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This is not a political blog.

Which side of history do you want to be on?

“This is not a political blog.”

I have heard this statement from several of my fellow bloggers over the past few days.

“I blog about fashion/food/parenting. I shouldn’t be expected to make a statement about racism.”

Several of those bloggers have even posted these statements on Social Media with the addition of “I will delete negative comments. I don’t want the drama.”

The drama is here whether you want it or not.

This drama isn’t about formula feeding vs. breast feeding, your Paleo diet, or plus-sized fashion.

This drama is about white supremacy. Nazis. Racism. This drama is real, and lives are at stake.

Being able to ignore this drama is the ultimate form of white privilege. We can ignore it and go on living our lives, bolstered by the white supremacy that is literally killing our black neighbors.

Yes, you have an obligation to stand up against it. I don’t care if you blog exclusively about Disney Princesses. If you are white, and you have a platform, you absolutely must use it to denounce this.

White bloggers, you have a unique opportunity to let your readers in middle America know this is NOT OKAY. To let the mom who hasn’t had time to watch the news know this happening and it is NOT OKAY. To let your family know that it is NOT OKAY. 

Many bloggers have huge social media followings. Use it. Amplify black voices. Retweet those pictures of the Nazis. If you lose a few followers, who cares? They were Nazi-sympathizers. “50k Twitter followers, including white supremacists” doesn’t look great in your media kit anyway.

You have a soapbox, if you aren’t going to use it to stand up against Nazis, what are you going to use it for?

Do the right thing.

 

“If you stand for nothing…what will you fall for”

From Hamilton: An American Musical

Is Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA good for kids?

Update (4/25/17):  Add the jaw-dropping touch of Cirque du Soleil to Mother’s Day this year with LUZIA, a waking dream of Mexico. For a limited time only, tickets in price levels 1,2 & 3 are 20% off for selected Seattle performances of LUZIA scheduled through May 21st under the Big Top at King County’s Marymoor Park. For more information about this offer, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/usa/seattle/deals. Regular tickets for all Seattle performances of LUZIA are available online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.

 

Sick of this Seattle Rain? Dreaming of the colors, sounds, and beasts of Mexico? You don’t have to go any further than Redmond’s Marymoor Park, where the creative geniuses at Cirque du Soleil have dreamed up an interpretation of Mexico like you’ve never seen before!

The title of this Cirque Show – “Luzia” – is a portmanteau of the Spanish words for light (“luz”) and rain (“illuvia”). Both light and rain are big themes in the show, with a giant omnipresent, medallion-shaped set piece that changes color, and a water feature that emulates rain showers and is used extensively to breathtaking effect. There are over 90 thousand tiny holes on the stage to drain the water, but the setup still requires some in-between acts shenanigans to clean and dry the stage.

My companion and I were torn on the goofy clown that performed between acts and helped create a (somewhat) cohesive narrative. I thought he was funny and charming, she felt the show would have been just fine without him. I think kids will love his ridiculous antics. From his introduction in the opening minutes in a skydiving bit to his silly interactions with the crowd using only a lifeguard’s whistle, his European style (no makeup!) of clowning is delightful!

Soccer as a circus art! Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

Clowning aside, hand-balancers, hoop riders, giant puppets, trapeze and adagio artists are the main thrill here, but the supporting performers dressed as armadillos and cockroaches that are peppered throughout the acts are sure to be a huge hit with kids. There are also talented jugglers, crazy soccer-ball tricks, and an unbelievable contortionist.  Luzia has something for everyone.

A highlight for me was seeing Seattle-native Kelly MacDonald perform. You could feel the local love for MacDonald, who performs as the flier in a type of acrobatic art called “Adagio”. Hearing the crowd cheer for MacDonald as the Adagio porters threw and caught her, balanced her, and even used her as a human jump rope was delightful, and the Adagio act is one of the most captivating in the show.

Cirque performer and Seattle-Native Kelly McDonald in the Adagio Routine. Photo courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.

I highly recommend Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia for any kids who are able to sit still and quiet for its two hour and 25 minute running time. There is a 25 minute intermission halfway through, but be forewarned, we spent almost that whole time waiting in line for the bathrooms, which are in trailers (but are clean, well lit, and much better than the standard porta-potty – they flush!).

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia runs now through May 21st at Marymoor Park in Redmond, WA. Tickets are available HERE.

 

 

Living our Values in 2017 – Media Edition

This was originally going to be an article about a bunch of ways you can involve your kids in your politics and beliefs, but I got a little carried away with my media suggestions, so we’re going to start there, and I’ll be back soon with the other things the Parenting Geekly Family is doing to live our values in 2017 – including writing a Family Mission Statement!  I kept these suggestions as mainstream as possible to keep the barrier to entry low. You should be able to borrow or find most of these things on Amazon, streaming, or your local library.  (Note: Post conatians Amazon affiliate links).

Media

It can be intimidating to think about “resisting” or “revolution” or protesting when you have children. The good news is that you can teach your kids about justice, inclusion, diversity, activism and social justice without ever leaving your house. The easiest way to incorporate the ideals of equality, social justice, representation, and action is to make sure the media your family consumes showcases those topics.

Here is a very brief list of some of the media we’ve consumed recently:

Books
Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls – Kitty received this as a Christmas gift from her Aunt Karen. It features an intersectional (white, black, Asian, trans, cis, young and old are all represented) selection of women who did what they felt was right, all delivered in short one-page stories with beautiful illustrations. This beautiful hardback book is currently on back order until February 2017 – but if you just can’t wait Amazon has a Kindle version.

Kitty’s Rad American Women Lantern

Rad Women series – I was introduced to the Rad American Women and Rad Women Worldwide books by my daughter’s fourth-grade teacher. Every year their school holds a lantern festival before winter break. Each child designs and creates a lantern. Some years the classes make punched-tin lanterns or lanterns from clay or decoupaged milk cartons. This year every fourth grader picked a woman from one of these books and decorated a vellum lantern with her portrait. It was a super cool project, and these are super cool books. Kitty’s Rad Woman was Bessie Coleman, the first African-American Woman and first Native American woman to become a licensed US pilot!

Ms. Marvel – Kamala Khan is a teenage Pakistani-American, and Marvel’s first Muslim superhero. The team of creators is diverse, and according to writer G. Willow Wilson: “A huge aspect of Ms. Marvel is being a ‘second string hero’ in the ‘second string city’ and having to struggle out of the pathos and emotion that can give a person.” It’s appealing to wide range of ages. My husband and I enjoy it as much as 9-year-old Kitty does. This trade paperback collects the first issues into a single volume.

Movies
Star Wars – Not only do the Star Wars movies feature strong women and (at least in the two most recent films) racially diverse casts, they show a group of people fighting against evil. When you watch these beloved classics, make sure you point that out!

Captain America Civil War and Civil War comic books – Marvel showed two sides fighting for their strong opinions about social justice in this comic book series (which you can buy as a collection). The film is a condensed version but shows the same message of friends fighting on opposites sides for what they think is right. This could be a great entry point for conversation if you have close friends or relatives with opposing political opinions.

TV

The cast of Murdoch Mysteries

Murdoch Mysteries – This period police procedural from Canada was my big surprise love this year. Available on Netflix, it premiered in 2008 and take place in the 1890s. While the main cast isn’t diverse, it deals with issues of racism, women’s suffrage, social justice and progressive politics on a regular basis. There’s even an episode about abortion. I watch it with 9-year-old Kitty, but it does have some mild violence, mild gore (realistic dead bodies), and touches on adult themes (murder, sex, religion) – so maybe pre-watch it before you get the under 12s involved.

MUSIC
The Hamilton Soundtrack – If you can’t find something to talk about after listening to this race-bent take on our Founding Fathers you’re not trying. The creators and the racially diverse cast has talked about not feeling ownership of the story of the founding of our nation because it was done by a bunch of white guys. By casting people of color as the Founding Fathers, and using hip-hop in the soundtrack, they hope to make the story of the American Revolution accessible to all.
More easy ways to incorporate inclusive media? Listen to music from genres and cultures you don’t normally include. The recent inclusion of jazz to our repertoire has introduced our kids to Nina Simone, and her “Young, Gifted, Black” performance on Sesame Street. Seek out movies with racially diverse casts, or films that feature minority casts. Watch international films and TV (streaming has made this super easy!) Avoid films and TV that whitewash. Talk to your kids about diversity in their media and why it’s important. Don’t understand why it’s important? Here, let me Google that for you.