Day 4 Brooklyn Bound…
Wednesday, June 9: Media and Job Training Day…
::: Initially I was going to my Bronx adventure to retrieve my phone but we realized we didn't have quite enough time since FedEx opened at 9:::
The Virginia Girls (Amy, Katie and I) are venturing on our own to Brooklyn. The three of us met on the first day and have roomed together, along with our sojourner Sarah. Katie is a wonderful feminist from JMU. On our way to the Broadway station, we passed Casa Frida Kahlo. No time to stop today but definitely have to find out what this was all about!!!
Not quite sure where we are going, we made it to the Brooklyn subway station on Jay St. Friendly New Yorker guided us in the right direction, couple of turns, a few minutes to get there, one wrong turn, and then we were at the Ms. Foundation. Intense security check, name badges and off we were.
We met with Suzanne, Kara, and Melissa to discuss their journeys in working in feminist organizations and Melissa’s specific journey to grad school. Their insight was great and refreshing to know that there are many journeys to a goal. As with all the discussion on paths, I’ve found that when you trust your own instinct, what is in your heart prevails. Sometimes it takes the right person whose path you can learn from to come your way. As Amy and I are finding out, the Women’s Studies department at ODU is more amazing than we knew as we compared our stories to the ladies in camp. When the panel discussed business cards, Amy and I were among a few that presented theirs. Katie did a wonderful job creating them for us…Thank you!!!
Our lunch was also at Ms. Foundation and we listened to a panel of great speakers…Julie Scelfo from the NYTimes, Courtney Martin from Feministing, and Veronica Chambers from Glamour magazine. WOOHOO!!!! The best thing about their stories was how organic the process was…there’s always the ideology that there is a straight and direct path to your dreams and more often than not it isn’t the case. Hearing that from feminist voices is so great.
There was a guy standing around with a bright red shirt that said “I heart Feminists” Come to find out, he’s Vinnie from Vinnie’s Tampon Case (http://www.fredflare.com/diary/vinnie.php). The story is cool.
Off to the Feminist Press. Tillie Olsen is close to my heart as she was my first feminist representation. Her work was amazing though limited because she was a working mother and she acknowledged how the many roles we have can limit our work, our art and our creativity. To be in the organization she had a critical role in was great. The executive director, Gloria Jacobs, joined us alongside her staff and interns; she was truly interested in our discussion on new technologies and the potential of replacing in your hands texts. Her presence reminded me of Dr. Anita Fellman at ODU who was critical in my feminist journey. To connect with the publishing house who produced so many of my women’s studies books and whose work I’ve referenced countless times was very cool…too cool for words.
As if this day wasn’t already chock full of goodness, we ventured onto BUST magazine, a publication I adore. Debbie Stoller joined us and once again, it was another inspiring story of how a collective, working for the corporate machine, joined forces. What was striking is how BUST started out as a zine…and now is an amazing voice for feminist thought. Debbie was frank and open in her discussion which I loved. There was a point where she was talking about negative feedback and while I can’t recall her very frank answer…it had the flavor of what the fuck ever. She says BUST is a celebration of women’s culture and change begins in culture. Rock On!
This grandiose day just keeps getting better as we made our way to the evening event. The subway was right by Bluestockings, a wonderful feminist bookstore. But first we had to answer to our hunger so we ate at the all vegan restaurant next door. Throughout the day we had a person from NPR following us and recording our adventures and she joined us at dinner. She is working on a piece for New Hampshire NPR but will have the podcast when available. Throughout dinner she interviewed us and her questions were spot on and very intuitive. She is definitely in the right profession as she was stellar in her questions. There is something intimidating about having a microphone in your face but hopefully I represented well enough. Dinner was amazing…
We ventured next door to Bluestockings and I was in love. Since I had been to Chicago’s feminist book store (and the nation’s oldest bookstore) I knew better than to look at any books because I would have taken them all home. I found a scarf of the woman’s reproductive organs that will now live in the women’s studies department of ODU. Postcards and buttons for my special feminists…and we collected for our journey to the gallery and tonight’s event. First, we finished up a conversation of an older man whose goal was to read every book at Bluestockings. Behind me was the shelf of gender non-conformity and I told him I wish I was there when he started reading that shelf. That started a whole conversation of Trans identities and what is beyond the binary…subject I love to talk about!
We made our way to Gallery Bar for the Feministing, Paradigm Shift and Soapbox happy hour. Very cool art space with very mod and hipster people. Most of the people throughout the week that we met and the fellow students were mingling and having a nice time. We felt the impact of our intense day so called it an early night.