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    Reclaiming Yes!!!

    Radical feminist, artist, and media activist Alexis Pauline Gumbs calls herself, “the cybernetic dream of a one room black reconstruction schoolteacher.” She spreads knowledge, healing, and empowerment through web-based projects like MobileHomeComing, a traveling “intergenerational community documentation and education project” that challenges our culture’s heteronormativity, and BrokenBeautifulPress, which “lifts up black feminist practices throughout history and transformative community models in the present.” Gumbs was named an Utne Reader Visionary in 2009. Keep up with her at Eternal Summer of the Black Feminist Mind.

    Last night was the first session of the Beyond the Feel-Good Webinar on Sustainable Erotics of Community Accountable Scholarship.  And oh my goodness did we go beyond!  The Brilliance Remastered process never ceases to amaze and reawaken me!

    As Audre Lorde says in her essay Uses of the Erotic: Power of the Erotic, “We have been raised to fear the yes within ourselves…”  Not
    at all coincidentally when we are out of touch with that YES within
    ourselves we are also more easily manipulated, bamboozled and led astray
    by the external maybes of capitalism, especially within the academic
    marketplace.   Our first step as a community in touch with our
    collective erotic power, our passionate purposefulness and our deep love
    for our communities is to reclaim YES and affirm YES in each other. 
    Here is our group poem. Feel free to read along (best articulated
    through grunts and screams).

    Reclaiming Yes

    YES!!! to acting on the impulse inside

    YES!!! to defining the erotic as strength

    YES!!!to claiming what we know deepest inside us as KNOWLEDGE

    YES!!! brilliance remastered means brilliance unchained visible everywhere NOW!

    YES!!! to our deepest desires

    YES!!! to our power

    YES!!! to being love

    YES!!! to being me and not caring

    YES!!! to being embodied in our classrooms and not being ashamed of that eros

    YES!!! i tell my story. a black girl story without apology

    YES!!! YESSSS to not apologizing!

    YES!!! to facing fears

    YES!!! to living in the moment and embracing all it brings

    YES!!! to feeling even if it hurts

    YESSS!!! to feeling

    YES!!! i will create

    YES!!! i will write. i am an author.

    YES!!! my body knows and share its magic in my dance

    YES!!! music and poetry, I will write and sing, play and work and dream a new world with you

    YES!!! i will find the language to write within my community and not simply at my community

    YES!!! to flying free and teaching others to soar

    YES!!! to knowing that i don’t know if y’all don’t know

    YES!!! to creating together!

    YES!!! to blurring and even better erasing boundaries

    YES!!! to you in me and me in you and US!

    YES!!! to learning and teaching!

    YES!!!! i don’t know if y’all don’t know!!!

    YES!!! to the communities to which we are called!

    YES!!! to creating community wherever we are

    YES!!! to love that circulates!

    YES!!! to risking to love without guarantee or compromise

    YES!!! i will love me even when I am pushed not to

    YES!!! i love her even when its dangerous

    YES!!! i will love the work even when it is difficult!

    YES!!! i will embody my faith, even in the face of institutional judgment

    YES!!! to knowing we were never meant to survive BUT thrive we must!

    YES!!! love is life force and I am meant to LIVE!

    YES!!! to growing

    YES!!! to conflict

    and YES!!! to being angry

    YES!!! to kicking ass 

    YES!!! to entering the room as a full being and when the door is too small for that, to break it down

    YES!!! to bleeding….a cleanse

    and bless the blood that has already been shed! YES!!!

    YES!!! to new soil not stained in blood

    YES!!! to imagining

    YES!!! to exploding the closed circulation of capitalism with love that circulates

    YES!!! to open not closed economies, yes to there being ENOUGH for everyone

    YES!!! To knowing that there is NO ZERO SUM GAME, you are not required to die so I might live

    YES!!! to loving and being loved 


    YES!! to FAITH in YES!


    Images: Audre Lorde, Meridel Lesueur, and Adrienne Rich, 1980, by K. Kendall, licensed under Creative Commons. Alexis Pauline Gumbs, photo by Sed Miles.

    Published on Jul 23, 2012


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