Category: BW Announcements


Hopkins Investigation Update (as of Jan. 19, 2016): Still the investigator is interviewing people. I think this might be the last week. Remaining bit may take “the next few weeks”, as said from the investigator.

Ok everyone, since Friday, I finally let the cat out of the bag about my illegal termination from Johns Hopkins University. Also, I had opened up a donation run to help keep me afloat as the investigation is ongoing. This is what it looks like today, so far:

Click me to donate!

Click me to donate!

 

Pretty dismal, frankly. It is greatly appreciated that I have already gotten two donations from readers but there is much more to raise.

The whole situation is easily angering because since Hopkins gave me such an unceremonious boot for a little over a month now, here is what is late:

Rent: $861 (about become $1,722 if rent becomes two months late, which it will be in less than two weeks)
Car: $324
Car Insurance: $230

The $3000 goal is actually what a month and a half paycheck looks like and so I don’t have to keep begging for money, I can just pay ahead to stave myself over until I can find another gig, which is really hard.

The reason I have this to pay is because when I worked at Hopkins, I moved and got a car to further stabilize myself so I could do well at the job (I worked there as a Library Assistant II). Apparently, Hopkins didn’t care and decided that I needed to go…just not based on my work ethic or anything legit like that. I posted my dismissal letter on the last post called “‘This is Hopkins’ or ‘How I Illegally Lost My Job'”, where you can see exactly what I was dumped on the basis of. Like the suspicion (as in “non-proven”, “no proof”, “baseless accusation”) that I would steal my fellow employee lunches…despite the fact that my lunch has also been stolen and I’ve had food shipped from South Korea via NYC so I would have a sufficient lunch.

Anywhoodle, I’m still pretty steamed about the whole thing because, frankly, I’m not supposed to be doing any of this “please donate” stuff, I’m supposed to be getting a paycheck from a prestigious university for performing regular, mandatory work. It’s frankly, really frustrating and emotionally devastating that something like racial and disability discrimination literally swiped out from left field and snatched my job from me. It would have sucked if I were fired because I did something dumb but at least it would have been justified. I could walk from that and go “I did something stupid, I earned that. Time to go struggle.” Instead, I got fired because of bigotry via the creation of trumped up accusations and false information.  And I still have to struggle as if everything was all my fault.

Maybe Hopkins will do the right thing, maybe they won’t. What matters now is that I stay afloat, more than anything. Please do donate. I plan to do a live stream by Friday to help do a donation drive, detail will come soon. I also been touching on this on my twitter (@thisblackwitch)

I usually don’t like to intermix my personal life with Black Witch because this is not a personal blog but this is pretty outstanding…and in a bad way. Yay, asking for donations, [/sarcasm]

I just recently got a new job at John Hopkins University back in September. It was pretty cooland I was stoked because I prefer working in academic libraries. There’s just more stuff to do in comparison to when I was at the Library of Congress. I thought I would finally get myself back on my feet and be pretty ok because at the time, I was going through a super rough patch, as I had mentioned some bits prior.

Then I lost my job without warning on Dec. 15. My supervisor found me shelving books, told me to come with him and before you knew it, I was sitting between him and the libraries’ HR with a letter waiting for me. It read that basically, as of that moment, I didn’t have a job anymore and how they felt unfortunate to tell me this.

Guess why they were letting me go…

Because, apparently, I was under the longstanding suspicion (remember, I was just there for three months) of stealing other employees lunches.

I’m not kidding, check out latter half of second paragraph:

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By the by, I actually had my lunch stolen while working there (which had never happened to me before in any of the 4-5 other libraries I’ve worked at). And I combatted it with having Ramen Bbokki (my favorite instant ramen cup) – a package with Korean written all over it – shipped to me from New York…which they got from Korea. I had figured whoever took my food was probably not going to touch it if they didn’t know what it read, especially since they yinked my Lunchables but left my Citron tea and Korean rice cakes alone, both written in Korean.

I love food, that’s no lie, and academic libraries are great for me because they have a far greater amount of free food events. Emphasis on the “free”. My stomach is too picky for me to steal food from other people anyways, I can’t even have too much okonomiyaki or pizza before my stomach goes, “Uhhh, I was feeling this…but now I’m not. Commence cramping!” and those are my favorite foods! I am a label reader, folks. Simply some things I can’t eat, even if I ate them before.

And if I was stealing foods…why didn’t anyone tell me I was under suspicion? I didn’t even know I was even being pegged for thievery until my therapist read my dismissal letter and said “You know they’re accusing you of stealing, right?” Even during the dismissal meeting, it didn’t come up. And suspicion isn’t the same as proof or indictment. Anyone can have a suspicion about anybody over anything. You can have the suspicion the president is a lizard person but, idealistically, it’s totally moot until you can satisfy what is known as the “burden of proof”. Burden of Proof simply means you’re free to suspect something but you need an example or some verifiable proof such as pictures, videos, detailed accounts, witnesses, documents, etc etc, to give that suspicion some standing. If you saw the president eyes blink sideways, have scales (beyond reason of “eh, he’s got a rash/ezcema/dry skin”) or blurt out a reptilian language when he slams his foot, and recorded it somehow or dragged another person to see, that can satisfy the minimum of burden of proof.

Also, suspicion can go both ways. For example, Hopkins has a pretty far reaching history of racial issues in Baltimore City. Hopkins is the Springfield Nuclear Power Plant/Montgomery Burns of Baltimore. They provide some good things but they also are good at maintaining harmful social structures. There’s a reason why many Black Baltimoreans (basically “Baltimoreans”, period) will say “If I ever get sick, don’t take me to Hopkins or Bon Secours.” Bon Secours because they’re nicknamed “Bon Se-Killers” due to crap care and Hopkins because no one wants to be a lab rat . For native Baltimoreans, JHU is a rich and big juggernaut that has very Ivy League perspectives on race, culture and other social structures. That can easily rouse suspicion of institutional and structural racism.

Speaking of which, I got tossed out for the “suspicion of stealing lunches” without even knowing (the other reason, I’ll touch on below) buuuuuut a co-worker can don an afro wig and do a near-minstrel act of pretending to be a lost street walker in the middle of the department during the afternoon but it’s waved off as just a thing that person does. Totes harmless, bro. Other workers thought it was a hoot – even took pictures! – and it doesn’t help that I was the only mobile Black person on the team at that point (there’s another who is stationary, mans the computers and keeps things running). If a Black student had sauntered in, it would have been on Instagram by now.

And it’s a little interesting that this isn’t even the first time I’ve been accused of stealing in my life. I’ve been followed in stores, I’ve even nearly had a cop pull a gun on me at university because he thought I was “robbing a warehouse” when I was just sitting on its very well-lit dock…because I was waiting for the bus and the bus stop at my school had no place to sit or shelter from the elements. I was dressed in casual cyber goth and with a chunky, huge bookbag but still had to show the officer my state and school id. And still, the dude felt that due to his suspicion, he had to pull up on me, blinding me with lights and stand behind his open car door with his arm akimbo on his gun while aggressively questioning a really confused and blinded English major. Did this officer think I was going to slam through a reinforced steel door with Saul Williams and Ben Jonson works? The funny part is that I’ve been in the warehouse before when it was open, it’s for the transit buses and has a soda machine that took my money many times. There’s your thief, the Pepsi machine in there that doesn’t understand the basics of legal tender and its role in the economic exchange of goods. But I’m the one harassed. What is with this anti-Blackness thinking that Black people are natural thieves? Even with zero proof? This accusation towards me is super trumped up and petty, not to mention fictitious.

Speaking of “parts”, let’s move on to the other reason I got such an unceremonious boot: I apparently said I clearly couldn’t drive a van (it’s a pretty major thing so books can get shipped back and forth from and to off-site containment) because I mentioned I had a condition when I first started. Now, why did I mention I had a disorder at the start when I should have kept my trap shut? Would you believe it’s because the department already had two very visibly neurodivergent people on the team and I stupidly thought “Oh, hey, this is a safe space. I don’t have to hide my disorder, which means I don’t have to worry about my work being impeded because I’m too busy guessing Schrodeinger’s Bigot. How great, I can be responsible about my condition since I receive regular treatment on it.”

Newp. I should have kept in mind that I’m Black and with mental illness, that’s two strikes against me. Basically, it doesn’t matter that I worked at the Library of Congress, it doesn’t matter that I have a degree or that I have an extensive background in books, conservation, literature, library science and book upkeep. Apparently, to do well at the job, I really should have just lied about my condition, went back to perms and started buying skin lightener. Because somehow that matters in my skills more than what’s on my resume.

Despite the fact that I very recently bought a car (to further stabilize my condition) and moved as well (again, to further stabilize my condition) while being super broke (did I mention you can donate? Because you can donate). This really blew a hole in me, not just financially (I had no prep so I had little money stored away…because no one even hinted I was losing my job), but emotionally because of how I basically got sideswiped with no warning or notification. I checked in with my supervisor, I tried to adjust to the environment, so on and so forth. I actually thought I was doing well, I was nearly out of my probationary period. Early Jan is when I would have been a regular Hopkins employee, off of probation instead of a noob.

I’m sure, at this point, you’re probably thinking, “Time to lawyer up!” Yeeeeeeeeeaaaaah, not that easy. Now, the whole firing is being investigated by the Office of Institutional Equity. I’ve no real clue when it will be over. I would really like for it to be over so I can get back to my job and return to earning wages like a normal person. As for lawyers, the convo tends to go like this:

Me: Hi, would like your help in a discrimination case. I was wrongfully fired based on fictitious and trumped up accusations based on racial and disability discrimination.
Lawyer/Law grunt: Sure! We cover labor laws and discrimination. What was your position and where did you work?
Me: I was a Library Assistant and I worked at Hopkins University
Lawyer/Law grunt:
Lawyer/Law grunt: … uh, can we check if we can take your case?
Me: Sure!
:: A minute or two later or a call back ::
Lawyer/Law grunt: Uhhhhhhh, we can’t take your case. We’re sorry.

Remember, Hopkins is seen as quite a juggernaut here in Baltimore, most lawyers are pretty mortified to take on such an institution and understandably so. They’re daunting.

If anyone is flailing at the screen, saying “Go to the ACLU! NAACP! They exist! EEOC!!!!!” I juuuuust tried that. I didn’t run to them first because firstly, I had never gone through anything like this before. I was absolutely stunned and devastated. Secondly, they can be more greater-than-life than needed. Visited ACLU, they practically went “take a number”, called NAACP (who I have fleeting faith in, thanks to their interactions with Rachael Dolezal and Don Sterling) and they told me “Tell EEOC first”. Called EEOC, I got a computer voice that told me that I would be on hold for 54 minutes. I get that these organizations are not millions massive and they have a lot of work to do but I feel like it’s doing nothing. I can fill out their sheets and leave messages but what good would that be?

So, right now. Being so suddenly cut off, it really stings that what took my prestigious university library job from me isn’t me, it’s basic bigotry. I can’t help the fact that I’m Black, it’s not even a big deal. I can’t help the fact I have mental illnesses, I didn’t ask to have trauma disorders. Being Black shouldn’t have any bearing on my employment status. Having a diagnosed illness shouldn’t have any bearing on my employment status, especially since I was going above and beyond to try to stabilize the illness and try to explain things in a simplistic “I’m not a psycho” way so they could best understand.

I have no idea how long this investigation will be. It could be 2-3 months, it could be sooner, I don’t know. Please feel free to donate so I can keep everything up and going. They left me pretty much crapped out with rent, car payments, etc etc. There’s no limit to what money will be raised but I will set it to $3000 so there’s a goal. As per usual, feel free to donate. Since this is all such an emergency time, that means I’ll be posting about this pretty often. I won’t give any play-by-play updates but I will mention in the future if I do or don’t get the job back.

In addition, what frustrates/angers me further is that Hopkins just recently put out a program called Hopkins Local where the basic kit and kaboodle of it is that Hopkins is trying to “help” the neighborhoods affected by the riots by saying they’ll hire people from those neighborhoods, determined by zip code. Basically, Sandtown-Winchester would obviously fall into this because that’s where the riots originated and is one of the hardest hit neighborhoods.

I’m originally from Sandtown.

It doesn’t take a genius psychologist to find that I’m pretty sensitive about my original neighborhood being basically used for yuppie points/White Saviorism. The difference between me and the average person coming from Sandtown is that I already know I have a condition as a result of the traumatic environment I was raised in. I know I have chronic disorders, this is why I can talk about my illnesses at length. Most people in Sandtown are pretty ripped up mentally and have no clue that they have PTSD, DID, BPD, etc etc because of the absolute lack of sufficient mental health resources in those areas.

Let me tell you, when you have no clue you have a condition or a disorder, you’re more chaotic. You’re more chaotic and, frankly, you don’t know why. You simply have a short fuse, you lose time, that you’re hyper aggressive over the littlest thing, can’t trust anyone, etc etc and you have no idea why. At least I had the audacity and knowledge to be upfront and say “Hey, here’s what I have” because I got duped into being honest and believing that my workplace was a safe place because I saw other neurodivergent people. What is Hopkins going to do with the other folks who don’t know they have a trauma disorder but are asking for a job to have a change and a better life? Make more phony crap up to fire them as well before probation is over? If this is how Hopkins truly feels, why try to have things like Hopkins Local, so it can look like a PR ruse?

All I wanted to do was work in a library, now I got the book thrown at me for no reason.

EDITOR’S NOTE: I changed the dismissal letter with a better pic, one that includes Hopkins’ letterhead if case of disbelievers

Yep, that’s right, I’m on a three week vacation, commence the hen dance of glory!

chickns1

chickns2

What does this mean for y’all? Well this is going to be an actual vacation-vacation so that means no tablet, no internet, no nothing. Gooooootta unplug. I have never taken a full vacation that also included a vacation from Black Witch, ha! So, it’s an actual “not gonna do anything” vacation. That means:

– No new posts for the month of July

– No responses to emails or messages until Aug 1 or the very, very end of July

I may just recycle old posts from Early BW days…or just leave this post here so everyone knows what’s going on. Ehhhhh, I’m probably going to do that.

Until then…here’s some Static Shock fan made short films! Huzzah.

“Static Shock: Blackout” by Stefani Dezil

“Static Shock: Phenomenon” by yvzproductions

“Electrogenesis” by HsingHProductions (Static Shock when he’s older and not exactly Static)

Huzzah!

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I’ve been ridiculously busy so no actual article for this prev week but I do have news. The book The Sisters are Alright: Changing the Broken Narrative on Black Women is coming out. It is an academic book written by Tami Winfrey Harris about the intersections of experiences of Black women, stereotypes and society. I had a chance to participate with this book as one of the interviewed guests. Now that the book is nearly out (you can purchase it on Amazon here, and it will be released July 7th but it is in stores now), it’s promotion time!

On July 7th, Tuesday, at 9PM EST there will be a one hour discussion under the hashtag #TheSistersAreAlright on Twitter. I’ll be participating under my usual @thisblackwitch handle, make sure you check it out!

Here is the donation link

On June 18th, my mother was evicted from her home, where she had lived for nearly 20 years. She’s a special education teacher that has extensive experience in the field, especially helping inner city Baltimore students.

Through a myriad of unfortunate situations, she wound up not being able to pay rent on time and have massive fees piled on top.  Dealing with all of this, she wound up being put out. Enable to get her back into her home before the junk truck comes and clean it out, we have to raise $1010 dollars and quickly. Thank you for your help.

Happy 5th Anniversary!

Black Witch is 5 years old now. This is interesting because I’m always surprised BW could make it another year. With crappier posting times but still, huzzah.

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There’s not really much to say, but it is nifty that BW has been lasting a while. I think it’s not as streamlined as it used to be in the past but meh, even a blog can’t be static. However, I always think of improvements for the site. I have switched tablets, need to add stuff to the BW store (and need to do better upkeep of the BW store, I have been thinking of moving it off of etsy and streamlining more to be on this site. >.>)

In the coming year, I would like to get better questions for ABW. Less body-switching questions and spell requests because they are irritating. More about actual practices in metaphysics or something worthwhile. I know I’m not the only source of magick info or anything but I have got to get better questions.

Also, as a reminder, because Facebook is a digi-douche, if you are part of the Black Witch Fan Page, you can get better updates if you just select “Get Notification” on the FB fan page, this will fix it. Here is a picture for reference:

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Huzzah!

Here’s a cat picture

cute-kitten-derp

So, the month focusing on a special subject went down in flames. No writer submissions, I missed my publish dates as well, nothing really went well. That’s not cool. I’ll probably do it again next year, with better preparations.

Instead, I’m just going to direct your attention to a recent interview I just did from ACTION Mag. It was actually a good experience, I recommend reading it.

I’ll also post this call for diverse writers for an upcoming Pagan publication. I was one of the (incredibly) few asked and I said that I wasn’t going to write unless there were at least 6 minority Pagan writers, at least three of them Black. The anthology curator didn’t even bother to ask four in total. Meaning the anthology is geared to becoming nearly all White with some measly token thrown in as if it is just as good as actual diversity. Here are the submission guidelines.  You can also email tara.miller21[at]gmail.com.

Since normal content resumes in April, which is soon, just watch this short film, titled “Cupidon”. It’s about a day in the life of Cupid as he does his job, but makes a mistake with his arrows that turned one person in a potential couple into a total megalomaniac as he tried to make a match.

I was contacted by Huffington Post (on super short notice, wow) to partake in a talk today about Paganism, Sex and Sexuality. While the talk is all day, my segment will be at 2:50 PM EST and for those who worry of missing it, it will be recorded and I’ll have a link for that as soon as possible (probably tomorrow).

Watch it here.

Alright, I have some quick news! I will be part of PACO – the Pagan Activism Conference Online – for the “Activism Among Pagans of Color” panel. I’ll be speaking alongside Shades of Faith and Shades of Ritual author Crystal Blanton, hoodoo conjurer Khi Armand and blogger Xochiquetzal Duti Odinsdottir on November 22, 12-1:30 PM (PST). Now, as you could gather from the title, it will all be online so you can listen in. However, entry is paid:

$40 for the whole online conference
$10 per individual panel

If you still are having difficulty paying, it’s fine. Contact the Pantheon Foundation here and they’ll work with you. If you can pay, go for it – it supports the panelists! Woo!

See you there!

I remember a reader telling me that they couldn’t get stream of my regular posts ported to FB (meaning that even this post will go unseen unless I pay Facebook to promote it major – which I won’t because that’s ridiculous). It’s difficult because this is an issue with Facebook wanting money so only the ones who pay the most get seen the most in your timelines and feeds. I find that immensely unfair because given someone has clicked the “Like” button, they already are expressing that “Yes, I want to see more of this, I want to follow this person and what they do.” Not cool.

I learned from a different fan page that you, the fan, have to actively click the “Get Notifications” selection when you click the drop-down for the “Liked/Like” button.

keep up with BW on FB

Make sure to do this to keep up on new Black Witch happenings. Especially since October is coming up so that means there’s the Samhain Pickers Giveaway and the Samhain/Halloween Ustream. I’ll try to keep reminding people throughout the month of October.

And yes, you can message me through Facebook and since Ask Black Witch is on Friday, now would be a good time to do so.

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