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People of Color

How Anthony Bourdain Got Me Through Post-War Depression

November is a month of mixed feelings. Like September, a month filled with melancholic memories of 9/11, the ominous uptick of pumpkin spice latte ads, Suicide Awareness Month, and my birthday, November provides a lens of reflection for Veterans Day. However, I would be remiss if I didn’t share how Anthony Bourdain’s suicide in June was so personally devastating – especially when he saved me from my own as an Iraq War Veteran. After I…

The Most Honorable Thankless Job

I am a Black Woman veteran that proudly served in the United States Army. I served as a leader of Soldiers, a person of integrity, and committed to accomplishing my mission in peacetime as well as in combat. Most importantly, I served the U.S. Army, my family and my country honorably. When I hear the words, “Thank you for your service”, it usually means more to me than the person offering them as a patriotic…

Ash Flakes

Uncountable drops clouding and squeezing me tight, as I ponder with wonder of the unknown above me and below and yet to come. Lonely sets in with uncomfortable ease as is the meek face of a new born wide eyed with astonishment and wanting of womb, with facial expression of fear from detachment of comfort and heart beat from its only known home. Below distant and loud as salty misty fog groups gather in clumps,…

Decolonize Love: Fighting Colonialism in the Age of Indigenous Renaissance

Decolonize Love: Fighting Colonialism in the Age of Indigenous Renaissance A look back on a 12-hour conversation where love was decolonized between two veterans. When I met Alessandro on our first date, he told me he was born in Genoa, the birthplace of Cristoforo Colombo, or Christopher Columbus as we know him in the United States. My heart sank for a moment, and as much as I tried to hide my disgust over hearing Columbus…

International Indigenous Peoples Day

Billy di waayu Met la kat la di wil’waatgu Ganhaada di p’deegu Seattle di wil dzogu Linda Booth na di wa noyu Violet Atkinson-Booth na di niyaayu Billy Booth na di nits’iit’s’u My name is Will I am from Metlakatla, BC/Alaska My crest is Raven Clan I live in Seattle, Washington My mother is Linda Booth, who has past-away My grandmother is Violet Atkinson-Booth, who has past away My grandfather is Billy Booth, who has…

Allegiance

I think about who we might have been if we weren’t colonized and enlisted into the machine. My mother’s birthday is October 12th, all my life it was on the calendar as Columbus day. My neighbor flies an American flag, his family has been in Oregon for five generations. His family came on the mayflower, that’s what he says when we first meet. Both my great grandfathers were murdered for their land in Mexico. They…

The Historically Traumatic Move from Home: An Indigenous Womxn’s Story of Service

What does it mean to serve as an Indigenous person? It means Columbus Day is a holiday you get off if you’re not on duty. We even get a 4-day weekend. If that isn’t incentive to continue to perpetuate settler colonialism through glorifying Christopher Columbus as some founding hero for Americans, I don’t know what is. Serving before Indigenous Peoples’ Day was a recognized holiday meant questioning my own reasons for joining and feeling like…

Black Officer, White Navy

Tennis great and Army officer Arthur Ashe once said “Being a Black man is like having another job.” That’s not one of the quotes you’re likely to find on the web: perhaps because it’s so not “inspiring.” Instead, his quote about not letting racism and sexism stop you from doing your best is prominent. In effect, this mindset puts the burden on the victims, not the perpetrators, to deal with those issues. Being a minority…

Blazn A New Trail In Seattle

My name is Tramese “Missy” Byrd. I am an African American, LGBTQ, disabled Veteran. At the age of 18 I signed a Division One basketball scholarship to the United States Air Force Academy. The campus felt like home, until I started acting differently and did not know why. During my junior year I began having manic episodes of depression. I would act out with no explanation. I remember yelling, running away, sobbing, and hiding for…