Sunday Links - Remembering Ashlynn Mike, AIDS in the queer black community, & more
by Abaki Beck
News (and related resources) of the week:
This week, Ashlynn Mike, an eleven year old Navajo girl, was kidnapped and murdered in San Juan County, New Mexico. Ashlynn and her younger brother, Ian, were kidnapped after school on Monday. Ian was let free and escaped to safety. Ashlynn however was tragically murdered; her body was found on Tuesday morning. The suspect is Tom Begaye, a young man who is also Navajo. While investigations are underway, individuals throughout Indian Country are in mourning. A mural has also been painted in her honor near a train yard in Albuquerque, a prayer vigil was held in Upper Fruitland, and Native Americans throughout the country have worn red in her honor (color often associated with honoring and remembering murdered and missing indigenous women and girls).
Tragically, Native American women face physical and sexual violence at rates disgustingly above the national average. This epidemic has caused Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to implement a national inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women, and activism surges in Indian communities throughout Turtle Island.
Here are some resources to learn more about violence against Native women:
The Round House, a novel by Louise Erdrich Harper; Perennial, Reprint edition (September 24, 2013)
According to a recent CDC study, half of black gay and bisexual men in the U.S. are estimated to be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetimes. HIV disproportionately impacts the black community. In fact, though black people are about 14% of the U.S. population, they are nearly 44% of all HIV diagnosis. Additionally, about 25% of Latino gay men will be diagnosed with HIV. The CDC analyzed data from 2009 to 2013 of HIV and mortality rates, making this the most comprehensive study on HIV diagnoses yet. There are complicated reasons why black queer men are diagnosed with HIV at such high rates, but one thing is for sure: they are impacted by multiple intersecting oppressions - racism and homophobia.
Organizations throughout the country, such as the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, have organized and advocated for HIV prevention in communities of color. Here are a few resources on the impacts of structural racism on health more generally:
Why Racism is a Public Health Issue by Tara Culp-Ressler
Medical Apartheid: The Dark History of Medical Experimentation on Black Americans from Colonial Times to Present by Harriet A. Washington (pdf of full book, scroll down page slightly)
Before you head out, here are some more rad resources to check out this week!
Website of the Week:
Can You Not, a political action project trying to encourage straight white men from not running for political positions
Video of the Week:
“The Things I’m Afraid to Tell You” - Pine Ridge Youth Documentary Competition First Place Winner
Reading of the Week:
Speaking in Tongues: Letter to Third World Women Writers by Gloria Anzaldua (don’t forget to read our summary here!)
Pop Culture of the Week:
“No Thanks, America Ferrera - A Chicana Response to ‘Thank You, Donald Trump!’” by Adriana Maestas and Dolores Avila