Tag Archives: womyn

Cindi Santana and the Ovarian Psycos

14 Oct

Memorial for Cindi Santana @ Coyolxauqui Plaza | Oct. 12, 2011

The October Luna Ride:

And so it happened, the full moon showed up from the northeast and i left my house on my bike. I took the train to union station and biked to Hollenbeck Park, the meeting grounds for this month’s Luna Ride. The Luna Rides are called together by the lovely and beautiful Ovarian Psycos, aka the Ovas! Representing Womyn’s independence, sacredness and wildness at full speed, i joined these ladies to ride with the warm October wind.

As we left the park i counted 28 of us and took up a whole car lane. With the full moon on our east side in full bloom, i thought to myself, “we exchanged brooms for bikes but not our spirits”. Our bike route that night would take us to the Moon Goddess, Coyolxauqui, literally. A  replica of the Moon Goddess Monument that was excavated from Templo Mayor, sits in City Terrace, East LA. Here we would gather for ceremony to honor and remember Cindi Santana and the victims/survivors of domestic violence. Cindi Santana lived to be 17years old, a senior high school student in South Gate, CA that was beaten and stabbed by her ex-boyfriend. Youth dating violence is not new, its older than the time my mother was first hit by her partner 40 years ago. And it is more wide-spread than we could ever imagine:  “One in three adolescents in the U.S. is a victim of physical, sexual, emotional or verbal abuse from a dating partner.” (1)

Domestic violence is a truth that has lingered in my life since before me (my gramma ancestors survived rape and pillage from Europeans, the church, and eventually her partners). When i was in the womb i was already aware of domestic violence, as my mom survived, so did I… Along with 1 out of every 4 womyn. (2)

As we remembered Cindi, we told stories to heal ourselves from pasts that sometimes we bury in shame. Many prayers  and offerings were shared during our ceremony. I want to re-write some of those prayers and share them with you: 

Prayer for children who are surviving domestic violence with their mothers

Prayers for sisters, cousins, mothers, and friends who have survived domestic violence.

Prayers for sisters, cousins, mothers, and friends who have been murdered by their partner. 

Prayer for the mother of Cindi Santana

Prayer for men

Prayer for womyn to speak up if they are in a violent relationship.

Prayer for womyn to walk away from violent relationships.

Prayer for womyn’s eyes to see their own worth and value.

Prayer for womyn’s heart, womb, and mind. 

I wouldn’t usually share sacred prayers said in ceremony, but bc we need to talk about violence in our homes and in our relationships, i have to let people know why we do what we do. I have to share why as a womyn, wefind ourselves in ancient ceremonies as helicopters, cars, and flashing lights fill our urban lifetime. Our realities may not always be understood, but its time for a change in how we love, respect, and honor our womb and our womyn. If your partner is a womyn, take the time to reflect in the ways you love and honor her. And if you dont do this to the best of your ability, humble yourself to change, learn from her, and be a better person. 

If you’re a womyn who finds herself in an fucked up, whack ass, messed up, fearful, emotionally tolling, stressful, worry-some, and/or trapped situation, speak up. Get help. There is help. Start with asking your mom, she knows more than anyone about survivorship. Tell a sister, a friend, a cousin. Call a toll-free number. Listen to your spirit and fight for your freedom. We have to be free! We have to! 

Infinite Fuerza by Ajtun, 2008 (c)

(1) Information found at LoveisRespect.Org 

(2) Information found at Domestic Violence Resource Center

Film Screening of Killer’s Paradise

8 Apr

As promised, I wanted to bring this film screening to a larger audience than the one I had been a part of a couple months ago when I first saw Killer’s Paradise. Please come and support this film and add yourself to the awareness efforts of the tragic reality that is being lived by womyn in Guatemala. The first step in change is learning about the issue. This film speaks to many issues that are affecting womyn around the globe. 

There’s so much to say on the subject. So come and be a part of this event. There will be photography shared by a friend of mine, Sandra Luna. She is from Guatemala and has captured amazing stories through her lens. Timoi, an amazing L.A. based artist, Guatemalan native, will be sharing an art piece of Rogelia Cruz. Also, Claudia Serrato, will be leading an opening ceremony for the screening. All and all, we are coming together to send positive energy and thoughts to all womyn. Please add your presence. 

Finally, tonight I will be on Feminist Magazine airing on KPFK 90.7 FM at 7PM to talk about the film and the issue at hand. Listen in or find us on KPFK’s archives 🙂 



Feminist Perspective: Care for One’s Self

26 Mar

Taking care of myself has been a real struggle. Continous evalution of my time, energy, and work is done when i feel depleted and unmotivated to continue.

While at the feminist encuentro, I went to a workshop titled, Los Cuidados: un deseo, un derecho o una obligacion (To Take Care: A desire, a right, or an obligation). It was a workshop to reflect on what it meant for us, as womyn, to take care of others such as children, family, partner, and/or society. We each had to ask ourselves, “how do i feel about taking care of others, how does it feel to take care of myself, am I able to ask others to take care of me?”

I was thrown into deep thought about how easy it is for myself to want to take care of people around me. I try not to worry about people because after all, people will do what they feel like doing, regardless of my feelings, and regardless of whether or not they are harming themselves. But I  do  turn deeply considerate about those who I care about, I can be very self-less. And if I am selfish, i feel guilty, as though I still haven’t made time for such and such person. And finally, maybe, towards the end, will i begin to consider myself.

I have to remind myself to be selfish. When I am selfish, I am aware of it because it feels great and it becomes neccesary. I realized that sometimes, even though I may want to help, I do not have the capacity to do so. And so my problem becomes about being able to communicate my needs and what I can and can not do. And I am finally accepting that I have a real problem expressing my wants and needs because I do not want to be demanding, or high maintenance, or disturb anyone. Yet, there are so many people around me who are quick to not take up responsibilities and can announce 10 different reasons why that is so.

imgp7624So I go back to my own process. I am finally pronouncing that I must practice communicating my needs. I have to advocate for my own well being. I need to use my voice not just for the cause, but for myself. The week before I went to Mexico I worked beyond 12 hours every day, making sure I would not leave anything pending. It was my way of allowing myself to leave, for just ONE week, and not have what I am responsible for fall apart.

Well, I love me. I want to be better at taking care of myself. I have been consciously practicing self-care at the mental, physical, and spiritual level for 2+ years now. And now I need to practice my communication more. Tengo que exigir mis necessidades. I have the right to not commit to things, to say I can not take something up, and i have the right to ask people to respect that. These things may seem simple and common sense, but really, it takes work to take care of yourself and to do it well.

So now I try to balance my engagement with the world vs. my own self- engagement. I am the most important person in my life. I will redefine what it means to take care of others. I will fight for my own space and my own time. I want to take care of my body and feed myself well. Exercise. Draw, read, write. I have the right to do NOTHING. And I do want others to care for me. I don’t need to be taken care of because I can’t stand on my own two feet, but I want those around me to be considerate towards me. And when im PMS-ing and on my period, i most def. need some chocolate, some one to make me tea, someone to hold me when I cry because I can’t help but feel the emotions, and I need warm socks, and comfy pillows.

Yes, I pronounce my needs. This is where im at. And if i went this personal, its because everyone should evaluate their needs, capacity, and care for others. It is our right to care for others or not. And from a feminist perspective, womyn shouldn’t have to be constant care takers. Our partners need to be better at taking care of themselves and family. And If we take care of our partners, it should be our desire to do so, not our obligation.

The state/governments also need to take up some more responsibilities because when budget cuts happen, social welfare gets butchered, and guess who picks up the pieces… WE WOMYN DO. We work more, volunteer more, and remain unhealthy. Think about all the teachers out there and how the great majority of them are womyn who are losing their jobs. If teaching K-12th was a male dominated career, would school districts pressure men to over-fill their classrooms beyond capacity, or cut their health benefits, or fire them without consideration.

At my job I am currently advocating for mental health days. You know how you ask for sick days, well I want my mental health days. The days I chose to stay home or take care of my personal business and not have to lie about being sick.

What are your needs? What should the government take care of in our society? Are you demanding your personal and societal needs?

Herstory of the Feminist Encuentro

19 Mar

62On Monday, March 16th, 2009, the 11th Latin American and Caribbean Feminist Gathering began in Mexico City, Mexico. These historic gatherings of womyn from Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean happened for the first time in 1981 in Bogoto, Colombia. This space was created for the purpose of:

“Reuniting Latin American womyn who are committed to feminist practices to exchange experiences, opinions, identify problems and evaluate the different practices towards development, and in this way plan the work and projects needed for the future”. (Colectivo Colombiano CineMujer)

189 womyn participated, and nineteen countries were represented in the first gathering during the days of July 18–21, 1981. Four commissions/ workshops under the themes of Sexuality, Womyn and Culture, Womyn and Labor, and Feminism and Political Challenges were created. Indeed this gathering proved to be historic and conclusions set pace for the work that needed to be done under a feminist agenda:

1) Feminism in Latin America and its relation to the process of transformation and liberation in the context of this historic movement were explicitly specified and identified. Even though it was recognized that feminists shared similar challenges, a difference between feminist movements in Europe and the United States was established.

2) It was recognized that feminism was at the fore front in the struggle against capitalism and its relationships of subordination that exists between countries. It is a struggle against the relationship of power and violence and its multiple expressions in both the “public” and “private” sphere.

3) It was found necessary for the feminist movement to be independent from political parties.

4) Finally, the feminist struggle was not just engaged in the process for social change within Latin America, it is also important to transform daily life. The political importance of radically modifying the ways in which womyn related with each other, with men, children, and with objects. ( Comite Impulsor XI Encuentro Feminista, Mexico, D.F., 2009, pg. 16)

hermanamirabal1Another note of importance is that within this first gathering, November 25th was declared as the “International Day of No Violence Against Womyn”. This day was chosen in memory of the Maribal Sisters who were assassinated by the dictator Trujillo of the Dominican Republic on November 25, 1960.

Since 1981, the gathering has occurred every 2-3 years there after. It has convened in Lima, Peru (1983), Bertioga, Brazil (1985), Taxco, Mexico (1987), San Bernardo, Argentina (1990), Costa del Sol, El Salvador (1993), Cartagena, Chile (1996), Juan Dolio, Dominican Republic (1999), Playa Tambor, Costa Rica (2002), and Sierra Negra, Brazil (2005). This year, 2009, it has returned to Mexico, to the Historic Center and core of this country. This gathering continues to transform and redefine feminism at the individual and collective level. So far, this gathering has held fierce discussions, debates, and workshops, balanced by art, theater, dance and dj´s.

*I am a couple days behind on my documentation of this event. Althought I was very much frustrated with my inability to document to my ideals, i had to let that go and realize that documenting, writing, and reflecting is alot more simple than these slow a** computers. It meant writing non-stop in my notebook for 45 minutes before going to sleep last night. It was the only way i was going to achieve sleep anyway. The mind needs a way to download, and pen and paper does not freeze on me or tell me that i no longer have enough GBs.

I have also become better at being more present, and being online and blogging takes away time from being present at the conference. This gathering has already added to my own evolution, transformation of being human, being a womyn, and being a feminist. And I´ll continue to share past this conference.