Day Two of QWOC WEEK
I don’t even know where to start. I had every intention of blogging about my experience yesterday at the Monday Health panel, and talking about what it was like to sit there and listen to those beautiful, inspiring, proud, nurturing women speak to me. To ‘me’, as a queer woman of color in Boston. There were four people that had been given the space and time to address me and my concerns. That fact alone, and in itself would’ve felt warm and fuzzy enough to write about but the LOVE, and desire to guide/mentor that I felt radiating from the table was simply unmatched by any other sentiment in the room, at least for me.
I wanted to write about all of this. But after last night, quite frankly, I feel emotionally congested and choked up. In a good way. I am so moved.
It’s funny, as I started this week, I felt weary, and longed for an extended period of me time after this week was over. But after last night’s panel, I began to feel rejuvenated. This community organizing… it’s an addiction. I’m beginning to feel like Gladys, the plant that was unfortunate enough to belong to me while I was a consultant in a software company. I would travel for weeks on end, and return to see her dying, and wilted, brown from no sun or care. And then I would water her, and literally bring her back to life, only to leave again for an extended period of time. The cycle continued for about two years. It must have been so exhausting to be on the brink of death every two weeks! But I digress…
I am fully charged.
Tonight, the Center for New Words brought me back to life in a BIG way. Not only was I moved to tears to see all the interracial couples and friendships in the room, truly excited to be there and happy to meet everyone else, but I was moved by all the words… about QWOC+ Boston, about me, about finally having a space to talk. The constant words of gratitude I kept hearing reminded me that sticking to my ideals had won… QWOC+ had won the ‘hearts’ of people, not just their wallets.
So many people took it upon themselves to mention why they love what QWOC+ Boston does, why they support it, why it’s important to have, why they applaud me for doing it (which really made me embarrassed). Nevertheless, it was so wonderful to hear, especially after I had just been told by someone that these “key” people in the community don’t work with me… Interesting that the key people they mentioned weren’t key health advocates/providers, legal activists, other community organizers, or any other people working in pivotal positions required to sustain an entire community. They were business people. I see this now, and am relieved at the common thread (QWOC+ Boston isn’t a for-profit business and thus the conflict) but at the time, I did give into the insecurities that come with leadership sometimes. I did question myself… why couldn’t I work with any of these people? What was it that I was doing wrong? I was actually beginning to spend too much time thinking about why I couldn’t compromise our ideals for the sake of other people profiting!
But during the interracial relationships discussion I remembered why I’ve always been picky about collaborations and alliances, and why I’ve chosen to work on building relationships with some people/organizations over others. There were a number of reasons that came up. But the biggest and most important one was that there are some people that will align themselves with your vision and so work with you towards it. And, then, there are some people that won’t. They don’t see the ‘bigger’ importance of sticking to a vision that’s inclusive and authentically welcoming to all, above feeding off some sort of manufactured rivalry. So, all they did/do is repeatedly get in the way of it. What I saw last night could not be described by my words, nor recounted in any blog I could create. All I can say is that there was magic. People felt it. And, in fact, I’m resolved to posting people’s words on the qwocboston site/blog during the week. The world needs to see that there are women (and men!) that believe in the work that we’re doing.
I have been fortunate to work with true allies: Center for New Words (twice now in one year), Socializing for Justice, the Fenway, Black Pride, Queer Asian Pacific Alliance, Good Asian Drivers, and so many wonderful people who believe in me and what I’m doing. I am choosing to focus on these alliances, and these collaborations, because their love will always re-energize me and pull me forward.
I got this letter last night, from a straight feminist man (author of “G Spot”) that sat in the crowd. I have to share:
Hi: I just wanted to express my thoughts tonight about one of the best CNW’s “Feminism and Dessert” Workshops I have ever been to. I will never even think of touching a women’s hair, unless I am personally involved with her. I will not consider myself as not being a (racist) in the sense of not being prejudiced; Nor will I ever imagine what it must feels like being a woman of color and how she feels about growing up her whole life and how others may perceive her as beautiful (because of her pigment of her skin.) or just being born a woman of color.
I plan to write about the events tonight in my Feminist Web Blog “My G Spot” http://mygspot.typepad.com/ and mention your organization on face book, Code Pink Boston Meet-up and even NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts because I feel more women need to know about the tremendous work you are doing this week and all year long. I was really moved and touched tonight by the compassion and caring spirit everyone shared with each other and just because I felt like a minority (as being one of the only two males in the room; the big guy by the window wearing the glasses and my sandals with the painted toenails-another story all together) I didn’t feel uncomfortable and didn’t feel I didn’t belong there tonight, thank you for that.
I would love to volunteer for your organization in some capacity but I hesitate because I am just a straight white male who loves feminism and supporting/working for women’s right and women’s cause. Nevertheless, if you feel that I could be of service to your organization in the near future please let me know. I am so happy I had the chance to meet so many warm and charming women tonight and just sat back and enjoyed myself and all it’s pleasantries. Thank you again.
Peace and Love
Anyone who knows what QWOC+ Boston stands for knows exactly what I’m going to write to this beautiful person. If you get it, you are welcome. And you do, so you are :o) That plus in QWOC+ Boston’s name is where all this love comes from, indiscriminately. And people like you make it possible.