Monday, April 27, 2009


Hey all. This is a talk I gave yesterday at Radical Intersections a performance studies conference at Northwestern University. Let me know what you think!

Flamboyance: The Queer Survival of Black Feminism

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Dedicated to Pauline McKenzie and Andria Hall

May I begin with an invocation?
This instant. This triumph. Black feminism was never meant to survive. This instant. This triumph. This is ritual. This instant and this triumph. Black feminism was never meant to survive. But here I am. Here we are. That is the queer thing. In 1981 by the time I was in my mother’s womb every explicitly black feminist organization in the United States was defunct, and the black women’s writing publishing trend was effectively over. Some say that black feminism went academic, went textual. Some say black feminism went new age, got touchy feely, stopped taking to the streets. Some say black feminism is anachronistic, useful only as a referent, a supplement, a precedent for something else. Black feminism (remember) is how we got this idea of interlocking systems of oppression, demarginalizing the intersection. But I have not heard anyone talk about the Combahee River Collective here. I have not heard us lift up the name Kimberlé Crenshaw yet at this conference about Radical Intersections. Hmm. It seems, black feminism was never meant to survive. And the queer thing is, here we are.

This is how I make my body legible to ancestors who I cannot choose or name. This is how I make my work accountable to swallowed rage in the mouths of people who were not invited. This is how we commune with the forgotten, reframe the possible, this is how we remember that we don’t know where we come from. This is makeshift reverence for pathways that do not meet, a time space that is not continuous. This is what her hand writing has to do with my slow breathing. This is what her late nights have to do with my early mornings. This is what his bitten tongue has to do with my declaration. This method is survival as performance, speech as meditation, memory as clothing, ocean as audience. This room is full of something that I will name black feminism. Tell me when it starts to burn.

Flamboyant. First an architectural term describing the construction of castles with framing blades, the colonial understanding of flowering trees, the Oxford English Dictionary remembers that flamboyant meant many things before it meant us, those of us who do not know better than to hide our brilliance, the transformative ones, burning like hell as we walk the earth. This meditation examines the way that black feminism survives in the queer bodies of work, bone, muscle and breath that remain, invoking the little known work of the Flamboyant Ladies, a performance group created by black lesbian feminists Alexis De Veaux and Gwendolyn Hardwick in their living room. This presentation situates the forgotten work of the Flamboyant Ladies, who created radical t-shirts, performance pieces, salons and a full day presentation about the impact of the nuclear moment on black communities in the 1970’s as a haunting, illegible precedent for the more contemporary work of UBUNTU and BrokenBeautiful Press, two initiatives based in Durham North Carolina that similarly use embodied poetics to respond to systemic violence, against women of color in the wake of the Duke Lacrosse and Dunbar Village cases and the torture and sexual assault of Megan Williams.
Seeking an embodied poetics of queer intergenerationality, a relationship between ancestors, elders and youth that survives by rejecting the social reproduction of oppression, rejecting the assumption that queerness and intergenerationality are mutually exclusive especially given the mandate that some of us are criminalized when we reproduce life and create family, this piece takes Flamboyance, that dangerous, queer stance, as a trajectory for the livelihood of feminism, taking seriously the (often cancerous) impact of the unceasing labor of and punishment for radical feminist work on the bodies of queer elders and ancestors including De Veaux, Hardwick, and collaborators, June Jordan and Audre Lorde. This is a work towards healing and survival. Healing and survival are queer methodologies for oppressed communities because we were never meant to survive. This is a collaborative offering of our bodies across time to the intergenerational work of performing, and making possible, the world we deserve.
The Flamboyant Lady Should Not Exist
Flamboyant Ladies co-founder and radical black lesbian feminist Alexis DeVeaux explains, “By the time Reagan came to power, opportunities for black women writers and artists, began to dry up in drastic kinds of ways. Publishers say ‘we have enough black books.’ The NEA becomes explicitly conservative.” Black women artists cannot support themselves with grants and publishing contracts from a lustful consuming public fascinated by the glamour of the self-articulation of black and feminine subjectivity. The novelty has worn off, it is no longer interesting that someone can be a woman and a black person at the same time. In fact by 1981 the Moynihan’s matriarchy thesis has become law and the danger of black women has become apparent. Reagan has by this time, coined the term welfare queen, that black woman who threatens the new neoliberal economic order by the criminal act of bearing black children, expendable and expensive drains on an increasingly anti-social economy, that black woman who threatens the logic that flesh and labor have differential values by loving black children as if they were priceless, that black woman who threatens the anti-social norms of late capital by raising children that will not consent to the terms of the economy, this crazy black woman who lives as if housing, and education, and food were community concerns. That crazy black woman, with the nerve to survive and to wear bright colors, big hair and a loud mouth while doing it. She is a problem.

The intersection is not a radical sexy place of queer and salient knowledge production at this point. The intersection is the place where June Jordan, Gwendolen Hardwick and Alexis DeVeaux have guns pulled on them by the New York City police occupying black neighborhoods in Brooklyn. That intersection has much more in common with the intersection that Crenshaw actually described, the traumatic scene of a violence that neither the law or the existing anti-oppressive theory could fully address, than with the logic of accumulation that we use to market ourselves as increasingly complicated scholars in an academic industrial complex primed to consume our difference. So maybe what these black feminists created at their particular juncture has something to teach us, now.
I never knew that waking up every morning with a new idea and ironing it on to a t-shirt for two years was an apprenticeship. I didn’t know that navigating the issue of socially transformative childcare with the idea that queer folks should dance and prisons should be abolished forever was a vigil I participated in towards the survival of my elders, I didn’t know that enacting healing as performance with a women of color led group of survivors of gendered violence was much older news than I could have imagined. I thought that I and we were, to quote Essex Hemphill, “making ourselves from scratch.” Our stories are not recycled and distributed on the wings of capital, so I became an eclectic priestess, ritualizing cotton, stickers, and the word yes. Experimenting in community with how our needs became analysis. I had no idea that I was an initiate in a practice called black feminism because the mode of black feminism that I practice, that we practice in my community is the forgotten, unpublished part of the story. But here we were speaking the lines, setting the scene, dancing the navigation home.

This is the only way I know how to tell you about the experience I had one day in the files of the African Ancestral Lesbian Archive, files of an archive that no longer exists, held in the all volunteer run brownstone of the Lesbian Herstory Archives in Brooklyn. My hand brushed across a flyer, a woman and then that same woman printed twice, partially hidden by the other’s hair, because it was big hair wild hair familiar hair, from my standpoint. Huge earrings, and full open mouths, the Flamboyant Ladies were hosting a performance in their living room to benefit “No More Prisons” a campaign by women to stand in solidarity with women in prison followed by a “women’s only” party with free childcare. I didn’t breathe as I turned to the next sheet with those same mirror image women thanking a community for supporting the daylong festival and t-shirt making initiative they had held about the question of how the anti-nuclear movement impacted black communities in the United States. I found an invitation to a traumatic (playing on the term dramatic) mythic performance designed to ignite healing by examining the sound, feel and timbre of embodied oppression. Alexis DeVeaux who held writing workshops and instigated public performances and self-published anthologies in her living room laughed on the phone when I finally got up the nerve to call her up and ask her how and why she did everything, but I nearly cried, because she was never meant to survive. And I had never expected to make sense.

Alexis DeVeaux uses the language of survival to describe the tactics that she and other black feminists who created their own alternative means of production used during that time period. “We did what we had to do to survive, if white publishers wouldn’t publish us, we would publish ourselves our resistance to being completely silenced was to be deeply creative. We are going to be here.” Looking at the work of the Flamboyant Ladies, an eclectic and radical black feminist performance group that has been almost completely forgotten by black feminist scholars and performance scholars alike, and meditating on the queer way in which that work survives, unintentionally and often unknowingly in the lives of some other, loud, belligerent creative, underfunded radical black women who came late to the game of black feminism, we have the opportunity to meditate on survival as a performance. Survival as a queer echo, a manifest lust in the bodies and work of those of us, who were never meant to survive. I think that this examination is especially crucial in this political and economic moment, which like the Nixon and Reagan eras is characterized by the gutting of social services, the channeling of huge amounts of public funds to the private sector and of course military interventions around the world in the name of so-called democracy. If we would survive, in any material sense, we must take heed of the strategies enacted by these earlier social actors.

So first let us remember that performance is not a stable mode of social reproduction, in fact, like the criminalized black mother, performance can be policed, paid, begged and pleaded with the re-establish the terms of the status quo, but it cannot never be trusted to do so. Homi Bhabha makes a famous distinction between the performative and the pedagogical in the imagination of the social and political unit of the nation reminds us that performance is queer, that is non-reproductive, and as we know the vast majority of performances remain undocumented, like classrooms, moments of possibility that you either witness, hear about after the fact, or miss completely. I have never seen any of the performances of the Flamboyant Ladies, and I never will. And before I was born all the black feminist organizations had fallen apart. And Audre Lorde, June Jordan, Gloria Anzaldua, Barbara Christian, Pat Parker…so many of my strongest feminist ancestors who would barely be elders by now are dead. Never meant to survive. But the queer thing is they do, and that survival is performative and it is happening right now. This performance of survival, the survival itself, protests and makes visible the conditions that make it unlikely, but it also threatens those conditions with the fierce reminder that, as Wahneema Lubiano has said, “Power is never complete.” This form of survival demands a queer rethinking of time and space, a queer reframing of body and memory, a diasporic inhabitation of the temporality of trauma, that our gaps in knowing, our post-dispersion decalage does not mean that our herstories are not everywhere waiting. This is research and it is also ritual because it requires action and faith. Does it burn? This is your part:

Consider the flame. Flickering. Transformative. Changing shape. That heat. That glow around those of us that, according to every story that keeps this anti-social society together, should be burning in hell. What is your flamboyance? That which keeps your flame alive, that which lives on you, bright through you that power had intendend to incinerate. Where on your body, where on your lips, where in your fingertips, where in your hair, does the blackened narrative emerge? What hollowed out remnant do you dance in now and what is the significance of what your longing remembers? Consider the flame. What cannot be forgotten even when it is not known? What will not destroy us even when we are flagrantly ourselves? What will we create instead?

This instant. This triumph. In you, something queer survives.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

get that money QBG!

Submit Your Work to Our Stories!

Whether accepted or rejected all stories submitted receive up to two paragraphs of critique on how to make it better!

Cave Canem Poetry Prize

The Cave Canem Poetry Prize is a first book award for African American writers. Winner will receive $1,000, publication by Graywolf Press, 15 copies of the book and a feature reading. Final Judge: Yusef Komunyakaa. April 30th deadline (postmark)

Stirring : A Literary Collection

Stirring is a monthly literary magazine that publishes poetry, short fiction, creative nonfiction, and photography. Our only stipulation is that your work resonate. Before submitting, we suggest that you read several of our recent issues to get a taste for what we like to publish.

Web site:
Submission Guidelines:
Genres Published: Poetry, Creative Nonfiction, Fiction
Reading Period: January 1 - December 31
Reporting Time: 3-6 months
Circulation: 2,500 to 5,000
Issues Per Year: Twelve

Accepts unsolicited submissions: Yes
Accepts electronic submissions: Yes
Accepts simultaneous submissions: Yes
Number of authors making their debut in each issue: Five-six

12th Annual Asian American Literary Awards

Applications are due Friday, May 15, 2009

Since 1998, The Annual Asian American Literary Awards have honored Asian American writers for excellence in fiction, poetry, creative nonfiction, memoir, stage plays and screenplays. Literary awards recipients are determined by a national panel of judges who are selected on the basis of expertise in a literary genre and/or experience in academic environments relevant to Asian American literature; residence in the U.S. and ethnic background as to create a diverse committee.

To qualify for our next award, a work must have been written by an individual of Asian descent living in the United States and published originally in English during the calendar year preceding the award year (for example, works published in 2007 are eligible for the 2008 Literary Awards). No self-published works will be considered. Award submissions are accepted in Spring, with award recipients announced in Fall, and publicly presented during our Winter awards ceremony.

The Asian American Literary Awards Ceremony also features the Members' Choice Award. Initiated in 2000, the Members' Choice Award allows Workshop members to choose their favorite title of the previous publishing year. In order to participate in voting for this award, you must be a current member of the Asian American Writers' Workshop.

Applications for the upcoming Twelfth Annual Asian American Literary Awards are due Friday, May 15, 2009. Please download the newest application and guidelines.

Maine Arts Commission

Individual Artist Fellowship
A fellowship of $13,000 is awarded annually to a writer who is a resident of Maine. Poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers who are not enrolled as full-time students in a field related to literary arts are eligible. Submit up to five poems totaling no more than 20 pages or up to 20 pages of prose by June 12. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for the required entry form and complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Maine Arts Commission, Individual Artist Fellowship, 193 State Street, 25 State House Station, Augusta, ME04333-0025. (207) 287-2726. Donna McNeil, Director.

Artist Trust
Literature Fellowships
Fellowships of $7,500 each are awarded in odd-numbered years to Washington poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers. Fellowship recipients must develop and produce a public event, such as a reading, lecture, or workshop. Residents of WashingtonState who are at least 18 years old and are not matriculated students are eligible. Submit up to 15 pages of poetry or 20 pages of prose and a resumé by June 12. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for the required application and complete guidelines.
Artist Trust, Literature Fellowships, 1835 12th Avenue, Seattle, WA98122. (206) 467-8734, ext. 11. Monica Miller, Director of Programs.

Astraea Foundation
Lesbian Writers Fund

Two $10,000 grants are given annually to emerging lesbian poets and fiction writers. Two finalists in each category will each receive a grant of $1,500. Applicants must have published work at least once in a newspaper, magazine, literary journal, or anthology but must not have published more than one book in any genre. Submit 10 to 15 pages of poetry or up to 20 pages of fiction with lesbian content and a one-paragraph biography with a $5 entry fee by June 30. Send an SASE, call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for the required entry form and complete guidelines.
Astraea Foundation, Lesbian Writers Fund, 116 East 16th Street, 7th Floor, New York, NY10003. (212) 529-8021, ext. 22.

Leeway Foundation
Art and Change Grants
Grants of up to $2,500 each are given by the Leeway Foundation three times a year to support women poets, fiction writers, and creative nonfiction writers in the Philadelphia area who need financial assistance to work on a project involving art and social change. Women and transgender writers living in Bucks, Camden, Chester, Delaware, Montgomery, or Philadelphia counties who are 18 years of age or older and who are not full-time students in an arts program are eligible. Applicants must have a project commitment from an organization or mentor. Submit an application by June 1. There is no entry fee. Call, e-mail, or visit the Web site for complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Leeway Foundation, Art and Change Grants, The PhiladelphiaBuilding, 1315 Walnut Street, Suite 832, Philadelphia, PA19107. (215) 545-4078. Sham-e-Ali al-Jamil, Program Director.

Literary Arts
Oregon Literary Fellowships

Fellowships of at least $2,500 each are given annually to Oregon writers to initiate, develop, or complete literary projects in poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction. In addition, Women Writers Fellowships of at least $2,500 are given annually to Oregon women writers of poetry, fiction, or creative nonfiction whose work explores experiences of race, class, physical disability, or sexual orientation. Submit 15 pages of poetry or 25 pages of prose by June 26. There is no entry fee. Send an SASE or visit the Web site for the required entry form and complete guidelines. (See Recent Winners.)
Literary Arts, Oregon Literary Fellowships, 224 NW 13th Avenue, Suite 306, Portland, OR97209. (503) 227-2583. Susan Denning, Program Director.

WireTap magazine,
in partnership with The Nation Institute, is currently accepting applications for the new Arts and Culture Fellowship program. We encourage entry-level journalists to apply for this eight-month, subsidized fellowship to improve the coverage of independent arts and culture in America. Based at The Nation Institute and WireTap, the program seeks two reporters -- one videographer and one writer / photographer -- who are passionate about covering independent creative work, improving their reporting and criticism skills, and building relationships with other writers, editors and arts practitioners.

The Background

As journalism organizations across the country are forced to make staff cuts, substantive arts and culture coverage has sharply decreased. Remaining coverage tends to focus on pop celebrities or mainstream artists, leaving a new generation of creative voices disconnected from the general public.

The Arts and Culture Journalism Fellowship program will support the work of two entry-level reporters interested in covering emerging artists and small arts and culture organizations in America. The emphasis will be on independent, socially conscious work - including anything from young filmmakers or hip-hop musicians addressing social issues to after-school arts programs serving underfunded schools. We will encourage our journalists to explore questions like: What is the connection between the arts and social change? How are shifting demographics changing arts and culture in America? Where is the line between political art and propaganda? Who decides what is "low" and "high" art? What is the relationship between "street" art and work in established galleries?

This part-time fellowship will run from May 15 to December 15, 2009. Each fellow will receive a $10,000 stipend as well as consistent mentorship and editorial support. Fellows are expected to work 2-3 full, workdays each week (about 20 hours), produce at least one monthly feature (written, podcast, video or photo slide show), one interview and four blog posts per month. Fellows will also attend a four-day journalism "boot camp" (all expenses paid) at the end of May in San Francisco or New York City. This training period will also provide an opportunity to meet the editors, as well as Arts and Culture Advisory Board members representing a broad range of artists. If the fellows are based in San Francisco or New York, they might be asked to work in our offices. If the candidates live elsewhere, this will be a telecommuting position.

The work of Arts and Culture Fellows will be published on WireTap magazine and The Nation Institute's websites, and may be syndicated in the publications of our partners, such as The Nation online, Mother Jones and ColorLines.

This fellowship is made possible through the generous support of the Nathan Cummings Foundation.

About The Nation Institute and WireTap Magazine:

Founded in 1966, The Nation Institute has a fundamental commitment to the values of free speech and open discourse. Through its many programs, the Institute works to strengthen the independent progressive press in the face of America's increasingly corporate-controlled flow of information. For more information, visit:

Founded in 1998, WireTap is an independent news and culture web magazine that generates and amplifies daily content by young people from diverse backgrounds. WireTap is committed to training young journalists and providing a daily platform for young activists, social entrepreneurs, and artists across the country. For more information, visit:

Who should apply?

Applicants who can demonstrate at least two years of part-time commitment to general reporting or arts criticism
Applicants who have at least three strong samples of reporting or criticism in a school, community, independent or mainstream publication or a blog
Applicants must have a bachelor's degree, but are not required to hold a journalism degree.
Who should not apply?

Individuals, who have worked more than three years as full-time Arts and Culture writers, producers or editors.
Current freelance or full-time Marketing and Public Relations workers. (It's OK, if you did that in the past.)
What to include in the application:

A resume that includes your mailing address, phone number and email address
Three professional references, including titles and contact information. (Please don't send letters of recommendation, just references.)
A 500-word, typed statement of why this fellowship would be of value to you. Please incorporate a description of your journalism experience and philosophy, and identify at least two artists and two cultural organizations in the state of your residence you would like to cover, if selected for this fellowship.
Three published samples. All samples must be dated. At least one must be arts and culture-related. All audio, photo or video work should be mailed. Online articles can be emailed or sent as URL links.
Please do not send complete books, magazines, newspapers or works-in-progress. All materials should be copies. Materials will not be returned.

Completed application forms must be postmarked on or before May 1, 2009. Notification emails will be sent by May 15.

Email / Mail Materials to:

Attn: Arts and Culture Fellowship
WireTap Magazine
222 Sutter Street, Suite 600
San Francisco, CA94108


PLEASE NOTE: No phone calls will be returned. Please direct all inquiries to

Monday, April 20, 2009


yet another article linking the "problems of the black community" to marriage:

what would the world look like if we were to build healthy families beyond heterosexual religious unions?

Monday, April 13, 2009

Habit Forming Love!

Introducing Habit Forming Love,


They say it takes 21 days to form a habit…so on March 4th 2009 I embarked on a journey to love myself, my community and my chosen romantic partner intentionally, bravely, loudly and proudly. And now I am ready to share the results with you! In addition to teaching myself how to love, by transmitting my love via internet video I was also teaching myself how to make simple yet effective at home videos using my computer, my phone and very basic editing software and how to make those videos internet accessible.

This experiment has taught me so much. I have emerged less self-conscious about my own face, more confident about the miraculous vitality of love in all of its forms and more adept at using online video as a tool for self-expression, affirmation and community education.

The three focus areas of my project were


for example:

(Go to to see the whole 21 day process)


for example…

(Go to for the whole 21 day process)

and Romantic Love

(Sorry loves…the whole process is for Julia’s eyes only wink!)

Browse the “life” “love” and “community” sections of this site to see some of my more detailed reflections on each process and more examples.

One of the most important things that this process taught me is that even an analog girl in a digital world can make compelling, effective video. I don’t have to be perfect to carry the message of love that my ancestors are speaking through me and the video doesn’t have to be perfect to carry it’s message. The magic is in the medium. Try it yourself, and email if you want to share!

love (is a habit),


Thursday, April 9, 2009

CR jobs in the bay!


Critical Resistance is hiring for two national staff positions! We are looking for a National Campaign and Director and a National Communications Director. Both job descriptions are pasted below and attached to this email.

Please help us find great, experienced people to add to our national staff. Applicants who are a good fit for both jobs should apply for each job separately.

The deadline for applications is MAY 1, 2009. Please direct any questions to:



National Campaign Director

Application Deadline: 5pm (Pacific Time), May 1, 2009

Critical Resistance (CR), a national grassroots organization working to end the prison industrial complex (PIC), seeks a National Campaign Director to increase CR’s organizational impact and profile by working with CR members and allies to develop and implement campaigns and projects designed to end the PIC. This position will include a 12-month training period in our National Office in Oakland, CA, and regular travel will be required.

Responsibilities and Duties:

· Represent CR in local, statewide, and national coalition work.

· Contribute to the development and growth of PIC abolition campaigns throughout Critical Resistance.

· Review and update CR Training and Toolkit on Campaign Development and Progress as needed.

· Conduct training workshops on campaign development and strategy sessions with CR members and allies.

· Develop CR literature, reports, organizing tools to support campaigns and projects.

· Work with chapters to evaluate the progress and outcomes of campaigns and projects.

· Train chapters on effective coalition-building strategies and tactics.

· Visit chapters regularly to assist with networking and campaign resources in their area.

· Participate in organizational programming as needed such as: fundraising, attending rallies or protests; participating in planning for CR conferences; working with CR chapters on local organizing.

· Represent and promote CR at meetings, conferences, and other public settings.

· Participate in national and local working groups and decision-making.

· Serve as a staff liaison to 2 to 3 chapters.

· Support volunteers and interns.

· Provide some organizational administrative support.

· Additional duties, as needed.

Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience in:

· Developing and coordinating successful campaigns and projects

· Understanding of and commitment to prison industrial complex abolition

· Excellent written and oral communication skills

· Training and group facilitation

· Ability to balance multiple responsibilities well, to set priorities, and follow work plans

· Willingness and ability to seek out relevant work and allies for building partnerships and coalitions

· Being accountable to multiple organizers in a non-hierarchical organization

· Supporting interns and volunteers

· Basic computer skills (word processing, database, and some financial software a plus)

· Willingness to travel

· Public Speaking

· Spanish language skills a plus

· Former prisoners are especially encouraged to apply

This position is full time (40 hours per week equivalent).

Salary is $40,000 per year, plus good benefits and vacation.

To apply:

Please send a cover letter, resume, and relevant writing sample (5 pages maximum) via email (Word documents or PDF files, please) to:

Or send hard copy applications to:

Critical Resistance Hiring Committee

1904 Franklin St., Suite 504

Oakland, CA, 94612

(applications will not be accepted by fax)

Please send any questions regarding the position to


National Communications Director

Application Deadline: 5pm (Pacific Time), May 1, 2009

Critical Resistance (CR), a national grassroots organization working to end the prison industrial complex (PIC), seeks a National Communications Director to increase CR’s national impact and profile by working with CR members and allies to develop and implement communications plans and projects designed to end the PIC and promote the idea of PIC abolition nationally. This position will include a 12-month training period in our National Office in Oakland, CA, and regular travel will be required.

Position Description:

The Communications Director will work with Critical Resistance members, staffers, and allies, to create, plan and implement communications and media activities to gain national and local coverage for Critical Resistance and its activities. The Communications Director will also facilitate communication among CR members organization-wide and within CR’s coalitions.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate and support creation of press releases, statements, fact sheets, PSAs, and other press materials.
  • Serve as point-of-contact for media inquiries and connect reporters to pertinent people. Call reporters to pitch stories and field calls from the media.
  • Develop and maintain a national media contacts database.
  • Train CR members to develop and implement media strategies, and identify media resources in their areas.
  • Conduct research to develop fact sheets, talking points, media relations, and programmatic materials as needed.
  • Facilitate CR members’ coordination, implementation, and publicity for press events and other chapter activities.
  • Assist in developing and circulating organizational media including newspapers and newsletters, websites, books, and radio programming.
  • Facilitate internal organizational communication at local and national levels.
  • Represent and promote CR at meetings, conferences, and other public settings
  • Participate in organizational programming as needed including: fundraising, attending rallies or protests; participating in planning CR conferences; working with CR chapters on local organizing projects.
  • Participate in national and local working groups and decision-making.
  • Serve as a staff liaison to 2 to 3 chapters.
  • Support volunteers and interns.
  • Provide some organizational administrative support
  • Additional duties, as needed

Applicants must be able to demonstrate experience in:

· Developing and coordinating successful media campaigns and communications strategies

· Understanding of and commitment to prison industrial complex abolition

· Excellent written and oral communication skills

· Training and group facilitation

· Ability to balance multiple responsibilities well, to set priorities, and follow work plans

· Willingness and ability to seek out relevant work and allies for building partnerships and coalitions

· Being accountable to multiple organizers in a non-hierarchical organization

· Supporting interns and volunteers

· Working with computers including updating websites, email groups and listservs, word processing, and database management (some financial software a plus)

· Willingness to travel

· Public Speaking

· Spanish language skills a plus

Former prisoners are especially encouraged to apply

This position is full time (40 hours per week equivalent).

Salary is $40,000 per year, plus good benefits and vacation.

To apply:

Please send a cover letter, resume, and relevant writing sample (5 pages maximum) via email (Word documents or PDF files, please) to:

Or send hard copy applications to:

Critical Resistance Hiring Committee

1904 Franklin St., Suite 504

Oakland, CA, 94612

(applications will not be accepted by fax)

Please send any questions regarding the position to

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

(In)Scribing Gender: International Female Writers and the Creative Process

(In)Scribing Gender: International Female Writers and the Creative Process
Edited by Jen Westmoreland Bouchard
Diversion Press (
The purpose of the (In)Scribing Gender anthology is to explore the
creative processes of women writing fiction, non-fiction and poetry
from multiple cultural contexts, in different styles, and within
various disciplines. Through personal anecdotes, interviews, articles,
narratives and essays, established and emerging female writers from
diverse backgrounds will expound on topics such as creative
inspiration, locating the muse, the limitations and liberties
associated with categorization and labels (academic, institutional,
social, artistic, literary, or other), conducting literary or
scholarly research as a woman, cultural perceptions of female writers,
female/feminine literature, feminist literature, and gendered
representations. This anthology will examine how gender shapes an
author's creative process and the ways in which gender tints the lens
through which a writer's work is viewed by literary and/or academic
In both academic and literary circles, specific labels (and their
attendant expectations) are often foisted upon, or in some cases
chosen by, female writers. One of the goals of this anthology is to
begin to deconstruct these culturally specific (in terms of literary,
academic and global cultures) categories, both imagined and real.
To articulate and overcome the myriad gender-related social challenges
of the twenty-first century, the world's creative literary and
academic minds must unite. In this vein, (In)Scribing Gender will
encourage dialogue between international female authors and provide a
global readership with the opportunity to more fully comprehend the
intricacies of the creative process as it applies specifically to
women writers.
Essays, articles and narratives on (but not limited to) the following
themes are encouraged. We welcome a wide range of disciplines, topics,
and stylistic, theoretical and methodological approaches. Entries may
be self-referential or focus on another writer's process. Contributors
are also welcome to submit interviews related to these themes.
- Inspiration, the muse, the creative spark
- Culling, organizing, and articulating ideas for an article, story,
poem or book
- Verbal and written imagery (drawing from the theories of Mitchell,
Paivio and others)
- Academic writing as a creative endeavor
- Theories of creativity, gender and audience reception as they relate
to the creative process (drawing from the theories of Benjamin,
Adorno, Arieti, Wertheimer, Ghiselin, Wallace and others)
- Negotiating gendered literary themes and gendered representations
(women writing on men and women, creating gender-specific fictional
- Language and gender
- Poetry written by and for women
- Gender and authorial authenticity
- Writings on gender, culture and sexuality
- Feminist vs./and/or feminine literature
All entries should be between 5,000-10,000 words. Interested
contributors should email an abstract of around 300 words, a short
bio, and a current CV to Jen Bouchard at by
August 15, 2009. Completed manuscripts will be due by December 15,
Editor bio:
Jen Westmoreland Bouchard holds a B.A. in French and a B.A. in
Interdisciplinary Fine Arts from St. Olaf College in Northfield,
Minnesota, and a M.A. in French and Francophone Studies from
University of California-Los Angeles. She has presented her research
on Francophone women's writing, postcolonial literatures and world
language pedagogy throughout the United States and Europe. Bouchard is
currently a faculty member in the World Languages Department of
Normandale Community College in Bloomington, Minnesota and a French
instructor at Holy Family Catholic High School in Victoria, Minnesota.
Her recent articles and chapters have appeared in The Journal of
African Literature and Culture, The Journal of Pan African Studies,
Migrations and Identities (Liverpool University Press), and in myriad
anthologies and reference volumes published through Gale Cengage
Learning, Pencraft International Press, Diversion Press, Greenwood
Press, M.E. Sharpe, Wiley-Blackwell, ABC-CLIO, Handel African Books
Network, and Facts on File. Bouchard serves on the editorial board of
The Journal of African Literature and Culture and is a film, literary
and arts reviewer writer for Global Woman Magazine. She is the owner
of a freelance writing, editing and translation company, Lucidité
Writing, LLC (

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Sweet Tea Queer Men's Proclamation! Check it out!! Dont miss it Friday..!

Yolo Akili • Franklin Abbott • Will Cordery • Lamont Sims • Craig Washington • Charles Stephens •
Tim’m West • Michael J. Brewer

The Sweet Tea Southern Queer Men’s Collective Statement
April 2009

Mission Statement
Sweet Tea is a collective of Southern queer men dedicated to fostering supportive, sustainable and loving communities among queer men by raising our consciousness of sexism and other forms of oppression.

Our Proclamation
Consciously engaging in anti sexist work demands that we change. We strive to become different kinds of men. How will we change? Who will we become? Who will stand with us?

I. Who We Are
We are a Southern-based collective of gay, bisexual, and queer men; black, white, and men of color; in our twenties, thirties, forties, and fifties.

We are sons, fathers, grandsons, brothers, uncles, lovers, and friends.

We are educators, students, activists, artists, organizers, healers, and poets.

We are fighters: progressive, radical, conscious, pro-feminists, womanists, and allies.

We are gay, queer, fierce faggots, same gender loving, men who have sex with men, gender queer, gender fuck, gender non-conforming, masculine, feminine, butch, femme, sissies, tops, bottoms, and in-betweens.

We are privileged. We are dismantling. We are changing.
Join us.

We as a collective, allies to both feminist and womanist movements, value a commitment to naming not merely what we are against, but identifying and working toward that which we are for. We seek to co-create a world where we can all be free.

Each of us has come to his own independent analysis of the symbiotic relationship between sexism and homophobia. We also have our own individual appraisals of how patriarchy perpetuates most forms of oppression; from racism to sexism, from heterosexism to transphobia, from ableism to ageism. We have come together to investigate the nature of sexism in queer male communities and develop theory and praxis in order to resist systems that keep women and other marginalized people oppressed. We advocate for a liberated humanity where diversity is the wellspring of our unity. We strive to transform weapons of mass oppression into tools for collective liberation.

We are educating and challenging male privilege within ourselves as a queer* Collective. We are doing this for the sake of building community.

*Queer is a complex term, identity, and consciousness that each of us defines differently. In this document it serves as an umbrella term for gay, bisexual, queer gendered, same gender loving, faggot, faerie, etc.

II. Defining Queer Male Privilege
Our male privilege is derived from the economic, political and cultural subjugation of women. While we derive palpable and unseen benefits from patriarchy, we pay dearly in terms of the ability to express our own humanity. Whether we act in accordance with or fail to act in opposition to this unjust system, we consent to women’s oppression and dehumanization. Our very inaction is itself an act of patriarchy.

We assert that by virtue of being men in a patriarchal society, we are all given privileges not afforded to women. This means that even when men are not committing overt acts of sexism, we are still benefiting from a system that denigrates women. In our work organizing queer men against sexism, we have noted that many queer men often believe that they are, by nature of their sexual orientation, exempt from perpetuating sexism or being privileged by their maleness. As a collective, we challenge the belief that men who are oppressed by heterosexism are not also advantaged by sexism. Queer men, regardless of their gender expression, are still men. Even though patriarchy is complicated by heterosexism, it by no means eliminates our sexist reality.


As queer men, we believe that the nature of male privilege is further complicated by varying arenas of difference known as intersectionality. We define intersectionality as the space in which multiple forms of oppression (e.g., oppression based on race, gender expression, sexual orientation, class, ability, nationality, etc) converge and coalesce, creating unique vantage points from which oppression is both experienced and understood. Understanding the concept of intersectionality helps us elucidate our assertion that male privilege amongst queer men is complex. Queer men may access privilege in certain arenas (e.g., masculinity or race) while being simultaneously disenfranchised in others (e.g., class or nationality). We assert that what is needed for men working to dismantle patriarchy is a revolving dialogue, informed by an understanding of the intersection of these and other oppressions as well as varied means of resistance.

Addressing intersectionality is an expansive project; as a collective as well as individuals, we are committed to educating ourselves about the multiplicity of identities that affect our understanding of intersectionality. We are committed to co-creating a movement of queer men that will not replicate the same exclusionary practices that have stifled other liberation movements.

B. Building Alliance and Standing as Allies

Step Back We are men who are heavily invested in being allies to women engaged in the work of liberation. We define ally as being one who is politically committed to the act of aiding others who are different. Being queer male allies to women is no small task. Queer men often have access to certain women’s spaces by virtue of being queer. By virtue of being male, however, we often dominate those spaces by asserting and taking advantage of the “outsider within” privilege that our non-hetero identity gives us. Thus, self awareness and accountability must be a part of our discourse as anti-sexist queer men.

Be Self-Critical An integral part of being a male ally also involves doing the work with other queer men to challenge our patriarchal and sexist practices rather than depending on women to educate us. In order to be a true ally to women we believe that queer men must be constantly engaged in a dialogue of self-analysis and compassionate critique. We must also respect women’s spaces when our absence is necessary. We must become self-critical; not only for women affected by patriarchy, but for ourselves, given that male power is so grotesquely “business as usual” that it is not even viewed as privilege. Accountability is an integral part of our work. Thus, being “called out” on our sexism presents us with an opportunity to grow and change. As allies, our job is to listen and accept guidance from women on ways we can assist their cause(s), offering support when it is requested and welcomed.

III. What We Must Do
A: Dismantle Male Privilege, Internally

"Nurturing Ourselves & Each Other"- Men are raised, trained, and rewarded to ignore or minimize our own needs to be nurtured and supported. Therefore we must be forthright in our commitment and efforts to take care of ourselves and each other. Because while many of us as queer men may not engage in sexual/romantic relationships with women, we often expect and demand our sisters, mothers, aunts, and female friends to take care of us without expecting or demanding the same from our brothers, fathers, uncles and male friends. In taking care of our own well being, we rightfully accept the responsibility we traditionally have imposed upon women to serve as our surrogate mothers, servants, and emotional caretakers.
When we dare to support each other’s struggles, hear each other’s pain, and heal both each other’s fresh wounds and old scars, we encourage each other’s growth. We demonstrate that men can and should be nurturers to each other regardless of the variables of relationship type, sexual orientation or attraction.

‘ Learn to Feel Again’- In a patriarchal society for men expressing anger is acceptable and in many ways encourage. However, it is often not acceptable for men to show fear, sadness, or depression. We believe that when we permit ourselves to experience and express feelings (especially those forbidden to us) without restraint or apology, we are fully alive. In this heightened state of emotional consciousness, we increase our capacity to connect with people in our lives. Our relationships become more meaningful and fulfilling because they have more intimacy. In order to shed the choking armor of patriarchy, we must rescue and revitalize our emotional lives.

B. Dismantle Male Privilege, Externally

"Chart Our Journey" -We recognize that there are few maps to direct our journey as progressive queer men, standing in and against male privilege. We must therefore create our own map and chart our own journey.
It is imperative that we take advantage of innovative ways to disseminate information and to build a movement of pro-feminist queer men using tools such as technology, education, study, organizing, and coalition building.

"Build Alliances"- As Pro-Feminist queer men our work is already influenced by and made possible through lesbians—particularly lesbians of color—who articulate the multi-dimensional character of oppression, the necessity of heterogeneous forms of liberation, and most importantly, the urgency of building coalitions across lines of difference. To that end, we need to be concerned with and knowledgeable of the spectrum of allies and possible partners in the struggle against sexism.

‘Resist Assimilation’- Many heterosexuals praise and reward men who are heteronormatively gendered and shun those who deviate from these norms. Queer men also often disdain, reject, or ridicule other men who they perceive as “too feminine” as well as the feminine within themselves. We believe that, in order to reach radical self-acceptance, queer men must resist assimilation into patriarchal fraternity and strive for freedom of sexual and gender expression for ourselves and for others. This work is necessary to be able to embrace ourselves as who we are.

Understand Intersectionality- We understand that in order to truly end sexist oppression we must interrogate a broader matrix of power and hierarchy inherent in all forms of oppression. Thus, we are not privileging sexism over and above other –isms; instead, we are utilizing it as a focal point through which we can uncover and address complications of gay men and male patriarchy that we feel have been vastly underdeveloped and exposed.

Build Community- We must organize, creating communities & self-sustaining institutions that educate and enlighten queer men to the realities of sexism and mobilize them for action. Building communities that allow men to connect with their emotional and spiritual selves (also known as “healing work”) in the absence of women is a part of the work of helping to liberate women.

IV. Our Proclamation
As individuals and as a collective, we pledge to commit our lives to the well-being of women by deconstructing and dismantling sexism. We also commit ourselves to the act of re-envisioning our lives, ourselves, our communities, and our intimate partnerships in ways that create the potential for freedom of expression, equality, compassion, and love without conditions. We recognize the task we set before us is not a small one and we do not assume that a state of utopia is possible. Instead we assert that a goal of absolute freedom for women and all people is the only goal worth aspiring to. We work towards this goal with compassion for ourselves and others, honor for our humanness, and accountability for our actions. We walk towards this goal with acceptance of our differences, acknowledgement of our faults, and hope for our future. We walk towards this in love, as men committed to creating and becoming change.

Allow Everyone Access to E-books

sign the petition here

When Amazon released the Kindle 2 electronic book reader on February 9, 2009, the company announced that the device would read e-books aloud using text-to-speech technology. Under pressure from the Authors Guild, Amazon has announced that it will give authors and publishers the ability to disable the text-to-speech function on any or all of their e-books available for the Kindle 2.

The Reading Rights Coalition, which represents people who cannot read print, will protest the threatened removal of the text-to-speech function from e-books for the Amazon Kindle 2 outside the Authors Guild headquarters in New York City at 31 East 32nd Street on April 7, 2009, from noon to 2:00 p.m. The coalition includes the organizations that represent the blind, people with dyslexia, people with learning or processing issues, seniors losing vision, people with spinal cord injuries, people recovering from strokes, and many others for whom the addition of text-to-speech on the Kindle 2 promised for the first time easy, mainstream access to over 245,000 books.

F*ck Justin Timberlake!

Justin stays getting a pass! Why?!

Petition requests that Psycho Donuts change its theme

Petition requests that Psycho Donuts change its theme

From the petition. The original April 3 post is here.

In March, a new donut shop opened in Campbell, California, called Psycho Donuts. The store capitalizes on the theme of a “fun mental institution,” a “lighthearted insane asylum” complete with a padded cell where kids can take photos while wearing a straightjacket, a "group therapy" area, employees dressed in medical garb, and donuts named after psychiatric disabilities, such as Massive Brain Trauma and Bipolar.

Psycho Donuts’ website states that it “has taken the neighborhood donut and put it on medication, and given it shock treatment.” The store owners have refused meeting requests from NAMI and from the Silicon Valley Independent Living Center.
The Mayor of Campbell, Jane Kennedy, attended the ribbon cutting for the business on April 2. The media coverage of the donut shop by the San Jose Mercury News on March 16th unquestioningly validated the discriminatory theme of the business.

Does this offend you? Are you as outraged about this as we are? If so, please help us DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT.

Send a loud and clear message to the owners of Psycho Donuts and to the leadership of the City of Campbell that the nationwide disability community WILL NOT STAND FOR THIS. WE DEMAND:

1. The owners of Psycho Donuts immediately change the name and theme of the
store and remove all references to institutions and people with mental and psychiatric disabilities in their store, including, but not limited to:

a. The name “Psycho Donuts”

b. Donuts named after any type of disability

c. The padded cell

d. Straightjackets

e. Employees dressed as doctors or nurses

f. “Group therapy” area

g. All references to shock therapy

h. The “Bates Motel” display.

2. The store owners and city staff responsible for approving this business issue a public, written apology to all people with psychiatric disabilities and to the Disability community.

3. The owners, managers and employees of the shop, and city staff responsible for approving this business, participate in a series of ongoing disability awareness trainings within a specified timeframe provided by the Pacific ADA Center.

4. The owners work in partnership with local disability organizations to hire at least one person with a disability to work in the store.