Monday, June 11, 2007

Singing SisterSong

Greetings beloved community! Since I had to fill out this evaluation as a condition of the mother/daughter scholarship my momma and I recieved for the Let's Talk About Sex SisterSong Conference and 10th Year Celebration...I decided to post it for you verbatim...instead of writing a whole new reflection. Color me efficient :)

Name: Alexis Pauline Gumbs
Organization: BrokenBeautiful Press and UBUNTU
Age: 24 Ethnicity: Black/Afro-Caribbean
Gender: Feminine Sexual Orientation: Queer
Have you previously received a scholarship from SisterSong? Y/N No

Below are a few questions about your participation in and impressions of the Let’s Talk About Sex! Conference. Please feel free to be creative with your answers. Thanks for your participation!

What are the 3 most important things that you feel that you have learned through your experiences at the conference?

1. We are warriors and so we can not take life for granted.

2. We are healers and so we have what we need to sustain each other.

3. Midwives are everywhere!

What impact do you think your participation in the conference will have on your work, your community, your family, your self?

I feel spiritually opened by the wisdom that conference participants shared. I was especially inspired by Cara Page’s talk on the Myth of Population Control and her affirmation of our right to our own erotic transformation, our right to risk love. This work will have a direct effect on the ways that we are restructuring our community work in order to prioritize our spiritual and life giving resources over conventional (and explicitly capitalist) measures of success.

Related to this point, I was very struck in the workshop on Depo Provera to learn that many of the conference funders (i.e. the foundations behind our receipt of this very scholarship) were the same people who conducted unethical, violent, genocidal birth control research using the bodies of women of color in the Caribbean. This realization of my own complicity in the violence of capitalism...even at the level of alternative community building, has pushed me to stand for alternatives to foudation funding.

I was also inspired to see sex workers leading workshops on sex work as resistance. I plan to share a DVD that the Sex Workers Project at the Urban Justice Center gave to me about the international movement against the “Pledge Against Prostitution) with the other members of UBUNTU, so that our local work can be informed by international sex-worker led actions.

Have you ever been to any other event that was created by and for women of color? Y/N If Yes, what event? YES! My whole life has been created by and for women of color!

How was the LTAS conference different or similar to that event?

I appreciated the way that the LTAS conference gave intentional time to self-help, work among the audience, poetry, song, mourning and visioning. Processing Aishah Simmon’s brilliant film NO! with my mother (who was my self-help partner) really allowed us to move forward in our continual process of the sexual assault that I experienced when I was eighteen.

I love the way that SisterSong transformed the space of the hotel ballroom with visual reminders of our ancestors and our visual methodologies (quilts, batiks, etc). I love that there was constantly available food. I loved the Umoja village, and appreciate SisterSong’s intention in naming it in honor of the survivor-created village in Kenya. I also appreciate SisterSong’s financial support of Africa Loves Babies through the intention of the bags. I heard someone say “I have been able to build with more women of color in the last two days than in my whole life combined,” during the middle of the conference. I might not move to that level of hyperbole..but it was definitely a miracle to meet and be in the presence of so many beautiful brilliant and committed women of color. I cried tears of joy, loss, and new understanding throughout the event.


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