This week’s emphasis on vision and purpose (see the Combahee Survival activity here: http://combaheesurvival.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/1-vision-and-purpose/) has me very inspired. After some crucial and helpful conversations with participants in the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind process and some wisdom from elders who are part of the MobileHomecoming Project (especially Barbara Smith, Imani Rashid, Nadya Lawson and Cessie Alfonso) I am excited to share a vision for Eternal Summer in 2011 that will celebrate and amplify the way that BLACK FEMINISM LIVES in our community as an intention and as a catalyst for us to honor our interdependence.
- Thanks Barbara!!! <3
As many of you already know, the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind happens locally and portably through in person gatherings in Durham, North Carolina, workshops around the countries and internet engagement around the world. Those levels of participation have been very symbiotic or helpful to each other. All the different people who have supported the project and interact with the educational materials in different ways have been spreading the good news (that BLACK FEMINISM LIVES!) fortifying their own revolutionary spirits, and creating inspiration in the different and overlapping communities that they love. The work that happens at the Inspiration Station in Durham gets uploaded as Inspiration to people elsewhere. Folks as far as Berlin make donations to receive publications and help pay the energy bill at the Inspiration Station. And this is only one energy cycle. More importantly everyone is participating in an energy field where we get more and more excited and inspired, more grassroots, low-overhead projects are popping off in Durham, queer Yoga, free healing clinics, community supported food justice sources and every day I am inspired by the initiatives that women of color are creating online (the Revolutionary Petunias Reading Group, the Crunk Feminist Collective, the Divine Survivors free online reiki clinic) and in person gatherings where folks draw on creative genius from within their communities and the communities they politically align with are sprouting up too as organizations like the Detroit Summer mural tour, the amazing Pachamama Skillshare and more sustainable beautiful spiritual, ritualized, intellectual and politicized initiatives to align our movements with the transformative messages of the universe. Eternal Summer is part of this energetic field and shift, all of this is interconnected and interdependent. We are benefiting from a shared ecology where inspiration, as a process, is circulating. I love it.
There have also been some lessons learned in terms of intentionality this past year that have clarified what it takes to continue abundantly participating in the flow. One major lesson was that while it is important to document and share the brilliance and inspiration that happens here in Durham with our wider community, and our local community who just didn’t have time to stop by….it does not work to facilitate the same curriculum simultaneously in person and online. There are major benefits to letting the very jazz influenced, improvisatory and spiritually transformative work we do in person inform the development of shareable curriculum. Doing it at the same time seems scattered and rushes both processes. So in the name of INTENTIONALITY and to support the continued interdependence between the local and planetary impact of Eternal Summer it has been important to be very PRESENT to the local programming and the amazing energy that people bring as a major life source that everyone benefits from more when there is less pressure to produce a “product” for wider consumption immediately. In other words the clarity is that keeping the in person project somewhat blurry is good! Look at these beautiful blurry people.
Similarly the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind ecology acknowledges that while Black Feminism centers the role of black women and black queer folks in transforming the world, the transformation that we are participating and the critiques and practices created in that process are necessary for all who would live holistically in a loving world. This is why the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind has and will continue to create spaces specifically inspired by and focused on the brilliance of black women and black queer people that are open as a space of study and worship for everyone who is ready to be inspired and transformed. I am especially excited about the merging of two favorite activities…the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist mind monthly potlucks and the Black Girls Rock series. In the first six months of the new year every monthly potluck will be a listening party and discussion about the brilliance of artists from Abbey Lincoln to Lauryn Hill. Also as a contination of the Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survival School there will be biweekly poetic activities specifically for survivors of child abuse and parents intending to break cycles of violence in their families. The work of Nadya Lawson with Holding Our Own an initiative that is intentionally 60 percent women of color and 60 percent queer reflects my vision for diverse participation in the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.
In addition to these ongoing programs that acknowledge the pricelessness of a Black Feminist approach for all people, there will be at least two programs that honor the intentionality and value of space that is more specifically and intentionally aligned. Based on the belief and the historical reality that spaces where black women and gender-defiant folks engage each other deeply and specifically open a space for radical healing and invite a powerful spirit of transformation into our communities. The historical example of the Black Feminist Retreats, which we learned more about last week from Barbara Smith and Cessie Alfonso and the contemporary brilliance of the Gumbo Yaya 12 week session on Sistering, Mothering and Daughtering here in Durham are more than proof of the value of intentional loving spaces for Black women as a gift for our whole communities. In that spirit I am excited to announce, far in advance Indigo Days a week of healing, building and visioning for black women (trans and cis) and genderqueer black healers to share their magic and affirm each other which will take place May 20-26th here in Durham. All of our diverse allies here in Durham are exuberantly invited to offer food, childcare and housing to make this event happen!
Another specific priority of Black feminism historically and need for our communities in the contemporary moment is space for diverse women and genderqueer people of color to build relationships with each other across shared oppression and important differences. This was the energy behind last year’s Love Harder session and is part of the reason that this January’s MotherOurselves Bootcamp (January 7-9), based on Audre Lorde’s theory of learning to mother ourselves by addressing internalized oppression as it impacts our own spiritual expression and our relationships to other oppressed people, will be specifically for women (trans and cis) and genderqueer people of color. Again we will need and want the support of our diverse community in making sure we can have accessible space, food, childcare and housing so that all the women and genderqueer people of color who want to participate will be able to feel fully supported to attend.
And of course you are ALWAYS ALWAYS welcome to donate towards these experiences being free and freedom-producing for everyone!
or become an Eternal Summerian by donating monthly!
I am so excited about the coming year and the ongoing ETERNAL energy of transformation that we get to participate in together in this little piece of the world we want to see.
Infinite love and inspiration,
p.s. so this is my clarified vision…what’s yours? Participate in the activity here: http://combaheesurvival.wordpress.com/2008/10/04/1-vision-and-purpose/