Now in its eleventh day, there has only just begun to be reports and discussion about the occupation of Wall Street in mainstream media. The reasons are related not to the organizational efforts of the occupiers or their lack of conviction or numbers, but to the relationship between our channels of information, our business and corporate sector and our politically empowered. This begs the question of if instead of Wall Street, the occupiers were gathered in Tehran or Sana, would the news of their demands and challenge of the status quo be included in our mainstream news headlines? The answer is yes. Although the American media did not create the protests or uprisings that comprised The Arab Spring, their attention to the social unrest in the Middle East undoubtedly stoked the determination and numbers of those participating in the protests that irrevocably changed the social and political landscape of the region. It is therefore the responsibility of critical and compassionate thinkers to spread the words and actions of the occupiers – most of whom are college age or in their early twenties and thus the future of the American economy and social fabric.
Last week, I had the privilege of reading from my novel, Hold Love Strong, at Pete’s Candystore, a great venue in Brooklyn, a few blocks from 334 Manhattan Avenue, where once I lived in the middle of a friend’s apartment and often climbed the fire escape to the roof where I began to piece my life back together; or rather, began the process of reflection and self-possession necessary for living a full and meaningful life. After I read, Nadia and I had the chance to speak with Mira Jacobs, one of the curators of the event and a mother to a one-and-a-half-year-old son, Zakir, a name that means remembering and/or grateful. Talking about new motherhood, pregnancy, and childbirth, Nadia repeated a phrase a friend had recently said to her, and although she meant it in reference to having a baby, it is, I think, at the very core to the solutions of our present social and political problems, and thus what we — those of us who wish for a peaceful, humane world if not for ourselves then for our children — must do and anchor ourselves to in order for there to be the chance for the world we can imagine, the world we deserve.
“Be ready,” she said, “for overwhelming joy.”
I met my wife Nadia when we were twelve, and although I’d like to say that our relationship has been that frog and princess story we all love, life is never so perfectly simple. Thus, the fact that we are married means we have accepted the responsibilities and overcome the institutionalized social constructions that pervade our greater world, and more intimately my Jewish and her African American culture. Some of these social constructions are positive forces in our lives, and some we have mastered or manipulated and made such. Of course, there are also those that continue to serve to do nothing more than tear us down and apart and we have to find a way to overcome despite the fact that we were infected with a degree of first love syndrome that has thus far proven to be eternal, and the more days we share a life together, vital; at least, that is, for me. What I am talking about is race, and racism, and what it means to be an interracial, intercultural couple on the cusp of parenthood in Brooklyn, New York in the year 2010.