Monday, April 30, 2012

Queer Black Facilitators of the Future: Press Release

Queer Black Facilitators of the Future
Mobile Homecoming Co-creators recognized in The Advocate “top 40 under 40”
March 30, 2012                                    
Alexis Pauline Gumbs, 919-827-2702
Mobile Homecoming

Durham, NC - Alexis Pauline Gumbs, Ph.D and Julia Wallace, M.Div. will be recognized in the May issue of the The Advocate  - the leading gay magazine in America - on the “top 40 under 40” list for their creation of the nationally known Mobile Homecoming project. Mobile Homecoming is an intergenerational experiential archive project that amplifies generations of Black LGBTQ brilliance.

The Advocate says of it’s honorees, “these budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics... are facilitating our future.” Alexis and Julia are two of only 4 honorees from the Southeast on the list.

As a self-identified “queer black feminist troublemaker,” Alexis also travels the country facilitating workshops, seminars and lecturing on the legacy of Black feminism. Julia, a self-identified black queer theologian, multimedia artist and consultant, says, “Alexis makes trouble that looks like love and IS love.”

Alexis and Julia travel the country in a 1988 RV they call Sojourner, interviewing Black Lesbian elders and Trans Men, facilitating intergenerational community conversations and hosting replay events. Julia explains, “the replay event is a technology where we not only learn about the history of these visionaries but experience the practices that has sustained them.”

Alexis is not new to this sort of national recognition. She was one of Utne Reader’s “50 Visionaries Who Are Changing the World” in 2009; a Black Women Rising Nominee and a Reproductive Reality Check Shero in 2010; and a recipient of the Too Sexy for 501C-3 trophy in 2011. Alexis has been featured on North Carolina public radio and UNC-TV. She and Julia were also featured on the cover of Durham Magazine - that celebrates the city’s style and creativity - for a feature story suggesting that Durham, NC is the lesbian haven of the south.

Alexis and Julia drove their RV across the country in 2011 taking detours and making stops along the way to honor and listen to elders. They say, “it was like a tour of super heroes... our elders had to develop super powers to survive as black people, as women, let alone as LGBTQ people, 20, 30 plus years ago.” So far, they have been to over 50 cities in over 11 states and interviewed over 50 black queer visionaries. They take a “by every means possible” approach to getting the word out about this history and their intergenerational imperative via tumblr, short Facebook videos, an upcoming documentary film, a web series on, and T-shirts, to name a few.

Next up for Mobile Homecoming is learning about sustainable building and living practices that will allow LGBT communities to take care of their elders as they age. They will also be launching a fundraising campaign to resurrect Sojourner or refit another vehicle with a veggie fuel engine to model their vision of sustainable mobile media making.

These “architects of the next decade,” as The Advocate describes them, both have advanced degrees and are founders of many organizations. The Mobile Homecoming project is affiliated with Southerners on New Ground (SONG), supported by Kitchen Table Giving Circle and has collaborated on events with many groups across the country including AARP, The DC Center in Washington D.C., Audre Lorde Project in NY, and Allied Media Projects (AMP) in Detroit. Alexis and Julia believe that “connecting community across generations is what will give us all access to the future we deserve.”

More information can be found at and videos can be found at

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Fwd: Save the Date! 2nd Annual National Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness Conference

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Shanesha Brooks-Tatum <>
Date: Wed, Apr 25, 2012 at 11:30 AM
Subject: Save the Date! 2nd Annual National Black Women's Life Balance and Wellness Conference

Save the Date ~ Registration Opens Monday, April 30th!

QBGs Lex and Julia honored in the Advocate's 40 under 40 list

 These budding powerhouses, leaders in media, politics, sports, and science, are facilitating our future. Meet the architects of the next decade.

Alexis Pauline Gumbs & Julia Wallace  • 29 & 32
Durham, N.C.
Historians, Mobile Homecoming

In 2009, Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Julia Wallace were at a conference in North Carolina, attended primarily by black lesbians, and realized they were the youngest people there. Listening to the older women, “it became very obvious that the choices they had made and the things they had done had made things better for us,” Gumbs says. Adds Wallace: “We became very excited about the experiences they had.” That led the partners in life and work to get on the road and seek out African-American LGBT elders (basically, anyone older than they are) around the nation for a project called Mobile Homecoming. Gumbs and Wallace are documenting their subjects’ lives through video and audio interviews that they plan to assemble into a documentary film by the end of next year, and they are also holding intergenerational events and collecting photos, manuscripts, and other artifacts for an archive of black LGBT life.

The effort “has been affirming and sometimes overwhelming,” Gumbs says. In some cases,  “people have been waiting all their life for someone to listen to them.” Wallace says the project made her realize “we have a responsibility to our elders and our ancestors to take care of each other.” In addition to Mobile Homecoming, Gumbs’s projects include BrokenBeautiful Press, a website where activists can share resources, and Brilliance Remastered, which offers online seminars, individual coaching, and other assistance for scholars. Wallace is founder of Queer Renaissance, which uses the Internet and other media to connect artists, activists, entrepreneurs, and others. Soon the busy duo will be collaborating on a children’s book as well.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

I Would Transform: Anger, Hatred and Magic

This Sunday in the Angry Intellectuals: Channeling Rage for Transformation Webinar we honored the fact that our anger is sparked by deep love and a profound desire for transformation.  We realize that our anger requires transformation from each of us and from the world around us.   At the end of our session, as we practiced recognizing the distinction between hate (the impulse to impulse we reserve for the interlocking forms of oppression we indeed wish to destroy) and anger (the creative energetic impulse for transformation that we are bringing into our communities with intention), we created this group poem about what we would transform.  And how!

I Would Transform
A group poem by the Angry Intellectuals

i would transform the need to be right into a desire to be in community
i would transform fear of honesty into courage to be held accountable.
i would transform punishment into healing.
i would transform color-blindness into full color.
i would transform ownership into profound communalism
i would transform whiteness into the presence of unconditional love and accountability.
i would transform supremacy into relationship/community.
i would transform self-righteous white women into anti-racist warriors
i would transform individual solutions into collective power, into unstoppable contagious collective power

i would transform SCAF (Egyptian Military Leadership) into sons and fathers in their homes, taking care of their own families and communities

i would transform those who are now police into profound listeners in the face of violence

i would transform schools into places of critical consciousness and liberation

i would transform the academies tendency to overwork, underpay, and devalue revolutionary scholarship into valuing these ways of knowing and these people.
And that doesn't seem like a radical enough transformation!

i would transform hierarchical organization structures to co-created spaces of accountability.
i would transform exclusion to equity
i would transform isolation and borders into abundance of love

i would transform ICE and immigration policies into organizers rooted in care- using all their radical energies to reunite families.

i would transform racist teachers who seem to hate kids into hologram designers for spaceship child safety seats

i would transform bullies into bootdancers

i would transform the public school system to satellites of black feminist schools across the country.

i would transform homophobic church leaders into humble hip hop hooray cheerleaders for love in all forms

i would transform rent into the most alive soil ever

i would transform my landlord into a rose garden curator

i would transform the property manager into  a beloved son embraced in the middle of the dig deep get it done committee

i would transform legal recourse into delving deep for life-giving resources

i would transform street harassers into corner poets singing love to mother earth

i would transform scarcity into abundance and communities to hold us.

i would transform fast breathe speech and thinking into patient grounded inclusivewisdom.

i would transform the instinct to devalue in the face of anxiety to the impulse courageously honor

i would transform the feelings of betrayal into the gratitude for new knowledge

i would transform defensiveness into deep breaths of listening

I would transform self pity into confidence

i would transform doubt to determination

i would transform fear into freedom

i would transform guilt into action and growth

i would transform forced silence into song.

i would transform myself

Monday, April 23, 2012

Sign Up by April 30th! Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars

Greetings Bright Thunder!
Applications are now open for May's Webinar Eye to Eye: Radical Collaboration for Community Accountable Scholars!  Sign up by April 30th!
Eye to Eye will meet on four Tuesdays in May (8, 15, 22, 29)
Eye to Eye is an opportunity to get real about how individualism, internalized oppression and a capitalism-produced need to seem smart can get in the way of creating meaningful collaborations and useful intellectual partnerships with the communities that we love the most.  It is also an opportunity to find partners to collaborate with and to create plans for becoming the unstoppable, interconnected, community accountable scholars we want to be!
Required reading: Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye: Black Women Hatred and Anger
The Eye to Eye Webinar Includes:
  • a workbook based on Audre Lorde's Eye to Eye
  • 4 live webinar discussion sessions facilitated by Alexis Pauline Gumbs and attended by aligned visionary underrepresented scholars
  • inclusion in an ongoing networking google-group for webinar graduates
  • theme songs to release internalized oppression as we reach out into collaboration!
Rate:  $25-50 per participant per session ($100-200 for the whole course) or FREE for one-on-one coaching clients.
To apply for the Eye to Eye Webinar email with your responses to the following questions:
Contact information: (phone, email)
Who are you and what are you up to?
Why do you want to take this webinar?
What times are you available on Tuesdays in May? (Include your time zone!)

 Alexis Pauline Gumbs, PhD

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

journeystones: angry intellectuals release!

This Sunday was the second session of The Angry Intellectual: Channeling Rage for Transformation! We are training ourselves to use the energy and insight of our anger to create transformative relationships, not to reproduce domination. Here are some stones on our path.


After Audre Lorde’s “Journeystones I-X”

a quarry of clarity from the Angry Intellectuals

(or a can of stones to kick)

i can drop my need to be right all the time

i can drop my fear of seeming like a failure

drop my need to be liked

drop my need to fix things for other people

i can drop my tendency to bear it alone....

i can drop the need to always do more...sometimes i have already done (MORE THAN) enough. capitalism kills.

i can drop my fear of being judged

i can stop faking the funk like any revolution has gone smoothly

i can drop the need to fit in completely. i'm different (in some ways) and it's good.

and my shoes are cute :)

i can drop my hard rock need to seem like i can never be hurt

i can drop the fear of never being hurt...and suspecting that the present is simply the past in a new body, time, and person

which also must mean i have to drop a refusal to deal with past hurts

i can drop my expectations of other black women to be the perfect me i wish i was

i can drop my fear of seeming needy

i can drop my fear of being my mother

and me of being my father...

and me of being reactionary

i can drop my need to be right/to focus on just my hurt so that i can see that other’s actions are really out of fear

i can allow compassion, instead of pushing it away.

i can drop my shoulders and release the pent up tension. that's not even a good warrior pose!

i can drop the teacher/academic/professional pose which hinders the possibilities of radical education

i can drop those standards of grace that were not mine/ours to begin with

i can drop those perfectionist tendencies....

i can drop the idea of speaking to anger or emotion as taking up too much space.

i can drop my fear that i'm taking up too much space.

i can drop my fear that my community won't hold me.

i can drop my fast conclusions which foreclose the possibilities of allies

i can drop my fear of my own healing and give others permission to heal

i can drop my need to hide love. I feel deeply and I need to say it often.

i can drop my need to seem rational when I KNOW my feelings hold truth

i can drop my distrust of my body. my body knows the truth!

Thursday, April 12, 2012

I Know: Angry Intellectuals Testify

This past Sunday was the first session of the second webinar in the Brilliance Remastered series The Angry Intellectual: Channeling Rage for Transformation and it was a testimony service indeed! As part of our process of acting on Audre Lorde's wisdom that "anger is full of energy and insight."

This group poem highlights some of the wisdom that our anger reminds us to act on!!!

I Know

A Group Poem by the Participants in the Angry Intellectuals Webinar

Channeling Rage for Transformation

I know that there is magic in my rage, and power in its love

I know that every emotion I express is valid

I know transformation is possible possible possible

I know I have the power to create create create from something, from anything from nothing

I know that my work is valuable and matterfact PRICELESS!

I know that the lives of black girls are priceless and sacred everyday. Including Sunday!

I know I'm happy I got to go to black feminist "church" this afternoon :)

I know I am grateful for this space.

I know that we need more of these spaces, for the many more like us out there

I know that state sanctioned, vigilante style, wrongful death--genoicide--is wrong

I know that love is always the answer

I know the power of our knowledge and love is stronger than capitalist ignorance that has those i love captivated.

I know that the revolution begins with the self

I know I have more to learn. I know I must be held accountable.

I know that being present is an uncomfortable lifestyle I must embrace

I know Superiority, Supremacy is not used to having to listen to the invisible.

And, I will not remain invisible.

I know that I am beautiful.

I know that I am more than enough

I know that I am bigger than any institution

I know that we can do this work....

and I know that I am not yet who I desire to be but all things in due time...

I know I am not limited by my physical challenges

I know I have what I need to do the work I am here to do. Actualize!

I know, as a white woman, other white people often don't want me to respond to racism.

and yes I know that wrong is not my name

I know that my ancestors are right here right now.

I know I am not alone. I am surrounded in love.

I know that I am surrounded in and filled with transformative LOVE!

I know that letting go and not holding on is healing. Pack light

I know that we have strength in community. Not alone at all.

I know that my emotional clarity and expression will not only heal myself, but my community

I know when we come together to give others the space to express themselves

we give ourselves permission to be who we are

I know that my knowing is growing by the day.

I know that I know that I know that I know that I KNOW!

I know “they” betta act like they know

I know we betta act like we know!

(I know that I don't want this to end just yet :-)

Monday, April 9, 2012

Grooves to Get Thru Grad School!: The Remastered Tools 101 Podcast

This audio goodness comes from the newest educational program of Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind which is Brilliance Remastered ( especially for community accountable scholars and visionary under-represented graduate students based on the ever blooming brilliance of Audre Lorde!
This podcast is inspired by the brilliance of the participants in the first webinar Remastered Tools 101! It includes group poems and definitions that we came up with during the webinar sessions and some of my favorite music from NC and the rest of the world! (Nneena Freelon, Bradford Marsalis, Pierce Freelon, Apple Juice Kid, Fantasia, Frou Frou, Fela Kuti, Stevie Wonder, Suheir Hammad, Goapele, Phillis Hyman and Res!)

At first I had planned for this podcast to be only for the webinar participants and our pre-existing monthly sustainers, but it is just TOO good not to share more widely! So anyone who makes a donation to Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind or becomes a monthly sustainer in APRIL will get a link to the podcast to groove to yourself or to share with a visonary under-represented graduate student/emerging community accountable scholar who you LOVE!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Daily Truth: Mantras for Remastering the Day

In the middle of the fourth and final session (it's so hard to say goodbye) of the Remastered Tools 101 Webinar, we affirmed the fact that daily truth is a crucial tool for empowered community accountable intellectual work. In order to stay in each other's lives every day beyond the webinar we shared the daily mantras that remind us WHAT IT REALLY IS! We will be putting these affirmations in our homes, pockets, bags, offices so that we can see them everyday and we invite you to do the same!

Remastered Tools 101: Daily Mantras:

"you here to remind people of free" -marvin k white

“I am who I am doing what I came to do.” –Audre Lorde

“Being open to receiving and giving blessings will keep you in touch with your passion, the passion you need to make it to the finish line. Get excited about your work and know that when you change the way you look at things, things you look at change. Go get em’ girl. I wish I could show you, when you are lonely or in darkness, the astonishing light of your being.” –Melissa’s Auntie

“Nothing in the world is as soft and yielding as water, yet for dissolving the hard and inflexible nothing can surpass it.” –Tao Te Ching

“I wish to live because life has within it that which is good, that which is beautiful and that which is love.” Lorraine Hansberry

“Salt water can heal anything.” Lex’s Pop-pop

“Go on and be what we couldn’t.” Mississippi Damned

“We can learn to mother ourselves.” Audre Lorde

“How you treat yourself if how you treat God. You are the representation of God in your life.”

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” Lao Tzu

“Are you sure, sweetheart, that you want to be well.” Minnie Ransom from Toni Cade Bambara’s The Salt Eaters

“Consistency is manifestation.“ Queen Hollins

“There is an invisible red threat that connects all human beings and though it may stretch or tangle it will never break.” Chinese Proverb

“Love is lifeforce.” June Jordan

“A thing is mighty big when time and distance cannot shrink it.” –Zora Neale Hurston

“There is a close connection between sexual repression and extreme aggression.”

“This is my granddaughter the poet.” Lex’s Grandma

“Caminante, no hay puentes, se hace puentes, se hace puentes al andar./ Voyager, there are no bridges, one builds them as one walks.” –Gloria Anzaldua

“Listen to each person as if she is your great teacher uttering her last words.”-Hafiz

“Safety is always necessarily an illusion.” –James Baldwin

“The work is the diva.” Zakia

“The best way to do it is to do it!” Toni Cade Bambara

“Everything in the universe is within you. Ask all from yourself.” Rumi

“Movement is medicine.” Brown Femi Power

“Relationships not resumes.” –Thaura Distro

“Wrong is not my name. My name is my own my own my own my own.” –June Jordan

“We have the opportunity and the responsibility to become fifty times greater than we thought we could be.” Grace Lee Boggs and James Boggs

“We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous. Actually, who are you not to be?” Marianne Williams

“Warrior get up!” Climbing Poetree

“So it is better to speak, remembering we were never meant to survive.” Audre Lorde

“Black girls are from the future.” Renina Jarmon

Monday, April 2, 2012

Trayvon Martin and Prison Abolition


Sent to you by moya via Google Reader:


via The Crunk Feminist Collective by Chanel on 4/2/12



When I say I'm a prison abolitionist, people think that means I want to tear down the walls of the prison and free everyone today.  But what it really means is that I want to work towards building a society that does not rely on prisons to address all of our injustices.  As a prison abolitionist, I recognize that prisons treat the symptoms and not the root cause of social issues.  I recognize that prisons have history, we did not always have them and we can get to a place where we don't use them (hell, I see evidence of this already with the increasing use of house arrest to monitor people.  Of course this is not better and is in many ways far worse, but it does point to the possibility of a prisonless world).

And while I wholeheartedly believe in the possibility of a world free of prisons, I find myself struggling with this Trayvon Martin situation.  How can I demand a criminal conviction for Zimmerman when I am opposed to prisons?  This kind of struggle between my politics and my real life is not new.  I often go through these "ok, now what do I think" moments when I am forced out of my activists bubbles filled with hope and promise.  But when I walk into my home and my house has been robbed, or I turn on the news and little girl has been raped and murdered, or I log onto Twitter and a young black boy has been killed, that theory shit goes out the window and find my non-prison believing ass saying "lock his ass up!"

So how do I reconcile these things?  I'm not sure yet.  But what I do know is that this really is not about the prison, but about a prison state that targets black and brown bodies in problematic ways.  It's about a system of policing and surveillance, in which some bodies are always under the eye of the state. Be it police constantly circling their blocks, surveillance cameras in the project hallways,  metal detectors in their schools, or overzealous neighborhood watchmen finding them "suspicious" Li'l Kim had it right in saying "police stay on us like tattoos."  #WeAreAllTrayvon not just because we are brown bodied in a state that recognizes us an inferior, but because we all live in a system that sees us as toxic and worthy of elimination—either by locking us up or killing us.   Thus, my call for no prisons is not really about ending the prisons but about ending a system that disciplines us for having the audacity to breathe.

But this does not mean I do not wish to hold Zimmerman accountable.  I world without prisons does not mean less accountable, it means more.  It would mean that Zimmerman would have to be held accountable to the communities he harmed and not just the state.  It would also mean that the world that creates a Zimmerman would also be held accountable for fostering a culture that sees dark bodies as suspicious.  It's about recognizing the structural and cultural conditions that make a Trayvon possible.  So we must talk about policing in conversation with the ways in which Disney participates in this socialization by making all of the evil characters dark (Scar was the darkest lion on, Ursula was a black octopus, and Jafar wore a dark cape). 

So we can and must continue to demand accountability from Zimmerman, but we must also recognize the ways in which Zimmerman is the product of a larger culture.  We must recognize the ways in which our culture breeds individuals that perform such heinous acts and who do we hold accountable for that?



Things you can do from here: