Category: The New Mythos Tour


Peace everyone.

I am just returning from Detroit and the fabulous workshops that I had the pleasure of organizing and participating in.  I have SO much to share with folks and am trying to take some time to write everything up.  One thing I’m really excited about is this video that was made as a collaborative media making project, informed by The New Mythos Tour, To tell you the Truth work,  the M/others, Mamaz y Community Caregivers Unite Through Truth-telling (AMC 2010) and the Revolutionary M/others session (USSF 2010) this project is a work in progress, an articulation of what mamaz bring to the table and a reminder of some of what we need to manifest the intergenerational, justice-filled, self-determined movements we envision and are manifesting!

Check it out y’all! And stay tuned for more updates about Detroit and next steps! ❤

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(you can click on each of the  photos below to see larger images. check them out if you get a chance.  i’ll be posting a video soon.)

El Paso was hard for me. I drove the “border highway” with my host Rachel and we talked about what it means to live life on the the border. For me, my border identity has been composed of my own mestisaje/mayan/queer/femme/immigrant/norteamericana/adopted/transracial/transnational/welfaremama/academic selves. And yet, with all those borders in mind, I have never had the experience of literally, physically, living on the border. Rachel had. She shared with me some of her experience of being a teen in El Paso. How the undocumented workers, who moved back and forth over the border for so many years, impacted her communities economy and how her community relied on their work. She shared with me the direct impact that NAFTA had on her community and on the 10 % of its citizens, an estimated 30,000(mostly single mama head of households), that almost immediately lost their garment industry jobs, when it was put into place in 1994. Take a look at this interesting article about some of NAFTA’\s effects.

During our drive we talked about the newly constructed/upgraded wall that ran the course of the border now. We talked about how the militarization of the border was part of border life and about how many families were impacted by the increasing barriers & attacks on immigrants.

As an immigrant kid, a transnational/transracial adoptee who spent 8 years in my homeland Guatemala before moving to the U.S., my adoptive family and I would travel across the Mexico border frequently, with, as you can imagine, not so much difficulty. It hurt my heart to see the new 100/150 ft. fences up and know that communities who relied on being able to cross, and who had been giving their labor to the U.S. for so long now, were facing the new obstacles of trying to find adequate housing, employment and other necessities because of these walls. Their labor expendable and their identities exploitable, we have waged war on individuals instead of the systems and corporations that continue to dehumanize entire communities. Only now, we call it a war on terrorism and justify this as a means to keep us/US safe, when for years we relied on this form of labor and, honestly, we still do.

The idea of “living on the border” got real, real for me on this visit.  As I mentioned, I have my own internalized and lived experience of what it means to me to live on the border, my identity split between a home I haven’t returned to, a language I can only speak brokenly, a family and people’s I only vaguely remember and the constant reminder of what “other” feels like in the home-away-from-home that I currently live in. But, in reality, I DO NOT live on the actual border US/Mexico border and so I don’t have to witness the real, literal, material, man-made border-walls that separate communities, families, individuals and cultures every day.  It made me ill to see these man made structures, meant to enforce fictionalized realities of what/ who belongs where.  These walls are the same walls that are used to rationalize hate-legislation like Arizona’s new SB1070 and are man made walls that prevent first nation and indigenous people’s from being able to travel the lands that our people knew far before other groups of “immigrants” lay “ownership” over them.

Despite my emotional reaction to the borders, Rachel was an amazing host.  We discussed how important Gloria Anzaldua’s work was to us both, giving language to our experiences as border dwellers, in our own varying ways.

We visited La Mujer Obrera/Mercado Mayapan, an amazing space.  Here’s a description from their website: Mercado Mayapán is a unique community-operated festival marketplace and community empowerment center. This beautifully renovated 40,000 square foot warehouse in South-Central El Paso houses a wide range of businesses and community services, and serves as a cultural center and events venue for the neighborhood and all of El Paso.

I was completely floored by how beautiful the space was, by the Chicano Power Exhibit they had up and the Museo Mayachen. All of these were inspiring reminders of how important our histories are. How beautiful it is to build resistance through remembering! In these cases, these archives (and the entire space itself) spoke to the resistance of migrants workers, chicanos and the hispanic/latino community of El Paso. How diverse and powerful this community has been!

Since, as many of you know, I have been traveling and asking what a radical platform/ agenda looks like, I felt inspired by these histories/archives to begin to explore what (and possibly archive) what  intersectional radical his/herstories  look like. What can we remember about our collective pasts? How can we build stronger, healthier and more encompassing radical movements based on what we’ve experienced? How can we heal from some of the hurts that we’ve experienced as radical peoples? AND, how do we talk about the ways we’ve hurt ourselves… even alienating folks from stringent, single-issued radical movements?

SOOO many questions. I want to hear what y’all have to say about these questions: Please send me comments here or emails to truthandhealingproject@gmail.com.

Lastly, but by far not leastly, I wanted to share some of the work that Rachel has been working on in Austin (where she had been living for the last 8 or so years). In addition to doing work as a media activist Rachel was one of the members of La Semilla Childcare Collective, which provides free childcare to support radical mamaz and community caretakers. La Semilla Childcare Collective began in November of 2008, and was born from the need for childcare that Mamas of Color Rising expressed to the radical community. La Semilla is Austin’s only childcare collective provide childcare solidarity for radical community members of color.

While having created a close family with Mamas of Color, they are now providing childcare solidarity for other groups in Austin including Austin Immigrant Rights Coalition and Worker’s Defense Project. They are currently planning on attending USSF/AMC this summer and currently connecting and organizing nationally with other childcare collectives! They are really grounding their work in anti-oppression methodology and thinking about how to create a movement that includes children as important members! For more info you can contact them at:

childcareatx@riseup.net

here’s a real quick video for your viewing enjoyment! looking forward to sharing more about this visit with you soon!

Black feminism IS alive in Durham.  I was so blessed to have Durham be my second official stop! Check out the video below of Doctor Alexis Pauline Gumbs as she takes me on a tour of the Pauli Murray murals (she sits on the board of The Pauli Murray Project)  and talks to me a little about the economic history of Durham.  I learned so much from her and was totally excited about the ways that Durham community members have been working to support each other through creating community livingroom learning spaces, supporting intergenerational community fortifyingphamily practices and figuring out ways to really, tangibly support each other by fundraising and investing  in local alternative economies.  On one of the Pauli Murray murals someone wrote “Can you be part of my community if  I’ve never met you? I hope so”.  I guess that sorta sums up how I feel about Durham. It’s such a sweet phenomenal community that I am so inspired by, even tho, I still have SO many people to meet there and so many stories to hear.

In addition to all of that, Lex was an awesome host and really reminded me of how wonderful it is to invest in a relationship with our ancestors and commit ourselves to really, deeply listening to their guidance. We have such wonderful resources available to us through the voices of the powerful, wise, beautiful and visionary elders that have come before us.   We also talked about what it takes to build community; the trust and values that you need to commit yourself to and everyday ways that we can really, solidly support ourselves by building structures for accountability into our lives, phamilies, communities and other practices.  You can check out some of lex’s work at brokenbeautiful press.

Are you in or around Durham?  Lex and her phenomenal radical mamaz and community caregivers will be hosting a dialogue session in April! Hit me up here if you want to participate or for more info, I’m looking forward to learning more from you ❤

I make a quick stop to visit China Martens in Baltimore.   China wrote some of the first mamazines that I ever read, (and recently released The Future Generation– a compilation through Microcosm Publishers), so, needless to say,  this visit meant a lot to me.  In true fiercemamafashion China welcomed me into her home and showered me with love and solidarity. She really WANTED to support me and was eager to talk about what it means to support mamaz and to build stronger selves.  She shared her thoughts about who inspired and supported her and  we talked about what it means to dedicate yourself to movement building that includes caring for yourself.  She is currently committing herself to working on a local level within her community and, to this effect,  she  is involved with birthing radical methods for community caretaking, through contributing to creating a collective for radical childcare.   From their blog;

“We are dedicated to advocating for parents and children in the radical community. Too often, we find that parents and children are driven out of radical spaces, because they’re “loud,” because they’re “annoying,” and because people “just hate kids.” We say, “SCREW THAT!” In a world based on anarchist principles of mutual aid, sharing, caring and support, no one should be pushed out because they have children, especially because it is parents (and often mothers) who are in need of support by the community.”
In the few short hours I spent in Baltimore, we talked about Baltimore, poverty and ways that poverty-related issues impact all members of its community.  We talked about ways that mamaz have always been such huge contributors to radical movements and have frequently been overlooked or had their needs ignored.  We talked about working from a place of vision instead of reaction and we talked about the capacity that mamaz have to be such strong movement builders because they have to act and hold space for vision in their own lives so often.  I was SO inspired by the ways that China, and her community, had chosen to address root issues of poverty and inequity within their community by building radical solidarity and forming a solution that took into consideration the needs of all members of its community in through its agenda.  I also loved that so much of this work is grounded in creativity and intentional inter-generational exchange!  I’m excited to return and learn more about their work and lives.

So, go head Baltimore, you rock! Are you committed to radical lives in Baltimore or the surrounding areas? I’d love to learn more from you too. There will be an upcoming dialogue hosted by China Martens during April.  Please contact us here if you’d like to be involved!