan takes us through eight steps on how to refocus anxious feelings toward relaxation. These easy-to-follow moves can help the next time you're feeling anxious or depressed — or can even work as preventative measures. - via Huffington Post

Inside The Kaleidoscope: Kaleidoscope A Toolkit & Resource Guide Created by Members of Two-Spirit, Trans, & Queer Communities

This toolkit is a revision of an original toolkit that was created by The People Project. It serves as an accompaniment to a workshop we used to deliver with diverse members of our community who had shared their lived experiences and wisdom with youth service providers in Toronto. This helped to create more positive space for Queer, Trans*, 2 Spirit & Kaleidoscope people.

As our community and our work evolved, we recognized that the toolkit needed to as well. Kiley May said it best in her explanation of the term Kaleidoscope:

“I got the idea after becoming frustrated with the limitations of the spectrum concept. We do not have to position ourselves within this model, it’s not adequate or sufficient enough to accommodate our fluid identities and desires. When you hold a kaleidoscope up to the light, that’s how I envision and conceive of our sexual and gendered beings: without borders nor ceilings nor floors, it is energy and light, multifaceted, iridescent, full of potential and possibilities.”

This version speaks volumes to our diversity and multiplicity. We have made this resource to help guide would-be allies as well as to deepen the knowledge of those who are a part of the Kaleidoscope community. And just as before, over time it will also transition and grow as we do. 

Living Color: Love is Revolutionary When You're Black & Transgender


Yet, when the conversation shifts from Hollywood to real people, the statistics for the community; which the National Center for Transgender Equality (NCTE) places at ¼ to 1% of the population, there becomes little to celebrate—especially if you happen to be black and transgender. 

In a 2008 study entitled: Injustice at Every Turn, NCTE teamed up with the National LGBTQ Task Force and the National Black Justice Coalitiondistributed the findings, and they were bleak. 


Despite these stark statistics experienced by the black transgender community there are so many beautiful stories that don't bubble to the surface. The 'Love is Revolutionary' series seeks to highlight the love stories of black transgender couples and discuss why for them, loving OUT loud as proud transgender and queer black people is a revolutionary act. 

We see mostly about the black transgender community are devastating headlines and data that would have us believe that love doesn't reside here. We believe what we see, so in an effort to expand the narrative around the black transgender community we interviewed three couples who did us the great honor of sharing their love: Activists, models, artists, parents, husbands and wives, these couples help us paint a new picture of possibility—and it looks revolutionary.

Exhibit B 'human zoo' sparks art and censorship controversy

According to the artist, "Exhibit B" is meant as a nod to the so-called "Human Zoos" which are an actual artifact of colonial history. But in the present day, "Exhibit B" has drawn a huge amount of protest. When a London institution, the Barbican, planned to show it last year, it ended up canceling because of protests.

The Canadian arts festival, Luminato, in Toronto, considered bringing "Exhibit B" to Canada... but decided against it. Instead it will convene a meeting later this week to discuss "Exhibit B" and the issues it raises.

Listen via CBC The Current

Queer artist Kim Katrin Milan on Jean-Michel Basquiat


Queer artist Kim Katrin Milan on Jean-Michel Basquiat Transcript

(White and black text on a blue and white background: Daily Xtra)

-pale skinned person with very short dark brown hair, wearing a dark brown sweater appears on screen-

"Hi, this is Frank Prendergrast and I am here today with Kim Katrin Milan. Kim...thank you to being with us."

-light brown skinned person with long black loosely curly hair, wearing a white top with black markings and text on it-

Kim: " Thank you for having me."

Frank: "Now you're here in Toronto, interestingly enough looking at the life and the art, of a New York-based artist; Basquiat. So you obviously have a very personal connection.. Um, what is that connection? What draws you to his character and to his work?"

Kim: "Um, for me I think, I was someone who also, you know lived on the street. I was someone who really came up very much on my own. I wasn't someone who was educated in Fine Art institutions to become an artist. You know he was someone who really created his own legacy...created the space for him to come up as an artist. Um, and was talking about these ideas of race and class and gender in his work. Um, and I really identify with that. I identify with the ways in which he creates a space to bring street-based work into institutions. 

I like to think that the work that I do is about bringing the hood into the institutions that also get to invite me there."

Frank: " It's interesting because, uh, a lot of his work focused on heros and he became one."

Kim: "Uh-huh. I think, its interesting because one of the ways in which I think a lot of young black people came out of their hoods is because they became heroes. They became commodical in some capacity. Whether it is through art or music or sports, but that's some of the only avenues that people can have to kind of change their situations in life and I think that he talked a lot about that. What does that mean to make himself a king; to believe that he believes to be famous when the rest of the world was telling him that his art deserved to be on the street or that it didn't make sense or that it actually didn't have that kind of value. And I think that as a black artist you really have to have a really powerful sense of self to propel you to go forth and do that work. Recognizing that there are a lot of barriers out there.

Frank: "Um, he's also embraced by another community that faces barriers. Uh, the queer community. Do you think his being claimed by the queer community makes sense?"

Kim: "I think definitely. I think that the intersections between queer people and trans people and social justice work and art has been so pronounced and prevalent you know? In the context of the #BlackLivesMatter movement right now; the creator of the #BlackLivesMatter hashtag is a black gay man, Darnell Moore, you know? And queer black women who have been primarily involved in the organizing that's been led in Ferguson. So I think that, the claiming of queerness in social justice; I think those are really just wrapped into each other already."

Frank: "What about hims personally coz he never came out as bisexual... Did he ever come out as bisexual?"

Kim: "I don't know that he very explicitly said that, but I think that there are lots of people who um, reflected his relationships and said that they were like that. And I think he had a variety of different kinds of relationships. And I think that that's one of the things that's difficult, that is difficult and also beautiful about the word "queer", because queer is not just about your sexual orientation. Its also about culture. And that's why I think that it's not about whether we can verify if he's been with enough guys to call him bisexual. Or if he's been know its just like let's not get caught up in those kinds of things. But culturally I think so much of what he's creating is very, very queer. A lot of the conversations he's having where things were happening within queer communities. So it definitely stands to reason he was part and parcel of that community."

Frank: "Can someone be queer by association? I mean you look at Andy Warhol and Keith Herring... Because he...was in that group? Does that make someone queer or not queer?"

Kim: "I dunno that it makes someone...I don't, I don't think that you can make someone anything that they don't identify as. But I do think that people can participate in queer community, in queer culture, without necessarily having to identify that; especially considering the context that people weren't necessarily able to come out in the same way."

Frank: "This may be a hard question and maybe you can't answer it, but do you think that he would call himself a queer person now, if...?"

Kim: "I don't know that we could ever know that. I feel like we can never...its like a different language and a different cultural context. So he might now ever use that word at all. And I think that's one of the things that we end up doing hindsight. Right? Like, the hero-making that happened to him, happened after him. You know? He talked about, when he made his art, he was like, "I was actually kind of a horrible person. I would...I did a lot of drugs and I was bad to a lot of people" you know? But we also recognized that the contributions he made have been invaluable and we have found a way of like elevating that to that status. 

So I think that there is a kind of culture-making that happens after our artist passes, where we fill in all these other gaps, you know? This happened with Langston Hughes, who was also queer and also in a lot of ways and he was gay but he wasn't having an open dialogue and discourse about that and that's something that we culturally and community-wise have filled in a little bit of these gaps afterwards. Part of it I'm sure is imagination. You know I know people, we all fit ourselves into other people's realities. And that happens, that absolutely happens, but I do also think that um, Langston Hughes, he wrote a lot his poems it was a lot of like messages that were only really able to be recognized by other people who were queer. I think similarly in Basquiat's work there is a certain kind of resonance that feels very queer and I think that whether or not we can palpably touch it or name it I think that the resonation within our community is valid and real."

Frank: "Well, thank you so much for being here."

Kim: "Thank you so much for having me. It was so awesome. It's a pleasure. Thank you."

(White and black text on a blue and white background respectively, which reads DAILY XTRA)

Filming with MTV for 'The Talk'

The launch of “The Talk” brought Look Different to over one million actions taken as part of the campaign, and led to the second highest traffic day in the campaign’s history. We also had a number of incredible responses from the audience, from sharing their personal stories to thanking MTV for opening up this conversation, and some terrific press, including the Associated Press and NY Times (link below), Huffington Post (MTV Takes a Bold and Powerful Approach to Discuss Race on MLK Day), Mic (MTV Exposes a Huge Problem With How We Talk About Race in America), USA Today (A first: 12 hours of MTV in black and white), The Guardian (MTV to broadcast in black and white to promote conversation about race), and over a hundred more. 

Interdependent Media


Video Transcript

Kim: (sitting in front of a table, wearing a white long-sleeved off-the-shoulder sweater with long golden brown and multi-colored yarn braids which are half tied up and half loose over her shoulders) 
Hi, my name is Kim Katrin Milan. And I have been working as a grassroots community educator since I was 17 years old. That was the very first time I started doing this work and I continued to do this work through an alternative arts organization called the People Project; I continued to do this work as a speaker 
(shows Kim on a panel in front of an audience underneath a white screen, gesturing while speaking)
who tours around North America speaking in conferences and Universities.  
(Shows Kim seated on a couch in a denim crop top with dark brown and white yarn braids working on her laptop) 
And I continued to do this work as a public researcher sharing information through facebook 
(shot of a screen shot of social media selfie with a pale skinned and brown skinned femme presenting person smiling side by side) 
social media as well as through prezis 
(screen shot of prezi with green background and multi-colored text)- 
and all sorts of other interesting and new media ways. 
(Shot of white chart detailing Kim's politicking with multi-colored text and illustrations). 

(Back to Kim sitting in front of the table)
I have been working in arts education for little over a decade. Um really beginning my work when I was 17 in alternative education. I've always been really interested in creating alternative opportunities for people to learn. I've never understood how school could fail people. I've never understood how individuals could be bad at learning. I always thought -and I think that had a lot to do with growing ip as a librarian's daughter- is that if someone is really struggling with their ability to lean its really up to us to shift the way in which they're being taught. To create other opportunities for people to access that information, to repeat ourselves. To share it in ways that are really visual or tactile and have really, really great image descriptions or have really, really great closed captioning.

And I have found in doing this work all over the world and getting to travel to different universities all across North America to speak to people, is that this kind of education, it really resonates in communities and it makes people feel really whole. And that is so important. So often the kind of education that we have because of the way that if measures us, because of the way that we are tested, we don't end up feeling strong, empowered and liberated from learning. And I really wanted to be able to share an experience of learning with as many people as possible, that felt like that.

So several years ago I made a commitment to share everything I learn. And so I want your support 
(shots of facebook posts on Kim's timeline, collage selfies from keynotes)
to continue to do that. And for me that's what interdependent media is. It means that I need the support of my community in order to continue to grow this type of media, one, in the way that I do it on social media, so through facebook, through over 11 different blogs on tumbler, on twitter, on instagram, but also through over 65 prexis show casing hundreds of thousands of human rights issues from around the world. Right now I reach out to an audience of about 100 000 people 
(shot of a facebook photograph, image of Kim in a colorful dress addressing a large crowd at this years Pride)
over the course of any given week and that can only grow.

And from the things that I've been hearing from all of you that this has been more transformative (a white chart with multiple brands and logos shown, a quote about Kim's brilliance from Michelle Yee, the Grid)
to you than any of the time you spent in university, I know that this kind of learning is going to continue to change the world because it already has. 
(Back to Kim sitting in front of the table)
So I'm looking for your support in becoming a member. It would literally take a dollar a month to really be able to invest in this and continue to make it accessible both for yourself and other people. Being a member means that you get to have a direct line to let me know what you really wanna know about. It means that, I'm gonna let you know when I'm doing things like online webinars. It means I'm gonna let you know when I'm doing online prezis. It means that you get to support something that is literally transforming your community landscape and is actually making sure that you get access to information that is really changing this world. So I hope that you will continue to invest in me in all the ways that you have and continue to grow that support. Thank you.
(Image of two pale skinned people holding up a yellow placard, image of Kim addressing a crowd, image of a brown skinned femme presenting person pointing at a photograph of Kim, image of Kim pictured with Janet Mock and Kim's hubby Tiq Milan)

So come on over to the website and lend your support at Kim Katrin Milan dot com.

(Screen fades to black with white text on it which reads: