Cycles and Blessings

Peace Community,

We trust this note finds you well! It’s been some time since you’ve heard from us. As individuals, a lot of the core group has been developing and growing in amazing ways. We also name that you are growing and shifting too, and are grateful to bear witness to one another.

As some of y’all may know, the Sister Circle Collective had its first gathering on December 21, 2012. This day marks five years since that moment. Each year we’ve discovered and rediscovered our work and how it has taken varying forms, including and not limiting, herbalism workshops, farm days, writing workshops, venting sessions, celebrations, movement classes, cooking demos, protesting, political campaigns, and campus organizing.

Each time our work took on different forms, so did the the interests of the folks who steer this work. As folks have stepped up, others have stepped down and this level of knowing is one of the reasons you could argue how we’ve made it this far. Yet we’d be lying to you that process has not also been met with pain. That we did not met all the expectations that we had set for ourselves and each other, no matter how well intentioned. Or that were not harmful towards one another. All movement work is messy, no matter the outward appearance, because we are a reflection of the collective.

In sharing these reflections with you, we want to emphasize that there is a need for the collective to stay true to one image in particular – the Phoenix. A symbol of creative energy and beauty, the Phoenix is also a symbol of the power of death and rebirth. At this stage of the game, we are naming that this is a time for the Sister Circle Collective to be reborn. We also name that we invite you all to be a part of that structured process with us.

Creating that structure, including how to accurately foster leadership development so that the collective is sustainable, is our primary focus in 2018. Hosting simple, monthly circles in a community space or home will be our secondary goal. You may catch members throwing down in conferences or events on their own though, and we hope that you’ll share events with this community as well! We’re happy to share out information to this network and support in as many forms as possible.

In the teachings of Octavia Butler, if we are truly to move from a place of understanding that honors God as change, then the SCC is blessed to have changed as much as it has. It will continue to change and grow, but with the guided practice of staying true to our origins. No matter how you’ve shown up in this collective, please known that you are seen, you are loved, and you are appreciated.

New Moon and New Years Blessings,
the SCC

Advertisements

What’s Next?

Dear Community –

Peace! Happy New Moon Blessings and (almost) First Day of Fall. 🌑🍁 We trust this message finds you well. As the last few hours of the Summer wind down, we wanted to say thank you to everyone who we’ve met along this past cycle, and share some updates.

First, we’re super grateful to be presenting at the Decolonize Birth Conference this Sunday conjured by Ancient Song Doula Services, alongside powerhouses like Ashe Birthing Services and Sacred Vibes Apothecary. We’ll also be hanging out the Trade/itions – Honoring African Spiritual Traditions event with the Caribbean Cultural Center on Saturday.

On the heels of a season filled to the brim with offerings, you may be asking, “when is the next circle?” The honest answer to that is for the first time in some time, we don’t know.

Somewhere between the corner of always wanting to respond to community and self evaluation, we as facilitators need to step back and check in with our intentions. To not only ensure that they are aligned with our goals, but to make sure that we have an articulated vision of said goals. So that we can be the best support network/space/community that we can be, and not half ass anything we do because of these capitalistic ideals of being “productive.”

earth forgive us
before we learn to apologize
see us whole

– adrienne maree brown

All of these contradictions in mind, we hope there will be at least one circle in the Fall. In times like this, particularly for Indigenous people and of the Black and Latinx Diasporas, it seems like the very Earth is purging itself. It’s preparing to shed and wipe away anything that no longer serves her, and this has tangible consequences for the people we love. We will continue to share information on how to support relief efforts for the Caribbean and Mexico in the weeks ahead.

As the SCC moves towards being 5 years old, we are planting a seed through sharing this message. We are also shedding ideas and perspectives that no longer serve us so that we can honor the fact that we are not the same group we were in 2012 so that we can make way for who we can be heading into 2018. We hope to have more information on process and how folks can be a part of this collective rebirth in the months ahead. If this journey sounds like something you’d want to be an active part of, let us know.

Until the next gathering, we love and appreciate every single one of you reading this.

Wholeheartedly,
the SCC

 

Women’s March: the Day After

Women’s March: the Day After
by Natalie Peña

On Friday at work I frantically began to think what I would do this weekend. All week I had talked to my patients about owning their bodies, reminding them that the choices they wanted to make with their bodies are valid, and that they are the person who can know their body with the intimacy to heal. I decided I needed to write my ideas in red.

16179793_10155834738392575_7073680497585694878_o

As a AfroLatina Queer feminist I am use to talking to people the difference between multiple types of feminism. I am use to being uncomfortable in rooms of white women who are also feminists and I am often triggered with polite patriarchy. I don’t mean by holding doors and not saying thank you, I mean highly literate men suddenly being interested in the women’s struggle and not picking up book like they would if they wanted to learn about anything else. But today am beyond uncomfortable, I am motivated by all the women who would be marching but are not for various reasons and the women whom will March and go back to their non-political lives.

Women and POC deal with so much shit everyday, that being said, I am so happy for all the folx who had a chance to scream and yell and tell people to fuck off, because historically there have been few spaces to do so. Fortunately for me this is something I do daily (with the support of my fierce ass sisters). Working in Reproductive Justice my day-to-day is asking patients how they arrived at the clinic and how I can help them. Everyday I meet 10-15 women and on some days 3-5 men who have made reproductive choices or would like to make reproductive choices that are require medical attention or medical facilitation. Therefore, the Women’s March on Washington seems like where I would want to be as a feminist who spends her days navigating sexual choice, family planning and sexual health literacy.

In the end I decided not to March. I decided I would not March for liberal feminist ideals. I decided I will not March for Hope, which is what many activists and organizers have created today a sense of hope for women and the future. The youth that have reminded us not to be afraid of Trump. For our immigrants rights activists, our water protects our uteri protectors this nation has failed you and one March will not change this. For our Muslim women who spoke today and reminded us of what is at stake for us this March will not protect you and your families. This is obvious, but these parade politics share the illusion of political power.

From a Facebook perspective, people watching the March could see commentators on this live feeds of DC stating “women already have rights, what are you arguing about?” This act of being oblivious is to me, the lowest tier of misogyny, but to many Americans this is where they are at. I agree that we must meet people where they’re at but rights are bullshit if not enforced by the state. What women don’t have is political power ! But that is not what people are demanding today, which is why I’m ranting.

For many women today is symbolic AF. Protesting the president, and this administration for some folks is about racism, living wages, sexism and reproductive access. Mobilization for these issues are great but each of these without the other futile if there is no end goal.

But can we ask ourselves why did it take this to get here? How many “rights” must be taken away for us to arm ourselves to protect our bodies?

Teaching our children civil disobedience is great and for many a monumental moment, but for some it is as far in the political sphere that some women will go, and for many who organized this March getting bodies on the ground is a great feat.

It is capitalism and imperialism and this nationalistic now fascist regime that is killing us, it is the nice police officer protecting himself who’s killing us, it is the woman who decides that that other women who need emergency services should have known better who is killing us, and the feeling of being on the streets among your peers is great when it is used for action, but by itself does not do anything.

For other women and queer folks who have been doing this work for a long time is it just another day. And for people who are not willing to continue this work, it is a day for many liberals to feel good about their participation in a parade. So you could say you were there.

But what happens after? When the police is still killing us, #PlannedParenthood still being defunded and millions of people will lose access to healthcare, we are still being deported?
16143053_165570930597854_253611701292949042_n
#Nastywomen (Hillary supporters) does not compare to poor woman, to black woman to undocumented women in this country and empowerment is great but does not directly build political power for these women but it does allow you to say pussyfoot without blushing. Women deciding to be vulgar break binary barriers, cool, do what makes you feel most empowered.The most marginalized women are still doing all the things they have today. These speeches do not change their circumstances.

But I am asking you to envision what will!

What can you do after today, how will we continue to organize to liberate our people.

 

 


Suggested Reading: “I’ll pass on “Unit and the Women’s March,” “Why I’m Skipping the Women’s March on Washington [OPINION]”  

Wade

Our core sister Veronica Agard recently wrote a piece that shares her journey as she heals from long-standing trauma. Please read this with care. The original post can be found here


And when there is a promise of a storm, if you want change in your life – walk into it. If you get on the other side, you will be different. And if you want change in your life and you’re avoiding the trouble – you can forget it.  – Sweet Honey in the Rock

It’s been said that when something is hard to write, chances are that’s exactly what you need to write.

If that’s the case, then I should have wrote this years ago, but I’ll start six months ago.

In January, I wrote a love letter to myself on the different healing methods I was exploring. Since then, I stuck with capoeira the longest. A constant test of my limits and comfort zone, prioritizing my health opened up pathways and conversations that otherwise wouldn’t happened.

A few weeks ago, during a freestyle session, a friend challenged me to this, “as reflective as you are, I want you to think about why you’re struggling with just playing.” And I was struggling. Capoeira inherently is taught to throw you off balance and push your limits, but the goal of this particular session was to just be, and to just play. Yet the idea of being completely free stirred up a long standing part of my story that I’d been trying (and failing) to ignore.

This essay is another love letter, but it’s also a response to that question, a testimony, and might get a little messy.

It’s messy because it’s painful and because I’ve known the answer to that challenge for what feels like lifetime.

A lifetime because nothing goes away until we’ve learned the lesson or gained the insight that we were meant to receive.

Displacement of pain is not healing. When we take on someone else’s hurt, or we set the hurt aside and do not confront it and feel it in its fullness and complexity, we do not allow the wound/trauma to truly heal. Healing takes time, and sometimes the process of healing is more painful than the initial hurt itself. Be patient with the process of forgiveness, of growth, of betterment, of rebirth, of re-creation. – Jana Lynne Umipig

When I was eleven, I was molested – and there are people who have known me for decades that have no idea. Family too.

Eleven is such a critical age, but particularly in my case as this was when I had just started puberty. At a time when I should of been getting to know the young woman I was becoming, I did everything in my power to hide. I felt silenced because this was someone in the community, and even though I told my mother, I never reported it. I wanted it to be over and tried to gloss over the pain.

My mother and I saw them one day in the local mall with their daughter and I felt compelled to shed my skin – that’s how badly it was crawling. They smiled and asked how I was doing as if nothing had happened. As if I wasn’t told to “keep it a secret.” As if my mother wasn’t prepared to go to war for me on the spot and cause a scene.

I went from a girl who was unapologetic about the space she held to someone who barely made eye contact when speaking with others. From free flowing and moving through ballet, to not training or doing any movement work until fifteen years had passed.

As it turns out, I was not the only one that been harmed by the same individual, as they were brought up on charges during my junior year of high school. I thought about calling, but thought that my trauma wasn’t “as bad” as the others who they forced into ongoing cycles and years of abuse.

In hindsight, I realize now that the vast majority of the “relationships” I entered in high school were toxic because I was ignoring my trauma. I was struggling to grasp that cycles of abuse run rampant and are systemic. An epidemic.

When I got out, and went to college, I started to understand how deep these cycles are. I gained the language to interpret what I was going through in organizing communities and healing spaces. And what a privilege it was. The transition to get to the discovery that I am not defined by that moment in time may be a conscious effort for the rest of my life.

The Gods decided that I needed a reminder to continue to make that conscious effort.

To continue to be a warrior for my life.

To be comfortable with the fires that I’ve set around me.

To learn more about my shadow, where that unapologetic little girl has been chilling for years, waiting for me to turn around.

To embodied in my power, but check my ego.

To let the love that is expressed to me truly land.

To wade all the way into my truths.

Our friends, loved ones and families often serve as mirrors, and I’m blessed to say that in the past six months, they almost blinded me. The light they gave back to me scared the shit out of me because it made me turn around to find an eleven year old version of myself giving me our trademark side-eye. I am that light. Half way into twenty five, this is my truth.

I couldn’t handle my own glare and the shadow that it cast. Now I’m working on embracing it. This is my litany for survival.

Update – #SCCTurns3 Bazaar and Open Mic!

Peace Community –

We hope this message finds you well. We’re only two weeks away from our #SCCTurns3 Bazaar and Open Mic! We are truly grateful for the many blessings of building, sharing, and healing with each other since 2012.

Here is our long-awaited update on the big day. Be sure to share the flyer and event page with friends and family!

—-

DETAILS:

#SCCTurns3 will be taking place on Saturday, December 12th at Mainchance (120 East 32nd Street). There is a suggested love donation of $5 at the door and food will be available by the plate for for a sliding scale of $5-7. We strongly encourage guests to bring cash.

We there will be goodies for sale during our community bazaar from 5-7pm, followed by an open mic from 7-9pm and a dance party to close out the night. The celebration is an intergenerational space that is open to all genders,spirits!

Accessibility – The event will take place on the second and third floor. While the building does not have an elevator, we will have someone from our team assisting people navigating the staircase.

Directions – The closest trains are 6 to 33rd Street, B/D/F/M to 34th Street, or the N/R to 28th Street.

CALL FOR CO-CREATORS:

Calling all the healers, artists, musicians, poets and more – there is an opportunity for you to co-create the magic of the #SCCTurns3 celebration!

Share your magic during the event as a vendor, performer or both! Vendors can sell crafts and services with the community  during the Bazaar (5-7pm). We ask that vendors donate five percent of their earnings to the wonderful space, Mainchance.

Performers are welcome to showcase their magic at the Open Mic to represent the creativity of our community and serve as a safe space to share stories of struggles, resistance, magic, and the beauty of people of color.

Let us know how you would like to add to the space by filling out this form. Please keep in mind that space is limited, so be sure to fill out the form as soon as possible.

—-

We are so blessed to celebrate this milestone with you and look forward to seeing you on the 12th!

 

With gratitude,

the Sister Circle Collective

#SCCTurns3 Celebration and Open Mic!

3 PEAT!

Save the date for the Sister Circle Collective’s third year anniversary celebration and open mic! There will be music, dancing, and much more!

BACKGOUND:
Founded in 2012, the Sister Circle Collective is a transnational feminist grassroots group of color that grew out of the Transnational Feminisms course taught by Dr. Griselda Rodriguez. Almost three years later, we’ve continued to put theory in to practice by creating a culture of understanding, compassion, and resistance.

DETAILS:
When: Friday, December 18th starting at 6pm
Where: Mainchance, 120 East 20th Street, New York, NY 10016

This event is open to all genders and will be a sober space. Bring the kids and tell a friend to tell a friend!

<><>CO-CREATE<><>

CALL FOR ARTISTS:
Want to share your gift of song, dance or poetry? Contact us at sisterscirclecollective@gmail.com to help conjure this space!

CALL FOR VENDORS:
Have goodies you’d like to share with the community? Drop a line at sisterscirclecollective@gmail.com and let us know what you’d like to offer.

See you soon!
‪#‎SCCTurns3‬ ‪#‎CircleUp‬