Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ashton Goes to Phoenix #NN15


For a week or so I will be in Phoenix, AZ for Netroots Nation 2015 to interact with other activists, politicians, and like minded individuals. This post will contain daily updates and photos from my time in Phoenix at the conference. For this first entry I would like to thank the Blue Nation Review and Netroots Connect for their extending scholarships to me in order for me to attend this week's events. I would like to thank all of my friends and supporters who made donations to help cover expenses that the scholarship did not cover. If you would like to make a donation please send it via PayPal to email address ashtonpwoods@gmail.com. 

Netroots LGBT Connect (7/15)


During the Connect event I had the pleasure to meet so many like minded people, to learn, relearn, unlearn, and affirm a lot of things about how I practice my activism. We had an all day discussion on intersectionality, which was rather refreshing in so many ways. It was refreshing because the discussion is rarely held in my home town of Houston and it makes me a little annoyed (I will get over it). It is always the case that I leave home and find my place within a group of like minded people and I can truly be myself with out the subtext of respectability politics and the my way is better than your way attitudes. The were some moments of internal contention for me when I realized that I made sure to illustrate that it is bad to question a person's Blackness and therefore diminishing that person's experiences as a Black person. On the flip side of that coin, it was very much so annoying that there were some folks of color who just could not wash off the obvious Whitewash that they were wearing in a space with not very many Black people. It is what it is, and all that means is that I shall continue to stay in my lane and do the work that I am called to do, over all it was a great day of pre- Netroots activities....



Netroots Day One (7/16)

Today is the first day of Netroots and so far I have seen a hand full of Black people in a sea of White, there are many factors that contribute to this. I will not discuss these factors, YET, but I will say that this event has been very good for me to observe as far as my presence in this space. I went and registered for the weekend events.....


The first session that I attended was State Battlegrounds: The Real Fight for Voting rights where we discussed the passage of voting restrictions in nearly two dozen states since 2010. There were many nuances that came to light that ranged from actual voter IDs to Native American and mainstream voter suppression as a whole. I enjoyed the time that I had to listen to and even speak on the issue of voter suppression. Right now I am currently at We One: Overcoming Shared Opposition of the LGBT & Reproductive Rights Movements. At this event we are discussing the intersections of reproductive rights, religion, the LGBT community, and how they all affect/effect each other . 


I went to the the Queer People of  Color Caucus which provided a safe space for people who identified with being within the Queer spectrum and as People of Color. One of the many orders of housekeeping that I came to enjoy greatly is that the moderators of the event asked that those who did not identify as Queer or as a Person of Color to leave the room. Too many times when a space is created for people it is not respected and this time it wasn't allowed, but it did lead to a blow up in the common area know as the "Town Square" that houses booths for some of the organizations in attendance. One of the White people who were asked to leave the space went off at the LGBT connect booth and it was said that several people witnessed it. Here are some photos including Jennicet Eva GutiĆ©rrez's appearance:





After the Queer POC caucus, I went to the Black caucus and we discussed at length whether or not the black community is, should be or part of the Progressive movement. The event was live broadcast via internet show "This Week in Blackness" and of course the hosts like Elon James White and other new friends in the selfies and event photos below....








More updates in a coming post : )