Repost from @instrumentsofmemory:

From Claudia Rankine’s Citizen: An American Lyric:

‘Perhaps each sigh is drawn into existence to pull in, pull under, who knows; truth be told, you could no more control those sighs than that which brings the sighs about.
The sigh is the pathway to breath; it allows breathing. That’s just self-preservation. No one fabricates that. You sit down, you sigh. You stand up, you sigh. The sighing is a worrying exhale of an ache. You wouldn’t call it an illness; still it is not the iteration of a free being.’

‘The Injured Body’ weaves together an alternative narrative strand told through dance and movement, mostly choreographed by Mariko Yamada. Since prejudice is largely a matter of reading bodies in particular ways and racism is received by and carried in the body, dance is the perfect medium to underline and explore the personal stories shared in the film.

Film stills with Mariko Yamada, Joyce Edwards, Nanako Horikawa, Andrea Vazquez-Aguirre Kaufmann, Cloria Iampretty, Sraddha Prativadi, Sejal Shah, María José Rodríguez-Torrado, Alaina Olivieri, Rosalie M. Jones, and Andrew David
Photography by Mara Ahmed @mara__ahmed

Mariko Yamada and Joyce Edwards. Photo by Mara Ahmed


Repost from @instrumentsofmemory:

Claudia Rankine in ‘Citizen: An American Lyric’:
‘Yes, and the body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is a threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness—all the unintimidated, unblinking, and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through…’

The women interviewed for ‘The Injured Body’ share stories of micro-aggressions and parse their cumulative effect on the mind and body, but they also describe their visions for a world without racism or violence. This is a crucial part of the film, as imagining a better world is an important step towards achieving it.

In order to include a diversity of voices, we interviewed women one-on-one but also in groups, where the conversation was more fluid and informal. Here are some of our panelists.

Luticha A Doucette, Marcella Davis, Khadija Mehter, Muna Lisa, Yogi Indrani, Pamela Kim, Tianna Mañón, Mercedes Phelan, and Erica Bryant
All photography by Erica Jae (see all photos on IG)

Luticha Doucette. Photo by Erica Jae

let’s build with integrity

friends, i know that people are sharing posts quickly and passionately in order to get information out there and support the uprising, but could we pls use the appropriate attributions? someone put the effort into compiling a list, creating a resource guide, or formulating their analysis. let’s give credit to those who did the work. most organizers and artists are ok with reposts (it’s about the collective not the individual) but we can build together with respect and integrity.


Repost from @instrumentsofmemory:

My new documentary, The Injured Body, examines racism though the lens of micro-aggressions: slights, slips of the tongue, or intentional offenses that accumulate over a lifetime and impede a person’s ability to function and thrive in the world.

I chose to approach racism by focusing on micro-aggressions because of two reasons. Firstly, as Claudia Rankine explains, we seem to understand structural racism somewhat, but are baffled by racism coming from friends. It is disorienting because it is unmarked. ‘The Injured Body’ hopes to home in on the language needed to ‘mark the unmarked.’ Secondly, personal stories lend themselves to filmmaking because they can help create intimacy and trust, and lay the groundwork for a paradigm shift.

The film spotlights the voices of women of color not only because their stories are misrepresented and frequently ignored by mainstream media, but also because they operate at the intersection of multiple forms of oppression and can articulate the complexity of those experiences. Their testimony and analysis can help broaden traditional understandings of feminism as well as anti-racism work.

Film stills/photographs of Ayni Ali, Amanda Chestnut , Sady Fischer, Lu LutonyaRachel Highsmith, Lauren Jemison, Elizabeth Nicolas, Greta Aiyu Niu, and Tonya Noel

Ayni Ali’s photograph by Arleen Thaler, all other photography by Erica Jae (pls see on IG)

Ayni Ali. Photo by Arleen Thaler

instruments of memory IG takeover – 1

Repost from @instrumentsofmemory:

Hey you all. My name is Mara Ahmed. I am an activist filmmaker and multimedia artist based in Long Island, New York. I’ve lived and gone to school on three different continents. I am many places and cultures but I identify with and am interested in those who end up on the ‘wrong’ side of borders. And history.

I’m working on my fourth film (getting ready to edit) and will be posting mostly about that project – ideas that coalesced into the film and stills from our shoots. Thanks to @instrumentsofmemory and @claudia_pretelin for letting me take over this IG.

My new documentary is called ‘The Injured Body: A Film about Racism in America.’ It’s inspired by Claudia Rankine’s book ‘Citizen: An American Lyric.’ ‘Rankine says that American life is made of moments when race gets us “by the throat.” Only some are nationally noted tragedies.’ Most others are minimized as ‘microaggressions,’ yet they damage deeply.

My favorite lines from the book:

You are not sick, you are injured—
you ache for the rest of life.
How to care for the injured body,
the kind of body that can’t hold
the content it is living?
And where is the safest place when that place
must be someplace other than in the body?

maraahmed #instumentsofmemory #instrumentsofmemorytakeover
activism #art #film #documentary #racism #america #claudiarankine #citizen #microaggressions #theinjuredbody #neelumfilms

Mara Ahmed. Photo by Aitezaz Ahmed

Slavery and the Origins of the American Police State

Ben Fountain: Control of this new (enslaved) labor force would be key; mutiny was the great fear. By the early 1700s, a comprehensive system of racially directed law enforcement was well on its way to being fully developed. This was, in fact, the first systematic form of policing in the land that would become the United States. The northeast colonies relied on the informal “night-watch” system of volunteer policing and on private security to protect commercial property. In the southern colonies, policing’s origins were rooted in the slave economy and the radically racialized social order that invented “whiteness” as the ultimate boundary. “Whites,” no matter how poor or low, could not be held in slavery. “Blacks” could be enslaved by anyone—whites, free blacks, and people of mixed race.

The distinction—and the economic order that created it—was maintained by a legally sanctioned system of surveillance, intimidation, and brute force whose purpose was the control of blacks. Slave patrols, or paddyrollers, were the chief enforcers of this system; groups of armed, mounted whites who rode at night among the plantations and settlements of their assigned “beats”—the word originated with the patrols—seeking out runaway slaves, unsanctioned gatherings, weapons, contraband, and generally any sign of potential revolt.

[…] The system continued largely intact after Emancipation and the defeat of the Confederacy. Legally sanctioned slave patrols were replaced by night-riding vigilantes like the Ku Klux Klan, whose white robes, flaming torches, and pseudo-ghost talk were intended for maximum terrorizing effect. Lynching and shooting took place alongside the more traditional punishments of beating and whipping; blacks’ economic value as slaves had evaporated, and with it the constraints on lethal force that had offered some measure of protection under the old system.

White supremacy continued as the dominant reality for the next hundred years, a social and psychological reality maintained by terror, surveillance, and the letter of the law. Its power was such that even the New Deal—the most profound reordering of American society since the Civil War—left white supremacy intact. Twenty-six lynchings were recorded in Southern states in 1933. An antilynching bill was defeated in Congress in 1935.

[…] We don’t have to know the particulars of history in order to live it in our bones. Sometimes history arrives as a sense of the uncanny, the peculiar weight of certain words and acts, a suffusion of dreadful power. We might suppose the pass system is long gone, but there it is in stop-and-frisk, in racial profiling, in the reflexive fear and violence of our own time. More here.

Out of Sight in Kashmir

‘Two years ago, 18-year-old Farzan Sheikh was struck in the face – on two separate occasions – by lead pellets fired by Indian government forces in Srinagar, Indian-administered Kashmir. He lost all vision in his right eye, and 75 percent of the vision in his left eye. Since then, he has been unable to partake in the activities nearest to his heart, watching from the sidelines as other young people play the games he loves. Since 2016, thousands of young Kashmiris have been injured by pellets. In addition to physical injuries, many find themselves struggling with psychological issues.’ More here.

Why are some US police forces equipped like military units?

From Matthieu Aikins: A lot of people have noticed the shocking amount of military equipment, some of it literally recycled from war zones, being used against protestors. There’s a long history connecting wars overseas and repression at home. The Pentagon has donated or sold military equipment to domestic police forces since 1997, but the amount skyrocketed in the aftermath of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. More here.

all black and brown lives

i’ve been seeing a lot of obama pictures on social media and a kind of nostalgia for the good old obama days. it’s incredibly triggering. to not understand what obama, the drone president, meant to black and brown people outside the US (and also within the country – remember ferguson? flint?) is to not embrace an anti-racist, anti-capitalist, anti-police (and therefore anti-military) movement which could bring justice to and elevate all people of color, all over the world. this is the vision, no? or are we just interested in american lives?


i don’t want to call what’s happening ‘race riots’ or even ‘protests,’ it’s an uprising. here are some of its (ongoing) accomplishments.

Fahd Ahmed:
Uprisings accelerate the pre-existing slow meticulous organizing and struggles, & break ground for future organizing and struggles


5/26 – 4 officers fired for murdering George Floyd – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – Univ of Minn cancels contract with police – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – 3rd Precinct Police station neutralized by protestors – Minneapolis, MN
5/28 – ATU Local 1005 refuses to bring police officers to the protests, or transport arrested protesters, Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Activists commandeer hotel to provide shelter to homeless – Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Officer Chauvin who killed George Floyd arrested – Minneapolis, MN
5/29 – Louisville Mayor suspends “no-knock” warrants in response to police’s 3/12 #BreonnaTaylor killing and subsequent protests – Louisville, KY
5/30 – US Embassies across Africa condemn police murder of George Floyd – Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, DR Congo
5/30 – MN AG Ellison takes over prosecution of the murdering officer (and possibly the other officers) – Minneapolis, MN
5/30 – TWU Local 100 Bus Operators refuses to transport arrested protestors – NYC, NY
5/31 – 2 abusive officers fired for pulling a couple out of car and tasing them – Atlanta, GA
6/1 – Minneapolis public schools end contract with police – Minneapolis, MN
6/1 – Confederate Monument removed – Birmingham, AL
6/1 – CA Prosecutors launch campaign to stop DA’s from accepting police union money – CA
6/1 – Tulsa Mayor Bynum agrees to not renew Live PD contract – Tulsa, OK
6/1 – Louisville police chief fired after shooting of #DavidMcatee at BBQ joint – Louisville, KY
6/1 – Confederate statue ordered to be removed – Bentonville, AR
6/1 – Dems and Reps begin push to shut down a Pentagon program that transfers military weaponry to local law enforcement departments – Nationwide
6/2 – Minnesota AFL-CIO calls for the resignation of Bob Kroll, the president of the Minneapolis police union – Minneapolis, MN
6/2 – ATU Local 85 announces refusal to transport police officers or arrested protesters – Pittsburgh, PA
6/2 – Racist Ex-Mayor Rizzo statue removed – Philadelphia, PA
6/2 – 6 abusive officers charged for violence against residents and protestors – Atlanta, GA
6/2 – Confederate soldier statue removed – Alexandria, VA
6/2 – Robert Lee statue removed – Fort Myers, FL
6/2 – Civil Rights investigation of Minneapolis Police Dept launched – Minneapolis, MN
6/2 – Resolution to prevent law enforcement from hiring officers with history of misconduct announced by San Fran DA Boudin and Supervisor Walton – San Francisco, CA
6/2 – Survey indicating 64% of polled sympathetic to protests, and 47% disapprove of police handling + 54% think burning down of precinct fully or partially justified
6/2 – NJ AG announces policing reforms
6/2 – Minneapolis City Council members publicly call for disbanding the police and replace with community-oriented, nonviolent public safety and outreach capacity – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – 1 officer fired for tweets promoting violence against protestors – Denver, CO
6/3 – Minneapolis Institute of Art, First Avenue, Walker Art Center end use of MPD for events – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – Officer Chauvin charges upgraded to 2nd Murder, and remaining 3 officers also charged and taken into custody – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – VA Governor announces removal of Robert E Lee statue – Richmond, VA
6/3 – Richmond VA Mayor Stoney announces RPD reform measures: establish “Marcus” alert for folks experiencing mental health crises, establish independent Citizen Review Board, an ordinance to remove Confederate monuments, and implement racial equity study
6/3 – County commissioners deny proposal for $23 million expansion of Fulton County jail – Atlanta, GA
6/3 – Minneapolis Parks and Recreation cut ties with the Minneapolis Police Dept – Minneapolis, MN
6/3 – US Army tells soldiers to disobey any orders to attack peaceful protestors – Nationwide
6/3 – LA Announces $100-150 million cut from LAPD budget, Reinvested into communities, moratorium on gang database, sharper discipline against abusive cops, in effect immediately – Los Angeles, CA
6/3 – Seattle changes mind and withdraws request to end federal oversight/consent decree of police department – Seattle, WA
6/4 – #BreonnaTaylor case reopened? – Louisville, KY
6/4 – Portland schools superintendent ‘discontinues’ presence of armed police officers in schools – Portland, OR
6/4 – MBTA (Metro Boston) board orders that buses won’t transport police to protests, or protesters to police – Boston, MA
6/4 – King County Labor Federation issue ultimatum to police unions, to admit to and address racism in Seattle PD, or be removed – Seattle, WA
6/4 – Mural of racist ex-Mayor Frank Rizzo to be removed, replaced with new artwork – Philadelphia, PA
6/5 – City of Minneapolis bans all chokeholds by police – Minneapolis, MN
6/5 – Racist ex-Mayor Hubbard statue removed – Dearborn MI
6/5 – NFL condemns racism and admits it should have listened to players protests – National
6/5 – California Gov. Newsom calls for statewide use-of-force standard, crafted with community leaders, and ban carotid hold – California
6/5 – 2 Buffalo police officers suspended within a day of pushing 75 year old protestor to ground causing blood to pour out (and lying about it) – Buffalo, NY
Ongoing – ##? of police vehicles neutralized
Ongoing – ########? people politicized
Ongoing – ########? relationships of solidarity and mutual support formed


  • #DefundPolice has for first time become a national and a mainstream conversation, with several leadership in cities pushing it forward
  • #AbolishPolice has for first time become a mainstream conversation, with Minneapolis considering to disband MPD and re-imagine and rebuild an alternative
  • Elected officials are for first time publicly admitting that police departments and unions routinely sabotage police reform efforts
  • Protests against police and for #BLM have for first time emerged in rural, suburban, and small towns in the country
  • Accountability of abusive officers is growing in the form of immediate actions (suspensions, arrests, charges), but also more drastic changes being considered for oversight and discipline systems
    (Please suggest any addition updates – in above format and with links if possible)

#UprisingsAreLabor #MassesMakeHistory #DefundPolice

Israeli Forces Kill Unarmed Autistic Palestinian Man

same systems of oppression, cruelty, and death. whether in the US or palestine. whether they target black or brown lives. solidarity, always, with the people of palestine.

‘The shooting death of an unarmed autistic Palestinian man by Israeli forces is drawing angry condemnations from Arab residents and leaders and is further raising tensions in the region as Israel prepares to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.’ More here.

Borderless: A conversation with mara ahmed

The first part of my interview with the brilliant Claudia Pretelin for Instruments of Memory is here. Repost from @instrumentsofmemory

“Mara Ahmed is a Pakistani-American activist, artist, and independent filmmaker. She was born in Lahore, Pakistan, about seventeen miles from the Indian border. Her deeply formative migration pathway has informed her practice and has helped her develop a body of work that addresses notions of history, heritage, and tradition. Deeply connected with her roots and in constant dialogue with her contemporaneity and the political moment, Ahmed’s work creates art that subverts boundaries and connects different cultures with the universality of her topics.”

You can read interview here.

Trump Playing Golf

In a ‘Mass Art Protest,’ Artists Across America Drew Trump Playing Golf on the NYTimes Cover Memorializing the 100,000 Coronavirus Dead

Marcel Dzama’s watercolor of President Donald Trump playing golf superimposed over the New York Times coronavirus cover. Photo courtesy of Marcel Dzama.

un cahier perlé