Thursday, May 28, 2009

Money for Artists!


A.I.R. Gallery is honored to announce the permanent naming of one of its yearly A.I.R. Fellowship Program Awards in memory of the artist, activist, writer, and feminist Emma Bee Bernstein (1985-2008). A.I.R. Gallery’s Fellowship Program supports the burgeoning careers of six emerging and underrepresented women artists each year. In recognition of Emma’s significant contributions as a young artist, writer and feminist, each year one Fellowship Recipient, under the age of thirty, will receive the additional honor of holding the A.I.R. Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship.

Contributions towards The Emma Bee Bernstein Fellowship can be made at or can be sent to A.I.R. Gallery, 111 Front St., #228, Brooklyn, NY 11201. A.I.R. Gallery is a not-for-profit 503(c) organization. All donors will be acknowledged on A.I.R. Fellowship Program materials.

Click HERE index.cfm?> for Full Press Release
Click HERE <> to Make a Contribution

Emma Bee Bernstein graduated from the University of Chicago in 2007, receiving a BA with honors in Visual Arts and Art History. She exhibited her work at the Smart Museum in Chicago, the University of Chicago, as well as A.I.R. Gallery. Her writings on feminism and art were published in M/E/A/N/I/N/G Online and in a tribute volume, The Belladonna Elders Series #4. In Emma's Dilemma, a film directed by Henry Hills, Bernstein interviewed dozens of artists from the downtown NYC art scene. GirlDrive, a book of interviews and photographs on the younger generation’s relation to feminism, co-authored with Nona Willis Aronowitz, will be published by Seal Press in the fall of 2009. Bernstein worked as a curatorial assistant at the Art Institute of Chicago and the Renaissance Society; as a docent at the Smart Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Brooklyn Museum; as a Teaching Artist at Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art; and was an involved mentor and teacher for the Step Up Women's Network. Emma Bee Bernstein was the daughter of A.I.R. gallery artist Susan Bee and poet Charles Bernstein.

Critic Carey Lovelace wrote in Art in America in 2007: “Since 1972, the trailblazing A.I.R. gallery in New York, the world’s first women’s gallery, has provided quiet support for those operating outside the art world’s market-obsessed precincts.” The A.I.R. Fellowship Program for Emerging and Underrepresented Artists, established in 1993, has helped launch the careers of over 35 women artists. Each year the program offers six women artists the opportunity to have their first solo exhibit, or first solo exhibit in ten years. Recipients participate in eighteen months of professional development workshops, receive a studio visit with an art professional, and are mentored by A.I.R. artists and staff members.

The A.I.R. Fellowship Program is made possible by public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs, a state agency, the New York State Council on the Arts (NYSCA) through a re-grant from Brooklyn Arts Council, as well as generous support from Louise McCagg, The Bernheim Foundation, The Gifford Foundation, The Timken Foundation, Elizabeth A. Sackler, and The Milton and Sally Avery Foundation.

A.I.R. Gallery is in the Dumbo neighborhood of Brooklyn. Gallery hours: Wed.–Sun., 11am to 6pm. For directions please visit For more information please contact Gallery Director, Kat Griefen at 212-255-6651 or

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorialize THIS!

We wrench memory out of the mass media mouths of liars and smooth it back out, lining our resistance. Today...coming off the Memorial Day blitz of consumer forgetting...we remember that black feminism lives. We remember that our lives are tentative evidence of the bravery of those who came before. As the Combahee River Collective put it in 1977

“Contemporary Black feminism is the outgrowth of countless generations of personal sacrifice, militancy and work by our mother’s and sisters.”

This week we make those memories visible and legible. See for one visual and email with your images of what contemporary black feminism looks like, what it is built upon, what you remember. Use the comment section to lift up the names of those mothers and sisters who make your black feminism possible.

Also in Forums on Quirky Black Girls we are reading PUSH to get ready for the film Precious (a version of Sapphire's PUSH)

Look out for an online discussion of PUSH and invite your sisters, mommas, and friends to read along too!

Remembering possibility, bravery and strength,
QBG (Lex)

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Combahee Survival: Always

Always. Like the word between love and your name in a love letter. Always. Like the pastel plastic promise that your period can become cute. Always. Like an ahistorical historicization. Like the production of eternity without witnesses. Like a recurring nightmare of hoping you exist.

Our love comes from somewhere...and at the same time it is as unlikely as the bright shock of spring.

This week's Combahee Survival activity is about that complicated word "always" in the mouths of our loved ones, our movements and at the end of this letter. To check out the activity go to the Combahee Survival blog

or check the QBG discussion forum.

As always...worksheet included so you can share this with your crew, community, or class.

Let us know how it goes!

Gospel: Body, Deviance and Soul

Hey fam!

Check out my review of Samiya Bashir's new book of poetry from independent black gay and lesbian publishing company RedBone Press. Here is an excerpt, please read the full review and join the conversation at



gospel_cvr.jpgSet in the mouths of crows, on the edges of couches and dirty tables, and in the hands of the dispossessed, Bashir’s poems awaken a desire to caress the mundane, hoping your fingers will find divine crumbs of revelation. Bashir’s project, inhabiting the tradition of black gospel music’s straddling contradiction, standing in the sacred and the profane, is timely. In a moment when the question of the relationship between faith and sexuality has been put in the media limelight through the discourse of marriage amendments, this project takes a step back, redefining both sexuality and salvation with a close look at the infinite places and moments when the human body meets despair, pleasure and transcendence...

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Act to save a QBG in need!

Greetings Everyone ~

I’m writing to solicit your urgent and critical support.

My cousin Ms. Latifa Ihsan B. Ali and her children are in hiding from an abusive husband, in the United Arab Emirates. Latifa is an American citizen born in Wilmington, Delaware. She was educated in schools in Delaware and graduated from the University of Delaware. She met and married Adil Saleem Woods, an American citizen born in Philadelphia, PA. Latifa and their children are victims of domestic abuse and her husband is doing all that he can (including accusing her of adultery-which is a GRAVE offense in most Muslim countries) to prevent her and her children from leaving the country.

I’m asking everyone, regardless of if you live in the US or not, to write a short letter to the US State Department, on Latifa’s behalf, asking them to bring her and her children home.

The letter should be addressed to:
Ms Brook E. Knobel, US State Department
Overseas Citizens Services
Washington, DC

In response to the Latifa’s harrowing experience, someone said to me “Islam is madness…” My response was, is and will always be “Patriarchy is madness. Misogyny is madness. ALL FORMS OF Violence Against Women and Children are madness.”

Unfortunately too many abusive men all over the world condone their atrocities perpetrated against women and children under the guise of their sexist (mis)interpretation of almost all of the major religions practiced on the globe. I write this as a survivor of incest and rape and as a feminist lesbian activist who has dedicated most of my adult life to address violence against women.

Instead of reinventing the wheel and in the interest of time (because time is of the essence), I'm sharing a very detailed account, from Sharon Ali, Latifa's mom and my aunt, who is a practicing Muslim, about what has happened and what is happening. I'm also sharing a letter that Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, my mother, who is a practicing Muslim and feminist Islamic scholar, wrote to the US State Department yesterday. While it shouldn't matter if Aunt Sharon or my Mom are practicing Muslims or not, I think it's important to stress these components of their identities in a climate and country where Islamaphobia has become the norm.

As we all know, there is power in numbers...

I am also in direct/personal touch with Robin Morgan from the Sisterhood Is Global Institute. They are writing letters and are passing on to their networks.


In Struggle & In Peace,
Aishah Shahidah Simmons

Background information:
“Our daughter, Latifa, and her children have escaped an abusive situation in Dubai UAE and need help. Her husband has brought charges against her for kidnapping their children, and the police and the CID of Dubai (Central Investigation Dept) are looking for her. He had a travel ban placed on their passports and they cannot leave the country. She is presently in a shelter with the children.

Latifa Ihsan Ali was born 4-24-76 in Wilmington, Delaware to American parents Rudolph Ali and Sharon Ali. She graduated from Wilmington schools and from the University of Delaware (UD). She met Adil Saleem Woods, born in Philadelphia to American parents. They attended University of Delaware and were married 8-18-94 in Newark, Delaware. USA File# 10794002992. They are presently married and have 2 children, Maryam (born in Yemen) and Muhammad (born in Syria) who are US citizens. They have been living in Dubai UAE since October 2008 when he took a teaching job. Although he got a visa and was supposed to sponsor his family under his passport, he never got visas for them. Visa fines accrue daily and totaled $15,000 for her and the children. Not having visa not only prevents from traveling, but also simple things like having a cell phone, bank account, receiving money at Western Union, etc.

Latifa and the children have been subjected to total dependence and control, abuse, mental cruelty, isolation and humiliation on a daily basis. She wants to leave the marriage and has been in touch with the consulate for advice about traveling back home with the children so she can file for divorce and custody in the US. However, American policy is that a parent must have consent of the other parent or full custody before travelng. As we all should know, you will never get consent from an abuser, so the only alternative was to hire lawyers in Dubai to secure a divorce, which takes many months. There is no custody in Dubai without divorce. After getting a lawyer, authenticating each paperwork through the Dept of State (birth records, marriage certificates, etc), which took a few months by itself, we still were not able to file as she had no visa. Her abusive situation continued to get worse daily. He denied her food, a bed to sleep in, took her keys, canceled her debit card, stole her money, prevented her from earning money, hid the passports and threatened to beat her if she left the house.

In the meantime, her husband AKA Adil ibn Saleem Woods married Dana Terciu 2-4-09 in Romania. He got a visa for her for Dubai 4-19-09, when she came to reside in the same house as Latifa. (Latifa has copy of the certificate of this marriage). This is a clear violation of her respect and US law. It is against American law to be married to two women at the same time. Clearly, he is using the UAE to live outside of American law.

We understand the need for laws regarding parental abduction, but these laws DO NOT WORK when it comes to abusive situations and a woman and her children must flee to safety. They take their lives in their hands to escape abuse, only to end up in another abusive situation with the red tape of American law, with still no justice. What can we do to bring Latifa and the children home? Please influence the Consulate and Dubai authorities to lift the travel ban and let Latifa and the children return to Delaware. With the help of the consulate, she was able to get visa fine waivers, which come with the provision that they never return to Dubai. They must leave within a few days, but that has been overridden by the abusive husband’s police report banning their travel. Let them come back so divorce and custody can be settled in America. He has portrayed himself as the victim to the police, when in fact he is the abuser. Thank you for any help you can give to bring Latifa and the children home. More details can be provided if needed. – Sharon and Rudolph Ali"

All of the Names husband goes by:
Adil Saleem
Adil Ibn Saleem Woods
Adil Woods
Adil Uqdah

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Gwendolyn Simmons
Date: Mon, May 18, 2009 at 3:55 PM
Subject: Mrs. Latifa Ihsan b. Ali - An American citizen detained in Dubai UAE against her will
Cc:, Marie Ali, Sharon Ali

Ms. Brook E. Knobelbe
U.S. State Department
Overseas Citizen Services
Washington D.C.

Dear Ms Knobelbe,

I am writing about Ms. Latifa Ihsan b. Ali - a family member - who along with her two minor children are being detained against her will in Dubai, UAE. I am gravely concerned about her and her children's well-being and safety. Her mother Mrs. Sharon Ali has informed me of the situation for Mrs. Latifa Ali. I am a professor of Islamic Studies and the focus of my research is on Muslim Women and Shari'ah Law, specifically as it relates to Personal Status Law. I am fully aware, as I am sure that you are, of the injustices to women enshrined in that law. I am hopeful that as Latifa Ali is an American citizen as are her children, that her case is being adjudicated according to U.S. law (and not the Shari'ah) and that you and the consulate staff at the U. S. Embassy in Dubai are doing everything in your power to extract her and her children from an abusive and dangerous situation where some harm could befall her and the children.

I am in touch with extensive networks who work to help Muslim women gain their human rights in these type situations (WLUML. Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, SIGI and others) and will be notifying them of Mrs. Ali's plight and the need for international attention to her situation there in Dubai if the situation is not rectified immediately.

I remind you, Mrs Ali and her children are U.S. citizens and are entitled to full diplomatic assistance in the repatriation of her and her children back to the United States, expeditiously. I look forward to learning that the State Department has exercised its full authority in this matter and that Mrs. Ali and the children will be returned shortly to the U.S.

Thanks you for your attention to my concern.

Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, Ph.D.

"Develop the mind of equilibrium. You will always be getting praise and blame, but do not let either affect the poise of the mind: follow the calmness, the absence of pride." -- Sutta Nipata

"By amending our mistakes, we get wisdom. By defending our faults, we betray an unsound mind." --The Sutra of Hui Neng

Aishah Shahidah Simmons,
AfroLez Productions, LLC
PO Box 58085
Philadelphia, PA 19102-8085
Skype: afrolez

Visit the NO! Website

Monday, May 11, 2009

What Looks like Crazy on an Ordinary Day

“I am not crazy, I tell them. I am disconsolate. I show them in the dictionary that it means dejected, deprived of consolation. Whatever it is, they are sick of it. They are waiting for it to go away. They do not understand that I am also waiting for it to go away.”
---bell hooks in Black Bone

I have been pondering what “crazy” means for Women, especially Black Women who has been labeled by their Black family members, Black boyfriends and girlfriends as “crazy”. A word that I have been called over and over again in my life. A word that I think silences Women from saying wild and dangerous things or owning their own “crazy” thoughts. In my family I have heard this word thrown at Women like it’s an adjective to describe their beings. Yet, I cannot remember an instance when my male family members have been called that. It’s almost like it’s a disrespectful word to call a man crazy but for a Woman, you a given a green light to use the word…

I was speaking to my father a couple of weeks ago and he mentioned that I was talking “crazy”, when I stated that someone whom was working over fifty hours a week in a job that they do not love, was a lifeless person and I refuse to live a life like that (which is something that he has done his whole life). My father answered back with the aforementioned “crazy” comment. It immediately silenced me, and I guess that was his way of intentionally shutting me up.

This took me back to my adolescent years where I had been told that I was crazy for so many years. “Oh, Iresha, you are talking crazy.” “Oh, Iresha, you are acting crazy”, “Oh Iresha, stop thinking crazy”. In my house, my craziness was always compared to my older Sisters’ supposed normalcy. Like the numerous times that I colored my hair purple or something other than my God given Black hair, or listening to White girls like Tori Amos and Alanis Morsiette, and denouncing Christianity at the young age of fourteen (after reading Malcolm X). Over time, I think my sisters and parents became embarrassed of me, and found me to be a bit too weird for their own taste. So instead of being ostracized from my family, I started assimilating slowly in high school…saying safe words, dressing like the rest of my peers and not questioning too much around me….

I tried hard to fit in with my small town country friends who spent most of their days watching videos on BET…this slowly led to a life of pretending…pretending like I was interested in rappers like Nelly and Trick Daddy when I wasn’t, pretending I was into boys all the time when I wasn’t, pretending that I read urban fiction when I didn’t, it even came to a point where I buried my James Baldwin and Maya Angelou books deep inside my purse, because my friends thought that spending leisure time reading something other than sex was “crazy”--a word that I was trying to wash off of me and of course, life became boring and unchallengeable for me.

College came about and as I was decolonizing my mind, and taking Women Studies classes (which I had became even more crazier-- but to a new group, my Pro-Black Nationalist friends) I read how bell hooks family used to call her crazy for having radical thoughts in her mind about dying without her mother or when she isolated herself from the world to read books. Hooks states that “I hear again and again that I am crazy, that I will end up in a mental institution. This is my punishment for wanting to finish reading before doing my work, for taking too long to walk down the stairs.”

I been pondering, how many little Black girls have had their creativity suppressed and their voices silenced by words like “crazy”, “silly”, “dumb” and “weird”?

Are they singing or are they silent?


Thursday, May 7, 2009

Forget Hallmark: Why Mother's Day is a Queer Black Left Feminist Thing

The Anti-Social Family by Michele Barrett and Mary McIntosh (1982)
Fear of a Queer Planet ed. Micheal Warner (1999)
Aberrations in Black: Towards a Queer of Color Critique by Roderick Ferguson (2004)
"Of Our Normative Strivings: African American Studies and the Histories of Sexuality" by Roderick Ferguson (2005)
"Queerness as Horizon: Utopian Hermeneutics in the Face of Gay Pragmatism" by Jose E. Munoz (2007)
"A 'New Freedom Movement of Negro Women': Sojourning for Truth, Justice, and Human Rights during the Early Cold War" by Erik S. McDuffie (2008)
Blood Dazzler by Patricia Smith (2008)
Something Like Beautiful: One Single Mother's Story by Asha Bandele (2009)*

My mother is black. So the means through which I was produced is a matter of national instability. My mother is black. So the trace of slavery waits every moment to ink my body with meaninglessness. My mother is black. So my living is a question of whether or not racism will be reproduced today. My mother is black. This same piece of information threatens my survival. But my mother is black, which is at the same time the only thing that makes my survival possible.

It's early morning. I am a little bit drunk on the sound of rain, but it occurs to me that I should get (you) ready for mother's day. It is very easy to notice that I am obsessed with mothering and mothers. Mother is the single most interesting and confusing word that I know. Next to black.

And here comes mother's day. For me this year mother's day means a million things. Expectancy, fear, obligation, inspiration, joy, admiration, deep reflection. A few weeks ago my mother told me that she thinks I will be such a great mother. It struck me that while I have always dreamed of becoming a mother, and intended to become a mother, it always comes as a surprise when anyone affirms that it is something that I can do, SHOULD do even. Because I live in a culture that criminalizes black mothers for creating and loving black children, a culture that criminalizes black kids for being born. And latino kids too. I have been taught that mothering is something that happens to you, and you deal with it, and fight for it, swallowing down shame and living with the threat that the state wants nothing more than to take your kids away from you in every way imaginable.

But it is not my mother who taught me that. My mother repeats again and again that mothering us is her greatest accomplishment, like asha her enduring joy and triumph despite everything. And trust, she has other great accomplishments. My mother, not through perfection, not through ease, but through sincere struggle, intense and even sometimes overwhelming love taught us something in her very being. My sister (now an ambitious account exec in New York) once confessed to me that though it might seem unfeminist the only thing she really cared about, the one thing that she knew she wanted to do for sure was to be a good mother. And I told her what I more recently wrote in a poem to one of my feminist theory students, who blessed up by bringing her daughter to class, "mothering is the most feminist act of all." My mother, like every black mother, has been slandered. But we know a lie when we see it. My brother wanted to punch every producer of CNN's disgusting "Black in America" series for daring to suggest that being raised by a black mother was the key liability destroying the life chances of black people. How dare they? How dare they? When our black mother is the only reason we know how to breathe and survive despite the toxic racism filling this world. How dare they?

It is no mystery why it is a cultural truth that talking about a black person's mother is a great way to unleash a universe of anger. Our mothers are slandered every single second of every single day. The media does it like it's it's job. And indeed it is.

And here is the risk. All this talk of mothering, all this affirmation and priviliging of mothering puts me at risk, not only in a mainstream narrative working to reproduce a nation built on racial hate and genocide, but also on the academic queer left. It is not very queer of me to keep talking about my mother this way. In fact (as Micheal Warner suggests) the only queer way for a black person to talk about a mother is the "irony" of the house mother in black gay ball culture. CNN is dead to me. The deeper betrayal is that queer studies participates in the slander of the black mother, agreeing with the story that says she should not exist.

Has Warner not considered (as Cathy Cohen makes very clear in Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens) that black mothering is already a queer thing? Because we were never meant to survive. So the Queen Mother in the house movement is not just throwing shade, the queen is doing the necessary work of mothering. Of saying these bodies black and queer almost to redundancy, these spirits that every facet of our society would seek to destroy, MUST survive and WILL transform the meaning of life whether you like it or not. That is what a black mother does. Sincerely. It is no joke.

So this week I have been picking a bone with a queer theory narrative that sees mothering as the least radical thing one can do, in so much that it becomes irrelevant to the majority of the discourse on queerness. Clearly, like Moynihan, they don't know my mother. Asserting that the labor of mothering is always in collaboration with the reproductive narrative that reproduces heteronormativity ignores the fact there has been a national consensus for centuries that black people should not be able to mother and every force, from coercive sterlization, to workfare has been mobilized to try to keep them from doing it. Where has the dominant (read white) queer theory been while politicians have been ranting and raving about how welfare queens, (which despite the actual statistics becomes a code name for poor and racialized mothers) are going to destroy civilization as we know it by not only creating black surplus children, but by influencing these children with their deviant and risky and scary behavior? And isn't this the organizing desire of queer destroy civilization as we know it?

I just wish everyone would listen to Cathy Cohen (who by the way is a black co-mother to a beautiful fierce black girl-child) so I wouldn't have to stand here screaming (or more accurately sit here taking deconstructing and rebuilding the premises of queer theory all week long). But here is the quick and dirty of it...mainstream queer theory as inaugurated by Warner's edited volume and influenced by a Marxist feminst tradition of critiquing the heteropatriarchal family as a complicit force in the reproduction of capitalist oppression throw the black babies out with the bathwater of their universalism. The "tyranny of motherhood" as described by Barrett and McIntosh does not leave room for those other deployments of "mother" and "hood" (excuse me "inner-city") in the American vernacular of culture of poverty discourse.

This is why Hortense Spillers should be required and repeated reading for queer theorists. Four words. Mama's Baby Papa's Maybe. Which means there is no reason that the act of mothering would reproduce patriarchy, or even take place within the confines of patriarchy along normative lines because the practice of American slavery has so fundamentally ripped the work of mothering from the bodies of black mothers (forcing them to do the labor of mothering for white and black children while fully denying them any of the authority of motherhood by killing and selling away and raping and mutilating their children. (I have posted here before about my discovery, while reading slave code, that even a free black mother had no legal right to defend an enslaved daughter from abuse by a slave master.)

The complexity of the term mother (next to black) requires a queer theory that deuniversalizes race and highlights the function of racism in reproducing the heteropatriarcal status quo. Cathy Cohen, Roderick Ferguson and Jose Munoz do this work of reminding us that Third World Feminism and the Third World Gay Liberation movement are an alternative starting point (contemporary with the Marxist feminist arguments that Warner's version of queer theory inherits). Their work is crucial because it says something very obvious. We are people of color. The whole system wake up every day trying to exterminate our bodies and our spirits. Our very survival is queer.

We were never meant to survive, and if mothers are part of why we are here (and they are), then they are the queerest of us all. But this is not even news. If we remember what black women have been up to in the United States we can just go ahead and let go of the asumption that mothering is conservative or that conserving and nurturing the lives of black children has ever had any validated place in the official American political spectrum.

Eslanda Robeson
Charlotta Bass
Shirley Graham Du Bois
Mary Church Terell
Maude White Katz

Take the fierce black women writers, mothers, publishers, actresses, activists
who would become the Sojourners for Truth and Justice and their work starting in the 1940's to protest the imprisonment of Rosa Lee Ingram a black mother who was sentenced to death for standing up for herself, and defending herself against a white man who tried to rape her. It was black women activists who changed her sentence to life in prison and then eventually (after 12 years incarceration) got her released from prison. And always always the key word in their organizing strategy was "mother." Their key understanding of Ingram who was willing to fight to keep this violent man away from her body and away from her children epitomized the term "mother" for this set of black woman revolutionaries. They framed the state's violence against Ingram as a violence against black mothering itself. How dare this black woman take a stance against rape. Standing against rape is a mothering act. How dare she threaten the perceived truth about what happens to black people, that black bodies are infinitely rapeable. How dare she stand ferocious, daring and teaching. This is what will happen to you if you come at me. This is the act of mothering that mobilized a national movement, black women gathered twenty-five thousands signatures for a petition in 1949...way before the era of the text message e-blast petition. They made it an international human rights issue, contacting every single member nation of the UN. And I need you to know this, remember this if you remember nothing else:

On Mother's Day, exactly 60 years ago the black left internationalist feminists of Ingram Committee sent TEN THOUSAND MOTHER'S DAY CARDS to the White House and scared Harry S. Truman so bad that he made up an excuse to miss their scheduled meeting the next day.

Ten thousand mother's day cards from black women to the white house. Stolen holiday. No justice, no peace in the form of ten thousand paper-cuts. A floral dare saying: celebrate this. This is what mothering means: organized support for radical self-defense. A complete refusal of rape by any means necessary. Ten thousand Mother's Day cards. A threat saying we are black mothers. We are survivors. Try us.

Forget hallmark.

Have a revolutionary Mother's Day people.

*(Outside of the above timeline, sit Cathy Cohen's "Punks, Bulldaggers and Welfare Queens" and Hortense Spillers's "Mama's Baby Papa's Maybe" which i did not reread this week...but have completely internalized such that I should be understood to be citing them no matter what I am saying about anything.-apg)

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Vegans of Color

Anarchist People of Color NYC Editorial Collective Presents:
:::Decolonizing Eats::: Zine Release Party

Friday May 8 at 7:30- 12:30pm
270 Vanderbilt Ave 3r @ Dekalb
Fort Greene, Brooklyn
G to Clinton-Washington
646 464 1051

Come Enjoy the Fruits of our labor as we celebrate the launch of our
Zine ‘Decolonizing Eats’ with the Authors, Friends, Children and other
folks in our Community.

Limited Edition Personalized Zines for sale

House and Hip Hop Music

Lovely Bar serving up beer, wine and cocktails
Menu Includes:

Fresh Juiced Juice
Agua De Jamaica
Vegan Tembleque
Sweet Cornbread/ Sweet Gluten Free Cornbread
Chinese Spaghetti(Vege and Not)
Jerk Tofu
Rice and Beans
Marinated Greens
Sea Vegetable Salad
Fresh Guacamole and Chips and more
This is a Child friendly event, and people are encouraged to bring their children with them.

There’s a piece in the zine about Kalabash! Come connect!

Monday, May 4, 2009

Book Swap!!!!!

Hey QBGs!

First of all, I apologize for the cyber-silence. I get overwhelmed by the internet sometimes. I recently had a Book Swap at my house that was just so delightful that I wanted to share it with you. There was lots of yummy food and a ginormous amount of books which, miraculously, found new homes with fellow readers in the community. Picture it: A place where the books are free and delightful snacks are served while you make your selections. You bring books that have been with you for a while that you really want others to read. People who have read the book you want to read are nearby to talk to you about it if you have questions. And again, the books are free. Sound good? Well it makes a great recession-era party idea.

Many people said they had never been to a book swap, I certainly hadn't until I hosted one so I just wanted to spread the idea around so maybe this can take root in other cities where there are QBGs. Anyway, go forth and swap.

love reading,

BrokenBeautiful Blooming!: The Spring Update

It's Spring!!! That bright, sexy season when we remember the full color of the world and everything becomes possible again! So what better way to celebrate the rebirth of the planet than to break your beautiful spirit out of its shell?

BrokenBeautiful Press ( is ready for your reawakening with exciting new projects for you to check out, participate in and support.

On the move:

a queer black mobilehomecoming

BrokenBeautiful Press is partnering with Queer Renaissance to embark on a monumental journey in celebration of the bravery and genuis of the trailblazers of the black queer/lesbian/gender-non-conforming community. Think "black lesbian Eyes on the Prize" y'all! A year from today Alexis and Julia will be getting in an environmentally sustainable RV and hitting the road to learn, document and transmit the legacies of brave black queer warriors who have been transforming the meaning of life since the 1980's or earlier and hosting amazing intergenerational community education events all over the US. To find out more and to offer resources, advice or financial support go to:

SPEAK!: Support Radical Mamis of Color!
BrokenBeautiful Press is proud to celebrate the birth of the most radical spoken word CD ever. Think This Bridge Called My Back in audio form! Speak Media Collective, a group of radical women of color transforming the world through new media, has launched a self-titled spoken word CD as a grassroots fundraiser to support the participation of young mothers of color in the Allied Media Conference. Help moms and kids of color travel to this national media gathering and get your mind blown at the same time. The CD includes a zine and a curriculum guide for using the CD in your community and classroom. To get your copy go to

Community Education:
Combahee Survival: A Movement Revival:
In 1977 a crew of radical black socialist lesbian feminists wrote a document that changed the landscape of social justice forever. More than 30 years later young black feminists are tracking the survival of the analysis of interlocking oppressions and holistic transformation that the members of the Combahee River Collective stood for in the progressive community at large. The Combahee Survival Project is a dispersed community education project that shines light on and nurtures the seeds of a radical intersectional approach all over our social justice movement. Go to to see poetic activities that draw on the words of the original statement, examples from community organizers who are still wrestling with the issues the collective raised and worksheets to use in your community, and look out for the Survival/Revival activity of the week brought to you by BrokenBeautiful Press all summer long!

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind
In Durham, North Carolina (aka vanguard city, center of the universe) a growing, diverse and beautiful group of folks have gathered in the name of black feminism. With delicious potlucks to discuss key essays by black feminists, fieldtrips to hear black feminist poetry, and more we are acting on our faith that the radical work of visionaries like Claudia Jones, Angela Davis, June Jordan can inform and transform our city and our lives. And like-minded devotees in Chicago, DC and other cities have joined in. Follow along, find out about upcoming events and download free reading material at


Habit Forming Love: The Video Project:
They say it takes 21 days to form a habit, so your girl Alexis decided to cultivate the habit of loving herself and her people (you!) fully, bravely, loudly and proudly. What better habit could there be? Experimenting with (and teaching herself) the art of internet video production and sharing she created videos of love for self, love in community and growing love for her sweetheart. Now it's your turn! Go to
to browse Lex's videos and make your own!

In Your Hands: Letters from Ancestors
Alexis started the year with a life-changing, spirit-humbling process of receiving letters from black feminist ancestors who gave loving advice, welcome reminders and sometimes difficult challenges and lessons. Read letters from Audre Lorde, Octavia Butler, Lydia May Gumbs (lex's grandma), Toni Cade Bambara and more at and add your own letters about your communication with your chosen and familial ancestors.

It's Spring! Anything is possible, even you and the life-changing love that makes your spirit tingle and grow.

Stay fly!
love always,
BrokenBeautiful Press

Friday, May 1, 2009

In Solidarity: Lakota Woman Wins Unprecedented Rape Case

Lakota Woman Wins Unprecedented Rape Case

This is really amazingly great news. Check it out: the Fort Laramie Treaty has never been used this way before.

From the Argus Leader:

A Native American woman from Wounded Knee won a historic ruling in federal court based on a century-old treaty between the U.S. government and the Oglala Sioux Tribe after she was sexually assaulted by a military recruiter.

The U.S. government must pay Lavetta Elk, formerly of Wounded Knee, almost $600,000 in damages after she was sexually assaulted by Army recruiter Staff Sgt. Joseph Kopf in his car January 2003, according to court documents. Judge Francis Allegra based the ruling on a "bad men" provision in the April 29, 1868, treaty between the government and the Oglala Sioux Tribe.

That provision of the Fort Laramie Treaty "provides that if 'bad men' among the whites commit 'any wrong' upon the person or property of any Sioux, the United States will reimburse the injured person for the loss sustained," court documents filed Tuesday indicated.

Go to the link above for the rest of the article. Thank you Sarah Deer for forwarding this news.