Saturday, June 30, 2007


Tribute panel to "This Bridge Called My Back"

Daisy Hernandez

AnaLouise Keating

Maria del Carmen Ochoa

veronica precious bohanan, left
camil willliams, right

Tonight held the session I had been waiting for with curiosity. A Tribute Panel, Bridge Inscriptions: Radical Women of Color Envision - Pasts, Presents, Futures.

Basically, it was a worship session for This Bridge Called My Back.

The panelists were all invited to speak on how this book affected their lives. And while I walked in with no expectations, I left with a similar sensation in my bones as when I left Detroit: spirited, energized, and in community.

There's just something about when women of color get together. I swear, it's something in the air.

The panel was comprised of Aquamoon, a two women artistic team, camill williams and veronica precious bohanan; Daisy Hernandez from colorlines magazines (also co-editor of Colonize This!); AnaLouise Keating from Texas Woman's University; and Maria del Carmen Ochoa from San Jose State University.

What can I say? It was had the most diverse crowd, moving words, and spirited audience. (Don't you love when the panel is speaking about the different oppressed populations and a moved audience member yells, "And don't forget the mother of Jesus!" Ahh, the laughter)

As they paid tribute, I jotted a few of their gems:

Moderator began with this statement, "Our poetry, prose, and theory...for women of color, it is all the same."

Gems from Daisy Hernandez
I found the stories that you never read in school, you meet women on the page.
I once thought that feminism was making poetry out of shame.
Cherrie Moraga said, 'In my dreams, I am met at the river,' and it is because of you I am always at the river.
The 'bridge' may not be the most suitable metaphor anymore. We don't cross the bridge to meet all these different people because they all already met on iChat.
We're not a bridge, but a crossroads, a place where two roads meet and multiply. A place of ritual, sacrifice, choice, conflict. Racism looks different here, we hold imposing powers.

Gems from AnaLouise Keating
Feminism is not a white thing. We. Are. Feminists.
Spiritual Activism is not religion, it is a holistic approach to plitics and transformation. It is the belief that there is more to existence than the embodied world and the spirit infuses it. We are all connected and are accountable for the people down the street, across the border, across the seas.
It is not based on sameness, not about walking in a straight line.
Feminism must stretch to an unseen place.

Gems from Maria del Carmen Ochoa
We must revisit Bridge because of its ability to subvert. From this book we learned how to learn from both critical and creative works.
It is a writing from the lungs. The heart is what usually recieves the metaphorical attention, but the lungs is what takes in air. And we must not forget what the other word is for inhale: inspiration.
We are the changer and the changed.
From Toni Morrison, 'The function of freedom is to free someone else.'

There are no selective gems from AquaMoon. I can only describe it as one of the most transparent illustrations of talent and brilliance I have ever seen in person. They embrace hip-hop, "will never leave it," and use it to analyze, poeticize, and create a space for discourse. They rap, sing, make melody out of works. They are human song. They are shine. My only regret in watching the room stand for them is the rest of the world just missed the sky turn gold. In the presence of true artists, individuals who polish their craft, nothing brings me closer to Spirit, than true artists and their work.

The umbilical cord connecting Cisneros to this session was the outcry against a failing healthcare system. Gloria Anzaldua died from diabetes, a dangerous and complicated, but treatable disease. What Cisneros said the previous night about taking care of writers while they are ALIVE is bitter. Had Anzaldua lived, we know she would have been there that night. And it was mentioned again on the panel.

We invoked Anzaldua and all the pioneering women of color who laid down their bodies as the Bridge, no les olvides!

1 comment:

  1. Sudy - thank you so much for sharing this with us! I am so very glad that it was this way and that you got to be there. You had certainly earned it after the workshops you've been telling us about!

    - J


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