The Silence of Our Friends

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Tashina General

Sadly the police have found the remains of Tashina General in a shallow grave on the Six Nations Reserve in Ontario. She was four months pregnant when she went missing on January 22 of this year. Pray for her family and friends.

Update: Tashina General's funeral was on Tuesday. May she rest in peace. It has been determined that she was strangled. An ex-boyfriend Kent Owen-Hill has been charged with her murder. Her body was discovered on land owned by Owen-Hill's father.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

The Best of WAM!

I started this post soon after the last two about WAM! I wanted to highlight the blogs of the women I met at WAM! and what they had to say about the experience. It appears that I won't be able to link to either BFP or Sydette's posts anymore since they have decided to leave blogging behind. I don't blame them and consider it a possibility myself some days. I am still sorry that I didn't get to honor their words in a small way before they left. I'm also adding a few WAM! posts that I missed the first time around instead of updating the first blog post.

I am also sorry that I haven't had the time to thank those who helped get me to WAM! in the first place. I have chronic pain from herniated discs in my neck and had a really bad flare up soon after the conference. I had been unable to sit at a computer for longer than about 15 minutes without being in terrible pain, so I didn't. I do want you to know that your donations were greatly appreciated, more than you can know since I had the chance to meet so many wonderful women who I only knew from my computer screen before. There is some money left in my paypal account, I had hoped to use it to go to the AMC conference in Detroit but that seems unlikely now. Instead I will be donating it to the women who are going. Again, thank you!

Now I will link to those who have written about WAM! that I missed the first two times around!

Roni has an update - WAM! - The Day After After :The Bad

Sudy's video of WOC at WAM! I'm at about 1:19 on the far left, I'm looking at and listening to BA (with my hair flopping in my face...yep I need to get my hair cut!), and Octogalore in the center of the frame. I think that is BFP with her back turned to the camera. The two smiling and waving at the end of the video are Lex and Nadia. Sudy also has a whole bunch of posts about the conference that covers everything! One, two, three, four, five, six.

Katie aka Wifey has her own blog. She has her WAM! Wrap-up in two parts, first and second.

Adele has a short post about WAM! and promises a longer one. And now here is the longer one! In the comments of the longer WAM! Recap post, Jill had many questions and Adele chose to answer them in a separate post, which is here. Also, in my last WAM! post I mentioned a WOC writer who worked hard on a project and was treated badly, Adele steps forward, she is the writer.

Octogalore's post about WAM!

Jill's (of Feministe) post about WAM!

Love this post by Jessica Hoffman.

Lisa Jervis and Debbie Rasmussen at Bitch Magazine have their takes on WAM!

Brittany's post on why she did not attend WAM! even though she lives in Boston.

This has nothing to do with WAM! I used to play my sons pokemon games for him to build up his pokemon so he could take on the gym leaders, so this gave me a laugh.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


I was excited to go to WAM! to meet all these women I have grown to love, and was not disappointed.

I warned Sydette/BlackAmazon that I would hug the stuffin' outta her when we meet, and she turned the tables on me! My hands were full so she hugged the stuffin' outta me! Then I met Sudy, Nadia, Wifey, Lex, BfP, and Adele. During lunch everyone was discussing their thoughts about the conference so far, and I was thinking, we need to have a video camera on Sudy at all times. She has the most expressions of any person, so you could see her going from joy, to surprise, to concern, to laughter, etc all in the space of a few minutes. And with the discussion going on, it would have made a great Femwatch video! Not only that, but Sudy wasn't saying very much but when she did say something it was always something humorous.

There had already been a few upsetting moments, like another older white feminist telling women to vote with their vagina, and that in the oppression olympics, sexism wins the gold compared to racism's silver. Yeah, Helen Thomas went there.

There was a completely fucked up thing that happened and I wish it was my story to tell, but suffice it to say, a WOC worked hard on a project only to show it to someone and have that person treat her badly. This isn't a matter of opinion, where this white woman just didn't like the project, she did like it, but let the WOC know that her work isn't as important or valued as the work of white women with which she is familiar. Hearing that story is the moment BA threw a chair and went looking for that woman. (At this moment Sudy is busy eating but looks up alarmed and says, "I hope she doesn't crush too many white women.")

As I said in my last post, I got something to say about Stata Center being the main building. Well...on Saturday afternoon Sudy scheduled a lunch caucus for the RWOC and surprise, surprise, the room that we were supposed to be in was double booked. They were showing a movie in the room we should have been caucusing in, so who do you think got first dibs on the room? OF COURSE it's the radical women of color who got shunted off to the side, and we were put in a completely different building. Not only that, but when Sudy went to ask the organizers what was going on, they argued with her, instead of checking on what she was telling them, they told her that it was impossible for the room to be double booked. Like she was lying to give them a hard time! By the time we got our room they had wasted 30 minutes of our 1 hour time limit to caucus, and because it was not only moved to a different room but a different building, any women who weren't already with us and wanted to caucus couldn't find it. After lunch we find out that We B(e)lo(n)g is in that same building, not the Stata Center. I'm surprised they didn't just stick us in a closet, except it wouldn't look good in their "diversity" pictures for their website. Yeah they sent in photographers and videographers to show the happy brown people. BlackAmazon said she could hardly bear it, every time she looked around there seemed to be someone with the hostile stare, or the curious stare, or the incredulous stare. She felt like she was on display and wasn't welcome as a human being but more like a specimen to study. But their hostility didn't stop them from taking their "diversity" pictures of her.

We B(e)lo(n)g was a room full of love and laughter and triumph over the pain and bitterness. It was meant to be interactive with all of us introducing ourselves and telling our wishes. There was some powerful, beautiful, and fabulous wishes. One young woman was from Boston and while I don't remember what she said verbatim her wish was something like, "I wish you could all stay here and we could do this all the time." I know what she means. Finally we are the majority, finally we are with women who understand us, and feel like we do.

In the final days before WAM!, Lex, Nadia, Sudy, and BA all got nervous about their session. Their fear was that white women would be there to disrupt and challenge, but it didn't happen. That was a huge relief. But there was also disappointment mixed with that. Of course white women were welcome as respectful observers and participants, but very few came. It meant alot to us that Octogalore of Astarte's Circus, and Jill of Feministe were there.

Later we decided we needed to decompress and just be, so we all crowded into my mom-mobile (I drive a minivan) and Sudy was the chauffeur. (I'd already gotten lost twice in Cambridge and I wasn't going to drive those crazy streets if I didn't have to!) We went back to Sudy's place and she and Adonis know how to make a person feel welcome. They took care of the bunch of us and made sure we were comfortable and fed.

While there I found out a little more about everyone. Nadia is beautiful and kind hearted, and comes alive when we're plotting and scheming. Really what I mean is if we were talking about planning projects and sharing ideas that was when she would light right up. Lex is intimidating and scary *snicker*, or so someone thought, but really if you look up love in the dictionary you'll find her picture there for the definition. BfP will talk forever if you let her. I mean this in a good way, there are no awkward silences when she is around, and she is knowledgeable about everything. It sounds like I'm saying she won't let anyone else get a word in edgewise, and that is NOT what I mean. If there was a lull in the conversation she knew how to fill it and always had interesting ideas and observations to share. Every one of us was joyous to be together, but I thought that Adele radiated happiness to be there with so many of us WOC bloggers in one spot. Wifey reminds me of a brilliant version of Drew Barrymore, she is even bubbly like her. There were no surprises with Sydette, she really is like the person you know from her blog. She can be bouncing with glee or furious when someone she loves is hurt and she is all brains! I've already described Sudy earlier, she is the actress from her videos, only it's not an act.

This has gotten way longer than I expected. So it looks like I will be writing another WAM! Report linking to all the bloggers I am talking about here and their posts on WAM! so check back later.

WAM! Round-Up

There are alot of people who are blogging WAM! so it's hard for me to know where to start! So I'll just get on with it.

I met Shark Fu of Angry Black Bitch and the name of her blog is all wrong. She was happy and engaging. Not only that but while describing her experiences blogging, you got the impression that she has alot of patience and hope. You want to sidle up to her and say, "Hi, will you be my BFF?" I like her post about WAM! because she doesn't just describe what happened there, she also talks about what she brought to the conference from her life experiences and what she is taking away and using in her work.

I met all three of the bloggers from Racialicious. It is such a cool thing to be able to put faces to the names of the people you have been reading and responding to online. Wendi and Latoya were both at We B(e)lo(n)g which was a very audience centered session, therefore I had a chance to see and hear more from them than if we had been at some of the other more lecture style panels. They were both excited to share their ideas and interested in hearing from everyone else. I also saw them later at the QWOC party and met Carmen there too. Unfortunately by that time of the night I wasn't feeling very well and was no where near the life of the party. So I didn't mingle as much as I should have. (I have a chronic condition that mostly gets worse in the evening, with unpredictable flare-ups during the day sometimes too.)

Wendi gives her impressions of WAM! at The Coup Magazine.

Latoya has more to say about it at Racialicious.

(Go say congratulations to Latoya, she is now an editor at Racialicious!)

Jen Angel at Aid and Abet has a post describing her experiences. (Update: I misunderstood something Jen said and made an ass of myself. I've removed that part because being an ass is embarrassing. Jen, I'm sorry about that!)

Amanda has a great photograph of building the conference was in, the MIT Stata Center. She also discusses her session on reproductive rights. I have more to say about that main building thing later.

Jennifer Pozner of Women in News & Media (WIMN) gives a description of her session on Strategies for Making Change.

A few bloggers are giving a more comprehensive look at the sessions they attended:

Roni, at Viva La Feminista, has some good posts describing the sessions she attended.

---WAM! Friday Recap

---WAM! - We B(e)lo(n)g: Womyn of Color & Online Feminism

---WAM! - FACT-UP Fact Check, Research, & Think Critically like a Radical Librarian

---WAM! - Sunday Morning Sessions

---WAM! - Sunday Late Morning Sessions

---WAM! - The Day After: The Good.

I met Roni at We B(e)lo(n)g panel, when she and Liza from Culture Kitchen tackled BrownFemiPower. Love hurts, man! I recommend BfP wears padding and a helmet like a football player when she goes to conferences.

Amber Rhea did a wonderful job live blogging the sessions she attended, with some amazing new software called Cover It Live.

---WAM!2008 Saturday

---Dacia’s Sex Work and Media Representation session

---WAM!2008: Growing Independent Media in a Time of Shrinking Resources

---WAM!2008: How to Get Heard: The Art of Strategic Communication with Editors

---WAM!2008: YouthSpeak! The Present & Future of Online Media & Activism

Jill at Writes Like She Talks also used Cover It Live to live blog the sessions she attended.

---Live blogging Helen Thomas keynote address WAM!2008

---Live-blogging Haifa Zangana, former prisoner of Iraqi regime, WAM!2008

---Live-blogging Creating Sustainable Media, WAM!2008

---Live-blog: Here We Go Again: Bad Stories About Women That Never Die, WAM!2008

---Live-blog: Analysis of Media Coverage of Hillary Clinton & Presidential Election, WAM!2008

Hugo has three posts, to round out his impressions of the conference.

---Helen Thomas and a Short First Night WAM Report

---Abortion, Media, Sex Work and Pink Polo Shirts: WAM Day Two, final take

---Final WAM notes, with some thoughts on changing attitudes towards male feminists

Kay Steiger has four posts describing her impressions

---Helen Thomas Misses the Mark (Thank you, Kay, for writing this post.)

---Haifa Zangana on Iraq at WAM!

---WAM!: Reproductive Rights/Justice Framework

---WAM!: Race in the Blogosphere

Vanessa at Feministing did some live blogging on a couple of panels

---Live Blogging at WAM! Breaking the Frame: Revitalizing and Redefining Reproductive Rights Media Coverage

---Live Blogging at WAM! Battling Backlash: Strategies for Fighting Back, Rising Above and Making Progress

Roy at No Cookies for Me also has a couple of posts about the people he met (Like the fabulous Nadia of No Snow Here) and his panel about online gaming.

---WAM! Report...

---WAM! session thoughts...

Oh I've got more. I'm saving my impressions about WAM! and more about the WOC decompressing and brainstorming session we had at Sudy's for my next post.