Kakuya Collective: A Visionary Daughtering Webinar

2 11 2016

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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.





My Name is My Own: Black Survivors Releasing and Reclaiming

31 08 2016

june-168Last night a trans-atlantic group of self-identified black woman, femme and/or gender-non conforming survivors gathered digitally for My Name is My Own, a resilience and renewal session.

Guided by June Jordan’s “Poem About My Rights,” we opened ourselves up to “all of it disclosed by the stars and the silence…”and invited the ancient wisdom of our ancestors and our own knowing into the space in celebration of the wise darkness of this phase of the moon.

We asked ourselves “what in the hell is everyone being so reasonable about?” and gave ourselves permission to be angry and honest about the impact of violence and even the ways that we are violent with ourselves when we force ourselves to be reasonable in unreasonable circumstances.  In preparation for the coming new moon we released our acceptance of the unacceptable…with breathing, with fire, with water, with flushed toilets.

We got specific about what Jordan calls our “simple daily and nightly self-determination” and celebrated the sacredness of our care practices, our joys, the rituals that hold us here, the soil that makes the world we deserve possible.  We reveled in the truth that despite everything we have filled our lives with love in infinite small and large ways.

And finally we reclaimed our names in a group poem to share with you!  I recommend reading and repeating this poem out loud. It feels amazing. If you have the opportunity to read this with a group of black women/femme/gnc survivors it will align your chakras, fix your computer and heal your soul.

*If you want a chance to gather together check out next week’s Brilliance Remastered online intensive Last is a Verb: Archiving After the End of the World or Nobody Mean More to Me Than You, the Brilliance Remastered Fall Retreat in Durham, NC in October.

*****************************

My Name is…My My My 

“my name is my own my own my own”

-June Jordan “Poem About My Rights”

my name is

creation

creation

creation.

my name is

an answered prayer

an answered prayer

an answered prayer

my name is

so sincere

so sincere

so sincere.

my name is

making space

making space

making space

my name is

here

here

here.

my name is

my choice

my choice

my choice.

my name is

my truth

my truth

my truth.

my name is

yes

yes

yes.

my name is

louder

louder

louder.

my name is

taking back power

taking back power

taking back power.

my name is

my yes to the spirit

my yes to the spirit

my yes to the spirit.

my name is

openhearted

openhearted

openhearted.

my name is

love

love

LOVE.

my name is

a hundred ways to kiss the ground

a hundred ways to kiss the ground

a hundred ways to kiss the ground

my name is

gratitude

gratitude

gratitude

my name is

the precious sound of their prayers

the precious sound of their prayers

the precious sound of their prayers

my name is

grasping at the root

grasping at the root

grasping at the root

my name is

forgiveness

forgiveness

forgiveness.

my name is

letting go

letting go

letting go.

my name is

all the gentleness that i’ve ever wanted

all the gentleness that i’ve ever wanted

all the gentleness that i’ve ever wanted

my name is

the red in the colorado twilight

the red in the colorado twilight

the red in the colorado twilight

my name

is a healing song

is a healing song

is a healing song

my name is

a dance of joy

a dance of joy

a dance of joy

my name is

the power of black feminism

the power of black feminism

the power of black feminism

my name is

Africa

Africa

Africa.

my name is

a word written in your heart

a word written in your heart

a word written in your heart

my name is

all of you

all of you

all of you.

my name is

come with me

come with me

come with me

my name is

all of us ever

all of us ever

all of forever.

my name is

the loudest high five

the loudest high five

the loudest high five.

my name is

got that right

got that right

got that right.

my name is

sho nuff

sho nuff

sho nuff.

my name is

say that

say that

say that.





Beyond and Across: Ancestor Accountable Poems

3 08 2016

Screen Shot 2016-07-13 at 11.24.24 AMLast week as everyone was reminded again of the urgency of our political, creative and intellectual work at this time, a group of us went underwater to hear the voices of our ancestors whose warnings, wisdom and ways are seeking to guide us in this moment.  Water holds sound and the love of our ancestors holds us as we make braver and braver decisions.  The Breathe Underwater: Baptismal Intensive was a sacred space of remembering and renewal.  We brought our ancestors into the space, embodied each other’s ancestors, dove deep into the ancestrally co-written works of M. Nourbese Philip, M. Jacqui Alexander and June Jordan, broke our contracts with slavery and internalized capitalism, cleansed ourselves with divine memory, listened to whales, coordinated our breathing, let words wash over us and laughed and raged and rose up renewed.

Below we are offering some poems that we created.  We were inspired by Kitsimba’s commitment (voiced across generations in Jacqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing) that “all life is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean” to create an invocation that articulates our connection AND we each wrote poems inspired by June Jordan’s Who Look at Me to prepositionally describe our ancestral relations.  Take a deep breathe and let these words hold you, like how water holds sound, like how our movement holds contradiction, like how our ancestors hold us and we hold each other.

P.S. If you want to learn about future online intensive or in-person Brilliance Remastered gatherings join the email list or the facebook group.

Join us on Thursday August 4th for a one night workshop on The Difference Between Poetry and Rhetoric: Responding to Police Violence.

Registration is also open right now for the Nobody Mean More to Me retreat in Durham on September 9-11.

pedagogies-picall

an invocation for and by the participants in the breathe underwater: baptismal intensive

(we recommend starting with three deep breaths and ending with seven)

“all life is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean.”

-Kitsimba in Pedagogies of Crossing by M. Jacqui Alexander

all light is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all love is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all memory is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all prayer is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all discernment is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all clarity is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all passion is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all singing is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all dance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all freedom is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all resistance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all abundance is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all playfulness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all silliness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all joy is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all power is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all sacred ritual is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all gratitude is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all compassion is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all forgiveness is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all rage is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all wonder is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all hope is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all transformation is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all wisdom is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all grace is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all elevation is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all rest is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all connection is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all breathing is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all dreaming is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all spirit is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all blessings to overcome are shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all that was, is and shall be is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

all of who we are is shared with those at the bottom of the ocean

Beyond and Across

by Njeri Damali Campbell

Who look at me?
Who speak to me?
Who laugh at me?
Who fight with me?
Right beside me?
Who stand above me?
Who rage with me?
Who cries on me?
Who move through me?
Who come for me?
Who be with me?
Who womanifest as me?
Who want for me?
Who travel across me?
Who remember for me?
Who remember as me?
Who exists in me?
Who persists as me?
Who endures despite me?
Who loves between me?
Who knows through me?
Who knows as me?
Who cannot without me?
Who wait beyond me?
Who speak through me?

*

by Beth Bruch

Who laugh with me

Who sustain with me

Who walk with me

Who dream through me

Who dream of me

Who remember in me

Who move through me

Who live in me

Who return to me

Who love through me

Who exist around me

Who work with me

Who sing through me

Who speak in me

Who dance around me

Who whisper to me

Who remember for me

Who create for me

Who run around me

Who receive from me

Who give to me

Who remind to me

Who help with me

Who challenge against me

Who slip from me

Who return to me

Who return to me

Who return to me

Who play with me

Who love in me

Who burn in me

Who yearn for me

Who are of me

*

by Natalie Clark

Who dreamed me into dreaming
Who held me in DNA
Who witness me now
Who unfold me yesterday
Who swims me
Who is me tomorrow
Who is me yesterday
Future ancestor.
My daughter
Who my daughter me…

*

by Sheena Sood

Who hold onto me?

Who guide over me?
Who cultivate across me?
Who be with me?
Who is around me?
Who is within me?
Who teach through me?
Who ground within me?
Who process through me?
Who belong in me?
Who laugh with me?
Who bestow upon me?
Who give beyond me?
Who come before me?
Who sit beside me?
Who endure inside me?
Who exist among me?
Who feel near me?
Who love beyond me?
Who forgive because of me?
Who heal through me?

*

by Laura Sullivan

you communicate through me
you extrapolate from me
you visualise beyond me
you create around me
you shine light into me
you grow roots underneath me
you love throughout me
you guide over me
you delight in me
you reassure despite me
you poke holes in shadows for me
you comprehend inside me
you manifest through me
you send ravens to me
to aunt Toni (Antoinette Blanche)
by Faith Holseart
Toni come to me
Toni don’t hide from me
Toni hear longing from me
Toni guide me
Toni help me
Toni guide me to how
Toni guide me to the heart
Toni meet me halfway
Toni trust me
Toni believe me

who lives within me

by ife kilmanjaro

who lives within me
revealing your lives in memories
in dreams
fights lost hopes deferred commitments
incomplete
it is for you they we that i am do
together we make up for things undone
way back then
and now
we live within we
together we work
to lift this ancestral shroud of
fears of sufferings of mistakes of violence
of …
our children deserve a chance to
be free of the consequences we
elevate the willing sequester the
unwilling
so souls can be free and
the living can live

who breathe with me

by alexis pauline gumbs

who breathe with me

who sing as me

who dance through me

who kiss upon me

who laugh around me

who bless over me

who love in me

who guide beside me

who open up between me

who designate exactly me

who fly through me

who hope inside me

who whisper into me

who rise under me

who radiate across me

who smile surrounding me

who protect by me

who teach above me

who love all of me





Heavy Swimmers- For Ebony Wilkerson

18 07 2016

“…some days we just cannot

we cannot live here

we cannot give our babies

to this world that eats our bones

like centuries of salt.”

-from Heavy Swimmers for Ebony Wilkerson who tried to drive herself and her children into the Atlantic Ocean, saying she was taking them all to a better place.

On the Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines episode of the Laura Flanders Show.





Nobody Mean More to Us: Every Time (Artists/Scholars/Teachers Responding to Police Violence)

15 07 2016

Screen shot 2014-10-31 at 8.38.15 PMLast night a hopeful, anxious, heavy, urgent, connected, inspired group of artists, writers, scholars and teachers gathered to collectively tap into the legacy of June Jordan and Audre Lorde as we respond to police violence in this moment.

We called in our folks, lifted up our communities of accountabilities, honored our feelings, learned about the specific ways that June Jordan and Audre Lorde were impacted by and worked to respond to police violence, looked at the complex ways we are connected to police violence and our communities of accountability, recommitted to and recontextualized our daily creative praxis, activated the Lorde Concordance Oracle, held each other in process, shared our fears, hopes and lessons and created poetry together.

Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 7.27.39 AMWe chose the letter b (for brave for #blacklivesmatter for the bold act of listening our intuition) and we were blessed and broken open by the Lorde Concordance offering from the poem “Power” that spoke so directly to our process in the moment.   We reached for ways to ground our actions and decision making in legacy, ancestral guidance and profound purpose instead of reaction, scarcity, ego and panic.  The poems below are in the tradition of June Jordan’s “Nobody Mean More to Me Than You and the Future Life of Willie Jordan” and her “Poem About Police Violence.”  We place them here in honor of the communities we love and towards the world we deserve.

P.S. If you are interested in going deeper into this process of drawing on ancestral depth for this time of urgent change check out our upcoming 3-day intensive Breathe Underwater: A Baptismal Intensive for Ancestor Accountable Artists, Activists and Intellectuals.   And if you are interested in applying the wisdom of June Jordan and Audre Lorde to your work of solidarity against police violence, in support of transnational liberation movements, as and with precarious intellectual workers in the adjunct movement, as students and faculty of color confronting anti-blackness in the Ivory Tower consider coming to the in-person Brilliance Remastered Retreat Nobody Mean More in Durham, NC this September.

Nobody Mean More to Us

a roll call poem by the participants in Nobody Mean More

Nobody mean more to me than black & brown folks, black queer folks, haitian folks, young folks.

Nobody mean more to me than Black mothers

Nobody mean more to me than elders and ancestors

Nobody mean more to me than brilliant black women

who refuse to give up or go unheard

Nobody mean more to me than black mothers and babies

birthing and living free

Nobody mean more to me than queer youth of color

breaking through to love

Nobody mean more to me than sick disabled injured queer trans brown black broke and healing friends

Nobody mean more to me than black elders

Nobody mean more to me than my invisibly disabled community

Nobody mean more to me than black and brown folks

not only surviving but thriving

Nobody mean more to me than crip queer poc

sick and surviving still

Nobody mean more to me than babies

bringing light and blackness

Nobody mean more to me than all of the students of color at our school

and all of their communities and loves

Nobody mean more to me than students

who refuse to belong

Nobody mean more to me than anyone

willing to learn

Nobody mean more to me than poor folks

hustling daily

Nobody mean more to me than crip brown & black youth

teaching us

Nobody mean more to me than young people

who bring energy and passion to their despair and confusion

Nobody mean more to me than all people of color

excluded from home yet still resist

Nobody mean more to me than Black diasporic GNC Queers

coming up from nothing and claiming a right to their ancestors and culture

Nobody mean more to me than Black disabled femme folks

who can’t get out of bed sometimes

Nobody mean more to me than God

the orisha, ancestors and the lukumi community

Nobody mean more to me than us

Black and Brown folks

who hold us close and set us straight

and remember us on the days and nights we might forget us

every time

by the participants in Nobody Mean More: Artists, Intellectuals, Educators Responding to Police Violence

“Tell me something

what you think would happen if

everytime they kill a black boy

then will kill a cop

everytime they kill a black man

then we kill a cop

you think the accident rate would lower

subsequently?”

-June Jordan, “Poem about Police Violence”

what if every time was the last

what if every time

we killed the part of us that did this

what if every time

the dead returned to reckon with us

what if every time

we outsmarted our fear

what if every time

every one else had to hold and feel the pain of the mother for one day

what if every time

we were believed

what if every time

whiteness choked on its own violence

what if every time

the sun went out

what if every time

the water turned to blood

and we couldn’t drink one drop without tasting it

what if every time

all of the tears shed were collected in a vessel

and transformed into the power to dismantle institutions

what if everytime had already happened

and this was a question for historians

what if every time

we rush the road with 10,000 beating hearts

running perpendicular to the Mississippi

what if every time

videos of black bodies being murdered

were not played on a loop

what if every time

the TRUTH was broadcast far and wide

and false media messages were laughed at and discarded

what if every time

we dislodged the cold stone in our throat so we could speak

what if every time we loved each other more

what if every time

we admitted how hopeless we actually are

what if every time

we chose to continue to have hope in spaces of collectivity

what if every time

we knew there would be justice.

what if every time

we were allowed to grieve without any shame

what if every time I asked for one day when I do not have to think about being Black

but just being human

I got a day

what if every time

we had a national day of mourning

what if everytime police sacrificed black life

white people just went out and sat all over every police car in the whole country so they couldn’t drive out get out of the car for a day a week

what if every time

the “good” police officers

stood up en masse denouncing their colleagues

what if every time the police murder someone

a week’s pay of every police employee is withheld

what if every time

a politician chosen at random lost their position

what if every time a black body is shattered

a thousand more were loved into existence

bathed in joy, shown the power of our own wings

what if every time

we were allowed to feel Black Joy

what if every time

we could feel free to stop proving our right to exist

and get to the business of feeling the joy our existence

what if every time

we intentionally breathed into our bellies

what if every time we were afraid

we danced

what if every time

we allowed ourselves the space to cry outside

what if everytime

we put a bowl of water under the bed and ask our ancestors to dream us a way

what if every time

we were raptured away to a new dimension

to start again

what if every time

no one had electricity

and our news was our talk between stoops

what if every time

we read all day aloud while standing on corners

what if every time

we lost the language

and had to make a new one from scratch

what if every time

we would communicate without words

but make sounds from deep down

what if every time they kill black folk

everyone lays down in a grave

everyone

and rises up with dirt to do

what if every time

we planted a garden

what if every time we must create hashtags

we open the borders for ten days and allow 1000 refugees places to stay

what if every time

we gave a scholarship to a student of color

what if every time

we put a love poem into the pocket of every black child we know

what if every time

we made space to be gentle to each other

what if every time

we stole our days back

what if every time

we took a broomstick to the stained glass

what if every time

we centered in our dignity

what if every time

we allowed ourselves to be

what if every time

we remember how resilient we are

what if every time

we dreamed

we created new worlds with new possibilities

what if every time we hurt

we gain direct access to healing ancestors

with remedies to soothe our pain

what if this time

police were disarmed

and trained as midwives and doulas

and the midwives and doulas

became the keepers of safety

you think the “accident” rate would lower

subsequently?





i love my own: blessings and affirmations from the free enterprise writers

14 07 2016
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Sitting by the river. Photo by Dannette Sharpley

For the past three days I have had the healing, transforming, invigorating honor of facilitating 9 black and brown femmes (including myself) in a love-filled intensive inspired by our recent ancestor Michelle Cliff and her magical realist historical novel Free Enterprise.   We drew on the militant legacies of Mary Ellen Pleasant and other participants in a plotting to arm enslaved people and create a free black state to clarify our relationships to our own writing lives in these urgent times.   We spun and unraveled the stories of our names, created aliases to live into, cultivated our relationships to necessary refusal, found our concealed weapons,  made bottle tree monuments to our memory and healing and gave ourselves permission to love the communities of accountability, visions of freedom, daily practices and physical tools that make our freedom-seeking and freedom-producing creative lives possible.   The following is one arrangement of our closing blessing and affirmation of the deep love that fuels our work.   I encourage you to repeat the refrain “I love my own,” aloud as you read the poem.

P.S.  If you want to sign up for our next intensive, Breathe Underwater: A Baptismal Intensive for Ancestor Accountable Artists, Activists and Intellectuals click the link for more info.

i love my own

“I don’t hate you and yours.  I love my own.” -attributed to Mary Ellen Pleasant by Michelle Cliff in Free Enterprise: Novel

(by the participants in Free Enterprise: Towards a Sustainable, Autonomous, Accountable Writing Life)

i drink water

i love my own

i listen to whales

i love my own

walking up early to be with the beautiful thoughts that arise with me from dreams

i love my own

visiting ancestors while dreaming

i love my own

remembering my dreams

i love my own

i love my own

bed

all the fabrics

i love my own

watercolor paints

i love my own

things to collage other things with

i love my own

feathers and stones

i love my own

rose quartz, black onyx, lapis

i love my own

sewing machine and old clothes

i love my own

bodily integrity

i love my own

freedom of form

i love my own

reciprocal relations to earth

i love my own

refuse scarcity

i love my own

define accountability

i love my own

Abolition now!

i love my own

sun and moon blessings

i love my own

clean water free healthcare

i love my own

writing while Black

i love my own

beautiful brilliant black

i love my own

concealed weapons

i love my own

making magic

i love my own

we have the tools

i love my own

ancestry

i love my own

abundance

i love my own.

poetry

i love my own

saying what i mean

i love my own

saying i love you

i love my own

what can we do together today

i love my own

what would the Ancestors say

i love my own

the ancestors who mean our freedom

i love my own

space and time to grow food

i love my own

my time in the sunshine with you

i love my own

staying free

i love my own

ancestors, blood and chosen

i love my own

my mentor and teacher

i love my own

my mothers (all of them)

i love my own

black women regardless

i love my own

if she hears you, does she feel your words?

i love my own

poet homies

i love my own

black girls in white spaces

i love my own

children who need to learn their histories

i love my own

youth organizers

i love my own

black and brown femme artist theorists who are unafraid

i love my own

a movement that came from deep within me

i love my own

living with our spiritual gifts in the open, without fear or shame

i love my own

do you want to know the meaning of your name?

i love my own

Swahili names!

i love my own

The African Diaspora

i love my own

choosing to uproot

i love my own

our selves always in relation to others

i love my own

always with intention and integrity

i love my own

we have everything we need to be FREE

i love my own

no police to make me anxious

i love my own

kissing my daughter without fear that it will be the last time

i love my own

black babies, safe here and there, always

i love my own

spirit and goddess manifested in the vulnerable and oppressed of the world

i love my own

sun kissed/ never burnt/ moon held/ always revealed/ glowing expanded lives and spirits/

i love my own

dancing warm bodies alive

i love my own

sing, dance and love our entire, beautiful and difficult selves into fiery existence

i love my own

capacity, agency, space, and discipline to create media and art for the revolution

i love my own

freedom is where each of us gets to be our full selves, always and all ways

i love my own

i love and care for for Earth, my universe home

i love my own

being held and nourished by my own

i love my own

laugh with a cousin every day

i love my own

black music for any mood

i love my own

i love us

i love my own





Breathe Underwater: A Baptismal Intensive for Ancestor Accountable Artists, Activists and Scholars

13 07 2016

pedagogies-picBreathe Underwater: A Baptismal Intensive for Ancestor Accountable Artists, Activists and Scholars  July 25, 26, 27  3pm to 5:30pm Eastern.

There is so much to react to in this moment.  The media and the ongoing triggering reality of intersecting oppressions has us frantic.  We have to do something.  We feel we aren’t doing enough.  Haven’t we been doing this forever? Why isn’t this over yet?

Breathe Underwater is designed to wash us clean, reset our clarity, renew us for the long-term.  Recognizing the unsustainability of reaction-mode alongside the urgent need for meaningful action in this moment, we call on the ocean as the oldest place we know and as a repository of resistance, memory and rebirth.

This online intensive uses a curriculum informed by June Jordan’s Who Look at Me, Jaqui Alexander’s Pedagogies of Crossing and M. Nourbese Philip’s Zong along with guided meditations, writing exercises and facilitated conversation to immerse participants in the peace, urgency and depth of ancestral accountability.  Building on the work of the Guardian Dead Retreat, this online experience will provide tangible ways to root your action steps, creative decisions and intellectual offerings in a profound connection to legacy and power.

Hold your spot with your $50 deposit here:  

registration for the whole intensive is sliding scale $175-300.  (Installment payments available upon request.) Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com and let me know your goals for the course by July 23rd.