Announcing Juneteenth Freedom Academy for EDUCATORS

23 06 2011

Juneteenth Freedom Academy Summer Intensive for Educators: 

Rituals for Transformative Presence

August 8-12, 2011

Durham, NC

because you were that genius kid in the back of the room looking out the window.  because you were that young Malcolm X that the teacher wasn’t ready for. because you were that Charlotte Hawkins Brown making your own school in yards and parlors. because you have always known that where ever you are learning is possible.  because you don’t remember much of 10th grade biology except that the teacher seemed to really listen to really make it accessible even when you didn’t care.  because there was something that happened in the classroom that made you want to come back and fix it, come back and honor it, come back and create a classroom of your own.  because you are here for the kids, not for the standards and obviously not for the money.  because you remember every day that people’s movement in the US and in the world have been led by students. because you know that the place where nerds meet gang members is the place where the Black Panther Party was born, and that meeting could be reconvened in any classroom any day now.   because it’s still about that moment when you learn something new and the students realize that they are teachers already, and leaders and a force in the universe that cannot be stopped.

Because your presence is a catalyst, because your students are a prophecy.  Because June Jordan said it best… “we are the ones we’ve been waiting for.”

The Premise:

Every social justice artist and genius and their brilliant mama is publishing a curriculum, hoping to reach the students you work with, without ever seeing their faces.  And sometimes the content is brilliant.  But most educational institutions, including public schools, after school programs, independent schools, community colleges and four-year colleges and graduate programs already have their own mandatory or chosen content.  So…

This course acknowledges what has the most influence on students while they are in the classroom, the people who are there, the educators and each other and the energy we are all empowered to bring into the space.

This course offers:

*Silence (templates for self-generated, updateable affirmations and reminders designed to get you ready to be powerfully present and spiritually grounded before you enter the classroom)

*Sound (ways to fine tune and amplify your level of listening and responding to/being present for your particular students)

*Space (a process for designing guidelines and rituals that allow students to be present to EACH OTHER and the wisdom that surrounds them)

*Support (co-mentoring relationships and networking with other transformative teachers)

The Paradigm:

Juneteenth Freedom Academy is created in honor of the black feminist educator, poet, parent and political activist June Jordan.  We invoke her work as part of our task in continuing to spread the scattered message that slavery is over, in particular to those systems that continue to sell life and kill dreams.   We believe that teaching in oppressed communities with accountability to oppressed people can be a subversive act that is ultimately accountable to freedom, not the reproduction of conformity as usual across generations.  June Jordan taught in public libraries and schools, in independent underfunded Saturday supplemental programs, in state university classrooms, at Yale, in prisons, in community centers, in children’s books, in lectures and in living rooms.    The Juneteenth Freedom Academy for Educators draws on Alexis’s privileged access to June Jordan’s archival materials to use her syllabi, unpublished essays, course readers and student publications as resources for freedom in our lifetimes.

My brilliant and beloved co-conspirator and teaching partner Gardy Perard speaks with the clarity and precision of a mathematician.  He says that the primary question for educators is how to bring freedom, possibility, power and connection into every teaching context.   Together with Nia Wilson, Nikki Brown, Heather Lee and Zachari Curtis as co-facilitators of the Choosing Sides Program, a SpiritHouse program based in an alternative school in Durham serving students who were long-term suspended or expelled from Durham Public Schools, often for activities related to their involvement in street organizations, we created a student centered atmosphere of transformation and learning based on our internalized memory that the place where academics meet criminalized street organizers is a place of unstoppable power, is the generative collaboration that made the Black Panther one of the fiercest, most effective and most revolutionary organizations we know about.

Our accountability to the particularity and genius of the students that we worked with over the years pushed us to create practices to honor the truth that transformative education is not about transforming students.  It is about being present for their inherent brilliance and assisting them in transforming their and our relationships to oppressive institutions.   This is sacred work.  Because most of our teaching takes place in places impacted by oppressive systems, and because we and any student we might encounter are impacted by oppressive institutions the work of creating liberatory space takes rituals and practices before, during and after the classroom encounter that generate the transformative energy of staying present to each other’s brilliance no matter what.

Supportive Course Components:

*weeklong summer institute in Durham, NC to work with templates, practices and to engage readings from June Jordan, the Black Panther Party, and Alexis Pauline Gumbs!  (August 8-12)

*full color PDF workbook with posters, pocket reminders and accessories

*first month back interactive and motivating conference calls (August 25-September 25)

*video seminar to share with colleages

*quarterly optional online-enabled participant hosted gatherings

*the presence podcast and reminder PSA’s from Alexis

Sign Up:

1.  email  BY JULY 20th  with your intention to participate and responses to these 3 questions

a. what is the community of students you are accountable to/working with

b. what do you hope to gain from this course

c. what is every possible way to contact you 🙂

d. how you will support the course

2.  Support the course!!!

Support the Course!!!

Your presence is priceless.  No one will be turned away from the course for financial reasons.  HOWEVER support for the course is crucial.  Here are suggested ways to support your participation and to keep transformative autonomous spaces like this thriving:

*Please ask your school, organization, institution, employer, community to support your participation in this priceless experience. The institutional sponsor rate is sliding scale $200-500 depending on your assessment of what your institution can afford.

*Another option is to support the course individually in relatively affordable installments.  Become a sustainer of the Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind at a level you feel comfortable with:

*Mobilize your community!  Take the opportunity to share the awesome thing you are doing with your mentors, friends, loved ones and allies and allow them to donate in your name.  Send them this button and remind them to put your name in “notes” so that I can tell you to thank them!

*And offer a trade!  Want to bring other resources to the event? (Food, materials, healing practices, resources I haven’t imagined?)  Make a proposal.

See you there!!!!!


Alexis Pauline Gumbs

Indigo Days Podcast: Sacred Black Feminist Blues

18 06 2011

Greetings loved ones,

Indigo Days  a transformative gathering of warrior healers came to close this past Thursday.  But the impact of warrior healers is ETERNAL so of course the impact of Indigo…Ntozake Shange’s visionary creation and of the work of black warrior healers does not end.   For all of you who attended Indigo Days and blessed the space with your transformative love, and all those who wished they could have been there in body as well as spirit and all those who supported with food, transportation, space, donations and materials this brilliant podcast…created by the resident blues scholars and DJ of the Quirky Black Girls Movement is for YOU!!!!


Direct Link:

P.S. If you’d like to be part of the Indigo Days Conversation…post your brilliance here:

If you’d like to support the ongoing sacred work of eternal summer of the black feminist mind (including the Indigo Night School coming this Fall!!!) donate one time here:

or on a monthly basis at a rate that makes sense to you!


This Sunday! Green For Sechita: Sex Work and Solidarity (Rainbow Reclamations Durham Continues)

18 06 2011

GREEN: For Sechita.  Sex Work and Solidarity
Sunday, June 19 · 5:00pm – 8:00pm
at the Inspiration Station (email for details)

By popular demand and with infinite love WE CONTINUE a seven month process called Rainbowed Reclamation, a colorful women of color juicy poetry and food-filled space of sacred discussions that reclaim our bodies, collectivize our spiritual energy and the brilliant choreopoem For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide When the Rainbow is Enuf.

These monthly discussion/rituals are love in practice towards creating a spiritually …aligned, intimately interconnected, queer affirming and self loving community of women of color and genderqueer people of color ready to support each other in transforming the world.

This month’s activity is specifically about visible solidarity as and with sex workers of color. We will be having a ritual and making a banner of belief to place at the site of the Duke Lacrosse House.

*****Please wear GREEN and bring some food to share if you can and some objects to embed in our beautiful banner!!!*******

Childcare will be provided!

If you are a woman of color and/or a genderqueer person of color anywhere near Durham…COME! If you are a woman of color and/or a genderqueer person of color anywhere in the world email to find out how to host your own event and send folks in North Carolina to us!!! If you are an ally spread the word and please send this to people who need this space!!!!

Indigo Days Begins!!!!

8 06 2011

Black warrior healers unite and be reborn! The world will never be the same.

Non-financial and financial contributions welcome!


Thursday June 9th

10am BREAKFAST (the Eleanor at Rigsbee)

10:30-1pm The P-Word and Other Fragile Promises: Movement and Poetics with Aya Hope (the Eleanor at Risgbee)


3-5pm Open Healing Sessions and Stations (Eleanor at Rigsbee)

5:30pm DINNER

6pm Bright: On Clarity and Power Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survivor Writing Workshop (the Eleanor at Rigsbee)

(more info about the ShapeShifter Survivor series here:


Friday June 10th


8am Waking Up-Cultivating breath, awareness, and embodiment -Yoga with Michelle Johnson (Inspiration Station)

10am Assata graduates from Elementary School!!! (Chorus of praise at E.K. Powe Elementary School Graduation)

LUNCH (discussion topic: rituals and rites of passage)

1pm -3pm Energy Healing Workshop with CC (Inspiration Station)

3pm Journal Making with designer Mariel Eaves (the Eleanor at Rigsbee)

5pm-7pm graduation celebration for our young Indigos Assata and Naeemah!!!!!


8pm The Power of Saying No!: A Playlist and Dance Party of Release: Afterparty curated by Moya Bailey (location TBA)


Saturday June 11th

BREAKFAST (discussion topic: birth and rebirth: beyond control)

10am Black Women Birthing Resistance Workshop on Indigo and Cotton Root Contraceptive Legacies with Tamika Middleton (Inspiration Station)

LUNCH (discussion topic: fight and flight: re-envisioning survival)

1pm “Embodying Sanctuary: Creating, Holding and Facilitating Sacred Space” with L’erin Asantewa

3pm Wata’ Rituals Body Ecology Performance and Workshop (Grace Garden at Durham Central Park)

DINNER (discussion topic: Do You Really Want to Be Well?)

7pm Afro-Surrealist Dark Delicious Divinatory Writing Workshop with Almah Lavon Rice

9pm Optional field trip to Greensboro for Laila Nur’s EP release party!!!


Sunday June 12th

BREAKFAST (discussion prompt: audre lorde and dream journals)

10: 30 am Activate Your Dreams: Creative Movement/Dance Session with Binahkaye Joy aka Joyism! (Inspiration Station)

12pm –I Know I’ve Been Changed: Queer Black Sunday School with Julia Wallace (Inspiration Station)


2pm Blues Porch Concert with Laila Nur and Kim Arrington (Inspiration Station)

DINNER (Sunday Dinner…Lex’s B-day community potluck!) (Inspiration Station)

7pm Blues Bible Study: Sacred and Secular Healing Podcast with Leah Burke (Inspiration Station)


Monday June 13th

10 am Yoga with Michele Berger


1pm “Feeling-up Your Emotional Body”– Learning the Sounds and Organs of Emotion with Valencia Wombone

4pm Marvelous Menstruating Moments Workshop with Mya Hunter-SpiritHouse Youth Coordinator (for kids and young people getting ready to menstruate) (Inspiration Station)

DINNER at the Summit Farm!!!!

6pm Collaging as a Healing Practice with Rashida James-Saadiya (location TBA)


Tuesday June 14th


River Walk at Eno River Park

5-8pm Lavender Legacies Workshop: Remembering Herbal Remedies (with Kifu Faruq and Afiya Carter)


Wednesday June 15th


(full moon) 1pm Butterflies and Bliss with Racheal Derello (North Carolina Museum of Life and Science)

6pm Natural Hair Playdate with Chanel Laguna (Lex’s Awesome New Neighbor!!!!) (at the Inspiration Station)

DINNER in Hillsborough and Indigo Seed Starting!


Thursday June 16th



Trip to North Carolina Botanical Gardens (Wild Spiked Indigo is their wildflower of the year!!!!)


6pm Gentle: On Cultivating Self Love: Lucille Clifton ShapeShifter Survivor Session