Rituals of Resistance – Sunday May 7th

Join us for Rituals of Resistance!

When: Sunday, May 7th from 12-3pm
Where:  Prospect Park – Great Lawn, Brooklyn

A community cypher on indigenous and ancestral forms of resistance.

The cypher will honor warrior women of Sacred Stone Camp, who will share traditions that ground them in the Mni Wiconi movement. Other offerings include how to use practical magic and creation as a form of resistance. Be a part of the conversation on Facebook for live updates!

Vibras NYC: powHER!

Peace fam! Please come through next week for a special edition of Vibras: NYC featuring an amazing line of creatives, artists, healers and more! We can’t wait to see you! xoxo the SCC

Vibras NYC is back in Brooklyn (for good!) & we’re bringing you a bada$$, fiery edition of powHER! On this night, we celebrate all of the women/womyn/trans/female-identifying warrior spirits in our lives, in our history & in ourselves! We will be raising funds for the warrior sisters out in Standing Rock (Nasha Paola + C.F. Garden). So…grab your amigxs, siblings, lovers, supportive men & join us for a powerful night!

Get your tickets here! 
Hosted by Loca Vibes Radio!!
Door Reina: Michelle Herrera
Music by DJ BEMBONA & Reddaughter
Performance by Zuzuka Poderosa
Photos & Video by Melanie Gonzalez
Visuals by Fefi of La Liga Zine, Bembona & Jihan
DIY Magia Station by Sister Circle Collective
Art by Ailyn Robles (@feministeando)
Live Art Installation by Dada Coz


Marginalization of Women: A Socio-Economic History Summer School Of Women’s Activism (SSOWA) NYC Session One

NEW YORK CITY: To the skepticism of most and to the dismay of some more, there are quite a few matrilineal societies existing today. The most publicized of all can be traced to the Khasi tribe in India, in the state of Menghalaya, wherein children take their mothers’ last names, the youngest daughters inherit the family’s wealth, and newly married men move in with their wives’ families under the guidance of their mothers-in-law. It’s a society that has not fought a war in 2000 years, and yet its strong women-centered tradition is pushing some Khasi men to rebel against it and assert their ‘natural right’ as men, as providers and protectors.

If a society such as this exists, and if such is possible, how come half of the world’s population, women, the source of humankind’s continuity, have become marginalized and oppressed, and had, only a little more than a 100 years ago, started to fight for their rights and claim their place in the world?

The first session of AF3IRM’S Summer School of Women’s Activism held on July 11, 2015 in Manhattan, tackled this question and discussed the history of how women have been subjugated, albeit in an insidious manner, through the advent of surplus production, leading us to where we are now socio-economically– the poorest of  the poor being women.

AF3IRM member and renowned novelist Ninotchka Rosca, who led the discussion, introduced the participants to the Goddess, who, for 250, 000 years, had ruled people’s spiritual activities as opposed to the male-dominated religious and spiritual dominations of today. The goddess was a fixture in ancient societies and was suddenly erased from history. This phenomenon stemmed from an overwhelming insecurity enveloping men during the time women invented agriculture, gaining the knowledge to grow and produce food, which had not been attainable before.

According to Rosca, approximately 10, 000- 15, 000 thousand years ago, “human beings bonded together mainly for the preservation of the species.” It was a binary setup: men hunted and women stayed home, not just to raise kids, but to domesticate plants and animals to supplement the food supply. These Neolithic communities reaped the benefits of this skill, women, the farmers, gained value “as they learned to exercise further control of nature.”

It was the invention of the plow in 4500 BCE, however, that led to the marginalization of women from food production. Women did not have the upper body strength to plow the land. This advancement gave birth to surplus food, which meant something of value, a commodity, giving birth to the concept of private property and hierarchy within these communities. Men who acquired the most amount of surplus food, in turn, acquired power. Though sidestepped by the plow, women still possessed valuable farming knowledge, and along with circumstances establishing the accumulation of food, they, unknowingly, also assumed the shape of property and commodity. Thus, the establishment of patriarchy.

The implementation of hierarchies in these societies resulted in restrictions on women’s sexuality and reproductive rights. Alliances were forged through arranged monogamous marriages and men were suddenly making decisions on how to utilize women’s bodies for child-bearing, pleasure, etc.  Rosca added that women as currency and as tribute became a prevailing perception that it led to a vicious and inhumane transaction that we now call trafficking.  Consequential to the establishment of private property, Rosca reinforced, “was violent restrictions on women’s rights.” No one could have predicted that “women’s work and women’s bodies could be disposed of by others,” Rosca said.

Justine Calma, also from AF3IRM, opened the discussion on sexism and intersectionality with activities that depicted how women are constantly portrayed as property- being sold, married off to men they hardly know-  even in popular media.  Calma pointed out that women-of-color’s struggles always come in intersections of gender, race, and socio-economic status among others.

Guest facilitator Veronica Agard  of Sister Circle Collective, discussed in-depth how intersectionality works.  “Intersectionality,” according to Agard, was coined by African-American feminist Kimberly Williams Crenshaw, bringing to light various factors affecting women-of-color’s everyday life.  Citing examples of how she personally encounters intersectionality in the form of cultural patterns and stereotypes, how discreet black women are accused of talking white, how her being a fan of the show Game of Thrones, known for sexist content, makes her navigate between resistance and innocent admiration, Agard succeeded in contextualizing intersectionality for those new to the concept.

Agard went on to touch on the ongoing violence against black women, of which police brutality is a main agency. AF3IRM NYC and Sister Circle Collective (SCC) joined the Millions March NYC a few months ago, following the deaths of two black men at the hands of the police. Chanting the names of the fallen black trans and cis women, whose names and the tragedies that befell them, have not been reported in the media, SCC and AF3IRM NYC were able to veer the discourse towards black women who also perished at the hands of authorities. AF3IRM NYC and SCC led #FeministsOnTheMove, an online and offline campaign that broke this disturbing silence. #FeministsOnTheMove helped turn the spotlight to these hundreds of women, to whom cultural stereotypes, gender and race had been a fatal mix.

The session closed with a workshop on documenting everyday sexism and other signs of patriarchy, which was facilitated by Calma, who is also a journalist. The participants were asked to answer the WHO, WHAT, WHERE, WHEN, HOW and WHY of their personal experience with sexism.

Summer School of Women’s Activism 2015

From our comrades at AF3IRM –

NEW YORK–SSOWA’s final session on August 1st features the study and discussion of commonality and differences in women’s struggles in five cultural contexts.

With a panel featuring human rights lawyer and activist Suzanne Adely of  Al-Awda New York, Palestine Right to Return Coalition and Arab-American Movement of Women Rising for Justice;  clinical psychologist Dr. Mayowa Obasaju of Black Women’s Blueprint, Radical Social Work Group and Standing In Our Power;  transmedia storyteller Thenmozhi Soundarajan of the Dalit Nation; psychologist Michelle Cervantes of  the Educational Assistance and Resources for the Latin-American Youth;  and a video presentation from Eastern Band Cherokee descent  Roslyn Dotson of the Tapwe Production, this session affirms AF3IRM’s commitment to transnational feminism.

AF3IRM NYC Chapter Coordinator Olivia Canlas, law graduate working with Foreclosure Prevention and with the weekly radio hour Asia Pacific Forum, will facilitate the session.  The intent is to establish commonality in difference, to recognize the specificity of how colonialism and imperialism have impacted women in different cultures and yet understand the common trend of struggle for liberation that underlies women’s histories in varying cultural contests.

For four Saturdays, starting on July 11 until August 1st, the Summer School of Women’s Activism will be holding sessions on the history, theory and practice of the women’s liberation struggle.  Registration is still being accepted at www.ssowa2015.eventbrite.com and fees remain at the standard $40 for professionals, $35 for students and unemployed;  $80 for institutional representatives and scholarships for those who’re truly down and out but enthusiastic.  All fees include reading materials and a light lunch for four Saturdays of SSOWA 2015.

Preceding this session, participants will tackle the issue of  Militarism and the Assault on Democratic Processes with War Resisters League National Organizer Tara Tabassi and AF3IRM NYC members Joan Ariete and Leani Auxilio who have first-hand knowledge of militarization.  The July 25th class will look at how militarism runs through relations between the US and other countries but also between the US government and transnational communities within its borders.  It will discuss the militarization of the policing of communities and local application of the so-called “war on terror” and the gun lobby.  Most significantly, the class will look at the impact on women, particularly transnational women, of this odious policy.

The July 18th class on Imperialism, Globalization and the Re-feudalization of Women will be led by Patricia Ramirez and Nicole Salcedo.  Ms. Ramirez holds a BA in Political Science from Hunter College and has worked for the Peruvian government in New York City.  Ms. Salcedo has grown up virtually in activism and women’s organizing in the Philippines.  The class will look into the re-definition of “work” or “jobs” for women under the intensifying class/race/gender division of humanity caused by imperialist globalization.  The class will look into the bifurcation of “traditional” slavery into labor and sex trafficking, and its separation from labor export and legalized prostitution which institutionalize historic women’s oppression.

The SSOWA opens on July 11th with  three activist-writers – Ninotchka Rosca, Justine Calma and Veronica Agard —  leading a comprehensive study of interlocking systems of oppressions against women which have made possible the continuing “vanish-ment” of women’s issues from public discourse.  The class will look into class, gender and race and how the concept of intersectionality functions in the tri-helix of women’s oppression.

Ninotchka Rosca is a multi-awarded writer and activist, a survivor of human rights violations under a dictatorship, and a pioneer of major advocacy concerns for women.  She brought the slogan “women’s rights are human rights” to the US in 1987 and has constantly engaged in creating space for the voices and presence of women of color in the global women’s movement.  Justine Calma holds degrees from Columbia University and UC Irvine and worked with Filipino-American and South Asian youth in California for seven years.  Veronica Agard is co-founder of the Sister Circle Collective and holds a degree in international studies and history from the City College of New York.  She did her research for her undergraduate thesis at the Centro de Investigaciones Regionales de Mesoamerica, in La Antigua, Guatemala.  She writes for The Grio, Let Your Voice be Heard, Mic and For Harriet.

Integrated into each class is an hour of practical skills training on how to recognize, document and respond to daily sexism.  A special workshop on pod casting will be conducted by Charlene Sayo of Ms. Represent.  Ms. Sayo is a Montreal-born, Vancouver-based blogger, commentator and activist.  She is the co-author of Canada: The New Frontier for Filipino Mail-Order Brides.  She  sits on the editorial committee of the Vancouver-based magazine, The Mainlander and blogs at The Huffington Post, and Open Salon. Her work has appeared in Accent Magazine, the Manila Times, the Globe & Mail, the Feminist Current, the Philippine Chronicle, BlackHeart Magazine, and Dessert for Breakfast, and in 2012, she was featured in the award-winning documentary Status Quo: The Unfinished Business of Feminism.

Scholarships are available for volunteers and the down and out.  The SSOWA compresses almost four years of gender studies into four Saturday four-hour sessions, starting at noon with a light lunch and ending at 4 pm.  Transnational women and the woman-identified are welcome. SSOWA administrators are also open to helping those in other locations create such a pop-up school.   For more information, please contact nynj@af3irm.org.

An Open Letter to the President of City College

Gender Resource Center Campaign

An Open Letter to the President of City College

May 6, 2015

President Lisa,

Today, on May 6th at 12pm, you were supposed to be present for a meeting, that you had called, with the organizers of the Gender Resource Campaign, the Undergraduate Student Government, and key members of the administration. This meeting was a culmination of our struggle to establish a Gender Resource Center for the survivors of gender-based violence on the campus of City College during which we were to discuss next steps in the creation of a physical space and the services that will be provided. This meeting’s date and time was moved multiple times, and despite the uncertainty and disadvantages that this has caused us, we are present here today. However, YOU have chosen at the last possible moment to NOT attend the meeting that YOU called.

Your decision to not go through with the meeting…

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Patriarchy in Activist Spaces II

ONE YEAR LATER – the conversation continues:

Patriarchy in Activist Spaces II
As we continue to grow from moments to movements: anti-imperial, anti-capitalist movements do not necessarily mean the politics of the participants are anti-sexist and anti-racist. How do we comfort each other and check each other in a community of activists united to bring down structures of capitalism, imperialism and colonization? How do we as women educate each other and support movements that may hinder our energy and collective power if there are perpetrators of the same oppression organizing together?

Join us as we facilitate a circle discussion where we address these questions and more!

***Allies are welcomed, but we encourage women of color, queer people, gender non-conforming people, and trans* people to join us!!!***

WHEN: Saturday, December 6th from 2-5pm
WHERE: The Ya-Ya Network
224 West 29th Street, 14th Floor
New York, NY 10001

A part of #16Days of Activism Against Gender Violence at CCNY
Support the Gender Resource Center Campaign
Defend and Restore the Guillermo Morales/Assata Shakur Community and Student Center