Sunday, August 30, 2009

The C-Section

For V.M. who gave birth to a healthy baby who the state immediately took away charging cruelty and neglect due to her choice not to have a c-section.


(words used in the post-appeal court decision confirming the ruling)


clerk copy credible

custody concession

child-protective contraction



critical cut

care completed


colleagues conceded

consistent counsel

certify copy consent


clear convincing comprehended


control compliance consent


conduct contends

concepts constitutional

citing crisis clothing color

caseworker cleared

claim care


case confirmed

concepts committed

condone conclude confront condition

cognitive competency

college–educated consequences

confront uncontrollable combative

control care

critical cause







control care carefully


calling counsel calling

Charchman calling

Chancery calling Christopher

calling clerk counsel colleagues

calling Coleman

calling Collier

claim credibility

claim consent


class compliance

conduct control


consider coping


culpable criminal cruelty

countervailing color conditions

clearly conflicts

childhood cancelled


civil compelling

clarified concern

cooperate counsel

confirm cruelty

contact court

confront childhood

culpable civil

comprehensive cruelty

clearly conflict

central complaint

compensation cured



confer color

confer cruelty

confer contraditions

cut corpus

citing compelling comprehensive court-ordered complications


call cruelty care

call cruelty concern

chronic court cruelty

cause crisis

call concession




construct cocaine connection

construct criminal corpus

construct conditions

continuously comment

considering color

cannot contemplate



words nowhere/to be found

calm circle














crazy constellation

complicit complacency

complete confabulation

cement confusion

cloaked co-optation

common cattle

choke crush cram choice

clinical close-mindedness

cowards cowards cowards

crooked core

corrupt crumbs

cold closure

cornered contained

cloistered caged

cord chorus

congregation cry

challenge classism

capture conscience

cry courage

cry coercion

clap choir clemency

cry capable courageous champion

crucible carrying confidence

crucial chain

cry craving

cry creation


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Combahee Survival: Difficult

“We have found that it is very difficult to organize around Black feminist issues, difficult even to announce in certain contexts that we are Black feminists.”-Combahee River Collective Statement, 1977

What desire, anxiety, hope and love do you feel towards fellow members of your oppressed group?

What’s a time when you could not speak your political stance out loud? What caused that? What would it take to make your vision more speakable?


Send us your reflections about these questions at or leave a comment here!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Bring Lex to Your Campus, Organization or Community Center!

This year Alexis is using her best developed and most cherished skill-the art of the life-changing workshop-to raise funds to support her decision to spend the next year doing the MobileHomeComing an immersive intergenerational community documentation and education project based on her lust for back queer community! (It's weird that somehow I have to be consistent with a choice to talk about myself in the third person here, but I want to interject in the first person to say that your support means everything to me and it is evidence of the fact that it is possible to be a community supported, community accountable scholar in the 21st Century. :)

Bring Alexis to your campus, community center, to speak, or do a workshop that you will never forget!

at the Furious Flower Poetry Center!

at the Furious Flower Poetry Center!


Alexis is available to speak on a variety of topics and has tons of experiences speaking to audiences at elementary schools, college campuses, community centers, rallies, conferences and workshops. Click on the links for examples of public talks she has given in the past. She might particularly be a great person to complement your community or campus programming during Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Love Your Body Week, Celebration of Black Womanhood Week, Black Heritage Month, Women's History Month, National Coming Out Day, Mother's Day or throw tokenism to the wind and bring Alexis to speak and make any old day of the year a day filled with hope and magic!


Alexis's Academic CV



(Most workshops are available either as a one time session, a day-long intensive or a series within the NC Triangle or Triad areas. Get in touch about what works best for your community. Below are workshops that I have facilitated many times before. I can also design workshops specifically for your needs :)


Pressed for Knowledge: Alexis has facilitated this miraculous zine making workshop all over the United States in communities, on college campuses and at conferences. In this workshop participants (whether they are part of an existing group or are meeting for the first time on the day of the workshop) use the resources of urgency, homegrown brilliance and whatever's around to create their own publication in less than 2 hours. Alexis leads participants in a process of choosing an audience, a theme that connects their passions and a work structure and a group evaluation process for their own urgent publication! (NEW!!! Pressed for Knowledge is now available in a video version...where participants create and edit their own video in an amazingly short period of time!)

workin' on it!Grassroots Literary Production: Due to her experience leading the Pressed for Knowledge workshop and facilitating students at Duke University, UNC-Greensboro and the SpiritHouse Choosing Sides program in the creation of their own online and print collaborative publications, Alexis can train teachers, faculty and community cultural workers to make publication a part of their programming.

bhopal imageThe Activist Impulse: Similar to the Pressed for Knowledge Workshop, this workshops leads participants through a process of deciding on, designing and enacting and evaluating a site-specific direct action. Alexis has led this workshop with a class of Duke University Students, at the Ethnic Studies and the Activist Impulse Symposium at Columbia University, the Beyond the Box Conference at Barnard College, the Anarchist People of Color SouthEast Regional Conference and more!


(These workshops are grounded in Alexis's years of black feminist research and spiritual practice and are ideal for a community organization, school, department or group of people interested in how the theory, practice, poetry and lessons of black feminist practice apply to their present conditions)

audreLetters to Audre: developed in a special writing enrichment course that Alexis designed for Africana Women's Studies majors at Bennett College for Women, this workshop or series of workshops introduces participants to key works by black feminist lesbian poet, scholar, activist Audre Lorde. Participants create their own versions of/responses to poems and essays by Audre Lorde including Litany for Survival and The Uses of Anger. Participatns also write their own poetic letters to this literary feminist ancestor. See for examples. Alexis is also available to lead seminars for faculty, teachers, and community educators on Teaching Audre Lorde.

June_JordanLetters to June: Along a similar model as the Letters to Audre Workshop, this curriculum was developed for a feminist theory course at UNC-Greensboro. Participants will write their own "Poem About My Rights" and "What's Love Got to Do With It" and also engage some of Jordan's lesser known and unpublished pieces. Alexis is also available to use her privileged access as the first researcher to view June Jordan's archival papers to lead seminars on Teaching June Jordan.

lorde_oldLitany for Survival: The Poetics of Community Building This writing and movement workshop, designed in collaboration with Ebony Golden starts from the grounding point of Audre Lorde's Litany for Survival and leads participants through a process of analyzing the poem for themselves, using theater of the oppressed methodologies to demonstrate what survival means for them and creating their own praise poems towards the survival of their own communities. This workshop was debuted at the Brecht Forum in New York City with an amazing response.

45hamiltonIn Your Hands: The Depth of Legacy: based on a spiritual experience that Alexis had of recieving and writing down letters from chosen, (and uninvited!) black feminist ancestors including Fannie Lou Hamer, Nayo Watkins, Toni Cade Bambara, Octavia Butler and her own grandmother (see the letters and the video documentation of the process here) this workshop is designed to facilitate participants in listening for and to the legacies of their own chosen traditions. Alexis will facilitate a disucssion of some of the insights in the letters she recieved and each participant will leave with a plan and a way to make space for their own insights.


(these workshops are designed to keep community members, community organizers, students and teachers ALIVE AND WELL with full access to their love for themselves, each other and their inspired purpose!)

Photo 16Habit Forming Love: This workshop shares the gifts of a 21 day process in which Alexis sought to learn how to love herself, her partner and her community better and to train herself in online video production and distribution. Available as a one time workshop or a skills building series, this workshop will allow participants to use new media technology to deepen and activate their love for themselves, their chosen family and their communities. Browse Alexis's video project here.

alexis is audre lorde againMother Ourselves: Created in collaboration with Zachari Curtis for the Gumbo Yaya Sister Circle, and inspired by Audre Lorde's essay "Eye to Eye," this workshop provides participants with a safe space to examine their thoughts about the meaning of "mothering," and allows participants to explore what it might mean to nurture, teach and transform themselves. In this workshop we work in partners, listen to our bodies, use mirrors and talk about the affirming and difficult process of reflections linked to our varied experiencs with mothering.

4864_92087517797_541817797_2162853_7570725_nSustainability for Organizers and Activists: The workshop, designed for (and with) the organizers and visionaries in Critical Resistance, is about ENDING ACTIVIST BURN OUT!!!! Remembering that we, our bodies and our spirits are the most important resources for change, this workshop facilitates organizers in identifying the resources that keep them inspired and practices that can keep/get us well. Every participant leaves with their own visible reminder of their own wellness insights!


(These workshop are ideal for a community organization/project/coalition at a stage of inception or renewal.)

-2Dig: Grounding Community Transformation in Local Resources

Based on Alexis's poem dig, this workshop is designed to get community members in touch with the secrets, issues, and resources in their own communities and to build a shared analysis of those resources as a guide for their community projects and alliances. Each community will leave with at the very least, a group poem, new clarity about their resources and projects that connect and align their existing resources. The "dig" exercise has been enacted in Greensboro, Miami, Asheville and Gainesville as part of the Grassroots Media Justice Tour.

wishful thinkingWishful Thinking: Vision and Actualization Based on Alexis's poem in honor of black women and survivors of sexual violence in her community and recorded as a track on the SPEAK! CD this workshop leads participants through a meditation about their desires for their local communities and communities of affinity. Participants will leave with a community wishlist and individual affirmations. To see some of the results of the version of Wishful Thinking facilitated with the Speak Media Collective at the Women and Action in the Media Conference see

Support the Work:

(all proceeds go towards Alexis's work on the mobilehomecoming project and do not include travel and accomodation. Priority will be given to institutions in Lex's home region of the North Carolina Triangle and Triad areas.)


Colleges and University-$1000 for lecture or poetic performance ($2500 for a lecture or poetic performance, Q&A and an additional classroom visit)

Community Center/Non-profit- $200-300 for lecture ($500 for lecture and workshop)

Autonomous Community Spaces (independent bookstores, churches etc.)- $100 for lecture(with the possibility of just passing the hat if we can also have publications for sale)


( each workshop will result in a publication/poem/major accomplishment for participants to keep and for the sponsor to be proud of!):

Colleges and Universities- $1000 ($3500 for a series)

Community Center/Non-profit- $300-500 (discounts for smaller or rural orgs, talk to me) ($850-1000 for a series)

Living Rooms/Kitchen Tables- $100 or gather your people, pass the hat and have some yummy food on hand and I'm there!!! (maybe I was a travelling black feminist preacher in a past life...)

All suggested prices are really suggested. Get in touch. (

We can work something out.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

First Ever Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind PODCAST!!!!


Check out this FIRST EVER PODCAST as part of the BrokenBeautiful Press educational campaign "Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind." Black Feminism LIVES by every means necessary.

What does it take to survive a year like 1979?

This first podcast is about the year 1979 and how the world, and black feminism began and ended in some crucial ways that year. With the election of Ronald Reagan, the Boston Murders, the Atlanta Child Murders and the Greensboro Massacre all attacking the the lives, minds and spirits of black women 1979 was a crucial year. This podcast focuses on how Audre Lorde, Alexis DeVeaux, June Jordan and Barbara Smith reach(ed) across time and space to transform the meaning of survival. (And there is some good period appropriate and anachronistic music too!)

download to your itunes here:

Please leave comments here!

p.s. Sorry about the moments of outburst distortion. A sista is clearly super exuberantly excited about black feminism and promises to stay a little further away from the mic on podcast number two! :)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Motherful: Liberation as a Reading Practice

"The Silent Revolution of the Domestic Worker" Nikki Giovanni, 1975
"Throughly Black Feminism" interview with Barbara Smith, 1983
"An Interview with Audre Lorde," Joseph Beam, 1984
It's A Family Affair: The Real Live of Black Single Mothers, Barbara Omolade, 1986 (Kitchen Table Press, Freedom Organizing Series #4)
"Adolescent Pregnancy: The Perspective of the Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers, Khadijah Matin, 1986
"A Press of Our Own: Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press" Barbara Smith, 1989
"Knowing the Danger and Going There Anyway," Cheryl Clarke, 1990
"Brother to Brother: An Interview with Essex Hemphill," 1991
The Black Back Ups, Kate Rushin, 1993
"The Fight is for Political and Economic Justice," Barbara Smith, 1998
"Transferences and Confluences: Black Poetics, the Black Arts Movement and Black Lesbian-Feminism, Cheryl Clarke, 1999
Erasure, Percival Everett, 2001
Erzulie's Skirt, Ana-Maurine Lara, 2006
The Fullness of Everything, Patricia Powell, 2009
"Reproductive Technology, Family Law, and the Postwelfare State: The California Same-Sex Parents' Rights "Victories" of 2005", Anna Marie Smith, 2009
"Race, Gender and Genetic Technologies: A New Reproductive Dystopia?" Dorothy E. Roberts, 2009

In the 1970's and 80's the Sisterhood of Black Single Mothers, an organization created by and for black single mothers, answered the media blitz, and intra-racial debates about the pathology of the "fatherless" home with a poetic question that reframed everything. Fatherless? They ask, Why not Motherful?

Brilliant brilliant brilliant. That one question is also followed up by their innovative programming and their creation of community support systems led by black single mothers, and black single fathers who were inspired by their model! Refusing to define black single mothers, regardless of age as a void, a source of darkness and the end of the world (as people sitting in congress and on war on poverty turned welfare reform boards were indeed insisting) this group of black single mothers made a poetic space for the obvious truth. Black single mother's themselves are the greatest resource for black female-led families. Only a black single mother knows what a black single mother needs. Black single mothers are experts. Act like you know America.

In a moment (right now) where CNN and Essence Magazine (ala Marry Your BabyDaddy Day!!!!) and black radio (Micheal Baisden just said the other day that "real women" need to step back and let a "real man" lead in their families. Yesterday!!! On August 4th 2009) are still selling the narrative that a black woman is incomplete without a patriarchal structure I want to raise the question again. Why not Motherful?

But actually I know why. Corporate media cannot acknowledge the fullness that single mothers, young mothers, mothers of color, co-mothers, grandmothers bring to our families because consumer capitalism is NOT HAVING IT!!! If we acknowledged that young, queer, poor, working-class, disabled, single, and racialized mothers are perfectly good at love and perfectly brilliant at supporting and sustaining life even if (or especially) they decide NOT to be bullied into a c-section by know-it-all doctors, how on earth would we get oppressed people to buy so much stuff despite their negligible disposable income? How would we get people to feel so inadequate about their their whatever"lessness" maybe it's "worthlessness" that they give up on the messy delicious sustenance of honest relationships between people and turn to the refuge of value by proxy...buying cool stuff. Because my people aren't dumb you know...and the only way you get brilliant people to act competely in opposition to their own interests is through a concerted effort to trample their self-esteem and believe that they will be loved. Why would maybeline pay Essence Magazine so much for their adspace if black women were not killing themselves trying to be straight, bouncy and clean enough for some perpetual marriage without which their life means nothing?

No no no. Motherful is dangerous, like the fulness of the erotic, like "no mirrors in my nana's house," like telling little black girls that they are smart. You stuff. Danger us.

And of course the state doesn't want no Motherful propaganda neither. No way. Even though it would totally save billions of dollars to support single poor and working mothers in their efforts to sustain their families instead of pathologizing them for not being able to do the impossible perfectly every second and just waiting with drool and glee to take their children away...just waiting with glee to lock their children up for childlike misjudgements, just licking its lips to the tune of fatherless....the state knows the danger of a motherful household.

What would it look like housesful of mothers, biological and chosen mothers, co-mothers, and mothers from next-door raising amazing children together. Proving the fact that marginalized, young, mothers of color can do anything together...imagine them proving that...right in front of the children. You might get a whole generation of children who are not supposed to be powerful who believe that they are. A whole set of mothers who organize to build and support education and free food and free healthcare in their communities. A whole generation of folks who realize that the state needs them more than they need it and that they are in charge. Nope. They don't want that.

Beware the motherful household.

And the certainly don't want young brothers and sisters like me and my siblings walking around proclaiming proudly that every thing we accomplish with our brazen badass brilliant selves was enabled by the fact that we were raised in a motherful household.

Nope. They don't want no Motherful propaganda.

I guess I have some t-shirts to make.