The Dudley Randall Print Center and Broadside Press
Celebrates Women’s International Day/Month at Broadside Press Poets’ Theater on Sunday, March 17, 2013 from 3:00 pm – 6:00 pm in the Grounds Coffee Haus, lower level of Student Union at the University of Detroit-Mercy campus on Livernois and McNichols. Poetry For And About Women. Open Mic & Discussion. Read poems by your favorite female poet!
Feel like writing ? Need a theme? Get facts on women and girls here: http://www.internationalwomensday.com/theme.asp
Event is free. Enter campus on Livernois side. Parking is to the right and left of the guard station. Also visit our Facebook page for updates.
Soul-I-tude (soul’ i tude), noun
1. alone not lonely, esp. when single. 2. exhibiting the behavior of being delightfully content and fully alive while being unmarried and un-attached. 3. having achieved self-reconcilation, possessing the attitude of self-respect and self-love, realizing Divine Peace can be achieved with each breath, i.e. at-one-ment.
4. an inner- moment or place where only Love exists.
His body is a breathing landscape.
His neck falls into a valley from the
Cliff of his chin, moves into
Two mountainous shoulders and
Hills, covered with grasslands. Or,
There may be dunes, a barren-smooth
Desert filled with black sands.
Stomach dips and dives and finds a lonely
Stonehenge, covered by moss-covered boulders.
Bering Strait, a
Latent fountain lies within –
Waiting to explode onto her neighboring mounds and mountains.
She envisions twin pillars of stone flesh,
Sharp curves meshed to form shadows at dusk,
Hinged to continue contours and ridged ridges.
And with his extremes,
Palms branch fingers made to caress
Skin, venturing her lands.
Discovering perfect imperfections with most intrigued hands.
Copyright 1997. All rights reserved.
An Auction Almost Happened in 2013
I have a previous engagement already scheduled. I had entertained the thought to stop in to participate for a while. That was until today’s announcement that an auction [of people] would take place during Black History Month. Though I’m sure it was planned for a good cause and for fun [as a fundraiser], I find such an activity, during this month or any other, disrespectful and insensitive [to the collective staff and customers, which are majority African American]. ~ An email written to leaders of an organization I won’t publicly disclose.
Sitting at an all all-team meeting, I listened intensely to the president’s prideful presentation about the great strides the organization has made since last year. Locally and regionally, the organization’s customer-base increased and employee turnover decreased. Overall, it seems to be doing very well. Taking copious notes, I felt hopeful. Promises of a new and positive direction always excite me. An engaged participant, I couldn’t help evoke the Call-Response.
The second part of the agenda was turned over to another leader who began explaining more good news: starting with Black History Month, new activities had been planned to engage customers, their families, and the organization’s teams in order to raise money for its financially needy customers. I considered the announcement to be a major milestone. Since the cessation of McDonald’s Black History 365 campaign, Black History Month promotion seems a distant memory.
Several minutes into this presentation, I heard the leader say the word “auction.” Though referring to a featured activity for the organization’s Valentine’s Day party, I felt an energy shift. My gut told me we were headed in the wrong direction. Hoping to be wrong, I responded,
‘And what’s being auctioned?!’ I said, praying the “what” would not be a “who.”
“Hold on…,” he said.
Prayer…unanswered. Intuition…correct. I suspended my inner-talk in a thought bubble above my head as a third presenter explained the auction details. I heard…
managers…directors…will be auctioned…your servant for a day…
Auction?! I heard my voice of disbelief transmit through someone else.
Plans had been made to auction people during Black History Month. This was my correlation. Disturbed, I wrote the email.
My train of logic was soon questioned for clarification. In reply to my email, the president cancelled the activity with an apology, not directly to me: they meant no ill intent. Really? I accept the non-direct apology and the swift resolution. Still, I stand by my words…
Auction: a public sale in which goods or property are sold to the highest bidder. When people are being sold, it’s slavery. A parody thereof, even for a FUNdraiser, is despicable. What is there to not understand?
Before leaving the building, and during the weekend, colleagues thanked me for being “our voice.” We were all thinking the same thing. I was just the one who spoke up – rather worded up.
I’m dumbfounded that of us nearly 80% of African Americans in the meeting no one used their words in defense of what is right. Some, I imagine, chose not to use their words, verbal or written, because of their security in the organization, reputation, desensitization, ignorance (i.e. ignoring the matter), or lacked courage. Me, I couldn’t not write the email.
In response to my psycho genetic memory, transmitted to me from my enslaved ancestors, nourished by fiction and non-fiction slave narratives – especially since my high school reading of Broadside Press author Margaret Walker‘s Jubilee, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, an American Slave, and autobiographical transcriptions of former slaves archived by the 1930s Works Progress Administration’s Federal Writers’ Project, which included Walker’s works – I wrote the email to defend my Black Female heritage.
We have survived the defamation, disgrace and heartache of being stripped bare naked, exposed, paraded, degraded, prodded and inspected on auction blocks to be sold from our children with our identities defiled. With great strides made since slavery, Jim Crow, Civil Rights, Women’s Rights, and other Rights, we must now, in 2013 and beyond, continue to secure our Rights-full position, maintain and raise our self-esteem, and exercise our Rights when wrongs present themselves.
Being lackadaisical about a parody of a slave auction [even for a FUNdraiser] is wrong; it lowers our esteem and allows others to continue to disrespect us. Moreso, it threatens our collective mental health. Collective PTSlaveryD we must now overcome.
I will unapologetically use my words to defend our Rights to continue our healing – I may have only one time to do so. I will write any wrong I witness, can prevent, protect and to correct. And, I encourage you to do the same. We must use our words. At home, in our communities and at work.
My words halted an auction this Black History Month. What will your words do this February?
Keepin’ it Black Bottom™
I am a Writer. I think I must’ve been a scribe in a previous life. I write all types of everything. Everything I experience becomes a writing prompt. ~ Out My Write Mind
The meaning of my name, articles, poetry, prose, research papers, essays, TV commercials and print ads, captions, press releases, sections of grants, health insurance communications, annual/business reports, bios, obituaries, visions and dream premonitions, love letters, prayers, apology letters, episodes of depression, tragedies, forgiveness letters, plans for my spiritual path, plans for my and my daughter’s future, life’s milestones, joyful and parent-child moments, naughty secrets, scripts for difficult conversations and job interviews, numerology charts, feelings about single parenthood, grief and losses, Friend of the Court notes, cognitive writing activities, letters to Money, my life as a Detroiter and granddaughter of Civil Rights and Women’s Rights and the Blacks’ migration from plantations to plants…I’ve damn near written in all formats. This blog is a first. Let’s see how this goes.
Whether financially, spiritually or creatively, writing sustains me. Writing is my life. Writing saved my life.
Out My Write Mind (OMWM) started in 2010 as Facebook posts to relieve myself of the goings on in my mind that were building like a pressure cooker. Like journal writing that I’ve done since high school, writing in the World Wide Web’s open space has been therapeutic. Some have said that I’m crazy and out my mind to reveal such intimate thoughts, especially when posting about depression and suicidal ideations. Not that I wanted to commit the deadly deed: I simply wanted to stop the maddening series of life traumas and troubles I was experiencing. What I call my my “Job Moment.”
As a result of a series of material and family losses, like Job in the Bible, I’d plummeted into a severe depression after losing my job in 2009 (as a Communications Specialist/Writer…wow…right?), then my car, then my house, then three relatives while I was still grieving my father’s and grandfather’s deaths that occurred 2007. I wanted to stop existing from Life in the same way my dad, loved ones, job and home stopped existing for me. I welcomed the darkness and slipped into it. And, I’m glad for it. I stopped fighting the depression and learned to sit still so I could reboot and refresh. No longer a Job Moment, I referred to the state of depression as my Womb and conceived Out My Write Mind.
I’ve often said, “Facebook saved my life.” It gave me another space to communicate publicly. I’d grown tired of performing spoken word, which I’ve done sporadically since 1994. OMWM gave me a Purpose and boosted my writing esteem. I will unashamedly admit that “likes” from friends, family, and even FBFs I’d never met, profited me emotionally, especially after losing my job as a Writer. I was really devastated by that loss.
What I hadn’t expected was that OMWM would inspire and comfort so many other people. Many have inboxed me to thank or applaud me for sharing real, non-cliche´ and relatable experiences and insights about chronic depression, stress, grief and anxiety — and confusion. My Job Moment mirrored a lot of lives shaken up from this recent economic depression as if experiencing PTSD after an earthquake. For many of us, the floor did crumble where we stood. The “security” of our homes, jobs, pensions, savings and all that identified Self were grave losses that we’re struggling to recover from. Some pray themselves through their struggles…I write.
I also didn’t expect Christopher Rutherford and Uri House, President and Board Member of Broadside Press, to invite me to post OMWM onto Broadside’s website. I am forever honored, humbled and grateful to be an extension of Broadside’s legacy and to continue my journey as a Writer. I’ll forever be amazed about this writing adventure.
During our first official meeting, I asked Chris what inspired him to do so. He said it was because I reflect what Broadside has always been about, “uplifting our voice…and telling stories of the human condition.” So, tell of the human condition and lift my voice I will.
OMWM will feature various forms of writing: my personal therapeutic journal entries, news and reviews, poetry and prose, prayers, commentary, journal writing how-tos and inspiring — and sometimes wild and crazy — Out My Write Mind thoughts about depression, mental health and wellness and Detroit sustainability.
Writing has always sustained me financially, spiritually and mentally. Now, I share my passion with you. Please join me by posting your comments, advice, news and a journal writing meet-up soon.
I’d like to extend my deep and humble gratitude to my literary midwives:
C. Imani Williams, my Sissy for life. You are the big sister I’ve always wanted.
Charlene “Hustle Diva” Green, my Writing and Life Coach and dear friend. I’ll always be your Aural Sasss.
Adela Nieves, my sister in healing arts and co-builder of some cool intentional communities.
Ber-Henda Williams, my cheerleader, sister poet and marketing maven. The Power of Girlhood begins with women like you.
My beautiful daughter Arian who I hope to grow up to be, creative, beautiful, sassy, savvy and wise. You’re going places Butterfly. Spread your wings…it’s time to fly!
Reshounn “Sun” Foster
To identify, cultivate, and promote the talents of a large cadre of writers and to foster within our community a passion for African American literature and culture. Since its inception, Broadside Press has been rooted in the Detroit community, but devoted to developing the talents of writers throughout the African diaspora. In recognition of its successful efforts, many individuals, community organizations, and funding agencies have supported its programs over the years, making it possible for Broadside Press to continue to play its extraordinary role in the world of literary production.