Monday, August 31, 2009

the divine survivors clinic


welcome to the divine survivors clinic!

my name is mai’a.

i am offering free reiki treatments to us– the lovers, the fighters, and the survivors. a way to reduce pain, cleanse and strengthen the body, balance the emotions and experience more clarity and vitality in our lives.

the divine survivors clinic began as a vision i had at dawn listening to the fajr call to prayer.

i have seen that many of us as doing amazing life-changing work and yet suffer from long terms and short term illnesses. we do not have the time, money, energy to eat well, laugh, meditate, move, and mother ourselves. we live on the edges of society, enduring and resisting with every breath, the various and connected forms of violence.

reiki is a specific frequency or wave of energy. i tune into this energy. connect with your mind and body (no matter where you are in the world). and then reiki vibrates throughout your being. allowing you to relax, de-stress, and transmutate toxins in the body.


The quality of light by which we scrutinize our lives has direct bearing upon the product which we live, and upon the changes which we hope to bring about through those lives.
–Audre Lorde

* is a safe, gentle, non-physical healing practice that reduces stress and promotes relaxation and transformation of all kind of ailments and disease.
* can never act harmfully.
* is not controlled by the practitioner, but by the needs of recipient’s bodymind.
* is not limited by time nor space. and thus can be activated across distances and times, allowing us to commune across oceans, heal the past and create a joyous future.
* transforms toxins and illness in the physical, emotional, and psychological systems.
* is not a religion and belief in reiki is not necessary for it to work.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind Podcast!


Check out this FIRST EVER PODCAST as part of the BrokenBeautiful Press educational campaign "Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind." Black Feminism LIVES by every means necessary.

What does it take to survive a year like 1979?

This first podcast is about the year 1979 and how the world, and black feminism began and ended in some crucial ways that year. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the Boston Murders, the Atlanta Child Murders and the Greensboro Massacre all attacking the the lives, minds and spirits of black women 1979 was a crucial year. This podcast focuses on how Audre Lorde, Alexis DeVeaux, June Jordan and Barbara Smith reach(ed) across time and space to transform the meaning of survival. (And there is some good period appropriate and anachronistic music too!)


download to your itunes here:

Please leave comments here!

p.s. Sorry about the moments of outburst distortion. A sista is clearly super exuberantly excited about black feminism and promises to stay a little further away from the mic on podcast number two! :)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mami Vs. Mommy, Mami’hood vs Motherhood

Mami Vs. Mommy, Mami’hood vs Motherhood

from mamita mala

Putting the Speak! Zines Together

Hermana, Resist Says:

Like seriously, I’m supposed to explain to someone who doesn’t even get what the difference between Mami and Mommy means, I’m supposed to explain sanewhy my form of media is valid in their movement? I’m supposed to try to sell you on my career?

What career? This is my life, my kids life, our sanity.
And for the record, no we don’t start or “media” after we get funded and no we don’t start working on “media” when we’re up for a sabbatical. No we don’t start any “movement” after our grant gets accepted. Some money might come along the way, some one will donate $10 or $50 or someone gets a scholarship to attend a conference that’ll be critiqued the hell outa.

It gets tiring having to explain Mami vs mommy, mother, mom. I probably shouldn’t frame it as a vs. cuz it’s not like mommy media makers, mom 2.0′ers and mamis are fighting each other. Most of the time we’re ignoring each other. I can’t say exactly why the moms/mommies/mothers ignore radical mami’s of color, especially us single media maker ones, like when at the Women’s Equity Media Summit I had to ask that Mommy be changed to Mami up on the paper in the front of the room, or like when I after I explained why mami (Mami based in my Latina/WOC identity, based in the hypersexualization or the diminishing of my sexuality, based because my mami’hood is a fucking community that I am working every damn moment to create and live in not some marketing tool or playdate), the woman walked away and gave two other mamis and me her back.

“Guess she’s not a mami” one of us said shrugging.

When the two other mamis and I came up with lists, words, stanzas and lyrics about who/what we were (cuz we have a long ass history that Ms. China Martens is gonna help me document by coming to casa mala so I can write ::wink wink::), the people in the room of that Women’s Equity Media Summit fucking cheered. These were some of the ideas that came out of the mami conversations.

Pero when the applause and the patting on the back stops, when the one on one conversations in corners that amount to nothing but some white mujer telling us thanks for doing/saying the things I’m too lazy/privileged to be bothered, where is the support or the “resourcing” that women media makers are supposed to be doing?

Not that we’re holding our breath or anything. When I ignore you, fail to link to you, not attend your conference, think about why.


Crossposted from VivirLatino

Women of color are not paranoid when we say that we fear our children being taken away. It happens all too often.

It happens again and again:

On March 3rd, 2009 six year old Aniysah was taken from her mother’s arms and thrown into a legal shuffle of unaccountability, instability and discrimination. There were no records verifying that she would be taken to a safe living environment or that she was enrolled in school. Questions about her health and well-being went unanswered. That was 150 days ago. To date, Aniysah remains lost in the legal system. A system where black and brown children go missing everyday. A system where black mothers like Aniysah’s are often left to fend for themselves in a brutal, dogged battle just to make sure their children are safe.

It’s time to hold the legal system accountable. Document the Silence asks that you join them in the “Where’s Aniysah?” campaign by posting information about this case on your blogs, online social networks and throughout your community. You can find out more about this campaign to stand against injustices against our children in the legal system by visiting the Document the Silence website .

Where’s Aniysah? What you can do!

* Show up! – Are you going to be in the NYcity area August 24th? Come to Aniysah’s court date and show the judge and the law guardian you care! Even if you can’t make it, invite your friends who can! there’s an attachment below that you can copy and send to your folks! The deets:The next court date is August 24th, 2009 at 11AM and the address is :
IDV Part
Courtroom E-123, Annex Building
Justice Fernando M. Camacho
Queens County IDV Court,
Queens County Supreme Court
Criminal Term 125-01 Queens Blvd
Kew Gardens, New York 11415

* Spread the word!- send this website out to everyone you know. tell them why this is important. post to your facebook account. forward on your many list serves. post Aniysah’s mom youtube clip on your facebook page. write a blog about her story. email everyone you know and don’t know.

* Speak up! – do you know of other children of color who have been lost in the legal shuffle? Let’s document the silence of court sanctioned kidnapping that is happening to black and brown women and children across the country! email us at and we will add your story to the website.


cross posted from littleblackbook

The Silent Revolution of the Domestic Worker" Nikki Giovanni, 1975
"Throughly Black Feminism" interview with Barbara Smith, 1983
"An Interview with Audre Lorde," Joseph Beam, 1984
It's A Family Affair: The Real Live of Black Single Mothers, Barbara Omolade, 1986 (Kitchen Table Press, Freedom Organizing Series #4)
"Adolescent Pregnancy: The Perspective of the Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers, Khadijah Matin, 1986
"A Press of Our Own: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press" Barbara Smith, 1989
"Knowing the Danger and Going There Anyway," Cheryl Clarke, 1990
"Brother to Brother: An Interview with Essex Hemphill," 1991
The Black Back Ups, Kate Rushin, 1993
"The Fight is for Political and Economic Justice," Barbara Smith, 1998
"Transferences and Confluences: Black Poetics, the Black Arts Movement and Black Lesbian-Feminism, Cheryl Clarke, 1999
Erasure, Percival Everett, 2001
Erzulie's Skirt, Ana-Maurine Lara, 2006
The Fullness of Everything, Patricia Powell, 2009
"Reproductive Technology, Family Law, and the Postwelfare State: The California Same-Sex Parents' Rights "Victories" of 2005", Anna Marie Smith, 2009
"Race, Gender and Genetic Technologies: A New Reproductive Dystopia?" Dorothy E. Roberts, 2009

In the 1970's and 80's the Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers, an organization created by and for black single mothers, answered the media blitz, and intra-racial debates about the pathology of the "fatherless" home with a poetic question that reframed everything. Fatherless? They ask, Why not Motherful?

Brilliant brilliant brilliant. That one question is also followed up by their innovative programming and their creation of community support systems led by black single mothers, and black single fathers who were inspired by their model! Refusing to define black single mothers, regardless of age as a void, a source of darkness and the end of the world (as people sitting in congress and on war on poverty turned welfare reform boards were indeed insisting) this group of black single mothers made a poetic space for the obvious truth. Black single mother's themselves are the greatest resource for black female-led families. Only a black single mother knows what a black single mother needs. Black single mothers are experts. Act like you know America.

In a moment (right now) where CNN and Essence Magazine (ala Marry Your BabyDaddy Day!!!!) and black radio (Micheal Baisden just said the other day that "real women" need to step back and let a "real man" lead in their families. Yesterday!!! On August 4th 2009) are still selling the narrative that a black woman is incomplete without a patriarchal structure I want to raise the question again. Why not Motherful?

But actually I know why. Corporate media cannot acknowledge the fullness that single mothers, young mothers, mothers of color, co-mothers, grandmothers bring to our families because consumer capitalism is NOT HAVING IT!!! If we acknowledged that young, queer, poor, working-class, disabled, single, and racialized mothers are perfectly good at love and perfectly brilliant at supporting and sustaining life even if (or especially) they decide NOT to be bullied into a c-section by know-it-all doctors, how on earth would we get oppressed people to buy so much stuff despite their negligible disposable income? How would we get people to feel so inadequate about their their whatever"lessness" maybe it's "worthlessness" that they give up on the messy delicious sustenance of honest relationships between people and turn to the refuge of value by proxy...buying cool stuff. Because my people aren't dumb you know...and the only way you get brilliant people to act competely in opposition to their own interests is through a concerted effort to trample their self-esteem and believe that they will be loved. Why would maybeline pay Essence Magazine so much for their adspace if black women were not killing themselves trying to be straight, bouncy and clean enough for some perpetual marriage without which their life means nothing?

No no no. Motherful is dangerous, like the fulness of the erotic, like "no mirrors in my nana's house," like telling little black girls that they are smart. You stuff. Danger us.

And of course the state doesn't want no Motherful propaganda neither. No way. Even though it would totally save billions of dollars to support single poor and working mothers in their efforts to sustain their families instead of pathologizing them for not being able to do the impossible perfectly every second and just waiting with drool and glee to take their children away...just waiting with glee to lock their children up for childlike misjudgements, just licking its lips to the tune of fatherless....the state knows the danger of a motherful household.

What would it look like housesful of mothers, biological and chosen mothers, co-mothers, and mothers from next-door raising amazing children together. Proving the fact that marginalized, young, mothers of color can do anything together...imagine them proving that...right in front of the children. You might get a whole generation of children who are not supposed to be powerful who believe that they are. A whole set of mothers who organize to build and support education and free food and free healthcare in their communities. A whole generation of folks who realize that the state needs them more than they need it and that they are in charge. Nope. They don't want that.

Beware the motherful household.

And the certainly don't want young brothers and sisters like me and my siblings walking around proclaiming proudly that every thing we accomplish with our brazen badass brilliant selves was enabled by the fact that we were raised in a motherful household.

Nope. They don't want no Motherful propaganda.

I guess I have some t-shirts to make.

my mamas words

cross posted from fabmexicana

She used to tell me “Mija, vete de aqui” to leave from the States for a couple years to college. She tried to connect me with an aunt in Morelia, but then she (my mom) became terminally ill. In my 16 year-old perception she did this to expand my world outside of Los Angeles, she specifically pushed Morelia, Mexico City, and Guadalajara (where I had a distant family member and she was Mexican so yea) for me to want actual wings before getting too established after being in one city for too long and doing the college thing to the eventual j-o-b, a car note, a serious relationship, and/or a baby.

She passed away in between her worldly wisdom and advise to my 16 year-old mind and I became pseudo-momma for younger bro. Leaving to Mexico or anywhere over 20 miles from here only happened in dreams and books.

Then when I had a sliver of opportunity (after college) I fell in love hard (like the kind that Mexican ballads sing about) and had a child (pretty quickly) in my early 20s. That married me to L.A. and separation in my mid 20s with active other parent, sealed my marriage to the city for the long haul. You blend with facts and make the best of your choices and the circumstances that come with the package. So what do have, roots that dig too dip, intimate ties to L.A., a pride that freaks nomadic types and solid relationships in such a grand city and your world narrows to the boundaries of it. That’s most of the world you’ve known.

I leave through words and vicarioulsy by those that do say goodbye and on occasion I do escape for short periods of time. I send her kisses and remember her words, I’ll share them with my nena and with others.

She got it though and so I told my good friend this morning, chica vete (leave) as she contemplates to leave or to stay. Home will always be home. Your roots here can only get stronger. We are nomadic by nature, set roots elsewhere do it while you can.*

I became “mi mama” for a second, she was a wise woman. I cherish my homebody L.A. ways but her words echo in my mind, and so I’ll repeat what she saw as a woman who left Mexico when she was 28, my age, a single woman. She was fierce.

*I understand if this appears condescending and valuing leaving over staying. Things are never black vs. white. Never, neither is this entry. But I take ownership for the slant, any questions please feel free to comment or e-mail me.

mommyhood versus mamihood

cross posted from flip flopping joy

I was going to leave this comment on this thread here at feministe (where the totally rawking Plain’s Feminist is guest blogging!)–but I felt like it got too ranty and long and not connected to the actual point of the post, even though it was in a way.

first comment for context:

I was at a conference just a bit ago, and although daycare was provided for the kids, it was clearly marked in the itinerary when children were “allowed” into the big people room–and my kid–who is an older kid, was bullied by one of the conference organizers. I almost left, but other mothers stood by me and we confronted the situation together. But new mothers who are BF aren’t going to go to that space because the “rules” state kids can only be in the space during X times. And this was a feminist space. So if a woman isn’t working for pay and decides to organize instead so that she can get that emotional and intellectual stimulation–what is she supposed to do when she is treated to such unfriendly and hostile spaces like that?

I mean, that feminist space was telling mothers, you’re only wanted here if you make your child and your motherhood as invisible as possible–*we* don’t want anything to do with your motherhood. Which helps to create that “you must be a super mom” mentality, even as feminism is *saying* it’s critiquing it. When a woman isn’t even welcome in feminist spaces what other choice does she have but to sit and stare at her child all day and try not to eat her own tongue from boredom?

second comment that I didn’t post at Feministe:

btw, that feminist space was created by largely white feminists and the feminist who bullied my kid was white. the women who stood by me and said let’s fix this and we’ll walk out if we need to were women of color–some mamis and others not–but all with the analysis that mamihood (rather than mommyhood) is not just left at the door when you walk into a room. That the “real” work of feminist organizing happens when a single mami knows that her child is supported and loved and looked after by everybody in the room, not just her.

Another example: at that conference, the childcare shut down earlier than what I was expecting it to. I didn’t have my phone on, so although the childcare place called me repeatedly, I never got the message. I wasn’t aware ANYTHING was going on until I was walking down the street to go pick up my kids from the childcare and women of color (mamis and non-mamis) were walking towards me with my kids–the women took my kids and were in the process of finding food for everybody.

When I thanked the other women profusely, they all said ‘no big deal, you’d do the same for me.’ and one of the woman without children sort of looked at me like I was crazy and asked “are you kidding me? what would I have done, left them there?” The thought of NOT being responsible to my kids was offensive to her.

Which makes me wonder if that’s why the divide between working and stay at home mamis is just not the same as it is between mainstream largely white moms. When the borders between different spheres in your life aren’t so harshly drawn, it makes less sense for certain women to be isolated from the community.

One of the women in that group is a woman that I call the mother of my children. She has made the choice to take on the role of caretaker and coparent of my children. She has not had biological children, she is partnered to somebody else, but we raise my children together. I have this relationship with two other women of color in my community.

when the core idea of what “woman” is is challenged repeatedly, it makes less sense to say, you had the child, raise it yourself. when the core idea of what “mom” is is challenged repeatedly, it makes less sense to say, you had the child, raise it yourself. when the core idea of what “partnered” is is challenged repeatedly, it makes less sense to say, you had the child, raise it yourself. when “sexuality” and what it is and what it can lead to is constantly challenged, it makes less and less sense to say, you had the child, raise it yourself.

Every mami, every mommy, should be able to feel the feeling that I felt when I saw my kids laughing and joking along in the group of other women/mamis. And I guess the point for me is that books, no matter how good, are not going to teach us all how to build a community where children are being raised collectively–not because of kumbaya dreams that everybody is a parent–but because of practical reality that children are a part of our communities and we owe accountability to them, just as we insist that they are accountable to us.

Learning how to raise children collectively is only going to come through actually doing the work of learning how to trust again–how many people in your life do you know and trust enough to help you raise your children–even if they aren’t the biological parent who is living with you and legally partnered with you?– And by pointing at the *real* problem, which is not so much that AP’ing is stifling and obscene on so many levels (holy jesus, it is)–but that collectively in the U.S., we have no fucking idea what “community” means–but at the same time, we all seem to think that deciding who will stay hidden within the community isn’t one very powerful and violent way of deciding what community really is.