End of Year Review – by China

Hello! I’m spending my last day of 2016 digging through pictures and would like to share some highlights from the last year of Revolutionary Mothering with you. Opening up this blog I saw our call for submissions in 2011 – extended. Two years later, we signed on with PM Press.  Finally in 2016 the book became a reality. Getting out there and meeting others, I’ve seen how true and real and right this project was, in the reflection of our reception, our book has been affirmed and affirming: the gift we wanted to give back to the community it stemmed from. If I’ve learned anything, I’ve learned how true, how beautiful, and how hard, very hard, revolutionary mothering is. Many of our moments and movements are isolated. But together in this anthology we have achieved a body of work. Its been a long journey! And we went into our second edition too. Its not over. LOVE TO YOU AND YOURS. May we somehow come together to make a world that will support every child, every adult, every old person, every caregiver, every single person in our community and across communities know peace and justice. happy new years, best wishes, much love xo china

in spring 2016, the book came out. Bluestockings, NYC. Lex, Mai’a, and I were all in the same spot together, for only the second time since we started working on the book. We read with Terri Nilliasca, Cynthia Dewi Oka, Lisa Factora-Borchers, Cheryl Boyce-Taylor, and Vikki Law. And went on a show.

Then we went together to the Book Release at home in Baltimore, Maryland. A heart-to-heart discussion in Flourish! (Lex missed that part, attending a birth, which everyone understood) A zine happening in Red Emmas! And the formal book release at Union Baptist Church. I wish I had more photos from this time, but March was a flurry of activity and the woman I was a paid caregiver for was dying, so it was an intense time for me.

I went to the Anarchist Bookfair in SF in April. And I met Vivian Fumiko Chin, Lola Mondragón, and author Anita Wills. And I worked with Amber who supported a second community get together.

Mai’a and I toured together!! We went to Chicago for the zine fair, book reading, and did a zine workshop with Karen Su.

Then we went to LA. We met the Chicana Motherwork Collective and went on their pod cast. We were on a panel at a packed energetic event (one of my top faves of the year!) that AF3IRM put together. We met Panquetzani of Ancestral Womb Healing and read at the orange county anarchist bookfair. LA was amazing! We ended it with a very warm Revolutionary Mother’s Day affirmations to each other at Fabiola’s house.

Sometimes, I found the subject matter, as an empty nest single mom – hard. It pulled me back to a lot of pain. I couldn’t express it well. But at the same time, it taught me so much about revolution and liberation. I was grateful to be pulled back to mothering, to be created anew as well as co-mothering this collection. So when Maia and I met again at the Allied Media Conference (we almost didn’t get there.  I couldn’t afford it – but Robin/Kidz Track got me funding.) I felt a lot of closure. It was really good to present with TK Tunchez (not in photo as she was busy w/ Las Ofrendas) and Autumn to finish this leg of the journey/ first segment of touring.

We also did a zine workshop. All this time, we had been doing a combination of different ways to present the subject matter, from intimate groups to conference panels.

*     *      *

In the fall, I did the Texas Sirenas tour. wow. shout out to support from my mom and my friend andy who drove, or this wouldn’t have happened in this way — but another way— cuz I was determined. I wanted to see Noemi! I wanted to see Layne! I wanted to see members of Mamas of Color Rising, cuz they were a big inspiration mai’a to start her zine to start this book, and everything circles back. we all inspire each other so much. we all remind each other of what we mean.

that was a big tour. a big adventure. I wish I could document it better. I wish so many things. but here you go. to share with you some of the beautiful people I met. the beautiful events where folks got together, that energy and discussion. I’m proud of us. the moments no one sees. The legacy we hand down. revolutionary mothering forever. it would be impossible to really shout out all the connections forged this year. Three co-editors are good. The biggest thanks to Alexis Pauline Gumbs and Mai’a Williams for taking me along on this journey. And now our book is out there, on its own, our child grows and lives without us tending to it 🙂 and we go on into a new year. Its been such a hard year, 2016, and so many deaths. But for revolutionary mothering, for this book, it was a good year. And a book is not enough. but maybe many stories, many gatherings, many creations, many pages, many steps, may take us places yet unimagined. Its been an honor to be a co-editor of this collection and to have such warm welcome. So thank you to everyone who made this possible in 2016.


p.s. in fact there are so many things and photos that were highlights, I MIGHT, I just might, go on adding them below. (Or coming back and adding more in) It was a big year. And these are just mine, one of the co-editors end of year journal. If you have photos you would like to add, let me know. Maybe we can do a second photo montage. Most of all thank you to the book contributors and many community members whose stories make this all possible. There is a lot I missed including! One blog entry just isn’t enough. But its the end of the first day of the new year. And I better get to it! Onwards ❤

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Sirenas ~ Southwest Tour, Oct.14-Nov.2

finalposterscreenshot

So excited to have this beautiful poster designed by Noemi Martinez and to be setting off for tour soon. Wish us luck! I will be driving with a friend to read with Texas contributors: Layne Russell (The Clothesline); Noemi Martinez (This is What Radical Mamihood Looks Like); Mamas of Color Rising (Collective Poem on Mothering); tk karakashian tunchez (Telling Our Truths to Live: A Manifesta) who will be tabling w/ her beautiful Las Ofrendas wares; and on the way, there and back, I will meet and read with Free Hearts (a group of primarily formerly incarcerated women and mothers in support of incarcerated mothers and their families); newly formed Memphis Advocates for Radical Childcare (MARCH); and reading w/ zine friend Mariah Boone (Lone Star Mama) and Stacey-Marie (Phases of the Moon). Hope to see you and thank you for your support. love, china

We Slay/We Stay: Revolutionary Mothering as Science Fiction

13581899_10102510401856352_6943246821039640244_oThis past Thursday I was blessed to spend a morning with the brilliant young activists at North Carolina’s Youth Organizing Institute Freedom School.   In the wake of horrifying violence by police against unarmed black people broadcasted on video we write about Revolutionary Mothering, the act of keeping each other alive.

We wrote about the ways that young people keep each other alive as peers and engaging in revolutionary mothering acts of sustenance and love for each other on a daily basis.

Some days being able to keep each other alive feels like Science Fiction.

Some of these poems, which we generated through an activity where the participants listened to stories about who they had been and what they had done they had been in the dreams of people who loved them, expressed the urgency of love in philosophical terms.  Some expressed the urgency of love in zombie apocalypse terms and in direct confrontation of the violence of the moment.   Here are some of the poems (curated into we stay/we slay by yours truly).

 

We Stay

ocean brings us life

power lives in your bones

markings lead us to freedom

Abuela calls on

the daughters of Oshun

to tell us to breath

sometimes you can feel

not through the phone, but inside

your heart, what is real.

time and space will not

make strangers of us again

i won’t give you up

she is your best friend

wanting to be together

never letting go

dreams and ambitions

goals to make it together

be lit forever

soaring through the sky

our happiness blocks all the hate

our love is a bond*

*bond: spiritual link made by love and can’t broken (definition from the poet)

We Slay

The zombies burst in

Samaiyah and Sajdah are

Ready to kick ass!

The purge has started

Jasper and Courtnei run out

2 hours later they have blood on their hands

Mafia lightning

Striking scars against yellow

The cats deadly glare

Lane just hit the gas.

Panicked, frightened, with much stress.

His friend shot his head.

The most beautiful things can

Be the most deadly

The ocean is very beautiful

And soothing but

It killed Nathalia and Joana

We freeze our zombies

You and me are wolves-always

Oh, Rahssan Rahssan

P.S. If you are looking for a place to write through the complexity of staying/slaying in this moment, check out this Thursday’s online workshop Nobody Mean More to Me Than You.

New York City Launch at Bluestockings

large_746_Revolutionary_mothering

Monday, March 21st

7pm-9:30pm

Bluestockings Books (172 Allen Street New York, New York 10002)

Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines is an anthology that centers mothers of color and marginalized mothers’ voices. Marginalized and oppressed mothers are at the center of a world of necessary transformation. Oppressed mothers create a generous space for life in the face of life-threatening limits and activate a powerful vision of the future. Join coeditors Alexis Pauline Gumbs, China Martens, and Mai’a Williams with contributors to discuss this movement-shifting anthology committed to birthing new worlds, full of faith and hope for what we can raise up together.

For more details see:

http://bluestockings.com/event/revolutionary-mothering-love-on-the-front-lines-nyc-book-launch/Screen Shot 2016-01-28 at 7.10.02 AM

We Love You Atlanta!

 

Last weekend’s Revolutionary Mothering Events in Atlanta were miraculous! Thank you to everyone who came out and to Charis Books and More, SisterSong, SisterLove, Access Reproductive Care-Southeast, Fresh2Health and Dynamic Dou Doula Team for collaborating!!!

Thank you everyone for supporting the tour. We are looking forward to seeing our NYC loved ones at Bluestockings on Monday March 21st. Details here:
http://www.alexispauline.com/apgblog/?post_type=dd_events&p=482

and Baltimore folks, don’t forget to get your free or VIP tickets to the reading at Union Baptist Church on March 30th: http://www.alexispauline.com/apgblog/?post_type=dd_events&p=520

We love you!!! See you soon!

Atlanta Launch for Revolutionary Mothering at Charis Books

charisThursday, March 10
at 7:30 PM
Charis Books and More/Charis Circle

1189 Euclid Ave NE, Atlanta, Georgia 30307

Join us for a celebratory conversation with Alexis Pauline Gumbs, co-editor of Revolutionary Mothering: Love on the Front Lines. Alexis will read selections from the anthology and her own Revolutionary Mother Pauline McKenzie will share about her work as a doula and therapist. Members of the Love Spirit Balm collective who are featured in the book will also be present. Dr. Gumbs will lead us in a community discussion about mothering, parenting, and the revolutionary movements we are all a part of.

Here is the facebook invite: https://www.facebook.com/events/919975721384330/

And there is more info here: http://www.alexispauline.com/apgblog/?post_type=dd_events&p=506

You can support the tour here:  https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother

TK:Telling Our Truths to Live

Untitled-17“In telling this, I am bearing witness to mama-love, to days spent behind books and hands wrapped tight on steering wheels while the sun burns down, building worry filled pockets on foreheads cuz you can’t afford to pay the late fee at the childcare and your professor won’t let you leave that class early and the electricity got shut off because your student loans ran our and you got just enough money to afford some gas to get to class today but not enough for heat this month. I am bearing witness to the joy that comes from finally telling our truths…”

-tk karakashian tunchez “Telling Our Truths to Live: A Manifesta” in Revolutionary Mothering Love on the Front Lines

Today we are celebrating the day that Revolutionary Mothering author tk karakashian tunchez gave birth to her brilliant daughter and collaborator and all the mama-love that has happened since! Join us in celebrating and check out this short video that tk made when she came to Durham as part of the New Mythos tour (check out the video to see how I talked her ear off.) We can’t wait to bring the Revolutionary Mothering tour to Texas!

Thank you all for your love and support!   You can donate here: https://www.gofundme.com/revolutionmother