Marching to Zion: My Pilgrimage to Israel  #BlackLivesMatterEverywhere! 

On August 6th I left NYC to travel to Israel for a conference and Holy Land pilgrimage led by a powerful sister named Mahalayah Goodman she wanted Black people from throughout the diaspora to come together to build spiritually during these hard times.

I have always wanted to visit Israel but I also know that the current political situation there is deeply unjust but while many progressive people focus on Palestinians hardly no attention is given to the racism Blacks who live in Israel face from the hands of Israelies and Palestinians. I knew before I went to Israel that I wanted to see how my people lived there, currently there are indigenous Black Palestinians who are unmixed, African immigrants and Black Hebrews who have lived in Israel for over 40 years.

I chose to go to a conference and pilgrimage planned and led by a Black woman living in Israel and our tour guide was a Bedouin man whose family lived in the Judean mountains since they immigrated to Israel in the 1800’s (since Israel has been conquered by various groups since ancient times many of the indigenous people are mixed and many people live there who may not necessarily be from there even if they aren’t White Israeli). We stayed in Tel Arad one of the most diverse towns in Israel and everywhere we went we saw Black folks: Sudanese, Hausa, Ugandan Jews and of course Ethiopians. Israel is a lot more diverse than people know since technically it’s in Africa, I would suggest viewing the documentary The Northeast African Deception for more information about what Blacks who are indigenous to Israel go through.

On our last day we visited Palestine which is home to the Cities of Jericho and Bethlehem and we learned first hand from Yonise our tour guide what Palestinians and non Whites go through. When we got to Jericho a Black Palestinian boy welcomed us with a big smile and shook our hand, I prayed for his protection and that the injustice he will face from both sides won’t steal his joy.

My group consisted of Brothers and Sisters from various parts of the U.S., London and Israel and we became a spiritual family. We prayed together and honored Mike Brown on the 1-year anniversary of his death during the conference where I closed with presentation on what the Black Woman and her children are facing across the globe we also honored the 5 Black women who died in police custody in July 2015.  Throughout the conference and the week  we discussed strategy and organizing for our people on every level spiritual and politically.

I was also able to get some much needed rest so this was like an extended Sabbath 😉.

We had a powerful time of prayer at the wall of the only temple remains from the period of Solomon in Tel Arad and these remains were discovered by a Black man. As we prayed we wailed for our people. At the river Jordan I remembered my enslaved ancestors who sung of being baptized in the Jordan and  was joined by brothers from the Akan tribe of Ghana who spoke of what would happen to those who enslaved us and talked about the slavery that happened right in Ghana!

Overall this was a life changing trip and I am inspired to uncover the hidden Black presence in Israel!

Check out my photo slide show from my trip:

https://flickr.com/photos/46579940@N04/sets/72157655008230573

A Cover Girl in Israel Work Sis!  

 An Indian Family gets Baptized in the Jordan River

This is Art??? Have a Piece of Venus Hottentot Cake for World Arts Day

A few months ago a grave spectacle of so-called art took place in Sweden where a cake of an African-American woman’s body (created by a biracial man) was cut by the Swedish minister of “culture”, while those in the room cheered and laughed. What is shocking about this is that the cake was created to look like a black face caricature of a Black woman and the cake was cut where the reproductive organs would be.  This cake is known as the “Venus Hottentot Cake”. Sarah “Saartjie” Baartman a slave became known as “Venus Hottentot” and was taken to Europe to have her body exhibited,  she was sometimes kept as an animal in a zoo and the cake looked like a caricature of her likeness. This  was not art but a barbaric reenactment of female genital mutilation and yet another example of how the Black woman’s womb is under attack. I have written about the high incidents of fibroids among Black women and though diet plays a great role in this health crisis stress, psycho-social and spiritual issues also play a role in reproductive heath. Though we may feel that all is well and that  we are seen as fully human a quick look around in the media, music and now contemporary art shows that the Black woman’s sexuality is still being used to sell everything and her womb is still being exploited. Sadly this art was created by an African-Swedish man who has made weak attempts to address the criticism of this art “exhibit” Dr. Claudette Carr wrote an Open Letter from African Women to the Minister of Culture: The Venus Hottentot Caketo address this travesty.

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Black Women and Fibroids; the Silent Epidemic that’s Screaming in our Community Part 3: The Role of Hair and Skincare Products

This blog was first published on Your Black World, written by Onleilove Alston.

Recently, a study in the American Journal of Epidemiology linking hair relaxers to fibroids in Black women was released and made its rounds on the internet, shedding light on the role that common habits can play in our health. Many of you may have read reports about the study but if you have not,  here is a summary of the findings: Scientist followed more than 23,000 pre-menopausal Black American women from 1997-2009 and found that the high rates of fibroids among black women could be connected to chemical exposure through scalp lesions and burns from hair relaxers(Blackdoctor.org).

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Black Women & Fibroids the Silent Epidemic that’s Screaming in our Community Part 2: Foods that can Cause Fibroids

See Part IOn Your Black World
In this second part of the series we will take a look at the role food may play in causing or aggravating fibroids. Just to review fibroids are smooth muscle cells that may grow in your uterus during childbearing years. Though fibroids are not cancer, they are still tumors and are quite common for African-American women. Many women do not realize they have them and though they can shrink after menopause they can hinder the ability to get pregnant. From What Are Fibroids

Some very common foods may contain substances that may lead to and increase growth of uterine fibroids. According to NutritionMD women who eat more than one serving of red meat a day have a 70% higher chance of developing fibroids. If you have fibroids limiting red meat will help you a great deal. The second culprit are foods and beverages that contain Methylxanthines a.k.a. coffees, teas and caffeinated sodas and chocolate that contains some caffeine. Carbs can also play a role in causing fibroids according to Dr. Christiane Northrup, cookies, breads and cakes, can alter the way that estrogen is metabolized and may increase your risk. Additionally, according to Nutrition MD eating a great deal of refined foods may also influence your weight if you do not get enough exercise because as women gain weight, their risk of fibroids increases.

And though must of us love happy hour alcohol can also play a role in causing fibroids because it is metabolized in the liver and may slow down the metabolism of estrogen, which leads to higher estrogen levels in the body, as noted by Tori Hudson, ND in the Townsend Letter for Doctors and Patients Online Magazine. The longer you have been drinking the higher this risk becomes. This may sound like discouraging news, what can you actually eat and will you have to kiss happy hour goodbye? Well the good news is there are healthy alternatives that can also help you deal with current fibroids or better yet prevent them from occurring. More After the Jump

Your Black World Series: Black Women & Fibroids the Silent Epidemic that’s Screaming in our Community

I was elated to be accepted as one of Dr. Boyce Watkins “Your Black World” bloggers a few weeks ago and decided to  do a series of post on Black women and fibroids. Please see my first post below:

Fibroids are more common in African-American women than in women of other racial groups. One study showed that fibroids are three times more common in African-American women than in Caucasian women. Additionally, fibroids tend to be larger and occur at an earlier age in African-Americans.” The Philadelphia Black Women’s Health Project

Instances of fibroids are of epidemic proportions among Black women and yet we are not hearing about this issue in our magazines, television shows or on our blogs. If left untreated or diagnosed too late fibroids can cause heavy and painful menstruation, painful sexual intercourse, urinary frequency, hinder pregnancy and may even lead to a hysterectomy. Black women develop fibroids earlier than their white counterparts and have more sever symptoms. While many feminist groups cry out for reproductive health this issue is ignored, could it be because it affects Black women at disproportionate rates? Like most of America the healthcare system is infected with racism, which means that conditions that affect the Black community are ignored and so like so most issues we have to take matters into our own hands. More After the Jump