30 04 2007

Community Writing Intensive
Durham, NC
May 8-10, 2007

Dear Lovers of the Word,
You are cordially invited to write and discuss poetry in and with the Durham community. You will be surrounded by people who love poetry and believe in its transformative power. Here’s what you can expect:

Daily Schedule
1:00 ~ 3:00 Silent Writing/ Manuscript Conferences
3:00 ~ 4:00 Late Lunch/ Early Dinner
4:15 ~ 5:15 Community Sharing/ Open Mic
5:30 ~ 6:30 Poetry Exercises
6:30 ~ 8:30 Workshop/ Critique
8:30 ~ 9:00 Wrap – Up

This year betty’s daughter arts collaborative, broken beautiful press, and SpiritHouse-NC have graciously decided to sponsor Poetry By the People, so you don’t have to. There is no charge for attendance, just come with poems, an open heart, and a love for community art.

For poets who are not in the Durham-Raleigh-Chapel-Hill area, two very modest travel scholarships are available.
1. The Betty Ann Sims, Ed.D. Artist/Scholar Travel Scholarship is available to any poet who can demonstrate how expressive art will impact future or current scholarly projects.

2. The Talya Pierce Travel Scholarship for Emerging Poets is awarded to a woman of color who is beginning to explore the field of poetry. The recipient of this award must not hold any publications or academic degrees in creative writing.

Please submit a five-page manuscript, a cover letter that explains the role of poetry in creating community, and your contact information to inthepeopleshands@gmail.com by May 6.

Contact Person
Ebony Noelle Golden, MFA
Director of betty’s daughter arts collaborative

Birth of an UBUNTU blog…

30 04 2007

With all the pride and joy that accompany moments of new birth I am pleased to announce the newest member of our UBUNTU blogging family ~ and her name is Love!

Loveispower created hay que luchar – the home for radical love – today. She is a:

lover, fighter, and friend who believes that self-love and compassion for every person on this planet are both necessary and possible.

Welcome! Because as Lex said:

when you speak
we listen.
we are so glad that you
are here, of all places.


Loveispower’s beautiful beginnings:

i begin today.

    a survivor a womyn a lover of laughter i take my time
    to say
    now now now now now now now now now
    waiting takes too long
    and i’m done
    i say “NOW”
    let’s speak NOW
    let’s dance NOW
    let’s say i want it or i don’t want it or i want it like this NOW
    let’s say i’m true, i’m searching, i’m knowing, i’m questioning NOW
    let’s say i’m precious
    let’s say i’m right
    let’s say i’m forgiven
    let’s say i’m r/evolution
    let’s say i’m beautiful
    let’s say i’m what the universe needs
    let’s say it loud soft with voices and hands and feet and eyes and hearts
    let’s say love forever starts with me
    and let us say these things now.

    yesterday i participated in the national day of truthtelling here in my adopted home of durham, nc. through the streets we marched, watching faces of folks on the sidewalks, peering out of doorways and in cars in the adjacent lane. they smiled, they strained to read, spoke on cell phones and gave peace signs as we passed. we marched on like the world we envision free of sexual violence had already come, we marched with the faith that it would. we clapped hands, chanted our demands: end rape culture…si, se puede! and our truths: i am that survivor. we marched with love for our bodies, with appreciation for this moment, with a newfound value for our selves and our power.

    as we passed the house where a womyn was gang raped last year, a womyn whose case was dismissed from the criminal “justice” system like almost all of the cases of survivors i know who have reported their sexual assualt or rape, i felt layers lift from my self like you would peel layers from an onion. i felt new, listening to my sister’s and my brother’s pain, audible cries that broke the silence and traveled to the corners of our hearts.

    by the time we reached the w.d. hill center on fayetteville street and i sat down with my rice and lentils to watch the capoeira performance i felt that even the way i ate my food was different. the day reminded me that i could move my body however i wanted because it was mine. take up space. swing my hips for peace. raise my arms for truth. eat with my fingers for connection. all up to me. ya see? every moment is this moment. life eternal requires such urgency, such desire to push right now for what you want forever to be.

    i give this fight my whole life.
    for this fight has given me life.


    Take a moment to go celebrate her arrival!

    Article on the Day of Truthtelling – From the News & Observer:

    30 04 2007

    “March, Rally to Fight Rape”

    http://www.newsobserver.com/102/story/569053.html Sue Stock, Staff Writer

    DURHAM – In the city where sexual assault charges against three Duke lacrosse players became a national sensation, protesters gathered Saturday to decry sexual violence. The event, called the National Day of Truthtelling, drew people from the Triangle and beyond for a march, rally and afternoon of educational programs.

    Organizers were quick to say that the event was not a response to this month’s dismissal of charges against the three lacrosse players. But the case provided an undercurrent for the event, which included a stop at the home where an escort service dancer who was later discredited reported being gang-raped during a team party.”We can take the energy around this case and we can heighten the silence around sexual violence, or we can push to break that silence,” said Emily Chavez, a member of Ubuntu, one of the nine groups that pulled the event together. Ubuntu is led by women of color, most of whom have been victims of sexual violence.

    The marchers began at E.K. Powe Elementary School on Ninth Street and wound their way through the streets, led by a percussion group. Participants carried bright signs and banners with slogans, including “We still believe survivors” and “End rape culture.”Others carried orange, yellow and green signs bearing African symbols from the Ivory Coast that represent the ideas of perseverance, strength and learning from one’s past.

    Brunch patrons outside Elmo’s Diner on Ninth Street came to the curb to see what the commotion was about. Volunteer Manju Rajendran ran back and forth across the street handing out fliers explaining the march to onlookers and stopped drivers. “We just heard the noise,” Carrboro resident Jeanne Bishop said. “It’s wonderful. They made a statement today, sure did.”

    About halfway through the march, the procession paused in front of 610 N. Buchanan Blvd. — the house where the lacrosse team held its party and in which [Our Sister Survivor] ******* reported being raped.Durham resident and Duke doctoral student Alexis Pauline Gumbs read an open letter called “Wishful Thinking” addressed to the university’s black women. In it, Gumbs spoke of the pain shared by sexual violence victims, along with some specifics of the Duke case. “No camera waits to amplify your pain,” she said. “There is no law anywhere that depends on your silence.”

    From Buchanan Boulevard, the march proceeded to the Durham County Courthouse for the rally. Serena Sebring, also of Ubuntu, asked audience members to raise their hands if they or someone they love had been a victim of sexual violence. Nearly everyone in the audience did. “Look around you,” she said. “This is the reality. This is who sexual violence affects. This is why we must speak.”

    From the courthouse, the group marched to the W.D. Hill Recreation Center for more afternoon sessions and performances.Though the Duke lacrosse case was on the minds of many throughout the day, participants tried to avoid defining the protest by that one case.

    Even for groups such as Ubuntu, which was formed in March 2006 in the aftermath of the Duke lacrosse case, the event was about healing, speaking out and feeling safe.”I live two blocks from where that house is,” Gumbs said. “Trauma is triggered from where we live. We thought it was really important to reclaim our community.”

    THANK YOU!!!

    29 04 2007

    Thank you so much to all who planned, attended, supported, believed in the Day of Truthtelling! I will post more in detail about yesterday’s events shortly, but it was incredible…thank you!

    In addition, we are so very grateful for the support and solidarity from the bloggers who have joined us in speaking truth – we are still learning how many of you all out there have been by our side this weekend. In particular, we are grateful to Brownfemipower for her constant support (and general brilliance) and for spreading the word about the DOT. Thank you! Thank you to:

    …who we know posted on the Day of Truthtelling as powerful voices for change. Thank you for moving the struggle to end sexual violence out in all directions on line, as we moved it down Main Street in Durham yesterday!

    Read This!

    26 04 2007

    Please go over to Black Commentator and read this important article about the impact of sexual violence on black women and the struggle to end it.

    In “Raped and Then?”, Jamala Rogers (leader of the Organization for Black Struggle in St. Louis, Black Radical Congress National Organizer, and Black Commentator Editorial Board member) speaks powerfully about the issues at stake and what it will take to make change. Thank you Jamala Rogers!

    She writes:

    When I read Bill Fletcher’s BC article last month on the rape of his friend, it was like déjà vu. “My Friend was Raped” underscored an all-too familiar response to sexual victimization of Black women by Black men, that of silent suffering.


    Although the rape stats say that one out of every three women in the US will be sexually assaulted, those stats are higher in the African-American community where we have allowed a rope of silence to choke the voices of anger, outrage and healing that need to be expressed.

    The general consensus is that 9 out of 10 rapes go unreported. The National Victim Center has called rape “the most underreported violent crime in America.” The National Black Women’s Health Project affirms that approximately 40% of Black women report coercive contact, of a sexual nature, by age 18.


    It means launching a multi-faceted struggle when and where we can. This calls for an overhaul of the justice system, because one of the main reasons Black women don’t report rape is to keep that Black man out of a racist criminal system. We have done so in the hopes of community justice that hardly ever seems to materialize. It means confronting, filtering and eliminating the misogynist and sexist toxins that have crept into our political, social and cultural environments. This means starting in our homes, honoring and valuing girls and women, teaching equality to all sexes so that we all become change agents in some way.

    It means developing and strengthening the support systems for victims of sexual violence so that they are not re-victimized and silenced, but get the spiritual, emotional and psychological support they so desperately need.

    It means struggling with our brothers, especially those in the progressive movement, to take up seriously, this issue with themselves and their peers. One of the stories in NO! involved “an avowed pro-feminist” rapist brother whose hurtful actions spoke more forcefully than his empty radical rhetoric.

    It means moving past the view that erroneously pits racial oppression against women’s oppression. It’s the old let’s-fight-together-to-eliminate-racism-first, then-we’ll-deal-with-sexism argument that has plagued the Black Liberation Movement for years. Homophobia, another oppression needing to be dealt with by the Black community, is rarely even on the radar screen.


    On April 28th, one such event will take place in Durham, North Carolina. It is the “National Day of Truth-Telling” to speak out against sexual violence but also to address its root causes. It has been the hotbed of confusion, resentment and anger since the rape occurred at a Duke Lacrosse team party. An organized effort emerged to untangle the web and educate the community towards a place of healing and empowerment.

    I fervently believe that we can create a critical mass of people who will bring a sense of urgency and justice to this issue that will ultimately transform our society. Further, I need to be able to look into that young girl’s eyes and assure her that a more humane world for women is coming.

    Call for Submissions – feminist reader devoted to campus rape culture

    26 04 2007

    Women’s Studies @ Purdue Univ. are hoping to gather personal stories from college students across the country to use in a feminist reader about campus rape culture:

    only you can fill the pages…

    Read the rest of this entry »

    Top 10 Reasons Why YOU Want to be at the Day of Truthtelling in Durham this Saturday

    26 04 2007

    1. Because ending rape culture begins with a vision of the world without sexual violence. In the place of the divisions and disempowering silences that support rape culture, the Day of Truthtelling will create healing, loving, transformative spaces where we can celebrate and honor each person’s humanity and the power of community.
    2. Because the Day of Truthtelling is a call to end all forms of sexual violence. Sexual violence happens every day and in all of our communities, including: on college campuses, in our homes, in our neighborhoods, and all over the world.
    3. Because all rapes deserve outrage.
    4. Because the legal system does not hold all the tools for responding to and ending sexual violence
    5. Because ending sexual violence is possible and it is the responsibility of every single one of us to work together for change.
    6. Because the time is now to speak up about the fact that people who we know and love are survivors: our families, our friends, ourselves. By doing so, we can end rape culture which encourages a disempowering silence about sexual violence that fosters feelings of isolation and shame.
    7. Because we are working to create a world where all people honor each other’s humanity with dignity, love, and respect – respect for each person’s body, choices, and value as a member of our communities.
    8. Because respect for each person’s body as an inalienable (birth)right and honoring each person’s choices creates healthy communities.
    9. Because it’s time to celebrate the possibilities that are created by recognizing each person’s unique value, worth, and humanity, and envision a world where the richness of our differences and diversity is celebrated.
    10. Because safety, peace, and justice are created when communities work together for change.