Diverse authors/illustrators at the Illinois SCBWI conference

Fellow African American children’s author, Urania Smith, teamed with me, B A Binns, to sponsor three diverse authors to attend the 2016 Illinois SCBWI conference, Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day (PWID) coming up on Saturday, November 5 at Harper College in Palatine, Ill. Urania and I both want to see ways to see more authors from marginalized groups succeed in the children’s book industry. As always, I believe education is an important key to success, and I know many marginalized authors and illustrators have difficulty funding education efforts. That’s why I chose to seek out future #ownvoices to attend this important conference and education opportunity.

In preparation for the conference, I am letting the contest winners share their feeling about the event. First up will be Jill Kaunfung from Illinois. In her post coming up on Thursday (10-27) she will talk about her draft manuscript, Freely & the Wolf, a mixed-race retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, where a red-cloaked girl of color relies on strength from her ancestors to stand up to the white wolf who threatens to erase her history.

I already want to read that story.

Don’t forget, there’s still time to register to attend PWIDPWID_2016Registration closes on October 29, 2016.

Posted in #weneeddiversebooks, Conference, Contest, diversity, PWID 2016 | Comments Off on Diverse authors/illustrators at the Illinois SCBWI conference

Using Diverse Books in Library Programs – ILA 2016

B A Binns & Nancy Goodfellow

B A Binns & Nancy Goodfellow

The Illinois Library Association, ILA, held it’s annual conference in Rosemont, Il on October 19 and 20.  On Wednesday, Oct 19, I spoke at a session titled Using Diverse Books in Library Programs. Along with my co-presenter, Nancy Goodfellow, a member of the National Association for Down Syndrome, the talk focused on three areas:

 

ila-1

Diversity – Moving past just being tolerant and actually embracing and celebrating the richness of each individual

Empathy – about standing in someone else’s shoes, feeling with his or her heart, seeing with his or her eyes. Our ability to empathize as a way to making the world a better place

#ownvoices – the hashtag was created in 2015 for authors and illustrators who create books with diverse characters who share their identities. This firsthand knowledge and shared experience enables ownvoices to craft stories from a unique and authentic point of view with an extra degree of nuance and authority.

Preschool thru 2nd grade.
The common narrative about kids from marginalized groups tends to focus on deficits and problems. We focused on works and speakers that serve as a counter-narrative to challenge negative assumptions and stereotypes.

With these younger children,  I suggest programs that revolve around kids playing and interacting with those different from themselves as a normal thing. We also looked at books that help expose kids in this age range identity and social justice. The more kids see ‘the other’ represented in stories, the more ‘other’ is removed from their thinking. The goal is for children to read books because they are good books, without taking notice that they are about someone who is a different color or gender or cultural background.

3rd grade through middle school
The discussion began with Booktalks and the pros and cons of focusing on the diversity factor while talking about books to program participants. I usually tell the diversity characteristic during booktalks, but as an aside, a “something you should know,” not as a defining feature. Even when I don’t mention how a character is diverse, people who know me know most of the books I discuss are going to feature characters from multiple cultures. And everything I write centers around stories of kids who are different from each other finding ways to come together.

Other programs for this age range discussed include

  • Having participants review book covers to see how their library compares to the following 2015 infographic of statistics on diversity in children’s books collected by the CCBC – Cooperative Children’ Book Council at the University of Wisconsin by reviewing some shelves and recording and discussing their results.

(Created by David Huyck under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 4.0 license.)

  • Having participants “cast the movie” for a book they have read, and reviewing their internal def aults about these characters.
  • Using popular books such as the Harry Potter series to introduce the topic of hurtful words, including quizzing the kids about a word in the books that is comparable to the R-word because books don’t have to be categorized as diverse to provide opportunities for discussions about diverse topics.

7th grade through adults
To compete with the wide variety of choices people of this age have for their time and energy, librarians and teachers have to offer choice. That includes the kind of reading and programming that will actively involve kids and lead them into deeper engagement with their own lives. We also have to do more to let them know what choices are available. This includes graphic novels for older students, and using programs designed to introduce students to diverse books such as Blind Date with a diverse book, Speed Dating diverse books. We also covered social justice programs that help kids see and write about ways they are alike and substituting several diverse books for classics in some programs and/or class situations such as discussions on bullying or social class.

All ages
Final discussion focused on ownvoices and independently published books such as I’m A Brilliant Little Black Boy, and Large Fears. These books help show kids that they do belong.  We also talked about the organization, Sit Stay Read, which helps train adults who want to volunteer to do programs for their schools or libraries.

Kids need the opportunity to talk about differences in a safe environment. It is especially important to be matter-of-fact about differences and have open, honest conversations about them. If you make something taboo, it will be taboo. If you make diversity part of everyday life, kids will accept it as normal and unremarkable.

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Following the session I joined other Illinois authors at the Illinois Author Showcase on the exhibit floor.  A number of librarians who attended the presentation stopped by and asked additional questions.  I was also able to mentor a self-published author.

 

A pdf of the handout given to participants can be downloaded here

A pdf of the books discussed during the presentation can be downloaded here.

Posted in #weneeddiversebooks, Conference, Disabilities, diversity, Librarian, Multicultural, self publishing | Comments Off on Using Diverse Books in Library Programs – ILA 2016

What if you gave a contest and nobody came?

For the record, the title of this blog is meant to be a hook. Authors know what I mean, that thing good novels use to capture a reader’s attention. In reality, the contest I am going to tell you about had lots of entries. Entries that shared more than a few things in common.

Last month I announced a contest on my website, http://babinns.com. It was sponsored by my publishing company, AllTheColorsOfLove Press (aka ME) and offered free tuition to Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day, PWID. PWID is an Illinois SCBWI conference held in Palatine, Illinois on the campus of Harper College in November.  The contest goal was to find a worthy author or illustrator outside the mainstream and pay his/her tuition.

What do I mean by mainstream? In the United States at least, the vast majority of children’s book writers, illustrators, editors and reviewers are white, middle class, and female. Year after year this has been the predominant crowd at PWID and other conferences I attend, including the national conference in New York (I have never been to the Los Angeles conference, but something tells me things would not be that different there.) I’m not sure about LGBTQ+ attendees, or people of religious backgrounds outside the mainstream, I can only guess.  As a black female children’s author, I’ve had to accept being being one of three, or two, or sometimes no other black faces at writing events, along with a smattering of Hispanics and Asians. I am never sure how many other attendees notice the lack of crowd diversity, but I always do. It’s hard to miss when you are “the only one of your kind” in a standing room only crowd.

2016 marked a change for PWID. A portion of the  faculty includes individuals outside the mainstream. After I saw the lineup I had to take a few minutes to pick my beating heart up from the floor. Kids are not the only students who need mirrors.

I then came to a decision. I wanted more. A diverse faculty should be accompanied by a more diverse audience. With that thought came the decision for concrete action along with the realization that I should be willing to put my money where my mouth was. So my contest was born.

I launched the scholarship, full tuition for a diverse attendee. Entry was simple, people had to write a few paragraphs about why they needed to attend, what they thought the benefit would be to their career. And they needed to explain what made them diverse in their own words.

That second requirement actually caused one problem. I had one white author try to explain that the definition of diversity was “fluid” and that she should be included because of the characters she wrote. I had to disqualify her and tell her sorry, but I was really looking for #ownvoices, diverse authors or illustrators who write these characters from a position of knowledge.

Contrary to the title, people came. I had entries from all over the US. Literally, from Washington, D C to Hawaii. Most described themselves as people of color, mixed race, and LGBT.  More importantly, another author of color and SCBWI member, Urania Smith, gets a special shout out. She offered to join me and pay for the tuition of a second candidate.  In the end, I could not chose only two. So I opened my purse a little wider and funded two attended, and Urania a third.

My career has been good, even if  SCBWI only recognizes one of my books as being PAL-worthy.  Per the official SCBWI website – P.A.L. stands for “Published and Listed.” This level of membership is open to those whose “books, articles, poems, stories, illustrations, photographs, films, television or electronic media for children have been commercially published by one of the organizations listed in the SCBWI Market Surveys.”

In other words, traditional publishing serves as the gatekeeper for entry into PAL. But that’s another story about the difficulty minority authors and illustrators have in finding a home with one of those favored publishers and how that effects their status in the organization.

Or maybe it’s really part of the same story.

Almost none of the people who entered were members of SCBWI. In fact, most were not aware that the organization even existed. While I heard about it years ago, and even joined (I am a natural joiner) I know many writers of color do not know and cannot afford to join even if they do know. And, as a member, I know there are times when I question my place in the group as a minority author. Like many others, I write stories that kids of color buy and love. But those books are unable to rouse much interest among major publishers and are shut out of some of the organizations benefits.

Brief disclaimer, my first YA novel, Pull, is a recognized PAL book, having been published by Westside Books, a small press. In addition, I recently sold a MG novel, Courage, that will be published by Harper Collins in 2018. But there are many years between them, years where even with an agent I could not get a publisher interested in my stories featuring black and gay teens. Two of those went on to become successful self-published books. So I have seen both sides of the story. My two self-published books that children of color benefit from, were stories that publishers said they could not relate to the characters. So they are forever neligible for the benefits of PAL status. They get no promotion or even mention in displays at events Illinois SCBWI  attends at school and library associations because they, like some other #ownvoices books, have difficulty getting past the publishing house gatekeepers.

Many authors from marginalized groups are electing to go the independent publishing route in an effort to get their books into kid’s hands. I did that with two books, Minority of One about a gay black youth and Being God whose hero was not only the villain of Pull in search of redemption, but a boy trying to fight the pull of a gang.  I talk about them last year at the Illinois School Library Media Association and the Ohio Educational Library Media Association, and will do so again when I speak to the Illinois Library Association in October. But those have been my solo efforts. SCBWI has never deemed them worthy of even being included in their display at any of these meetings.

This year there will be three new faces at PWID.  I hope to have them speak more about themselves in the next few weeks. Presenting my contest winners:

Jill Jill Kaunfung from Illinois – http://jill-kuanfung.squarespace.com/

Jill describes herself as a mixed-race, queer girl of color. She has drafted a retelling of Little Red Riding Hood, where a red-cloaked girl of color relies on strength from her ancestors to stand up to the white wolf.

 

khannieKhannie Dastgah from Missouri – http://www.learntoswimstl.com/

Khannie immigrated from Iran in 1979 at the age of four. Her books were created to help diverse groups feel connected to swimming. She wants every kid to be able to connect and relate to at least one of the characters in her books.

Nabeeh_Bilal-photoPicture book author and puppeteer, Nabeeh Bilal from DC – http://callalookids.com

Nabeeh has a self-published series. He stated the hope that being in a “roomful of people who excel at what I aspire to do” would help inspire him to create his best book yet.

In the past he has felt excluded from society as African-American man trying to find a place at “the table.”  One line in his entry form that helped tip the balance in his favor: Diversity is not only about race, but about religion, about autism acceptance, about the right to be who you want to be.

All three will be heading for palatine, Illinois on November 5 for the PWID conference. Their tuition is paid for. Anyone interested can sign up, registration is open and you do not have to be an SCBWI member.  But if you are interested, move fast. Some of the breakout sessions are already full. For more information, and to register, click here

Lots of good people entered my contest. Urania Smith and I were both pleased. My now empty wallet and I hope the conference will be enriched by their presence just as they are enriched by the information they receive and their future careers jump started.  If we really want more diversity in children’s books then we need to do outreach to the many talented #ownvoices who feel shut out.  Just unlocking the doors is not enough. Too many have felt unwanted for their entire careers, and still lack the financial wherewithal to both find out about opportunities and to join. That leaves publishers free to say they can’t find these authors. And that perpetuates the cycle of exclusion.

P. S. Even authors and illustrators who were not selected were provided with information about SCBWI, especially their own state chapters. I hope they feel they got a benefit from applying, even if the answer could not be yes to all.

Posted in A writer's life, Conference, Contest, diversity, PWID 2016 | Comments Off on What if you gave a contest and nobody came?

2016 Prairie Writers results

 

Presenting the winners of my contest to provide free tuition for diverse children’s authors and illustrators to attend Illinois SCBWI’s 2016 conference – Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day – PWID
Contest Results…
PWID 2016 Faculty…PWID 2016 Faculty…
The three winners who will be my guests at the conference are:
 

Jill Kaunfung – http://jill-kuanfung.squarespace.com/

 

 

 

Nabeeh Bilal – http://callalookids.com

 

 

 

 

 

Khannie Dastgah, St. Louis, Missouri – learntoswimstl.com/

 

For 2016, the Illinois SCBWI conference committee selected a stellar faculty. details about faculty members can be found at https://illinois.scbwi.org/event-pwid2016/test-faculty/

 

 

 

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Contest winners

Here are the winners of my contest, two fresh author/illustrator faces who won free tuition for the Illinois SCBWI conference, Prairie Writers and Illustrators Day,  Nabeeh Bilal and Jill Kuanfung.

JillNabeeh_Bilal-photo

Both will be my guests at this year’s conference.

 

Congratulations to everyone who entered.

Posted in A writer's life, Conference, Contest, diversity | Comments Off on Contest winners

Sharing or Things that should be learned in kindergarten

I’m an outlier, a black female who swims. There are a few of us, you know. I grew up on the south side of Chicago. There were no public pools back then, but out school found a way. We were required to take swimming, and being on your period was an excuse that went only so far. I did not become proficient then.  I just have the most vivid memory of jumping in the deep end my senior year and holding onto the edge of the pool wall for dear life.  I was one of the few who actually went into the deep end. I remember feeling slightly suicidal that day.  But I didn’t drown.

On to the University of Wisconsin.  There I not only actually learned to swim, I learned to like swimming. Crawl, backstroke, sidestroke (not a competitive stroke, but I swear it’s a lifesaver, one I can do even if exhausted). I only regret I never learned  the dolphin kick or butterfly. At college, I was not only one of the few black people in the swimming class, I was still one of the few on the entire campus. We always spoke when we met each other. You had to, it was such a rarity.  I also learned to dive. To prove how active my suicidal thoughts were, I actually dived off the platform. After watching a kid, probably a faculty members child, climb that ladder and jump off, repeatedly.  Me, college student, decided if a skinny kid could, so could I. I joined the line waiting for their turn, climbed to the platform, looked over the side, and bam, heart attack city. (Did I mention I am terrified of heights)

I was too big a coward to  go to the line of people on the ladder and ask them to move aside to let me climb back down.  Especially because the kid was right there on the ladder waiting for her turn to go again. So, with one final prayer to the Almighty,  I dove off the end. And then I hit the water, and I was still alive. And it had all been…fun.

That was almost forty years ago. I no longer do much diving, but I still like to swim.

Which brings me back to the point.

These days I’m no longer seeking out a public swimming pool in Chicago’s south side, or walking into ice cold Lake Michigan water. I live in a predominantly white suburb and pay monthly dues to a club with a pool. Actually, two pools, one with five lanes for lap swimming, another warm water pool for therapy and exercises.  Plus a sauna.

swim3

It’s the kind of club I didn’t even dream of belonging to when I was a kid.   My monthly dues means I should have no trouble swimming year round.  When there are swimmers, we double up.  Two people two a lane. In extremely busy times there may be three people “circle swimming”. I hate that one, I was never a fast swimmer, and over the years my speed has declined.  Inevitably I end up with two speed demons.

Equally inevitably, I am the only black person I have ever encountered in the pool.  And I do draw stares. Some obvious, most covert.

But today there was only one person in each lane. So I climbed in to lane number one and waited for a swimmer who was just as slow to arrive so I could tell her I would be sharing the lane with her. I didn’t have to sat anything, but it felt like common courtesy.

No, she informed me. She didn’t share. I needed to go to a different lane.

WTF?

Or I could wait. She claimed she only needed five more minutes of swimming. Alone.

I’m not going to say this was racial. She might have done this to anyone. Doesn’t matter, she would still have been wrong.

One of the lessons we should get out of Kindergarten is how to play well with others. How to share. The fact that this woman did not get the message changes nothing. I was not going to stand around and wait because my time was valuable too. and I was not about to move to another lane because I saw no need to. Her presence did not bother me. If she did not want to share, she knew what she could do.   In the meantime, I started swimming, carefully keeping myself to half the lane.

When I completed the lap, I stopped, stood, and looked back. She was still standing there. Thanks to being nearsighted, I could not see her expression. I did a second lap, stood, and saw her climbing from the pool.

I guess her five minutes were up.

There are lessons we all need to learn.  One big one is that you can’t always get what you want. You can’t just push other people aside because it’s convenient for you. You can’t expect people who have the same right as you to let you dominate them.

As for me, my lesson was that I have my rights, and I get to voice them. Ten years ago, even five, I would have stepped back. Fumed in silence.  Allowed her to have her way.

Now I have swimming to do. Anytime I want.

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A second Illinois SCBWI member has stepped up to join in the effort to help diverse authors and illustrators attend the annual conference on Nov 5. Children’s book author Urania Smith has also stepped up to sponsor an attendee.  We have a wide definition of diverse author/illustrator.

Diversity mapSo if you are in or near the Chicago area, or can arrange transportation to Harper College in Palatine Illinois on Nov 5, 2016, consider applying for the scholarship. We are actively seeking applicants interested in creating children’s literature.

Just check out the information on the scholarship and fill in the application form by clicking here: Scholarship information page

Winners will be notified August 30, in time to register for the conference.

Posted in #weneeddiversebooks, Conference, Contest, diversity | Comments Off on

Illinois Writers and Illustrators conference scholarship

On November 5, the Illinois chapter of the Society for Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI) is having its annual conference, Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day. The one-day conference is held at the Wojcik Conference Center, at Harper College in Palatine, Illinois.

This conference contains valuable information for people who craft children’s books, with information about everything from picture book creators to middle grade and young adult. I was especially pleased to see that this year the conference includes a diverse group of faculty – agents, editors, writers and illustrators. Details on the faculty are available here: https://illinois.scbwi.org/event-pwid2016/test-faculty/

You can find out more about PWID at https://illinois.scbwi.org/events/pwid2016/

I think it is important that more diverse authors and illustrators attend these kinds of conference. Therefore, I have decided to mark this event and the sterling faculty by offering to pay the base conference tuition for a diverse author or illustrator to allow them to attend the conference.  This is an opportunity to meet and greet with publishing professionals, learn from other writers and illustrators, and to have  manuscripts and/or art portfolios seen by editors and agents, bypassing the slush pile.

The scholarship is available to first time attendees and will pay tuition. You do not have to be an SCBWI member to win or to attend PWID.

If you would like to attend Prairie Writer’s and Illustrator’s Day on November 5, but cannot do so due to economic constraints, fill in the form below to be considered for this scholarship. Applications must be submitted by Saturday, August 27, 2016.

The scholarship winner will be notified by August 30.

PWID registration opens on Sept 1 at noon.

Posted in A writer's life, Conference, diversity, PWID 2016 | Comments Off on Illinois Writers and Illustrators conference scholarship

I Am An Anomaly

I volunteer at my town’s Senior Citizen’s center a few times a week, working in the compDaily Heralduter lab associated with our public library.  There I perform crowd control when things get busy, and answer questions about using the computer, printing, and various websites. I get paid with a free cup of coffee (when I remember to go get it).

In many ways I am an anomaly. I am one of barely a thousand black people in a town whose population is over Seventy-six thousand. Except when I go to the supermarket or the main library I am pretty much the only black face I see, and I have to go to the mirror to see me.  So I definitely can’t ever afford to be colorblind.  And yes, my town is a Republican stronghold. When I asked for a Democratic ballot at the primary this spring I was one of only a handful, next to the giant stack of Republican ballots.  (But at least I had to ask, they did not simply assume that Black == Democrat).

Not so yesterday. I was in the computer room, and a gentleman came in who had never been there before. He had questions about how his phone works and about some of our classes (we offer free classes to the public). I answered, and thought we built a small rapport. He was smiling as he started for the door.  We had said absolutely nothing about politics.

He stopped before leaving, as if something suddenly struck him. Had I seen the movie about Hillary’s America, he asked.

Nope. Hadn’t seen it, don’t intend to, I don’t do propaganda.

Oh right, he said with a resigned look. You’re a democrat.

Now I happen to consider myself an independent. Yes, I voted Democrat in this last primary, which he couldn’t know, but mostly I like to pick and chose who I vote for up and down the ticket. But I’m black and I did not want to waste my time viewing propaganda, so I had to be a Democrat. And to him, that immediately turned me from helpful volunteer to the enemy.

He then proceeded to regale me with a list of things the movie “reveals” about Hillary. If I would only watch it, it would make me change my mind. I told him I actually like doing my own research (I am a researcher by trade, with a masters degree in Biochemistry and a second masters in Computer Science. I like looking things up for myself and not accepting other people’s opinions.)

He proclaimed me stubborn like a rock, being blindly led around by the democrats and bad Hillary, and that my mind was made up and I was a sheep. I could have said the same about him. He was adamant that Trump was real, as was every detail he saw in that movie. It had to be real, it confirmed everything he heard on Fox.

I saw immediately there was no point in trying to convince him of anything, not even that I was grown enough to check the facts for myself. He was right about one thing. As soon as Trump was confirmed as the Republican nominee my mind was made up about the Presidential race. I could not vote for someone who actively encourages his supporters to exercise their racism and bigotry on people like me. I am neither blind, nor a sheep, and certainly not suicidal. I have done my homework, I may not know what either candidate, and that includes the Green Party candidate, thinks in their hearts. But I know what they say and do and how one extorts his followers to violence.

The truth is, I’m not an automatic Democrat because I am black. Nor will I vote for Hillary just because I don’t like Trump. My problem is that so many so-called ordinary people are so quick to use him as an excuse to unleash their hatred and bigotry. Someone tried to tell me there was no such thing as a lesser of two evils. I disagree. Sometimes the choices we make really do matter.

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I’m fighting racism, one step at a time

Yesterday after reading an article on Facebook about police dismissing the protests of a young black male because…well, because he was a young black male and therefore what he said didn’t matter, (click here to see the article that started the discussion) an acquaintance on Facebook commented that she supported #blacklivesmatter but recognizes that racism does not stop with black people.

True, that!

She went on to state that in her mind, all lives matter meant that “all people of color matter” including Indian, Native, Asian, Latino etc. She asked, if it was racist to be mindful and inclusive of other non-white groups. So she asked, why was it wrong to say all lives matter.

Because she sounded like she wanted an honest answer, saying she wanted her eyes to be open if there was a problem in her reasoning, I responded.

First, I thanked her for caring and for wanting more knowledge. And that she was right, that all lives do matter. Or at least they should. And that racism, and other -isms go beyond just the way the majority culture in the US today treats black people.

If that was what all lives matter meant, that all people of color had lives that were valuable, I could wholeheartedly agree with the term.  Unfortunately, that hashtag was invented, and is primarily used, to silence POC. It started only after we as black Americans protested the actions of police and other authorities who treat us as if we don’t in fact matter.

I am well aware of issues with brown lives,  Asian lives, and especially native lives. I try to keep aware of issues facing all POC with regard to the legal system. I work to keep the information circulating. None of that should be lost or forgotten.  That includes white victims of police excess and brutality, like the white fifth grader whose dog was killed during his birthday party by an Oklahoma police officer coming to serve a warrant at the wrong house Click to see NY Daily News article

Abuse by those in power is a major concern, and the reality is all lives SHOULD matter equally, but like in Animal Farm, some do more than others. We should all care. Because POC are functioning like the old system where miners took birds down into mines with them because they were sensitive to air quality and reacted first, giving minors time to escape if the atmosphere went bad.  Or maybe its more like the words of Martin Niemöller poem, “First they came for the socialists and I did nothing…” The one that ends, “…Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me. ” (See more about Pastor and the full text of his poem at Wikipedia or the Holocaust museum

I do believe that each and every single human life matters. I would love to tackle every problem POC face with law enforcement. But I know my limits. That means it’s best for me to concentrate on one area at a time and for me that primary focus is Black Lives Matter. That doesn’t mean I lose track of the big picture. I know that many groups are treated as if they too don’t count. But if I break an huge problem down into small bits it ceases to feel overwhelming. I can see the possibility of fixing one of those bits. Then I can look into expanding and extending that solution.

Here’s an example. I am a former biochemist and researcher and I know something about medical research. If I walked into a lab working on a cancer cure and asked the technicians there what kind of cancer they were looking at, they better not tell me all kinds. That would mean they don’t know what they’re doing and are just wasting time and money. Different kinds of cancer need different approaches.  That doesn’t mean a cure for breast cancer might not have some future ramifications for curing colon cancer or a glioblastoma as well. It just means the research efforts will actually have a chance of success if the workers focus on a specific time instead of pulling up a shotgun and firing wildly. All cancers do matter, but in any given lab there should be only one focus.

It is good to be mindful of all injustice. Disabled lives matter too, which is why think the Florida police union needs to be slapped for thinking citizens would be fine about the four year police veteran intending to shoot an autistic gentleman (and then missing and shooting the black guy who then then handcuffed, apparently for his own protection or something).

It’s just that the term all lives matter does not convey concern for any life. It is too often used to say, “shut up black people and go back to your corner.” So I can’t use those words.

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