Being part of a diaspora is the feeling of never wanting to forget, but being incapable of remembering.
When students learn about slavery in school, a lot of them often ask this question: “Why didn’t they fight back?” It’s a question that often remains unanswered because lesson plans don’t always address the grittier elements of history, particularly the slave trade.
But they did fight back. And one of them, Gaspar Yanga, changed history forever.
Often referred to as the “first liberator of the Americas,” Yanga was a leader of a slave rebellion in Mexico during the early period of Spanish colonial rule around 1570. By the year 1609, the large number of escaped slaves had reduced much of rural Mexico to desperation, especially in the mountains in the state of Veracruz.
Taking refuge in the difficult terrain of the highlands, Yanga and his people built a small maroon colony, or “Palenque”—a community of runaway slaves living on mountaintops. The colony grew for more than 30 years, partially surviving by capturing caravans bringing goods to Veracruz. In 1609, the Spanish colonial government decided to try to regain control of the territory.
Spanish troops, numbering around 550, set out from Puebla in January 1609. The maroons facing them were an irregular force of 100 fighters with some type of firearm and 400 more with primitive weapons such as stones, machetes, and bows and arrows. These maroon troops were led by Francisco de la Matosa, an Angolan. Yanga—who was quite old by this time—decided to use his troops’ superior knowledge of the terrain to resist the Spaniards. His goal was to cause the Spaniards enough pain to draw them to the negotiating table.
Upon the approach of the Spanish troops, Yanga sent terms of peace, including an area of self-rule. The Spaniards refused the terms and the two groups fought a battle that lasted for many years. Finally, unable to win indefinitely, the Spaniards agreed to give Yanga’s followers their freedom in exchange for ending the constant raids in the area and gain their help in tracking down other escaped slaves.
Additional conditions were also met, including:
1. Upon surrender, Yanga and his people would receive a farm as well as the right of self-government;
2. Only Franciscan priests would tend to the people; and
3. Yanga’s family would be granted the right of rule.
In 1618, the treaty was signed, and by 1630, the town of San Lorenzo de los Negros de Cerralvo was established. The town name of “San Lorenzo de los Negros” was officially changed to Yanga, Veracruz in 1956. This town of more than 20,000 people remains under the name of Yanga today.
» Contributed by Raymond Ward, DuSable Museum of African American History.
Sacredness is anything that is regarded with reverence. Architecture devoted to the sacred is placing within the realms of man a solid interpretation of the feelings of awe and reverence. It is encapsulating the presence of the divine in man made with human hands. Architecture enhances and envelops sacredness when sacred iconography is employed in its design. The place of architectural iconography in sacred buildings takes architecture into another dimension.
A thin line runs between Religious architecture and Sacred Architecture. Vosco, R. states that the difference starts with what he calls “sacred dynamics.” He goes on to say “ places become sacred over time because of the meaning given to them.”
The Lotus temple is an embodiment of sacred architectural iconography. The Lotus temple located in India, New Delhi was designed by Fariborz Sahba. The temple was designed and built for the Baha’i faith in 1986; it was built in the form of a lotus, which has several cultural symbolic connotations to the people of India.
The lotus flower grows in muddy water and despite its murky roots it develops into such perfection. In Buddhism the lotus flower is perceived as rising and blooming and achieving enlightenment despite the murk from where it began. It is also seen as the purifying spirit born in murkiness. Lastly Buddhism believes that arising from this murkiness will require faithfulness.
In Egyptian and Hindu mythology, it is believed that a huge lotus arose from within the deep and infinite ocean; implying that life emerged from the waters
In Indian mythology, Vishnu the god of the Indians is said to have been asleep dreaming of worlds to come when out of his navel sprouts a lotus flower whose budding petal held a cosmic egg in which Brahma the creator was sleeping in. As he stirred creation, worlds, gods and life began to appear. Today the Indians still consider the lotus as the cradle of the universe.
Bahaullah founded the Baha’i faith a growing religion in Iran in 1844. The Baha’i temple sometimes called Mashriqui-Adhkar (which means “drawing place of the mention of God”) should be built in each city and town and be a place where people of all religions can gather. Baha’i scripture enjoins that Baha’i temples must be a nine-sided circular building, should have no images, altars, or pulpits. Its scripture also states that the temple is to be surrounded by social and humanitarian complexes such as schools, hospitals, homes etc.
Our Tips: How to Eat More Vegetables
I think eating vegetables is something that’s really hard for a lot of people, myself included. Over the last few months I’ve tried figuring out how to change that, why it was happening, and how to make myself actually follow through on my goal of eating more on vegetables.
Since then, I’ve found myself feeling so good just by eating a little better every day. It’s not so much about trying to lose weight or anything, it just makes me feel like I have better concentration & focus, I get less headaches and stomachaches, and that I have more energy overall. Here are a few tips that I’ve found helped me a lot in increasing the number of vegetables I’m eating now.
Start with vegetables
Okay, that title sounds ridiculous, but this is all about mindset. When thinking up what to make for dinner, first figure out what vegetable(s) you’re in the mood for. Then bring in the spices & herbs, then lastly hearty elements like starches, grains or pasta. Instead of making vegetables an afterthought, make it the main focus. For example, rather than say “I want pasta tonight” I can say “I want seared asparagus & broccoli, and I can put peas & lots of garlic with that. Then I’ll make a quick sauce and toss it all with some pasta.” By focusing first on vegetables, you’ll end up eating more.
Go with what you know
If you’ve never tried or liked beets, romanesco, bok choy, or kale, don’t feel guilty by skipping over it at the grocery store. Start with celery, carrots, cucumber, and spinach if you’re more comfortable with it. By over-stretching our comfort zones, sometimes it causes us to not want to deal with it at all, which leads to ordering out and buying junk food for every meal. When you’re ready for it, move forward, but until then, learn to make the most of the basics.
It doesn’t have to be fresh!
Frozen vegetables are just as good as fresh, in almost all cases, and especially in the winter. The best part is that they last longer than fresh, so you can always keep some around. And when they’re around, they’re much more likely to be eaten. Don’t go for “the best quality organic fresh vegetables” standard of “perfection.” Start where you are, make the best of what’s available.
Instead of eating salads for every meal, I’ve found that a better way to create lasting change is to build up to it. Start with just adding a little veg into your usual meals - then increase the amount of veg on your plate a little more each day. This was essential for me to drink green smoothies, for example - at first an all-greens-smoothie was gross, but by altering the ratio of fruit and vegetable each day, now most of my smoothies are vegetables, with just a small amount of sweetener. (Still working on it!)
I used to make salads without doing much prep work, so all the pieces were huge and hard to eat. This made me hate salads, especially tougher greens. But now, I’ve learned to love chopped salads. I break down all the vegetables into small bits, including the greens, and it makes it so much easier (and tastier!) to eat. The way you prepare & incorporate ingredients makes such a huge difference. If you hate or just aren’t interested in something, break it down. I used to hate mushrooms - so I chopped them down and put them in stews, soups, and in burgers. As time went on, I grew to love mushrooms and now can eat them in mass amounts.
Try a different preparation
By trying different cooking techniques, vegetables totally transform themselves in terms of taste and texture. Thin-slicing or roasting tomatoes tastes so much better to me than cold, watery refrigerated chunks of tomato that a lot of restaurants serve. Going back to mushrooms, for example, I still don’t really like raw mushrooms. I didn’t really like them steamed, either, for a long time. But I love them pan-seared or roasted, which sparked my love for them. Some vegetables work better with certain techniques, so don’t banish any veg from your house after one bad experience.
Create positive experiences, let go of bad ones
When talking about experiences, mindset and environment have a lot to do with how we feel about food, whether it’s a certain ingredient, a style of cooking, or a certain preparation. I can’t tell you how many bad iceberg salads I’ve had throughout my life, or how many overcooked, soggy, flavorless vegetable sides. But that doesn’t mean those ingredients are inherently bad. Try to create positive correlations with cooking and exploring different kinds of food - cook with friends, put on your favorite music, eat outside on a beautiful day. Most importantly, don’t get hung up on trying to create a “perfect” meal. Especially at the beginning, its easy to get discouraged - just go slow and be kind to yourself. In the end, you’ll find that cooking with plenty of vegetables is rewarding and really tasty.
So, what do you think your hangups are around certain foods, but especially vegetables? Any additional tips for eating more veg? Let us know in the comments!
a comment I just saw (via trebled-negrita-princess)
This not a difficult fucking concept