To You Written by Mekael Daniel FGS’20

Screen Shot 2018-12-01 at 8.33.31 AM

What happens when you build a relation-ship that is destined to sink before it floats?
What happens when you surround yourself with mental moats?
This story is a story of a small boat
housing two people
that have no
future
hopes.

To You, is a mini poetic play. More importantly, it is a black queer love story.
Written and Directed by Mekael Daniel
Starring Eden Alemayehu and LaNiah Moon

TRANSCRIPT:

B-Main1

Q-Main2

(Q and B are on opposite sides of the stage. They look unsettled. Both are carrying string (or rope). Q starts making her way to center front stage, leaving a trail of string behind her, but stops a quarter of the way there)

B:

To You, Q,

You who caught my string.

You who is contained on this machine

Our relationship only lasted two gigabytes

By that, I mean our relationship is held on a screen

(Holds up phone)

The pictures and videos only barely capture your sheen,

Your smile…

(Looks at screen sentimentally)

I wish I could’ve been with you a while

Longer

On that,

I ponder,

These truths I seek

But no words can I speak

(Puts away phone)(starts walking to Q with string in hand. When they intersect, they walk in a semicircle around one another (Interlocking the string) and walk about talking distance away from one another) 

To you who left me weak

B&Q:

You who caught my string.

You who helped me sing.

When I first saw her, I melted

B:

To say that her eyes contained the sky would be a lie

Her Beautiful, Beautiful darkness belied

Infinite universes

Which birthed these words

That asked her to do these verbs

With a certain nerd

And

(Turn to Q)

I guess that’s a roundabout way of saying, I’d like to chill sometime

And I’m not tryna pressure you

Just can’t stop thinkin bout you

You ain’t even really have to be my girlfriend

I just wanna know your name;

If

We can hook up,

We can hang out,

We can just… chill…

B:

Oh you’re a direct one.

Q:

I’m Q, rhymes with few

B:

Q-could be my boo?

Q:

Not with that rhyme. I know you spittin lines but I don’t even know your name, foine.

B:

I’m B, but, you can call me fine if you want.

Q:

I’ll let you know off top that my name rhymes with few cause few women impress me

B:

Then why are you still standing next to me?

Q:

Pshhh be quiet fool.

(Awkward Pause)

But I guess that’s true, I dig you

B:

You into me, I’m into you, so what it do?

Q:

What you mean “What it do”? what do you do?

B:

I’m a drifter

A trickster

Sentimental hipster

And a Skipper

With a lil bit of hopeless romantic on the side

Q:

Do you like have any hobbies or…

B:

I told you. I’m a part-time Skipper

Q:

Like skipping hopscotch?

B:

No, Its hard to describe…

Imagine this.

The metronome of metal on wood

The sound of

Wind in your ears

Wind in your hair

Wind in our sails

as

Lines rope around metal

Connecting two entities

An invisible line connecting you to me

As we rock rhythmically

Waves ever so gent-l-y (enjambment)

Dizzying me

Soft noises of sea foam fizzling

Q:

(Interrupting excitedly)

I’m assuming I’m on a boat?

B.

Yes. A sailboat. Wanna try out your sea legs sometime?

Q:

How can I say no?

(At marina)

 

Q:

These ropes and sticks are kind of beautiful lookin

B:

We call these ropes, lines

Q:

That’s oddly artsy

Lines, movement, motion

B:

Is it oddly artsy or is art just oddly packed full of sailing references?

Q:

… Both?

B:

Both?

Q:

(Looking around)

I mean, why not?

All these lines, and yet we both have such little time

B:

Little time?

Q:

This city aint mine

I gotta go home soon

So… Yeah, little time

B:

So what does that mean?

Q:

(Picking up string)

You caught my string.

It means,

sometimes I find life ties with others

Making my lifeline composed of intricately twined timelines

B:

There’s a lot of timelines in this universe,

We are all travelers, honey

Q:

(Bursts out)

Yeah, but I don’t come from money

Does that wanna make you call me honey?

(Hesitate, vaguely gestures towards strings)

If we keep up this dance

Our lines will form patterns

That you can’t un-weave

B:

Now that, I don’t believe.

So what if you don’t come from money

This is just little thing,

Just a little fling!

Don’t you want no expectations between us,

No future dreams?

Q:

Considering…. Considering…

B:

Here’s the thing

You leave soon, its either that or we end it

Q:

… I still wanna send it

B Laughs and embraces Q

 

B:

Did you just say ‘send it’?

Q is such a qtpie!

Q:
Can you be more cheesy?

B:

Can you be more dreamy?

Q:

Gurl, stop!

But this is fun, I guess…

B:

And what’s wrong with a little fun?

Q:

Whats wrong with a lil fun?

To romance art thou numb?

What if I fall for you?

B:

Isn’t it true that you’re only here for a few?

I don’t think love after three weeks is love so true

Q:

Infatuation maybe

B:

Yes! But aren’t these moments fun?

Q:

I guess on the ocean is a wonderful way to meet

Under the summer sun

Exhausting our infatuation in the heat

The golden hour begins

B:

See, I love this.

This vibe is so mellow

Swinging on the ocean

while the sun hangs low

and becomes an orange moon

Q:

Your eyes reflect her light

and illuminate the gloom

that was here before me and you

between these two entities,

the flowers of companionship bloom

B:

How cute

It’s getting late, we should head back, but I’ll see you later?

B:

Yes! Tomorrow, maybe?

Q:

Tomorrow it is.

B:

A little kiss, maybe?

Q:

Yes, and thank you for asking

Lights fade out before they kiss. A stunted silence follows. A light focuses on B, staring pensively at their phone

 

B:

These minutes eventually turn to hours, into days

Lost in your gaze

This glittery haze

Together we sway,

My tongue yearning for your sweet

And, entangled, we say not a peep

Our hearts beat, tongues bend and twist

Without you there’s this abyss

This nighttime loneliness

And lately

I keep telling myself it’s a temporary phase

That these feelings change

But if I’m being honest

I’m trying not to fall for you

In the middle of the night resist calling you

Stalling our inevitable blues

Nighttime loneliness

This inevitable abyss

The loneliness of nights without you

A second light focuses on Q

B&Q:

The loneliness of nights without you

B turns to tie random sections of the string together 

 

A second light focuses on Q as she talks

Q:

My loneliness when resisting calling you

Why do I resist calling you?

You’ve taught me the ocean blue

Your incredible hues

How to sing the blues

To sing of moons, mountains, and you

So why do I resist calling you?

Or is it resisting falling for you?

Our lifelines are already tangled too

And, these last few days with you are a hallowed few

But, I gotta think of myself, boo.

You don’t want me to love you

So why should I?

See,

Lately I been hearing symphonies,

Having epiphanies,

that love is from within me

So I don’t need your love, B

I don’t need you to call me

Don’t want you to fall for me

B, Finished with the string, watches Q finish her speech solemnly. Q goes and starts attempting to untie the strings

 

B:

These last few days area hallowed few,

I truly want to spend them with you

But I’d rather not fall for you, see

Its stressful wondering if I should call you

And when you leave, we’ll only have screens to communicate

Long distance won’t work for me

Our tangled lives will rush by

But, I still I want to see you again, please.

Q: Still by the strings

See, recently I’ve been meditating on us, trying to contemplate

I’ve said what I said, but I’ll try to elaborate

I have to put myself first, or else I lay prostrate

To these demons out here tryna tell me my place

Tryna take up and restrict my space

So I’m standing strong

With all my facets

And If you don’t want me to be with you now

I don’t want to see you in the future.

I still care about you

And I’ll still remember your hues

Remember those ocean sunsets with you…

B:

Going to strings

My future is uncertain

my hearts been hurtin

when I think of losing you

and ill be honest that I freeze when making decisions such as these

I like you, that’s for sure

But long distance still holds no allure

So I’ll make peace before

We go our ways

Before the concept of us gets lost in the haze

Q:

Before we start to loathe these absent-of-you days

B:

So, is this goodbye?

Our final sigh

It feels wrong, but what feels right?

Q:

Tonight is our final night

Our final flight

Being with you has been a dreamy delight

But those saccharine dreams are over

This lil moment in life has been a four leaf clover

But clovers wilt and die

Go into the ground and turn to soil

Over you have I toiled

With you I’ve been spoiled

I’ve been learning

Experiencing your treatment

How you kiss my feet

You’ve raised my standards

Oh my god you’re so sweet

So I’ll say goodbye now,

Plant the seed of this lesson in ground

Watch as my future blessings compound

Due to this moment in history, profound

B:

And I’ll watch you leave

And remember how sunlight weaves through your hair

Please turn your eyes to me,

I just want one more time to see your face so fair

Before we both get up out of here,

Before I watch the shore sway rhythmically away

Before the light fades

And cold creeps

I want to lay with you, to sway with you

Q:

Ok, just for this one moment, I’ll stay with you

Vexy Thing and the Matrices of Domination

By Annie Zlevor

As part of the Abbott Memorial Lecture Series, Dr. Imani Perry’s presentation sought to resurrect the patriarchy by exploring mechanisms of oppression from the Enlightenment to now. As written in her book, Vexy Thing: On Gender and Liberation, Dr. Perry reexamined the ordinary conception of the patriarchy in an attempt to distinguish between a common place understanding and how it actually manifests itself.

She identified three main pillars that help form the legal and economic relations which make up the foundation of the patriarchy: property holding men, personhood, and sovereignty. All these pillars have essentially been written into law in the United States, especially a person’s ability to be recognized as a rights bearing person. To better understand this, Dr. Perry described the “reasonable man doctrine,” which has been the standard for law making. The “reasonable man doctrine” symbolizes a dispassionate and measured man, who consequently allows for the flattening of human complexities. The conduction of legal interpretation based on this standard ignores the particularity of the individual experience and forms a banner of legitimacy under a legal institution.

In Dr. Perry’s critique of feminism, she examined the controversial “entrepreneurial woman,” or the woman who is considered to formally be a part of the citizenry. They symbolize the appearance of inclusion based on apparent political and economic power, however this signifier for feminist progress is often misguided and false. These women continue to uphold conventional masculinity and do not contribute to the unhinging of mainstream feminism. Dr. Perry’s goal is to see past the idea that feminism is simply bringing women up to par with men. Instead, she attempts to study the subject of relation between men and women as opposed to resorting to simplistic forms of representation. She encourages people to read beyond seeing men “on top” and hoping for a time when women join men in this superior position. She attempts to ask what it means to be “on top” and what the implications of that include.

Although broad in her analysis of the patriarchy and feminism and receiving criticism that her form of feminism is the analysis of everything, she argues that liberation feminism must include the reading of everything around us. Dr. Perry encourages feminists to read the layers and pay attention to the matrices that exist in our world. As a result of seeing these structures as a matrix, we can develop a sense of intimacy and ethical remapping. We can stop viewing ourselves as outsiders trying to solve a problem, but instead assess our relationship to these issues. Dr. Perry argues that although an intersectional approach is important, in order to understand forms of domination, matrices are more applicable. Specifically, they allow us to see past the notion that we all have a clear conscience. She hopes that we can make liberation irresistible by seeing the complexities in which the patriarchy exists and identifying how we can critically engage ourselves and the world we live in.

Reproducing Patriarchal Power Structures in the Name of Feminism

By Katie Trinh

Dr. Imani Perry believes that feminists need to grapple with the complex structure of the patriarchy. Patriarchy includes the exclusion and suffering of women due to the domination of men. She claims that legal and economic relations in society are the foundation of patriarchy. There are three components that define patriarchy in the past and present: property holding men, legal personhood, and the privilege to appeal to the sovereign authority. Legal personhood refers to the fact that an individual is recognized as a right-bearing human being. One of Dr. Imani Perry’s main points is that women only have access to these benefits when they are attached to a patriarch. The system of the patriarchy is written into the law. Every aspect of feminist theory involves dismantling the patriarchy, and the patriarchy demonstrates how legal and economic institutions hold the most power and privilege. 

Perry also discusses how although entrepreneurial women signify female progress, these women are perceived to be successful because of their “masculine” traits. There is a narrative that men fail professionally or economically because of the economic success of women. According to Perry, feminism is a complicated concept that many people do not grasp. Many people believe that feminism means having women replace men as the dominating gender. However, Perry takes the stance that women, especially feminists, should not try to dominate men; instead, feminists should take on ethical positions that are based on their understanding of oppression. 

One of Perry’s main points is that patriarchy manifests as an entitlement that needs to be protected. She says that sexual allegations against men in power demonstrate how patriarchy is an entitlement. Many people argue that sexual allegations against men in power will “ruin their lives,” implying that their patriarchy and the privilege that comes with it needs to be protected. Perry also notes that any type of privilege acts as an entitlement for people. She provides the example of a white woman who accused a young black boy of groping her. Because the woman had the privilege of being white, she felt as though she was entitled to accuse a young black boy of sexual misconduct. Perry argues that we need to “read the layers” and look at how other factors besides gender, such as race, can contribute to relations in power. Perry’s point about adopting a language of intersectionality directly connects to Feminist and Gender Studies because this study revolves around the changing relationships between power and different factors of identity. 

Overall, Perry asks us to recognize our own positions of privilege. She acknowledges that none of us have “clean hands.” Everyone is at a certain position of privilege at the expense of oppressed and marginalized people. Sill, Perry asks everyone to examine how their position of privilege can play a role in affecting change. To Perry, feminism means looking closer at how economic and legal institutions enforce this patriarchal system, and how we must take ethical positions to address these systems of oppression. 

Video

Feminist & Gender Studies 20th Anniversary Homecoming 2018 Celebration

BradyIn preparation for Homecoming 2018, during which Feminist & Gender Studies celebrated the 20th anniversary of the year it graduated its first class of majors in 1998 (the first class of minors graduated in 1987), Professor Lewis invited Brady Montalbano Connaughton, Esq. to give the keynote address.

After graduating from Colorado College with a Women’s Studies major in December 2002, Brady attended law school at the Pennsylvania State University Dickinson School of Law, where she volunteered and externed with the Pennsylvania Immigration Resource Center representing detained immigrants in removal proceedings, clerked for the Department of Justice, and worked for the Pennsylvania Office of General Counsel at the Department of Labor and Industry. In addition to becoming a Public Interest Fellow, Brady sat on the board of Minority Law Student Association, participated in the Women’s Law Caucus, and was co-founder of the Joint Degree Student Association (JDSA). She went on to obtain both her Juris Doctor and Master’s Degree in Public Administration in May 2006.

After law school, Brady clerked with the New Jersey Superior Court for the Honorable Judge Edward M. Neasfey, then began her public service career for the Office of the Attorney General of the State of New Jersey Division of Law. Brady represented and gave agency advice on employment and labor issues to a wide variety of state agencies, including but not limited to the Department of Labor and Workforce Development, Governor’s Office of Employee Relations, Department of Corrections, and she also participated in multiple federal and local election law assignments. After serving as the Assistant Section Chief of the Employment Counseling and Labor Section, Brady decided to direct her expertise, knowledge, and passion to the representation of private and public sector unions, focusing on the working people of the tri-state area, with Cohen, Leder, Montalbano & Connaughton. Having recently made partner at the firm, Brady represents a wide variety of public and private sector unions in negotiations, arbitrations, and mediations in both State and Federal Court proceedings.  She is also member of the New Jersey Chapter of the Labor Employment Relations Association.

In 2017, Brady was elected to the Neptune Board of Education, where she continues to serve and fight for fair treatment of teachers and the best possible educational system for the socioeconomically diverse student population of Neptune. Last, but certainly not least, Brady is mother to three boys and works hard every day to instill a sense of critical thinking, responsibility and social and environmental stewardship in her children. Brady is tirelessly supported in all of her endeavors by her husband and partner of more than 10 years, Matt.



NOTE: 
This video was taken and given to Professor Lewis by Brady’s mother who attended the celebration with Brady’s sister and son.

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NOTE: Click here to read the transcription of Brady’s keynote address.