One of the first spaces I wa in in Detroit was at the Women’s Equity Media Summit. To say that it was an uncomfortable space would be too simple. There was a sense among many of the women of color I was with that we HAD to be there, since many of has had been given some money to help defray our travel costs. We would have been in Detroit anyway for the Allied Media Conference and truth be told we weren’t sure why we had been invited into the WEMS space? What was the mission and what was expected of us radical women of color media makers.
We all conglomerated in one corner of the room, close to the door, forming a protective circle of love and support around each other as other women spilled their female creds on the table, leaving many of us feeling marginalized. What of us who didn’t claim the word woman or the word feminist? What made one a “woman” in that space? Was it being born with a white vagina? Did bringing up these issues make us automatic enemies of the space of chairs and tables that wound around the conference room? What of us who had no interest or desire to be part of a non-profit structure? What of us who didn’t want their money?
What did come out of that space however and many other spaces in the days that followed at the AMC and after, were the gathering of mamis. That’s right, mamis not mommies. I even had to correct the spelling as it was written on butcher paper at the front of the room because for the last almost 12 years (carajo I feel vieja) it has been made clear to me that my experiences are not the ones being blogged about or written about in books. After all it was my mami’hood, with all the sex/gender/race/class/language issues you can pull from that word, that started me seeking others like me through blogging and organizing on the ground.
One of the first exercises I did in my small caucus of three, that included bfp and Noemi, was what do we need in order to do our work, which we translated as what do mami movement’s need. Here is a list of what I came up with:
not speaking for people
multiple points/ways of entry
What does your list look like?