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It’s Your Country, Too

A conversation with authors Yousef Allouzi & Samuel Snoek-Brown about writing, publishing, and co-creating

With the launch of The Bedouin by Yousef Allouzi and There Are No False Alarms by Samuel Snoek-Brown right around the corner, we couldn’t resist the opportunity to give readers a deeper understanding of the how’s and why’s behind the paired chapbooks and their authors. So, we asked Yousef and Sam to chat with us about their writing, the publishing process, and their relationship as writers and co-conspirators. Enjoy, friends!


Yousef Allouzi, “It’s Your Country, Too”

Q: Yousef, your essay centers on heritage and reconnecting with your family, but it also touches on racial profiling and discrimination in the U.S. Will you talk about how those themes intermingle in your writing and personal life?

A: The intermingling of heritage and family with discrimination and racial profiling has always been a part of my life.  From the time I was young, I was very aware that being Arab-American was drenched in stigma, whether it be the “t word” (terrorist) or the general portrayal of Arab-Americans in pop culture and television.  I lived much of my youth ashamed of my heritage. I liken it to the feeling of being poor.  I can remember the first time I visited a kid’s house in a gated community back in Texas.  I felt like I shouldn’t be there. No matter how many showers you take, or how expensive the clothes you are wearing, you don’t feel like you belong. So, naturally, I try and let those feelings seep into my writing. 

Q: What do you hope readers take away from reading your essay?

A: The American story is a story of diversity. Don’t let anyone tell you differently. It’s your country too.  It’s become somewhat of a cliché, but history has a way of repeating itself. Our country has a very fickle relationship with civil rights during conflict, and the fallout of 9/11 was no different. 

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Learning From My Garden in Four Colors


Learning From My Garden in Four Colors

An essay by Tamiko Nimura

Green

Mid-March 2020, Washington state. Too anxious to even buy seeds. Too soon to plant seeds outside. I remember what I’d started a few years ago: my desktop garden. The ends of romaine heads, the tops of carrots, the bottoms of baby bok choy. Soon I’ve got trays of vegetable scraps on my work desk.

Daughter and granddaughter of immigrants, I begin to “upcycle” (hoard) the plastic clamshell containers for strawberries, the aluminum trays and clear covers that came with our takeout dinners.

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Allyship in This Time of Civil Unrest

A note from the publisher, Christina Butcher

Now is the time to stand up and support Black community members across the country in the fight against police brutality, systemic injustice and racism.

Yes, this is a fight. And yes, we need to stand in solidarity as a community of supporters, allies and activists to ensure personal safety and freedoms of Black people, especially, and Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC), generally, as they are continually targeted by police and racists across our country. Refusing to take a stand in some way, even in the smallest, most personal show of support you can muster, counters the efforts of activists and reinforces the corrupted systems in place. Complacency is complicity. I’ll say that again. Complacency is complicity.

As a company, Blue Cactus Press stands with Black Lives Matter and supports the wider, continuous efforts toward racial equality and justice in the U.S. We are working to increase the ways we support Black community members and take action to counter racial injustice. We can do more, and this is the start of that.

As a Woman of Color, I also stand with Black Lives Matter and support the work it, and other organizations, put into changing our socio-political landscape for the better. I see this work and I’m eager to participate. As a pregnant woman though, my physical limitations keep me from participating in many of the ways I’d like to. And I admit, I have been slow to accept the reality that my body is not my own, and to temper my mental and emotional desires to “do more” in this fight. I know there are many of you out there, as well, looking for ways to take meaningful action despite your own physical, mental and emotional barriers. So, in an attempt to lay out an actionable plan for myself and others, I’ve written a list of things we can do to be better, stronger allies with Black and BIPOC community members in this time of civil unrest.

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