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November 21st, 2011

12:49 pm
when I am not teaching 19 year olds about disability justice and art, I am a youngish-middle agedish woman ripping up metric asstons of weeds out of our yard in her jogging pants, and then making slow roast tomatoes. things could be worse.

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June 2nd, 2010

09:16 am
she shell

- suheir hammad

the morning is still see
shell in my hand acca
sea in my hair sunrise
yet waning moon set salted
skin an ear roaring ocean

the day fire opens soldiers
sky storming in air hands
in defense hands in
exile mist in return rain
hands open gaza reaching

the day heat sparks hills tear
gas tears face vision smoked
cycle begins gulf of ache
sound bombed body unarmed
color me marmara

the night no names yet
still mourning strip sieged
blockaded spirit in water
flesh offers blood the sea
opens me cannot keep
food down or feed
a dream thirsting

the morning caves in
spin vacuum river turning
wave grey masking ports
sinking ship waiting still
weighing humanity floats
an ill wall delays the sun an eye
witness moon memory water

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May 25th, 2010

01:12 pm - Today is Fran's birthday
I love my sis very much. You should go here: and donate some cash for her b-day, so she can keep living and get better.

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May 8th, 2010

12:35 pm is the new website.

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March 31st, 2010

01:23 pm - Two workshops for Safetyfest.
Dear beloved queer family,

As part of CUAV's Safetyfest, I am facilitating/teaching/ throwing down two events.

The first, Resilience Gives Birth to Resistance, is a super-fun, chill, queer and trans POC community writing workshop/ circle. Inspired by the work of brilliant Alexis Pauline Gumbs, this writing circle is a space for queer and trans people of color to collectively write love letters to our ancestors, heroes and selves, remembering the ways we find to survive, resist and be resilient to violence. I like the idea of writing love letters to our ancestors and selves- especially on a Monday night, at The Bikery, within a circle of fly loved ones with support and hot beverages. I have been really inspired lately by the Young Women's Empowerment Project, an amazing organization of young women, girls and trans people in the sex trade, and their idea of resilience (all the ways we heal from violence and trauma) giving birth to resistance (all the ways we fight back), and how a lot of the writing and art reflects that. Let's do the same, and maybe even make a quick zine!

The other is a Community Accountability 101 workshop based on The Revolution Starts At Home, the zine (becoming a book in January 2011!) edited by myself, Ching-In Chen and Jai Dulani, about community accountability strategies to partner abuse and sexual assault, particularly in small and/or activist communities. If you've been curious about the nitty-gritty of community accountability strategies, this workshop is a great place to learn some concrete tools and strategies to start building safety in your communities without the prison industrial complex, and without creating a giant mess.

Both workshops are free, though donations will be accepted to help support CUAV, which has been fighting to make queer and trans communities safer since 1979. CUAV recently made the brave move of switching to a collective structure and working fully from a community accountability perspective that challenges the nonprofit model of violence prevention.The recession and the state of California's elimination of all funding to domestic violence and anti-violence services have dramatically impacted CUAV. Safetyfest is their answer- a 100% free festival celebrating queer and trans safety from violence and power in our communities, that also raises funds grassroots-style for CUAV. You can donate at either workshop, at other Safetyfest events, or online at

Finally, the QTPOC love letter writing circle will feature blackberry limeade and barbeque made by yours truly. The Revolution Starts At Home workshop will feature some bangin' rosewater and mint fruit salad, fresh salsa and chips. ;)

Please come out, and spread the word to folks who you think might be interested!

In respect and movement,
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha

Important notes: Please note that Resilience Gives Birth to Resistance is open to queer and trans and gender variant people of color only, while the community accountability workshop is open to all. Both spaces are wheelchair accessible in the main space; the Bikery has a nonaccessible bathroom, although we may be able to use the accessible bathroom next door. Modern Times is fully accessible.

Please refrain from wearing perfume or scented products so that folks with chemical disabilities (which includes the facilitator, aka me!) can attend without getting a headache, throwing up or having a seizure. (For more information about fragrance, environmental racism and chronically ill queers and how fierce we are, please check out, and/or I can send you my "Fragrance Free For the POC: Why You Should Care" article.) Folks with cancer, migraines, lyme disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, environmental illness, fibromyalgia, and many more chronic conditions are folks you love, and we like it when we can leave the house ;)

Resilience Gives Birth to Resistance! *
When: Mon, April 12, 7pm – 9pm
Where: The Bikery: Cycles of Change; 2289 international blvd oakland (map)
Description: In this writing circle, we'll write love letters and self-valentines to our and our ancestors' fierce skills at resilience (healing) and resistance (fighting back) to oppression, abuse and violence as queer and trans people of color. Come for some blackberry lemonade, barbeque, talking story and mutual hang out time and love! In the spirit of alexis pauline gumbs' brokenbeautiful writing circles, this space will be a chance to speak our stories, family secrets and everyday truelifeadventurestories. we'll maybe even make a zine at the end! By donation! All monies go to keep CUAV going! * Concept formulated by the Young Women's Empowerment Project (

The Revolution Starts At Home: Practicing Community Accountability In Real Life
When: Sat, April 17, 2pm – 4pm
Where: Modern Times Bookstore; 888 Valencia St, SF (map)
Description: Partner abuse and sexual assault within our little queer/of color/ activist communities is an issue many of struggling to deal with. Lots of us talk about "community accountability" strategies to deal with violence, but we're not quite sure how to pull them off. In this hands-on workshop, we’ll talk about the nitty-gritty issues of intimate violence in our communities and discuss community accountability strategies that can help us walk towards building accountability, justice and violence free zones in our lives.

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March 20th, 2010

10:36 am - Freedom Dreams: A Mangos With Chili Launch Party for CUAV's Safetyfest, April 8
Freedom Dreams
A Mangos With Chili launch party for CUAV's Safetyfest!

Thursday, April 8, 2010
7-10 PM
$5-$20, no one turned away for lack of funds
Bench and Bar
510 17th Street, Oakland CA (two blocks from 19th St Oakland BART)

Performances by
Chan Dynasty
Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Kirya Traber
Manish Vaidya
and more t.b.a.


Sex toy raffle with prizes from Good Vibrations, Babeland and Pink and White Productions
Femme Shark/ Sea Creature Ally Kissing/ Spanking Booth
Self Defense for Self Determination Queer Self Defense demo!
Sneak Preview of The Fire This Time: The Case of the NJ 4
ASS (Always a Safe Space) Consent is Sexy Nurse Posse!
delicious libations
Music by DJs Black and Durt

Just how free can you get? Come to this night of delicious liberation for all queer and trans bodies. We'll celebrate as only Mangos With Chili knows how, with burlesque, spoken word and performance about our freedom to live our desires, a sex toy raffle, a Femme Shark and Sea Creature Ally Kissing/ Spanking Booth, good music, space to chill and space to dance, and much more - all benefiting CUAV and kicking off Safetyfest, CUAV's first annual celebration of queer and trans power in the Bay Area!

Safetyfest is a 100% free festival celebration of all the fierce ways queer and trans people in the Bay Area stay safe and strut our stuff. Our communities already have so many of the tools we'll need to end violence and be truly safe in all the ways we deserve to be--we just need to share them! Proceeds will benefit CUAV's 30+ years of supporting LGBTQQ survivors of hate violence and domestic violence to heal and create safer communities. For more information:

Founded in 1979, Community United Against Violence (CUAV) works to build the power of LGBTQQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning) communities to transform violence and oppression. We support the healing and leadership of those impacted by abuse and mobilize our broader communities to replace cycles of trauma with cycles of safety and liberation. As part of the larger social justice movement, CUAV works to create truly safe communities where everyone can thrive.

Mangos With Chili is a Bay Area based performing arts company committed to showcasing high quality performance of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. Founded in 2006 by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms Cherry Galette, Mangos With Chili features a revolving cast of QTPOC artists and has performed to sold out houses across North America, wowing audiences in world class theaters, underground performance spaces, bars and campus halls, with their high intensity, breathtaking performance, politics and storytelling craft, reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color, while making art that speaks out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia and violence that QTPOC face.

Mangos With Chili is a fiscally sponsored project of the San Francisco based arts organization CounterPULSE, which provides space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators:

Production of Freedom Dreams is supported by the Horizons Foundation, the Astraea Foundation and the generous support of our community of donors.

For more information:

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February 28th, 2010

01:38 pm - Booking for 2010
Hi friends,

I'm currently booking performances, writing workshops, and activist/educational workshops at universities, nonprofits and community organizations for spring and fall/winter 2010. If you would like to bring me, or can pass this email on to someone who you think might like to bring me, I would super appreciate it! Please get in touch with me via


About me:

I'm a widely-published writer, and a seasoned performer, activist, and writing teacher. I've performed and taught at a wide range of universities and community spaces over the past decade. Some of my most recent performances have been performing and teaching a writing intensive as the 2009 Bent Mentor at Seattle's Bent LGBT Writing Institute, performing my one-woman show at Reed College and the University of Oregon at Eugene, and being a keynote performer at Swarthmore College's Asian American Heritage Month. I teach at UC Berkeley's June Jordan's Poetry For the People program and am teaching writing workshops as part of Communities United Against Violence's annual Safetyfest. I am available to perform spoken word and/or my one-woman show, as well as teaching creative writing intensive workshops. My work is focused around issues of queer and trans people of color, young woman of color feminism, abuse and violence, South Asia/Sri Lankan diaspora, and/or disability, but is accessible and useful to people from many different communities and identities.

Read more...Collapse )

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February 5th, 2010

01:36 am - Feminism is a Zuihitsu

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January 22nd, 2010

12:06 pm - mangos with chili presents: whipped #2
Mangos With Chili proudly presents:

the second annual show about the miracles, dreams and cream our hearts make

Friday 2/12 & Saturday 2/13
La Pena, 3105 Shattuck Ave, Berkeley
Saturday 2/20
Mama Calizo's Voice Factory, 1519 Mission St, SF

All shows at 8pm, $10-15 sliding scale

Curated and produced by Ms. Cherry Galette and featuring:

Chan Dynasty
Delicio Del Toro
Gaston Mazo
Juba Kalamka
Kali Boyce aka "TuffNStuff"
Manish Vaidya
Nico Dacumos
Yosimar Reyes

With film by Val Killmore, Indira Allegra, Alexis Pauline Gumbs, the Oakland Queer Brown Youth Brigade and TBA

Valentines exchange to follow show, so get your love notes ready!

Mangos With Chili knows that queer and trans folks of color do love, sex and total disaster like none other! In this special Valentine's Day weekend production QTPOC will tell their true life stories of love, desire and disaster through music, spoken word, theater, hip hop, dance, burlesque, drag and film. Bring a trinket for the altar we'll build to the loves we've lost, known, and are praying for, and come prepared to hear truths you've never heard spoken before but always needed to.

Mangos With Chili is a Bay Area based arts organization committed to showcasing high quality performance of life saving importance by queer and trans artists of color to audiences in the Bay Area and beyond. Founded in 2006 by Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha and Ms Cherry Galette, Mangos With Chili features a revolving cast of QTPOC artists and has performed to sold out houses across North America, wowing audiences in world class theaters, underground performance spaces, bars, and campus halls, with their high intensity, breathtaking performance, politics, and storytelling craft, reflecting the lives and stories of queer and trans people of color, while making art that speaks out in resistance to the daily struggles around silence, isolation, homophobia, and violence that QTPOC face.

Mangos With Chili is a fiscally sponsored project of the San Francisco based arts organization CounterPULSE, which provides space and resources for emerging artists and cultural innovators: Production of Whipped is supported by the Horizons Foundation, the Astraea Foundation, and the generous support of our community of donors.

The show contains material of adult nature. Parental discretion advised. Please refrain from wearing scented products to ensure that audience members and performers with multiple chemical sensitivity can attend.

For more information:

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January 17th, 2010

10:24 pm - INCITE Women's Health and Justice Initiative Statement on Haiti
January 17, 2010

It has been nearly a week since we all learned of the devastating situation unfolding in Haiti, as thousands struggle to survive and await rescue and humanitarian assistance. INCITE! organizers and human rights activists are mobilizing donations, organizing volunteer relief efforts, and collecting supplies to respond to the urgent humanitarian needs of the people of Haiti.

As these efforts are underway, we recommend that we also pause and ask the question: How can we intentionally support the long term sustainability and self determination of the Haitian people? When crises of this magnitude occur, we all understandably want to act quickly, but we must also figure out how to act thoughtfully in our efforts to develop a comprehensive, sustainable, and accountable transnational radical feminist response.

The event of an earthquake of this magnitude is catastrophic for any place.. But in Haiti, it also exacerbates decades of poverty, aid dependency, military dictatorship, unsustainable development, invasions, neoliberal structural adjustment policies, corruption, and many other intersecting forms of violence. These political realities increase the multiple and complex forms of marginalization and social vulnerability women and their families will continue to face in the days, months, and years to come.

We have been in communication with Zeina Zaatari and Erika Rosas from Global Fund for Women. Their contact from the Dominican Republic, Sergia Galvan, who is currently in Port-au-Prince, reported on Friday that the situation is catastrophic and, at that point, there was no infrastructure by which humanitarian aid could be distributed.

Right now, there are many people, organizations, and governmental agencies mobilized to provide immediate aid relief and rescue operations in Haiti. However, there tends to be more readiness to donate supplies and money in the "immediate" time when things are very chaotic and before we know what the conditions are on the ground and have identified the long-term re-development needs as articulated by those most impacted. The long-term vision is critical because, when the dust settles and the big international relief organizations have left, people’s lives will still be devastated, and the need to rebuild will still be there.

We are researching if and how we can develop an intentional political relationship with local women so we can help mobilize the INCITE! network to support just and sustainable development of a sovereign Haiti, both during the interim and the long term recovery process.

As many of us work to figure out appropriate strategies to support the people of Haiti, it’s important to note that the people most vulnerable--namely, women, LGBT folks, people with disabilities, incarcerated people, children, and elders--can experience a slower unfolding of specific crises that are consequences of the original disaster and the social conditions that preceded the disaster.

For example, women experience the most negative consequences of catastrophic events, particularly with regards to higher rates of injury and death, displacement, unemployment, increased incidents of HIV rates, sexual and domestic violence, increased poverty, and the disproportionate responsibility for caring for others. This is especially true for women marginalized by race, sexual orientation, gender identity, class, health, ability, age, housing, and legal status. Additionally, in times of crises and environmental emergencies, poor and marginalized women, who are least responsible for the horrific conditions in which they live, are often blamed for their poverty and become subjected to regulatory population control policies through family planning, poverty reduction, and so-called environmental protection programs.

So, given what we have learned from Hurricane Katrina and the disasters of war, occupation, neoliberal economic dominance, and neglect that continue to plague and pathologize many of our families and friends internationally, we would like to use this time to organize an effective and accountable response during this interim phase of the crisis. Right now, we are exploring if we can activate the following plan:

* Identify a contact with at least one specific local women's organization/network in Haiti
* Help mobilize the INCITE! network to organize a response and provide specific resources identified by women in Haiti
* Work through INCITE! to sustain a productive and intentional transnational relationship with women in Haiti - this would be our long term solidarity work

We are talking with Zeina and Erika from Global Fund for Women to learn the landscape of women's organizing in Haiti, how their local partners are doing at this point, and if/how we can work with local women directly. We appreciate any feedback and ideas about this process, please respond to the list or at and

In the meantime, we urge INCITE! members/chapters/affiliates and the broader social justice community to:


* Research Haiti’s amazing history of resistance, resiliency, and self-determination
* Educate your community on the colonial history of deliberate impoverishment, control, debt, dependency, and neglect in Haiti
* Educate yourself and your community on the intersections of gender, violence, and disaster vulnerabilities
* Examine how the crises of disasters and gender-based violence are connected to the social, political, environmental, and economic issues you may work on
* Analyze how the violence of disasters and colonial legacies (and realities) undermines the sovereignty and self-determination of a people
* Identify patterns of how women, LGBT people, and people with disabilities are particularly impacted by disaster and conflict situations in, for example, Haiti, New Orleans, Palestine, Afghanistan, the Congo, the U.S./Mexico border, Native reservations


* Convene organizing teach-ins on the history of Haiti, its historical connection to New Orleans, and the role the U.S. government has played in the underdevelopment of Haiti through invasion, occupation, and neoliberal supported policies
* Reach out to Haitian immigrants and Haitian-Americans in your community who may need support
* Support progressive democratic and human rights movements in Haiti and campaigns calling for debt cancelation and those to eliminate foreign aid restrictions that privilege US based contractors over Haitian labor
* Support the capacity of the Haitian government to rebuild its institutional and physical infrastructure and provide sustainable and equitable public and relief services to it’s own people free of neoliberal mandates
* Ensure that gendered perspectives are mainstreamed within humanitarian programs and long term recovery, both in recognizing the leadership roles and facilities of women and other marginalized communities to guide these processes and the specific vulnerabilities of marginalized communities in times of crisis and national emergency
* Mobilize women of color & queer/LGBT people of color in your community to develop and share organizing strategies to address crises like these both abroad and here at home
* Share organizing models and build skills to strengthen our grassroots organizing
* Connect online using:

o the incitechapters listserv
o the INCITE! facebook page:
o Stay tuned for other online tools...


* The Global Fund For Women currently funds and partners with five Haitian women's organizations. The list of these organizations is below. GFW has a crisis fund they've set up to support their local partners. Contributions to GFW’s Crisis Fund will be directed to the re-building of women-based organizations and their communities after the disaster to ensure long-term equitable and sustainable development.
* If you would like to contribute to GFW, you can do so here:
* GFW Haiti Solidarity Statement is here:

Other groups to donate include:...

* Partners in Health:
* Partners in Health’s Sister Organization in Haiti – Zanmi Lasant Clinic:
* Dwa Fanm (meaning "Women's Rights" in Creole):
* The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC):

In Solidarity,

Women's Health & Justice Initiative (WHJI), New Orleans
INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence

List of GFW Partners:

* Fondation TOYA [TOYA Foundation], Cité Soleil, Port-au-Prince, Haiti: Fondation TOYA works to raise the standard of living throughout the slum area of Cité Soleil through the empowerment of young women in the community. Members promote women’s entrepreneurship through a micro-finance structure that facilitates access to credit for women in the informal sector. By focusing on vulnerable young women who are unemployed and/or are heads of households, Toya is ensuring that more Haitian women will be financially independent, have access to healthcare and in control of their destinies.
* Association Femmes Soleil D’Haiti [Sun Women’s Association of Haiti], Cap-Haitien, Haiti: AFASDA was formed after the three-year coup in Haiti (1991-1994), because as the group states, “after the bloody coup…it was repression. No one could move. It was said that women couldn’t remain with their arms crossed. It was necessary to do something. We began with a little seed of reflection and that’s what became AFASDA.” AFASDA advances women’s rights by organizing campaigns for potable water and creating educational opportunities for street children and rural women.
* Organisation Femmes Victimes de Solino [Organization of Women Victims of Solino] (OFVS), Solino: OFVS works with women of the Solino slum who have been victims of violence. Because of social unrest and the proliferation of armed gangs, many women are unable to earn a living.. The majority of the group’s members are single mothers, 90 percent of them affected by violence.. OFSV notes, “The majority of the women have lost all their business activities, and were forced to pay a ransom daily to the heads of gangs that took over the area so as not to be attacked again…the women have been victims of theft, burglary, and rape.” OFVS provides counseling to violence survivors, financial aid to restart businesses, and legal aid to seek redress for the crimes committed against them.
* Kodinasyon Solidarité Fanm Djanm Sid, KOSOFADS [Dynamic Women of the South Solidarity Network] (KOSOFADS) Les Cayes, Haiti: KOSOFADS promotes women's economic independence, access to health care, and the eradication of domestic violence. The association brings poor women together in workshops, during which participants are encouraged to discuss women’s rights violations and devise strategies to resolve the abuse. KOSOFADS also produces radio and television programs that focus on women’s rights issues.
* Mouvman Peyizan Papay/Fanm MPP (Women of the Peasant Movement of Papay), Pètion Ville, Haiti: Emerging from the Peasant Movement of Papay (MPP), Fanm MPP was created in 1980 to "concentrate on understanding women's unique development needs, advancing women's rights and empowering women to participate in their own development." One of the groups current projects is "Engaging Women in Holistic Health and Environmental Protection" project where women are taught to install family and community composting latrines, family cisterns so families for clean water for household use as well as plant fruits and vegetables for their families.

Women's Health & Justice Initiative
P.O. BOX 51325
New Orleans, LA 70151

INCITE! Women of Color Against Violence is a national activist organization of radical feminists of color advancing a movement to end violence against women of color and their communities through direct action, critical dialogue and grassroots organizing.
To take yourself OFF this list, please visit Go to 'log in to lists', login with whatever email you used to subscribe, and click on incitebayarea. you will be given the option of unsubscribing.

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