Archive for the Spotlight Category

Mijiza’s Blog is Moving . . .

Posted in Awareness, NEWS, Spotlight with tags , on October 12, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Follow me to my new URL

http://mijizasblog2.blog.com

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Reclaiming Our Names Reclaims Our Identify

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, HISTORY, Spotlight with tags , , , on September 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Some ask, “What’s in a name?” The answer is, “Our identity.” Names signify one’s origin. Most African names have meaning and were traditionally given with that in mind. African names were a reflection of the child’s personality, heritage, or birth.

Colonial names have replaced traditional African names since the 1700’s. Countries, rivers, natural wonders, and kingdoms of Africa were routinely renamed by European colonizers. Even school children of Africa were renamed with ‘Christian’, English, German, or Spanish sir-names by colony, missionary teachers or baptisms. As a result of the slave trade, people of the African Diaspora were given the names of plantation owner’s as a sign of his ‘ownership’. After 300 years of slavery, the people of the African Diaspora no longer knew their forefathers’ names. Heritage records, family trees, and often even birth records were not kept on enslaved people. Records of heritage were maintained better on horses and dogs.

Since the 1960’s people of African descent have been returning to names of their forefathers. Of course for people of the African Diaspora, these are not actual family names, yet they serve as a link to lost family ties. Independence of African countries won:

  • Independence
  • Renaming of the country
  • Renaming of  her children
  • Renaming of  her landmarks

Many people understand the need to return to our natural names. Others do not. Some think it is a dishonor to our parents who named us. Consider it a gift of honor to our parents.  Honor for all those before us that had no real choice in the lost of family names. Consider it honoring our parents with names that reflect pride in our identity. Consider it a way of saying “thank you” to all those who came before us. This is my gift:

  • A bridge to our forefathers
  • Pride in our identity
  • Independence  of the effects of slavery

My identity is not reflected in Deborah Mazon. My identity is in Mijiza Zeyzey. I am part of the African Diaspora. I am reclaiming my identity. I am giving the gift of independence, pride, and gratitude to my family.

Dr. Danley makes empowerment for girls her life’s work

Posted in North America, Spotlight with tags , on September 10, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Austin Weekly News -Contributing writer: FINISHA O’QUINN

A double threat. A troublemaker. A black female. Dr. Lynette Danley proudly and unapologetically claims all three and encourages her sisters of color to do the same. Growing up in a middle-class family in the Austin neighborhood, she attended Howe Elementary and Currie High school. Her neighborhood was surrounded by drugs, prostitutes and gangs. While in grade school Danley’s father started using drugs and with his drug use came abuse.

“There were times when I would come home and there would be bullet holes in the ceiling from him trying to kill my mom,” she recalls. Her father would eventually be diagnosed with depression and mental illness and never again be declared sane.

Danley graduated second in her class from elementary school. Choosing Currie, because it was a performing arts school, she danced and sang, was in plays and cheerleading. She was doing it all to escape . . .

Dr. Danley makes empowerment for girls her life’s work.

A Tribute to the Displaced of New Orleans – Five Years Later

Posted in Awareness, Humanity, North America, Spotlight with tags , , , on August 22, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

On August 29, 2005, 18 to 25feet waves caused by Hurricane Katrina devastated the city of New Orleans. Before that day, New Orleans was a city with an unique culture. Like her native dish of gumbo, New Orleans developed her flavor from a blend of African, French, Spanish, Native American, Caribbean, and Acadian ancestry.

Known as ‘The Birthplace of Jazz’, a name she earned for her festivals, music, and swag. The rhythm of New Orleans was celebrated by local residents and tourist during:

  • Funerals
  • Mardi Gras
  • Satchmo Summer Fest
  • French Quarter Festival
  • Voodoo Music Experience
  • Live Music Clubs and Halls

Katrina was a category 5 hurricane. New Orleans was under a mandatory evacuation. About 1.3 million people lived in New Orleans, with 62.9% of African descent. Those with the means to transportation left the city; an estimated 150,000 remained. Those who remained lined up to weather the storm in the Louisiana Superdome. Stranded tourists went to the highest floors of their hotels. There was no federal or state aid to evacuate those who remained. For years before the hurricane, local officials had requested state aid to update the levies (similar to dams).

Five years after the massive evacuation over 100,000 people remain displaced. Hurricane Katrina destroyed more than 180,000 homes and much of the city’s infrastructure was destroyed. Up to 80% of New Orleans was underwater. Rebuilding has not created affordable homes for the displaced.

The lack of response to request to updated levies and the lack of evacuation aid for the poor, allowed a natural disaster to become a genocide attempt to the city. Much of New Orleans’ flavor has been ‘watered’ down. It has been a lost to the city.

Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts (MoCADA)

Posted in Awareness, CULTURE, Europe, Latin America, Mother Africa, North America, Oceania, South America, Southeastern Asia, Spotlight with tags , , on August 15, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

Do you know the Museum of Contemporary African Diasporan Arts, MoCADA? It is located at 80 Hanson Place, Brooklyn, New York. It was founded in 1999 by its Executive Director, Laurie Cumbo. Originally  located in Bedford-Stuyvesant, in 2006, with the help of a cultural affairs grant from New York City and private money, it relocated.

Its mission is to ‘rewrite history’ so to give an accurate account of the historical, artistic, and cultural contributions of people of African descent to the world. Due to the arrogance of racism many of these facts were never documented or celebrated as achievements of the descendants of Africa.

‘Ain’t I a Woman’, a group exhibit featuring paintings, videos, and works of mixed media is currently on display until December 19, 2010. Featured artists include:

  • Eric Alugas
  • Andrea Chung
  • Elizabeth Colomba
  • William Mwazi
  • Kenya (Robinson)
  • Phoenix Savage
  • Damali Abrams
  • Francis Simeni

The exhibit offers an insight on African Diasporan Women as they choose to be seen. Its name was borrowed from an 1885 speech given by Sojourner Truth. The exhibit is in keeping with her work as an activist to promote taking ownership of one’s image and identity.

For more details contact MoCADA

Photo Imagery: The Progression of Traditional African Story Telling

Posted in Awareness, Mother Africa, Spotlight with tags , , on August 14, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

A continent that has been the target of oppression is choosing to motivate. Through the imagery photography, artist are showing the world the culture and traditions that serve as a source of strength and at times as a tool of deferment.

Through photography the struggles and celebrations of life in Africa are seen by the world in a new light. Sometimes dark, sometimes colorful, Africa emerges from the affects of hundreds of years of victimization.

Oral story telling has progressed into visual story telling. The African story is now told through photo imagery of men and women, soldiers and children, politicians and religious figures.

EndMalaria.org: World Vision’s Campaign to End Malaria

Posted in Mother Africa, Our Health, Spotlight with tags , , , on August 6, 2010 by Mijiza Zeyzey

End Malaria is part of World Vision’s global effort to end preventable child deaths. Over 24,000 children under age 5 will die in a day from preventable diseases. A global movement of governments, businesses, non-governmental organizations (NGO’s), and average citizens are responding to make a difference.

There is a solution! Malaria prevention and treatment options include:

  • Distributing insecticide-treated bed nets
  • Educating communities
  • Managing the environment
  • Treating pregnant mothers
  • Providing anti-malaria drugs
  • Providing case management and referrals to patients

World Vision is asking for your help. Join the campaign to hold governments and world leaders to their promises to distribute these low- cost solutions.

via EndMalaria.org: World Vision’s Campaign to End Malaria.