The Friend Movement and Martin Luther King’s Day

Martin Luther King’s Day


Sumiko and Scott, 6 and 5, in 1974

I still remember the first MLK Day march I attended: I was there with my mother, and my brother and I were still very young. I was eight years old. We were marching in part to try to get it recognized as a national holiday – it wasn’t yet, then, this was around the bicentennial in 1976. People were very excited to see me and Scott, they thought we represented the Dream speech just by being biracial and existing: which is a weird thing when you are eight. And some hippies gave me a kitten. I was eight, so I was all about the kitten. My mom’s boyfriend wouldn’t let me keep her, so I gave her to the neighbors. Less than a decade later, Ronald Reagan moved to make it a holiday in 1983 – but it still wasn’t celebrated in every state.

It became a national holiday 13 years ago, in 2000.

I remember a lot of parades I went to with my nieces. It is odd to think that three generations of my family have attended these events, first as marches lobbying for it to become a holiday, and then as celebrations.

The Friend Movement


Photo Shoot from the Friends Campaign

Last night I finally had a chance to catch up with my favorite internet radio show, The Dinner Party Show. Among their guests were Ronnie Kroell and Elliot London, who were talking about the Friend Movement, an anti-bullying campaign. The entire show is actually available at the iTunes site or on the web link above.

Many people are changing their middle names on Facebook and Twitter to “Friend” in support of the Friends Movement. I am against bullying, but I am not changing my middle name to friend. Yet, yes, I invite you other people, who are young and idealistic, not middle aged and crotchety, to do so. Yet I am your friend. Your grumpy, pissy, middle aged friend with the migraine.

To hear the Podcast, go the Dinner Party Blog, which is here:

if you want a shorter overview of the Friend movement, here is another blogger’s piece:

The Friend Movement has a website that is launching I believe tomorrow. So check it out. There was some mention of fat girls being bullied, but I decided not to out myself as a chubby chick. But yea… I’m 5’6 and I’m 230 pounds so, I’m definitely queen sized. If you can’t picture that, well, Jack Black is 5’6 and 200 pounds, so basically like Jack Black if he had boobs and a big booty. Okay, that doesn’t sound right.

My Thoughts On Bullying


Me as a pimply 19 year old. With glasses.

I was bullied as a child. There were a lot of reasons… besides the regular “kids are kind of mean” thing. I fell out of a laundry cart as a toddler, and it left me with a rakish Harrison Ford like scar on my chin, which caused the kids in kindergarten to call me “Frankenstein” (as you can see in the photo from 1974, it was huge – okay not really). It was the 70s so being biracial in the USA was still kind of like being a space alien. When I was 12 I started having to wear glasses. When I was 14, I started to be overweight. I lost the weight when I was 17 but still had the zits and the glasses. My mom was in trouble and wasn’t able to be there between the time I was 12 and 18, and my Jewish American dad didn’t know how to deal with my African American hair texture. I think he also thought it was the 70s instead of the 80s, because he kept trying to get me to wear a lopsided Afro. We lived in Kalapana from 1980 to 1982, and my dad’s desire to “live off the land” meant that we had no running water. That meant I was smelly at school sometimes.

I spoke too slowly because I had a stutter (I still speak slowly – it sounds better than stuttering). I got hassled for getting good grades, while at the same time being hassled for being so-called slow because some teens can’t tell the difference between being slow and having a speech impediment. And  then there were the pimples. I was suicidal, and yes, there were some suicide attempts. I wrote a nice little piece about my experience as a bullied junior high school student, which was rejected by a certain little fashion magazine (wrong audience, I am sure) but is free on Smashwords:

The Dinner Party Show


Eric n Chris – The Guys, The Dinner Party Show

I love that show – the theme is “Everybody Gets Served” and that means they make fun of everyone, so it’s sort of an equal opportunity sketchy comedy and parody show. If you know me very well, you know that I am a generalized fan of sketch comedy, dating back to the late 70s when my dearly departed father would wake me up late at night so I could join him in watching “Saturday Night Live” and “Monty Python” during my preteen years.

I also listened to a lot of Dr. Demento, which was what we used to have before Weird Al Yankovich – he was a radio DJ who played all kinds of musical parodies. My dad was born back stage when his parents were on vaudeville, so you could say that comedy is in my blood. I understand about funny, and this show is funny. You should all listen to it. And subscribe to the podcast. And fan their Facebook page so you can interact with them while they are on the air every Sunday at 5pm PST. In case you missed those links:

I probably didn’t mention it, but you can also support the show by buying the books of Eric Shaw Quinn, Christopher Rice, and their guests, at their store. And I have been systematically adding the ones I want but don’t have to my Amazon wish list, so that you can buy them for me for my birthday, which is March 20th.

Bring Back The Horror!

I know what some of you are saying… more author interviews! Bring back the horror! Well, you’ll be happy to hear that I now that my dad’s funeral is over and I start school tomorrow, I am sort of re-gearing up and preparing to deliver more author interviews. So thanks for being patient with me though my grief and letting me express it here.

~ by Sumiko Saulson on January 21, 2013.

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