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Good Asian Drivers Blog About QWOC Week

Good Asian Drivers post about QWOC Week!

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QWOC WEEK IS COMING!

If you are queer and you live in Boston, it’s nearly impossible for you not to have heard of QWOC+ (Queer Women of Color and Friends). Be mindful of the plus (+); it’s one of the only groups in Boston that organize social events that draw out all members of our LGBTQ community regardless of gender, sexuality, and race. Which really is something that we have been needing here for a while. I’ve been to QWOC+ events and I have to admit, they were a blast. And it’s nearly impossible to get me to leave my house.

That’s why QWOC+ Week is going to be kind of a historical event. Never before has there been a week-long multicultural pride festival for LGBTQ people of color anywhere in the United States. Literally, all of these intersecting communities (Truth Serum, Fenway Community Health, Center for New Words, Queer Asian Pacific Alliance, MadFemmePride, MIT, PFLAG, Spectra, and more) came together to put together the program this week, which includes discussions on health services, relationships, and identity, artist showcases, film screenings, outings, beach parties, bar crawls, you name it.

In fact, we’re going to be performing at the artist showcase on August 6, at 7pm for the QWOC+ Spoken Word Showcase at Middlesex. Kit and I will be doing some pieces early on in the night as well as at the end, so come support all of our queer artists of color and allies, and stay till you’re all danced out.

All this is to say that we love QWOC+. We love them, love them, love them. They’re doing amazing work that is essential to building our community in Boston. So let’s party!

QWOC WEEK PRESS RELEASE (Aug 4-10)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:

QUEER WOMEN OF COLOR AND FRIENDS (OF ALL COLORS AND ORIENTATIONS) UNITE!
“QWOC+ Boston Fills A Gap In The Local LBGTQ Community—With A Week Long Celebration”

Boston, MA August 1, 2008On August 4, 2008, Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) will launch the first ever, first annual QWOC WEEK, a multicultural pride festival for people of all backgrounds. Intended to increase visibility for LBGTQ people of color and be a rich celebration of pride and authentic diversity for all New Englanders, QWOC WEEK is open to all: from older African-American lesbians to immigrant college queers; from Latino gay guys to transgender pacific islanders; from political allies to non-profit health educators; this festival is open to everyone.

True to its motto – “Diversity Speaks” – QWOC Week 2008 will provide a rare opportunity for the Boston LBGTQ community to connect, collaborate, and “speak” on a variety of race-related issues such as inter-racial dating, queer friendships across the color line and the challenge of providing health services to culturally layered queer identities. With the diverse lineup of events, including a highly anticipated spoken-word/performance show, a Friday night film screening, and a family-friendly day in the park, QWOC Week 2008 promises to be a fun and memorable celebration.

But, more than just fun and games, QWOC+ Boston takes pride in its proactive year-round outreach to under-represented members of the queer community, including other organizations that promote awareness of a variety of issues and/or align with their goal of increasing consciousness via social-networking and community-building. Collaborations with key organizations that promote diverse, inclusive, community-building (such as Black Pride, Multicultural Aids Coalition, Queer Asian Pacific Alliance, MadFemmePride, and Greater Boston PFLAG) underscore the festival’s varied event lineup bound to appeal to a variety of community members.

Working to bolster the local queer scene and provide friendly, authentic community for queer women of color and friends since 2006, Asala talks about the importance (and “fun!” she says) of multi-racial queer community:

“It’s been most rewarding for me to meet the range of incredible, inspiring women I have met over the past few years, and from all over – the non-profit sector, healthcare, the service industry, music, art, academia etc. My circle of friends is so diverse, so progressive, and just so much fun because of it. So, my biggest wish for QWOC Week is that people make these valuable connections.”

DATES AND TIME: Monday, Aug 4 through Sunday, Aug 10

LOCATION: Various locations in Boston, Cambridge, and Jamaica Plain

For more information about QWOC Week, visit http://www.qwocboston.org/qwocweek.html

Press opportunities: Press passes to events and interviews with members of QWOC+ Boston will be granted to a limited number of journalists. Interested parties should contact Adora Asala, (617) 848-9593, adora@qwocboston.org

About QWOC+ Boston

Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) is a grassroots organization founded in 2006. Run by a diverse group of more than 15 Boston-area LBGTQ community members, QWOC+ Boston is creating a sustainable QWOC+ movement in New England and is committed to providing open-minded, authentic and diverse spaces for LBGTQ women of color (and their friends/allies) in the Greater Boston area.

For more information, visit www.qwocboston.org.



QWOC Week Schedule of Events



Monday August 4th at 7PM

Complex Identities: The Challenge of Providing Health Services to LGBT People of Color

Featuring special guests:

Lula Christopher (Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative), Jacquie Bishop (Director of Community Initiatives, American Diabetes Association), Reverend Irene Monroe (Activist, Scholar and Public Theologian), and Lisa Moris (The Network La Red, Dudley Pride Coalition)

MIT (Bldg 14E-304), 77 Massachusetts Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02139

Cost: FREE


Tuesday August 5th at 7PM

Diversity Speaks On Love, Friendship, and Family: A Discussion on Interracial Relationships within the Queer Community

Co-sponsored by Center for New Words’ “Feminism and Dessert” discussion series

YWCA, 7 Temple Street Cambridge MA 02139

Cost: FREE


Wednesday August 6th at 7PM (Doors at 6:30PM)

QWOC+ Boston presents “OUTSPOKEN: A Queer People of Color Spoken-Word and Performance Artist Showcase” in collaboration with Truth Serum Productions

Co-sponsored by Queer Asian Pacific Alliance

MIDDLESEX LOUNGE, 315 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA

Cost: $5


Thursday August 7th at 7PM

Back to Basics Afterwork Social: Summer Breezin’ at DBAR

Co-sponsored by MadFemmePride

DBAR, 1236 Dorchester Avenue Boston MA

Cost: FREE


Friday August 8th at 7PM

Lights, Camera, Activism: Movie Night featuring a Film Screening of “Dangerous Living: Coming Out in the Developing World”, “U People”, and “The Donor”

Hosted by MIT Women’s and Gender Studies’ “Chicks Make Flicks” Program

MIT STATA CENTER (32-155), 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

Cost: FREE


Saturday August 9th 1PM – 5PM

We Are Family: QWOC+ Boston Day in the Park

STONY BROOK PARK (Opp. Orange Line T-Stop), Jamaica Plain MA

Co-sponsored by Greater Boston PFLAG

Cost: FREE


Saturday August 9th 9PM – 2AM

FUSION “BRING AN ALLY” PRIDE CELEBRATION

A Multicultural Pride Celebration for Men and Women of all Colors

Brought to you by Spectra Entertainment

9PM-10:30PM Grown ‘N’ Sexy Reception hosted by Black Pride, Multicultural Pride Coalition, MOCCA, and People to People: Sistah Summit/Sister Insider

UMBRIA, 295 Franklin Street Boston MA 02110

http://boston.going.com/fusionparty


Sunday August 10th at 12PM

Queer Women of Color and Friends Beach Getaway

Hosted by the QWOC+ Boston Organizers and Volunteers

Revere Beach, Revere MA

QWOC Week Schedule of Events

QWOC Week is a multicultural pride festival for LGBT people of color.

We’re putting on this week for the first time in Boston and will appreciate your attendance and support; it is so important that we ALL – boys, girls, younger, older, lesbian, bisexual, gay, trans, straight, and allies – come together as a community to help make this week a success and guarantee it for years to come.

Join the movement. RSVP at any one of our sites, leave some enthusiasm, then spread the word!

Website for Updated Event Details (Pretty Flyers Up!)

PLEASE NOTE: The most current calendar of events will be made available on our website. So, be sure to double-check event details before you head out.


Monday August 4th at 7PM

COMPLEX IDENTITIES: The Challenge of Providing Health Services to LGBTQ People of Color (A Panel Discussion)

Join Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) for a panel discussion and OPEN community discussion on the health challenges facing LGBT people of color, featuring special guests:

Jacquie Bishop (American Diabetes Association)
Lula Christopher (Boston Black Women’s Health Initiative)
Reverend Irene Monroe (Harvard Divinity School)
Lisa Moris (The Network/La Red, Boston Area Rape Crisis Center, Dudley Pride Coalition)

@ MIT Bldg 14E-304, 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

Tuesday August 5th at 7PM

“Diversity Speaks On Love, Friendship, and Family: A Discussion on Interracial Relationships within the Queer Community”

Co-sponsored by Center For New Words “Feminism and Dessert” discussion series

@ YWCA 7 Temple Street Cambridge MA 02139

Wednesday August 6th

QWOC+ Boston presents “OUTSPOKEN: A Queer People of Color Spoken-Word Artist Showcase” in collaboration with Truth Serum productions

Join us for an evening of spoken word and performance, featuring performances from:
Good Asian Drivers, Kit Yan and Melissa Li (Boston)
Letta Neely (Boston)
Judah Dorrington (Boston)
Ignacio Rivera (Brooklyn)
Kay Barrett (NYC)
Shante Paradigm (Brooklyn)
Co-sponsored by Queer Asian Pacific Alliance (QAPA)
Doors at 6:30PM. Show starts at 7PM.

Resident DJs spinning old school R&B, soul, and house music from 9PM onwards. Stay on to mingle, socialize, and dance!
@ MIDDLESEX LOUNGE 315 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

Thursday August 7th at 7PM

Back to Basics: Summer Breezin’ at DBAR

Co-sponsored by MadFemmePride
@ DBAR 1236 Dorchester Avenue Boston MA 02136
Join Queer Women of Color and Friends (QWOC+ Boston) and MadFemmePride to commemorate the very first QWOC+ Boston event (and MadFemmePride collaboration) at Dbar in 2006! Yup, it’s going on two years, people!

This event routinely draws out a diverse, friendly, progressive, and fun crowd. Come on down after work in your three-piece suit, straight from a day off at home in your jeans and flipflops, or coordinated in purple with three of your best friends – we really don’t care just as long as you’re there.

Weather-permitting, the patio will be open.

This event goes from 7PM-11PM. But feel free to stay on afterwards for more socializing and dancing.


Friday August 8th at 7PM

Lights, Camera, Activism: Movie Night Feat. “DANGEROUS LIVING: Coming Out in the Developing World” and “The Donor”

Hosted by MIT’s Women and Gender Studies “Chick Makes Flicks” Program

@ MIT Bldg 32-141 STATA CENTER 77 Massachusetts Avenue Cambridge MA 02139

Saturday August 9th

1PM – 5PM:

Stomping the Yard: QWOC Day in the Park

@ Park Opposite Stony Brook Station (Orange Line)

Join Queer Women of Color and Friends and Greater Boston PFLAG (Parents, Friends, and Family of Lesbians and Gays) for a fun day in the park. Bring poetry/prose to share. Show up with a potluck item to place on the community food blanket. Come dressed for an active game of kickball. Or come with your favorite wing-person for some fun speed-friending. This event is all about community-building, family, friends, and celebrating the diversit
y within our community… together.

9PM – 2AM:

FUSION: The Official QWOC Week Saturday Night Pride Party for Men AND Women

Bring An Ally!
Brought to you by Spectra Entertainment
The Revolutions Takes Place @ UMBRIA 295 Franklin Street Boston MA 02110

  • Bring “Your” Allies! And be part of the revolution…
    • Gay manfriends, Straight girlfriends, Clueless Coworkers, Comin ‘Round Cousins, Supportive Siblings, Moms and Dads (Just Tell Em Before You Get There), Old College Roommates, New Open Flatmates, Too-Busy-To-Clubbers, Coffeeshop Friends, White Friends, Brown Friends…

  • Come UN-ARMED for much love, celebration, and pride in unity
  • Dress/Accent in “Purple” for solidarity in support of QWOC Week
  • Grown ‘N’ Sexy Reception 9PM-10PM

Oh, and did we mention… The First 50 people get in FREE!
BOSTON.GOING.COM/QWOCWEEK ADVANCED DISCOUNTED TICKETS AND RSVP

Sunday August 10th at NOON

Queer Women of Color and Friends Beach Getaway

Hosted by the QWOC+ Boston Organizers and Volunteers


The QWOC WEEK crew will be taking over REVERE beach for the festival’s final day. Weather-permitting, we’ll be getting some much-needed relaxation after the week-long festival.

@Revere Beach (Blue Line Accessible)

QWOC Pride During Pride

HAPPY PRIDE!

Looking back at the past ‘rainbow year’ (June 2007 – present), I can’t help but feel proud of all our work and contributions to the community; through QWOC+ Boston, MadFemmePride, and my peripheral affiliations with other like-minded groups, change is happening… There are QWOC walking around, being screened at the MFA, planning events in PTown, being seen

It all started last year with Optionz, the diversity pride party Femily and I decided we needed to have after such an overwhelmingly positive response to our “Unladylike” party at Umbria. It was clear that people were sick of the same old clubs, same venues, same kinds of people, and that the Boston queer scene needed a facelift. Where were all the queer women of color? Where were all the grown ‘n’ sexy, married-with-kids couples? Where were the STUDS? And since when were high femmes ostracized from lezziedom because they ‘confused’ people?

The state of the Boston scene was dismal, just dismal. And, in my humble opinion, the reason was because promoters were still running it. I still had to log on to Lesbiannightlife.com to find out what to do with myself every weekend. “Why?” I thought to myself, “In this age of web 2.0 social networking sites, free text messaging, crackberries and blogs, why am I okay with relinquishing social organizing power to THREE women?” Kristen Porter, Wendy Kelly, and Beth McGurr. Well-meaning they were, I’m sure, but the days of queers having no options but to go clubbing to meet other queers were over – or should’ve been. We’ve become much more than the rebellious, over-sexed, hot and sweaty clubbers the media makes us out to be, and our social scene should reflect that. Yes?

And, finally, it’s beginning to! People have house parties, organize wine-tastings, Obama fundraisers, nightclub options are not many but at least they’re always changing etc. And now, QWOC Week. Ah yes… stay tuned :o)

Hablando de Las Latinas (Continued): Dislocating Cultures

So many of my white American friends have never understood that when my parents come to visit that they of COURSE stay with me in my one bedroom apartment, and that my mother’s underwear will always be found hanging to dry in the bathroom. I know it’s funny, but that’s my life! When I was at MIT, my dorm head couldn’t wrap his head around the fact that when my siblings got out of school for vacation that they’d come stay with me in my matchbox of a dorm room. And, that if my parents had the money to come visit that summer, they’d book a hotel, but would always end up staying with us too! Crazy, yeah? I’ve found that situations like that are really hard for the average white American to understand. If you didn’t grow up poor, and you had the white picket fence and golden Labrador, ‘space’ was a right you acquired when you turned five, along with a play-themed room, which had a door that your parents had to learn to knock on to gain access to. Ha!

“Oh, stop the generalizing, iQWOC!” Well, if for the past eight years that I’ve lived here I hadn’t experienced looks of horror anytime I explained that my entire family usually stays with me during any given vacation/holiday period then perhaps my perception would be different. The fact of the matter is that – whether people want to admit it or not – if you haven’t had the immigrant experience, if you haven’t been dislocated from your culture in a new place, and you don’t even have family members (or even loud enough friends) that can say this, there are things about someone like me which are gonna be difficult to understand and/or relate to. Incidentally, it turns out that, of all the cultural groups that reside in the United States, Latinos are the ones whose experiences have most closely mirrored my own. Additionally, as I have come to identify partly as a “queer woman of color”, it follows that an even more specific subset of Latinos, queer latinas, most closely share my experience.

When I first arrived in New Hampshire for boarding school, the friends that I made instantly were from foreign countries – international students. I think most people would understand why that happened; we were all away from home, we could support each other, share our stories of culture shock, cook for each other etc. By the end of the semester, my group of international friends comprised mostly of students from South America. I honestly think that it was due to the fact that our cultures and general value systems were so close; family was the center of everything, and thus, your accountability to siblings, parents, grandparents… We talked about family and the differences we saw between here and ‘there’ all the time. Even the language barrier wasn’t strong enough to keep us from bonding (I was taking German at the time, not Spanish, but learned as we went along from listening to so much of their music – especially pre-crossover Shakira).

I’ve been asked a couple of times why (in place of Latinos) I don’t relate better to African-Americans/Blacks here, including people from islands like Barbados, Jamaica, Trinidad etc. Well, the fact is that those people living here (if, first generation) usually identify as American, which is still very removed from who I am and where I come from. I love to party with those groups hard due to the commonality in the music culture; bass and drums are clear signifiers of African rhythms. But, on the flip side, they don’t know what it’s like to live in a country where everything about your culture is made fun of (or pitied) ALL the time, and perpetuated negatively throughout the media, including to people who LOOK like you. Reggae and Dancehall have become part of the music in this country. Everyone knows and loves old Bob Marley songs, Buju Banton, Elephant Man, Sean Paul, Jay-Z, 50 Cent (even him!), and it’s cool to know their songs, dance to them etc. It is NOT cool to be African in the US, even though ALL of this comes directly from the culture I am so proud to be a part of. Rather, our art is routinely collected (stolen) and displayed in foreign countries as ‘mystical’ and ‘ancient’, while our music is viewed similarly to ‘strange’ foods from Asia, from a distance. Or worse, in some cases (especially when the songs are recorded in English), as a pitiful attempt to ‘copy’, and so ignored thereafter.

Language definitely plays a factor into this. Moroccan hiphop artists will tell you that even though their music thrives in the rest of the world, it has been poorly received in the united states, and any attempt to record in English is ridiculed (Hiphop in French and Arabic? Noooo). So, whereas most of ‘black music’ – Hiphop, RnB etc – and popular music from the Caribbean is readily accessible, and thus, accepted, because it’s in English, this is not the case with African music. They say that the core of culture comprises Art, Music, and Religion. And, none of these parts of Nigerian – or even African – culture, are available to me here. At least, due to the inter-linkage of history between Cuba, Mexico, and Puerto Rico (not to mention the influx of immigrants from neighboring South America), Americans are routinely exposed to Spanish-speaking cultures: bilingual educational policies, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Ana Castillo, Hilary and the Latino vote, Miami, Reggaeton thriving as a new genre… all these make it “cool” to speak Spanish and take Salsa lessons. And, before someone mentions “African” dance (as if we ALL dance in the same way all across the CONTINENT), even with that, as I mentioned before, the movements are usually viewed mystically, and placed within the Afro-Cuban religious context. It’s not REALLY my Africa they’re talking about.

African dance… That’s definitely another blog, for another day. My point is that since I have been completely displaced from my culture and work every day to find a place for myself in this country, I am more likely to relate to women in similar circumstances. Immigrant Queers – male or female – take the cake.

Queer Woman of Color, I am… but only here; this identity would vanish the minute I stepped unto Nigerian soil. But, even I am beginning to forget what identity would take its place… and even, what there was before.


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