Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind


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Free-er Than We Knew We Could Be

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Stone from the beach near Audre Lorde’s house  butterflymade by the Sisters of the Black Doll in Havana. 

This past Saturday we gathered to consider Cuba.  After the passing of Fidel Castro some of us thought first of Assata Shakur.  The Without Bridges: US Based Black Feminists Reckon With Cuba webinar was an opportunity to bring the writing and relationships of US based Black Feminist writers, editors and activists (especially Toni Cade Bambara, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryll Greene, Assata Shakur, Alexis De Veaux and Audre Lorde) into our process of reflection.  We noticed that like generations of Black women we have strong desires, forms of longing and vulnerability attached to Cuba. We used those reflections to clarify our sistering in this moment.  Here is the poem we made.

If you want to participate in the last online workshop of the year The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear, check it out here.

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By the participants in the “Without Bridges” US-based Black Feminists on/in/around/with Cuba Webinar

“Sister is a verb.” Toni Cade Bambara

After “Sister in Exile” the first interview with Assata Shakur after her escape by Cheryll Y. Greene in Essence.

 (Inspired by Toni Cade Bambara, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryll Y. Greene, Assata Shakur, Alexis De Veaux and Audre Lorde)

 

Sister in trust

Sister in listening and holding space

Sister in unconditional acceptance

Sister in distance

Sister in showing up

Sister in living healthy and free

Sister in loving ourselves

Sister in seeing and freeing ourselves from our prisons

Sister with egos aside

Sister in showing our scars

Sister in learning from the ugly

Sister in discernment

Sister in more freedom than we used to

Sister in real rest

Sister in honoring the invisible work

Sister in sweetness

Sister in joy

Sister in gratitude

Sister even in silence

Sister in love

Sister in silliness

Sister in survival truths

Sister in finding our purpose

Sister in availability to purpose

Sister in places we never thought we would be

Sister in life in collaboration

Sister in a way that teaches me to be better to my own heart

Sister in telling each others stories

Sister in shareable salvation


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The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear

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  Thurs-Fri, December 8th and 9th 6pm-9pm Eastern

The last online intensive of the year is especially for those of us brave enough to envision a visionary liberated future during a time when the present seems bleak. Based on her short story “Evidence” from the collection Octavia’s Brood, Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs will facilitate a guided intensive that allows us to vision seven generations into the future and to grapple with the time we are living through now:  the time of the silence breaking.  Using meditations, letter writing, listening, ancestral and futuristic connection and legacies of earlier Black feminist futurists including June Jordan and Audre Lorde, we will close 2016 with the energy of multitudes, with a profound connection to those who have crossed over during this time and with revolutionary availability to the future generations are calling for from us.

Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here:

The full tuition is sliding scale $175-225. Payment plans are available.

Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by Tuesday December 6th.


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Without Bridges: US Based Black Feminists and Cuba

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 Saturday Dec 3, 2-4pm Eastern

Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/without-bridges-us-based-black-feminists-oninaround-with-cuba-tickets-29808524098

At this moment, many of us are thinking about Cuba. We are thinking about Assata. We are thinking about what it means to be in solidarity with, in critical accountability with, in revolutionary reference to, contemporary Cuba. This one-session online course is inspired by writing by US based Black Feminists (including US based Black Feminists of Caribbean heritage) about Cuba as inspiration, challenge and context. Based on work by Toni Cade Bambara, Alexis De Veaux, Audre Lorde, Assata Shakur, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryll Greene and more, this is a space to draw on earlier Black Feminist writings and praxis as we individually collectively face this moment. This is not a strategy session, it is an interactive writing workshop designed to offer a space of reflection and historical references to take into collective and organizational work on this issue. There is no advance reading required for the course, but all participants will get a bibliography for further reading.

This course is not only for US based Black Feminists. All are welcome. However the source texts will be drawing specifically from US based Black Feminist writing and activism

Register here.

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If: 5 Kitchen Table Press Covers

If:  5 Kitchen Table Press Covers

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Barbara Smith, Audre Lorde, Cherrie Moraga and Hattie Gossett permanently presiding over my actual kitchen table.   Photo by Joan E. Biren. 

I was recently commissioned by Casco, in the Netherlands to describe 5 of my favorite book covers from books published by Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press.  It was my honor to offer poetic words in homage, honor and gratitude to the existence of these books, which saved my life and made it possible.  I am excited to share these words with you in honor of the intergenerational, transnational possibilities that Barbara Smith and the many warriors who gave their time, love, sweat and genius to the Kitchen Table Press Movement worked to nourish.

Love,

Alexis Pauline Gumbs

P.S. Update:  Susan Yung, graphic designer for these covers (except Narratives) reached out to me today.  Infinite gratitude!

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Home Girls  (ed. Barbara Smith)

if sunlight came in boxes and you drew in chalk where it should land on your street. if your street had chalklines not for dead bodies but for hopscotch and books. if you counted in chalk how many times i read this book and didn’t cross over. and then used sunlight like a lazer overtop. turned sunlight into thick letters home. then you would have it.

 This Bridge Called My Back  (ed. Cherrie Moraga & Gloria Anzaldua)

if you crawled. if you left your clothes and crawled and were not breathing. if the sun drew you crawling across sunset. if the sun let you crawl in a maroon context to freedom. and you hadn’t eaten recently. if your body was maroon and yellow and made to hold and be held by letters and your back shaped the sky and your breasts reached for earth.

Cuentos (ed. Alma Gomez, Cherrie Moraga & Mariana Romo-Carmona)

if you took hands. if you took upside down question marks. and then you underlined the combs, the mountains, the typing hands. if you let the space left by questions be upside down and black. and then you stamped it on the night with sunlight. questions falling next to mountains again. again. and you used those same sunstreaked hands to make lines that will not hold, that break on purpose.

A Comrade is as Precious as a Rice Seedling  (by Mila Aguilar)

if you grew some bamboo a hundred years ago and asked the gods to sit with you and your bowl and your sticks and your seeds. if you waited a hundred years until it all turned gray like dots. remembered by ghosts and then you came back. if you came back red as blood and splintered on all edges and you found that same place where you had been with seeds and such a beautiful bowl and a bamboo crossroads convinced that you could eat and bleed again.

Narratives:  Poems in the Tradition of Black Women (by Cheryl Clarke)

first find the photograph. no, first print the couch with leaves and call us over. then dress and redress us. then don’t turn the heat on so we will sit here close. on the couch and on the floor so we will cross our arms. and say something funny. or better yet, just keep us waiting so we will look at each other and laugh more than smile. then print us over red. print us black now over red as bold as anything.screen-shot-2016-11-23-at-11-56-50-am

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Kakuya Collective: A Visionary Daughtering Webinar

 

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Tuesday Nov. 15, 2016  6pm Eastern

Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-kakuya-collective-visionary-daughtering-tickets-29081078288

They wanted Assata Shakur to spend the rest of her life in jail.  And Assata herself didn’t see any way out.  Her daughter Kakuya was of a different opinion.  Barely more than a toddler, Kakuya expressed her outrage at her mother’s imprisonment and her belief in her mother’s power.  “You don’t have to stay in prison.  You just want to stay in here,” she screamed.  According to Assata Shakur in her autobiography, this was the determining factor in her decision to escape prison.   And Kakuya won.  Thanks to a coalition of brave freedom fighters Assata Shakur escaped prison and eventually moved to Cuba where she and Kakuya could be together.

How often do we think about the fact that one of the rare success stories of the Black Liberation Army or of the effective escape of a political prisoner is at it’s heart a story of black mother/daughter rage and love?  This webinar is for self-identified visionary daughters who are committed to the freedom of their mothers.  Sometimes the freedom we see for our mothers is beyond the freedom they have imagined for themselves.  Sometimes the freedom we seek in honor of our mothers is happening after our mothers have left this plane.  Sometimes the freedom we are asking of our mothers is in service of our own impossible freedom.

Sista Docta Lex has created an online session specifically for visionary daughters based on Assata’s description of her daughter’s anger and the first interview with Assata Shakur after reuniting with Kakuya in Cuba, which was published by Lex’s mentor and chosen Cheryll Greene in Essence Magazine.

This session is for anyone who identifies as a visionary daughter (regardless of gender or background) and will be a participatory space that will draw on our ability to support each other with the collective power of visonary daughters.

*Gratitude to artist, librarian, healer Ola Ronke for sharing this beautiful photo of Assata and Kakuya via social media.

 


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Dat Black Mermaid Man Lady Oracle Deck Reading!

I am so honored to offer this reading from Sharon Bridgforth’s dat Black Mermaid Man Lady oracle deck.  (And also it’s the first video of me reading from Spill!)  Thanks to Sharon for the opportunity and affirmation and thanks to Julia Roxanne Wallace/Sangodare for filming and editing so gracefully.  And thank you to Marvin K. White for nonstop inspiration, love and support!