BEYOND MERE SURVIVAL


rainbow at the AMC!!!
July 22, 2009, 6:34 pm
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beautiful rainbow outside of the AMC conference 2009 in detroitDSC02556



CR10! critical resistance
September 30, 2008, 2:55 pm
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wow. i got back today from oakland and the critical resistance conference, and i must do something to organize my thoughts of the past few days, because it feels like indigestion. there are so many layers to the conference: the workshops and process of learning from each other, the meeting of new people, and the inevitable presence of the city. i feel energized and inspired, but also confused. being in that space for the past 3 days, i come home much more hazy about my space in the “movement” than i expected.

part of it is simply that my experience is different. i have only been in this country for a small chunk of my life and i have a hard time feeling any sense of belonging. one disappointing thing about the conference was the persistence in which people seemed to need to enumerate their labels, in every single interactions. there was actually a person in one of the workshops i facilitated that said just that at the beginning of their comment: ” i am gonna put out there all my labels, so you all understand where i am coming from”. but does that really help? it doesn’t help me. and it doesn’t create a space to let people be the complicated human beings that they are, but only occupy a certain restricted amount of boxes.

another element to that is the impossibility to choose. should i think of myself as italian, or a woman? is my experience with poverty more important to claim than my experience with sexual assault? what about parenthood? disability? i can’t do that, i can’t pick and choose. nevertheless a lot of organizing seems to be centered around an identity, or one common trait to a group of people that pushes them to emphasize with each other, and be motivated to create a change. i have always felt at the edges of identities, never really fully belonging to one.

i can’t even understand where i stand with something as fundamental as race. my skin is fair, but i grew up in italy feeling not part of the white world at all, with a sense that being Italian was not the same as being white. i have vivid memories of traveling north to europe and the reality of my nationality being a source of embarrassment, scorn, and right out hate. then i moved to the US where the continuum of race is very different, and i can’t quite find my spot. i feel little ties to white culture, but i claiming to be a person of color also feels unfair.

the conference was humbling, because i was on two panels, oneĀ  about alternatives to state responses to gender violence, and the other on monstrous masculinity, and both panels had people that i admire, and look up to, and that have being doing amazing work for a long time (mimi kim,sara kershnar,
)which was daunting, but really made me question what i am doing and how i could do it better.

i know that this town is lacking alternatives to the criminal system, that accountabiliy is too often just equated with jail time, and that even in my own group of friends i see sexist fucked up behaviors all the time. it’s exausting to even think about it. after all is said and done, the conference over, and i am back at my kitchen table, the one thing that stays with me is one sentence, from a nervous young woman that took the stage for the closing speech “this ain’t no time to get tired”.