Monday, June 7, 2010

Day 2...the first official day of boot camp

The weather has been gorgeous...and what better way to start the day than brunch in Central Park? A week ago, Amy Richards and Jennifer Baumgardner were names on the book they gave to the graduates at ODU. Today, they are colleagues.
From all over the country feminists gave their click moment when feminism became integral in their lives. Some were gradual, some were specific. Some from progressive families, some from patriarchal ones. Feminism comes in so many shapes and forms and the journey comes in so many colors. That's the beauty of feminism and humanity - when there is injustice, it crosses all boxes.
I am officially the oldest "student". Staying in a hostel is an eye opener in coming to terms with one's comfort zone, the progression of life and one's comforts. From 2 fluffy pillows at home to one that equals a bunking in a room with 3 other women that is the size of the smallest room in my house...this is a crash course in hostel living. But being so exhausted the springs on the mattress disappeared once I fell asleep to the constant doors slamming shut. The chorus of languages and accents in the common area is beautiful...and just like the sounds in the dream I had a week ago.
I can do this....
Back to today...the journeys of the fellow feminist run the gamut of our ages.
Similar to a school field trip, we collectively walked to our seperate morning workshops.
Mine was the Sex Worker's Project within the Urban Justice Center.
They provide services, legal and social, for those marginalized. The SWP specifically provides legal and counseling assistance for sex workers. They produced an amazing publication of their study and illustrate their work within this debated field.
Sex work is the third wave hot topic as porn was for second wave feminists.

What was heartwarming to me was hearing the stories of how these women came to work for this organization. Mostly by interning...(free work does pay off!!!) their journeys showed that what is in your heart can become your life's work. Now all I have to do is find what part of my heart I want to pursue. It rocked that their bathroom was an all gender bathroom. What was smart and something I wouldn't have thought of is that the doors go all the way to the floor. How progressive, and wonderful and needed. I ran through the dialogue in my head of those that are against all inclusive bathrooms and I think that this is a space for great discussion. I understand the privacy wanted while one is doing private business but can't this be a time where there can be dissection to the protest? What is represented by the negativity in having shared space? Food for thought...

After a sardine can ride in the elevator...

We met up with everyone at Babeland...a wonderful progressive sex shop. Women-owned, they are sex positive (which is a redundant term..IMHP) and have the philosophy that regardless of your gender (and they acknowledge ALL genders) that there is the availability of pleasure.

Street vendors are awesome. (No pic due to starvation...imagine a gigormous gyro in aluminum whil watching New York traffic fly by)

We met collectively at the International Women's Health Coalition. Audacia Ray (had read about her work in Bitch magazine but didn't know it was her) led our discussion on sex workers and showed her film on sex work and India. As a former sex worker, she gave first hand perspectives on this often misunderstood sector.
Dinner was lovely in the basement of the hostel...with Shelby Knox.
Great discussion on the new generation of feminism, activism in all communities, necessity of sex ed...
"There's nothing wrong with you, there's nothing wrong with her, there's something wrong with the system that makes you think there is" - Shelby Knox

I appreciate a feminist who is just herself, and real. There's isn't the need for pretension in being your part of making this world just. We are all the parts of a greater collective in making this space of ours better. In our own ways, we all contribute to make this world better...the people in my life uplift me, inspire me and keep me going on.
Now time to process and clear my mind for a full day of reproductive justive tomorrow. And queer activist literary readings. Le Sigh...

1 comment:

  1. This was beautiful! Thanks for keeping us up-to-date on all your experiences. I wish I could be there with you.