Heather L. Barmore
No Pasa Nada Heather Barmore Elsewhere About
Heather L. Barmore
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Heather Barmore
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    Change In Action at Babble Voices



    "I would hurl words into this darkness and wait for an echo, and if an echo sounded, no matter how faintly, I would send other words to tell, to march, to fight, to create a sense of hunger for life that gnaws in us all." ~Richard Wright

    My writing ebbs and flows. I took the month of March off in order to get adjusted to a new job (I got a new job! I'm moving! I'm doing something other than watching HBO On Demand!). I'm currently working on pitches for April because I realized that when I'm not writing I feel lost. It has nothing to do with the quality and content of my full time job but if I'm not working on an essay then I feel out of sorts. I also must admit to the brief high of having the president of NARAL tell me that she enjoyed my work. Like...WHAT? NO. I'm supposed to compliment you! Not the other way around. But, that is what happened one evening in the District of Columbia. It thrilled me to the core and yet I knew that I needed to focus on one thing and one thing only which was not writing for others but writing for a position I fought for.

    Anyway, in due time there will be a website update. Cobwebs will be removed from this space, the light will begin to filter in once again. I have found what makes me happy and what I am good at. Finding the latter made the former that much more significant. If you are curious, here is what I've been up to. Spilling my guts across the Internet including in THE GUARDIAN...which...will never not make my heart beat with joy and pride because I did. I fucking did it. I AM a writer.

    Patricia Arquette Wants Peole of Color to Fight for Women. What Have I been doing?

    "As a black woman, I cannot segregate one part of my identity from the other; those who discriminate against me don’t separate out their racism from their sexism from their homophobia. I am a woman, but I am a black, bisexual woman; those things operate together to disprivilege me. Ending discrimination against white women doesn’t end discrimination for me; history has show us instead that it can actually make the unique discrimination I experience as a black woman – not simply a black person – worse."


    NO, You're Life Doesn't Have More "Value" Because You Have Kids

    "Would you like to know why I don't have children? Because kids are work. There are plenty of other reasons such as "preparedness" and the fact I can barely get myself up and out of the door each morning, let alone another human being. Then there's the whole permanent nature of children and, oh yeah, they are people. People with needs and feelings which leads me back to that whole notion of work. I'd rather just sit here and watch this terrible movie that I have seen 900 times and drink this wine. Enjoy dealing with another person's bodily fluids!"


    Selma through my father's eyes: 'What did these people die for?'

    "If you were to meet my father, you would notice that he is quick to sarcasm, perhaps even a bit caustic. You’ll also notice me, his only daughter, quick to jab him in the side at the first sign of something inappropriate. My relationship with my father hasn’t been one without its strife; he’s gruff and closed off. When angry, he becomes dismissive and walks away. I also love him more than anything. But the ways in which we approach life – me, with my writer mentality, wanting to know the entire story, and him, with his “why must we discuss this? It’s in the past!” demeanor – have made for an intense relationship."


    Status Update: Dear White People, it's OK to talk about Ferguson. Isn't it on your mind?

    "So, when I demanded to know why my white friends weren’t posting en masse about Ferguson, they told me they fear dipping a toe into any conversation on race. They admitted that when they do speak up, they’re told to back down; that they’re told they don’t know what they’re talking about; that they’re accused of tone-policing; that they cannot comprehend the black experience. My white Facebook friends said that they’re told they know nothing, that they’re reluctant because of the potential backlash from their white friends."


    I Discovered I Loved Women (And Myself) At Girl Scout Camp

    "From September to June, I admired (and attempted to approach) the boys in my grade and was quickly rebuffed. It seemed I wasn’t good enough, pretty enough, popular enough for them. I simply wasn’t enough at all. Come July, I officially switched to the other team, so to speak. Nothing serious, mind you, just casual flirtation and a willingness to be open and affectionate with women."


    Play it Again

    "My idea is that there is music in the air, music all around us; the world is full of it, and you simply take as much as you require." ~Edward Elgar

    I am a creature of habit. I like my stuff where it is and my routine and knowing what happens next. There is more to this but let’s leave it there for now. Anyway,even my music is repetitive. I listen to the same playlists for each time of the day beginning with a Morning Acoustic mix with my coffee to my Getting Through The Day mix featuring the sultry sounds of Common when I need a pick me up. It was recently noticed that I have something for every move, mood, activity and time of day. Which is true. The closest I have ever been to professing my love for song -especially a good band - is that time I played the clarinet and made first chair and spent the rest of my junior year of high school convinced that I would make it to an orchestra pit on Broadway. It did not happen and no, there is still not time. But I love music. I truly do. Beyond the words it’s the way it makes me feel moved or, at times, lack thereof. Music has been known to make me feel even when I’d rather not. Interestingly enough I’m not a live music person. I go to one live show a year which is a Jazz festival in Saratoga. Last year I made my dad and brothers, reluctantly, dance to Earth, Wind and Fire. Music remains deeply personal and something that I enjoy the experience of by myself. Which is the theme of my life but, again, we can discuss that later.

    I’m normally reluctant to share my musical preferences because sometimes it’s straight up terrible but in this case I will make an exception. These are the songs that are always in my head and often on repeat. These are the songs that make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and sometimes I pretend I’m conducting to Kenny Loggins. We all have our weird things:


    #BlackLivesMatter but What Comes Next?


    I marched twice this weekend. The first day was Friday at a faith-based event protesting the killing of young black men. New York City on a Friday evening in December. The cold quickly set in and I walked back and forth, taking steps to keep myself warm in front of City Hall. The small group then walked a few blocks to One Police Plaza and proceeded to circle around NYPD headquarters not once but seven times. On the Saturday, a much milder day, my friend Kristen and I managed to catch up to the 50,000+ crowd as they moved with fluidity down Broadway. Further downtown until, once again, getting to One Police Plaza before they moved onto the Brooklyn Bridge.

    What happens next? I thought as we left downtown for midtown Manhattan. Not once the crowd crosses into Brooklyn but where does this movement, this protest, this pervasive anger go after the weekend? So, we marched until our feet grew tired and we chanted until our throats were sore but then what? We cannot simply rest because it’s no longer a trending topic but…what? Jamelle Bouie made this point in Slate. My exact line - but far better written -  of thinking over the past four days:

    “With protests across the country and endorsements from major figures in American society, “Black Lives Matter” might be the most significant youth movement in recent history. But right now—and not unlike its contemporary, Occupy Wall Street—it reads as just an exercise in catharsis, a declaration of dignity and a plea for humanity. This isn’t a bad thing, but it isn’t a strategy. Not only could “Black Lives Matter” shift attitudes on criminal justice and force a needed conversation about police culture and police violence, it could create political space for changes to law and policy.”

    Non-violent protest isn’t enough nor is simply acknowledging the systemic and long-standing issues between communities of color and the police. We know that these issues exist and while we join hands to say, ‘enough is enough’, there needs to be that push towards engagement. A shift in policy. A mention in a party platform. I wish that true change simply came from feet on the streets. I truly do. I managed to miss that both houses of Congress passed a bill to address police killings but that isn’t enough and I hope that upon learning so we - the collective ‘we’ that sees this injustice and knows that there is more to be done - doesn’t stop simply because of one bill. No. This is only the first of many steps that need to be taken.

    Please don’t think that I have anything to suggest even though I think that something more needs to be done. Though, a quick digression; a week or so ago I did a TEDx talk on political engagement and at the end our MC asked me what people can do in order to stay involved and motivated - what makes lobbying effective? I, in all of my anxiety and nervousness answered that lobbying requires the ability to be a pain in the ass. Lobbying is putting that ‘can’t stop, won’t stop’ mentality into practice. It’s showing up even when the legislator thinks that you should give up. It’s knocking on a legislator’s door, making that phone call until you see movement. It’s what I always suggest, of this I am aware but keep being that thorn in your legislator’s side. Phone calls, letters, just saying ‘hello’ at a community event; these acts make a difference. They show the person you are trying to convince that someone does care.

    I’ll end with this - and I am scattered today, for which I apologize - a quick word on Grand Juries. Though I have never been to law school I do know that Grand Juries are a cross section of the communities where they serve. If a lack of education or social standards in these communities leads to inexplicable outcomes then that is on society. It’s on us. It goes back to the old ‘you can lead a horse to water but you can’t make them drink’.

    We are part of the problem. Until we hold ourselves and our respective communities to a higher standard then this will go on and on. We’ll still be marching come summer.