Town Hall Meeting: What will it take to end sexual violence in our communities?

18 05 2007

Imagine a day when Durham, North Carolina is free of sexual violence.

What will that day look like? What will it feel like? What needs to happen in order to make that day a reality? What will need in order to sustain the work of creating a city–and even a world–without sexual violence?

If you want to create and live in a world without sexual violence, you are not alone. Join community members and organizations for this important meeting where we connect and vision a way forward!

Location: Stanford L. Warren Library, downstairs meeting room, 1201 Fayetteville Street, Durham, NC

Date: Saturday, June 9th, 2007

Time: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

RSVP or questions:

See you there!



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 by May 6.

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


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!

‘Twas the Night Before Truthtelling…AR’s takin’ it to the big house!

24 04 2007

Friday 4/27 – 7:00pm

UBUNTU Artistic Response invites you to attend:
an interactive performance of

Asha Bandele’s Long Day’s Journey into Night
@ the Durham County Criminal Justice Buidling
(yup…we’re taking over…making contractions in the belly of the beast.)

326 E. Main Street, Durham, NC 27701
Tel. (919) 560-0500 Fax: (919)560-0566

click here for details:

Even the rehearsal tore the walls down.

We highly recommend that anyone interested in healing from or challenging their own
relationship to the prison industrial complex come to the performance workshop.

Aishah Simmons: But Some of Us Are Brave

15 04 2007

The following essay is from acclaimed filmmaker and activist Aishah Shahidah Simmons in support of the National Day of Truthtelling. Please read her powerful words, forward this email to everyone you know, and JOIN US IN DURHAM ON APRIL 28 AS WE TELL THE TRUTH AND BEGIN TO CREATE A WORLD WITHOUT SEXUAL VIOLENCE!!!

For more information, visit our website at and do the following things…

1) Register to let us know that you are coming

2) Get your organization to endorse the event

3) Contribute funds to help us reach our goals for the day. Your contribution is tax-deductible.

Thank you

Day of Truthtelling Organizing Committee

But Some of Us Are Brave—In Support of the April 28, 2007 National Day of Truthtelling in Durham, North Carolina
By Aishah Shahidah Simmons

While there are many folks who are rejoicing that Imus was fired, I fear that we may have won a battle but could have *temporarily* lost this relentless racist/sexist war against Black women in the United States. While most eyes were focused on the outcome of Imus’ fate, the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team were exonerated. Very, very tragically, many of the same Black (overwhelmingly male) voices who were demanding the firing of Imus, haven’t said a peep about the recent dropping of charges against the accused members of the Duke Lacrosse team. Additionally, in the ongoing mainstream media discussions about Imus calling the predominantly Black women’s basketball team at Rutgers University “nappy headed-ho’s,” there hasn’t been any mainstream media correlation/analysis/commentary/discussion about the fact that:

1. Some of the (White) Duke Lacrosse team members called the two (Black) women “niggers” and “bitches”;
2. One of the (White) Duke Lacrosse members threatened to rape them with a broomstick;
3. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member spoke of hiring strippers in an e-mail sent the same night that threatened to kill “the bitches” and cut off their skin while he ejaculated in his “Duke-issued spandex;” and
4. Another (White) Duke Lacrosse team member shouted to the (Black woman) victim as she left the team’s big house, “Hey bitch, thank your grandpa for my nice cotton shirt.”

Instead there were subtle and not-so subtle racist implications that hip-hop is the cause of Imus’ racist/sexist comments; and that the Black woman stripper/whore (not daughter, not mother, not college student, not sex worker) lied on/set up the innocent White Duke Lacrosse team members (who hired her and her colleague to perform for them).

So, in this very direct way the corporate owned media message to the American public is that Black people, especially Black women, are the perpetrators of violence against White men (and I would argue Black men too).

Based on the overwhelming deafening silence from mainstream Black (predominantly male) ‘leaders’ and organizations about the documented racist/sexist comments made by the White Duke Lacrosse team members, it’s clear to me that no one will speak for us– Black women–but ourselves. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rape survivor, a child sexual abuse survivor, a domestic violence survivor, a stripper, a prostitute, a lesbian, a bisexual woman, a heterosexual woman, a single mother (especially with several children from different fathers), on welfare, a high school drop out, college educated, working in corporate America, working at a minimum wage job with no health insurance, or working in the film/music/television entertainment industry. Yes, I placed what some people would view as very different/distinct categories of Black women in the same category because I firmly believe that if any of the aforementioned Black women are at the wrong place at the wrong time (which could be at any time), we, Black women, will be left to heal our very public wounds alone.

I was the young Black woman who in 1989, at 19 years old six weeks shy of my 20th birthday, said “Yes”, while on a study abroad program. I was the Black woman who broke the rules of the university where I attended by agreeing to sneak out, after hours, to meet the man who would become my rapist. I was the Black woman who after breaking the university enforced rules started to have second thoughts but was afraid to articulate them and was afraid to turn around because my friends were covering for me. I was the Black woman who paid for the hotel room where I was raped. I was the Black woman who said to my soon-to-become rapist, “I don’t want to do this. Please stop.” I didn’t “violently” fight back. I didn’t scream or yell to the top of my lungs” because I was afraid. I didn’t want to make a “scene.” I blamed myself for saying, “Yes” for breaking the rules for paying for the hotel room.

I am one of countless women, regardless of race/ethnicity/national origin, age, sexual orientation, class, religion who experientially learned that the (often unchallenged) punishment for women who use poor judgment with men is rape and other forms of sexual violence. And the reward for those same men who perpetrate the sexual violence that we (victim/survivors) experience is the opportunity to perpetrate again and in turn say “WOMEN LIE.”

“For all who ARE survivors of sexual violence. For all who choose to BELIEVE survivors of sexual violence. For all who KNOW WE CAN end rape culture.” come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007. Join the numerous individuals and organizations from across the United States who will come to Durham, North Carolina on Saturday, April 28, 2007 to participate in “Creating A World Without Sexual Violence – A National Day of Truthtelling.”

This mobilizing event is organized by a coalition of organizations including North Carolina Coalition Against Sexual Assault, Ubuntu, Men Against Rape Culture, SpiritHouse, Raleigh Fight Imperialism Stand Together, Southerners on New Ground, Independent Voices, Black Workers for Justice, and Freedom Road Socialist Organization/OSCL).

For more information on the National Day of Truthtelling, visit:

Aishah Shahidah Simmons is a Black feminist lesbian documentary filmmaker, writer, and activist based in Philadelphia. An incest and rape survivor, she spent eleven years, seven of which were full time to produce/write/direct NO! (The Rape Documentary), a feature length documentary which looks at the universal reality of rape and other forms of sexual violence through the first-person testimonies, activism, scholarship, cultural work, and spirituality of African-Americans.
Following is a non-inclusive list of books by Black feminists who address Hip-Hop and Feminism
(There are many more books than those that are listed):

Pimps Up, Ho’s Down: Hip-Hop’s Hold On Young Black Women by T. Denean Sharpley-Whiting

Prophets in the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip-Hop by Imani Perry

When Chickenheads Come Home to Roost: A Hip-Hop Feminist Breaks It Down by Joan Morgan

From Black Power to Hip Hop: Racism, Nationalism, and Feminism by Patricia Hill Collins

Gender Talk: The Struggle For Women’s Equality in African American Communities by Johnnetta Betsch Cole and Beverly Guy-Sheftall

“It is Better to Speak: The Art of Community Healing”

11 04 2007

When: Thursday, April 12, 2007; 6:30 PM
Where: McGavren-Greenberg (School of Public Health) Room 1304
Sponsored by the Minority Student Caucus

UBUNTU Artistic Response presents an interactive poetic performance
designed to empower participants to use poetry, movement and sound to
make the unspeakable speakable in communities of color. This program
addresses violence against women of color as a public health issue and
provides participants with the space to envision what healthy
intra-community relationships could look like.

The program will consist of an interactive performance by the members
of the UBUNTU collective followed by sonic and written exercises which
will allow participants to speak about their own relationships to
gendered violence and will provide them with tools to use in their
community work.

UBUNTU believes that healing begins when we say the things we never
thought we could say, both expressing the pain that we have
experienced and witnessed and envisioning a future that affirms us.

South Asian Women Rally in Vancouver Against Violence

8 04 2007

From Lex @ kitchen table: women of color pressed for knowledge

The Canadian Press
Friday, April 06, 2007

VANCOUVER — Murders and assaults of South Asian women are a backlash against the progress they’ve made in society, activists said Thursday as they rallied in Vancouver.

Elders in traditional Indian saris and teenagers in jeans congregated in the heart of Vancouver’s Punjabi Market to put a public face on domestic violence within the Indo-Canadian community.

Three Lower Mainland women have been murdered in the last six months and another was shot in the head, but survived.

“A message is being sent to us [that] violent attacks against women are a backlash to our gains,” said Raveen Mandair, a member of the group South Asian Women Against Male Violence, which organized the rally.

“They serve to remind us that we should not become too educated, not pursue successful careers, not try to live autonomous lives and definitely not have the power to leave the men who abuse us,” Mandair said.

About 70 people clustered on a street corner in the mostly Indo-Canadian community.

Liberal MP Ujjal Dosanjh, a former B.C. attorney general, also attended the rally.

“Women need to lead this fight,” Dosanjh said after the rally.

“They know where it hurts.”

If you live in the North Carolina Research Triangle Area please remember to attend:

The Orange County Rape Crisis Center has invited noted South Asian women’s activist, author and scholar, Dr.Margaret Abraham, to speak on violence against women in the South Asian community on April 19. Please join us as Dr. Abraham lifts the shroud of silence over the issue.
When: Thursday, April 19th 7:00pm

Where: UNC-Chapel Hill, Chapman Hall room 201 (behind Carroll Hall)

Posted By lex to kitchen table: women of color pressed for knowledge at 4/08/2007 11:58:00 AM