Friday, November 18, 2011
Tomorrow is the day for Body Ecology's 2nd RingShout for Reproductive Justice! Dress warmly, fill your thermos and prepare yourselves for what will be a gripping and enlightening public art performance.
What is a RingShout? A ringshout is a method for praise and worship. In the ring shout people sing, dance, testify. Body Ecology recognizes the technology of the circle has made black women and black communities un-breakable. It is our circle that keeps us focused on the whole, the light in our community, the hopefulness that we can collectively vision.
Body Ecology affirms that this campaign, this ring shout this circle of energy and creativity is our best asset for addressing justice and reproductive health.Our RingShout is a performance of healing, truth-telling, humor and recovery. We do this through the performance of original poetry, narrative, choreography. Expect to be moved! Each ringshout ends with a community cipher/ story circle so bring a dance, a poem a testimony about health, legacy, reproductive justice or creativity! Join us!
Betty's Daughter Arts Collaborative
Thursday, November 17, 2011
with Audre Lorde in transition
after Gwendolyn Brooks
“You have enabled yourself to prove of incalculable aid to many, many women—not just today’s women, but women down the ages...I am have been and always will be proud of you.”
Gwendolyn Brooks to Audre Lorde
“This is the urgency: Live!
and have your blooming in the noise of the whirlwind.”
-Gwendolyn Brooks “Second Sermon on the Warpland”
brook open stream woke
this is how we conduct our blooming
brash and gentle at kitchen tables
on living room floors
noise and whip and head turned around
did you just say…
something scattered here
(our several dreams)
played into particles
stepped and stepped over it
trip and trip over
something flew apart
arrival is in the instant of yes
glitter your hands with the grace of grief
knot your hair with knowing
never meant to hold money
never meant to braid it into noose
never knew another way was
warrior healer be we
how to go there
warrior healer be we
who wont be who we are
until we are
warrior healer be
we who don’t know what
until we say
when voice shake
warrior healer be
warrior healer be
for Bessie and we
warrior poet be watching
warrior mother poet be
Monday, November 14, 2011
Lunch Plenary on Coming Out in the South as Queer and Undocumented
Dedicated to Ms. Vera Martin
To get to Ms. Vera we faced our greatest fear. We drove through Arizona. Scarier even than the Mississippi police who separated us for questioning when we told them we were driving across the country interviewing visionary Black LGBTQ feminist elders, was that drive through Arizona in the middle of the night. The closest my partner Julia and I, raised in North Carolina and Georgia, have ever come to the segregation stories we've heard all our lives about travellers scared to stop for gas, to pee, to talk to a stranger, especially after sundown. When we finally did stop, because hail and fog and the presence of elk made it impossible to keep driving through Tonto national park, we put signs on every side of our purple and turquoise RV explaining that we didn't want to stop and we weren't trying to tresspass, but we just couldn't keep going.
We knew where we were: Arizona in the era of the state bill that is a hate bill, where it is illegal to be a person of color, standing still, on land, asking for help. That night was the closest we have come to the stories that make our parents and grandparents shake at the words "police," "highway," "bathroom," "night." The reason my mother tracks our queer black deviant adventurous behinds on Google latitude every step of the way. Probably the reason that Ms. Vera, living in Apache Junction Arizona in a retirement RV park full of white lesbians doesn't get many visitors and in fact laughed out loud at the concept of us, two queer black young people willing to drive through Arizona just to see her, to sit and talk with her in person.
For us, the scary thing about Arizona was that we knew that conservative copy-cat laws would pop up in our region, taking us back to the good old days that give our relatives nightmares, that still turn my father into a completely different person if he gets pulled over by a white Georgia cop. Our folks that know that no amount of hard-boiled eggs and fried chicken packed lunches can save us from that knowledge in the pit of your stomach that for us there is no such thing as home that cannot be taken away, that for us, for generations it has been about trying to move through undetected our queer selves our colored selves in a land where it is illegal to be us and to be loved and to be here all the way, where anyone might notice us and be transformed.
That cop that stopped our purple and turquoise love-mobile in Mississippi was flabbergasted. Queer, feminist, black and intergenerational? What do you mean your "elders"? He squinted. And then he called for back-up.
To love who we love, to claim who and were we come from is dangerous and possibly contagious. We are counting on the contagion of queer Black intergenerational love which is why we would go through Mississippi and Arizona and hail and hell to get to Ms. Vera. Who knew better than anyone why we cannot allow the laws that would pre-emptively and comprehensively invalidate our families. Including anti-immigration laws and includes narrow marriage amendments and includes anti-choice legislation and suggestions to legally say there is no such thing as rape. Ms. Vera knows best of all why we cannot believe for one second the lies those laws would tell about us and must in every moment recognize those attacks as the desperation they are against our brilliance, our unstoppable power against how radiant we are that we inspire even those who try so hard to hate us. We are love and we know it and we are contagious.
And so it makes complete sense that when Ms. Vera told us about her trip to the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force's Creating Change conference, the first thing she spoke of was her love for the young undocumented activists speaking out. "Because I know what that is," she said. Ms. Vera was born in Louisiana in 1924. "I know what that is," she said. Where there is no law that will protect you, only laws to hurt you. Where there are people who can see that you are human and don't want to know it, so they try to make you illegal. "I know what that is," Ms. Vera said. "And I love those young people because they're not gonna take it."
Sunday, November 13, 2011
Thursday, November 10, 2011
RingShout for Reproductive Justice Continues Nov. 19th!
Body Ecology continues its RingShout for Reproductive Justice Campaign with a second public performance and street story circle. Check back soon for more information about the performance and how you can get involved!
Lauded as the "father of gynecology", Dr. James Marion Sims brutally experimented on enslaved African women in Birmingham, Alabama. There just so happens to be a monument built in his honor on 5th Avenue. Body Ecology wants this memorial removed!
We are calling on the power of the women who suffered at the hands of this "doctor" as we offer our second installment of RingShout for Reproductive Justice. We are calling on the power of the women are experiencing joy, trauma, revelation, doubt, and a myriad of emotions and feelings that relate to our reproductive health and choices.
What is a RingShout?
A ringshout is a method for praise and worship. In the ring shout people sing, dance, testify. Usually the songs are lead but there is time for each person to speak or sing. You may be more familiar with recent configurations of the ringshout including the cipher or even the "sista circle" or sacred circles for women. The idea is that the circle is sacred and when those join in the circle they harness an energy and power to manifest what they choose. Also, there are theatre makers who are using the ring shout in traditional theatre settings for similar purposes.
Body Ecology recognizes the technology of the circle has made black women and black communities un-breakable. It is our circle that keeps us focused on the whole, the light in our community, the hopefulness that we can collectively vision. Body Ecology affirms that this campaign, this ring shout this circle of energy and creativity is our best asset for addressing justice and reproductive health.
Our RingShout is a performance of healing, truth-telling, humor and recovery. We do this through the performance of original poetry, narrative, choreography. Expect to be moved!
Each ringshout ends with a community cipher/ story circle so bring a dance, a poem a testimony about health, legacy, reproductive justice or creativity! Join us!
More about the RingShout for Reproductive Justice Campaign
Read More Here: