liberation not equality

It’s pride month again and with it, lots of celebration, some grieving, and corporate exploitation/rainbow capitalism – the usual. This year marks Stonewall 50 with people descending on NYC from all corners to mark the occasion of World Pride.

World Pride NYC / Stonewall 50 promises to be the city’s biggest pride yet – more cops, more barricades, more corporate sponsors! If that’s your thing, enjoy it from noon on Sunday June 30 at 26th Street & 5th Avenue in NYC.

I’ll be somewhere along the route of the alternative march. Reclaim Pride Coalition‘s put together a queer liberation march that retraces the original route from the Christopher Street Liberation Day March of 1970 from Sheridan Square up 6th Avenue with a stop in Bryant Park culminating in Central Park. Route details and information about volunteering available here.

My friend Bill Dobbs (who’s being honored by the National Lawyers Guild next week) told me about video from one of the early marches. Here’s some footage from Gay Pride 1971 in Central Park. (I like the moment – around 5:49 – when a white woman realizes she might be a little uptight. lol.)

Happy Pride. May all beings be happy, safe & free.

Here is Reclaim Pride’s Why We March:

We March in our communities’ tradition of resistance
against police, state, and societal oppression,
a tradition that is epitomized and symbolized by the 1969 Stonewall Rebellion.

We March against the exploitation of our communities for profit
and against corporate and state pinkwashing, as displayed in Pride celebrations worldwide, including the NYC Pride Parade.

We March in opposition to transphobia, homophobia, biphobia,
racism, sexism, xenophobia, bigotry based on religious affiliation, classism, ableism, audism, ageism, all other forms of oppression,
and the violence that accompanies them in the U.S. and globally.

We March for an end to individual and institutional expressions of hate and violence
as well as government policies that deny us our rights and our very lives,
from the NYPD to ICE, from the prison industrial complex to state repression worldwide.

We March to oppose efforts that deny our communities’ rights
and that brutally erase queer people worldwide.

We March against domestic and global neoliberalism and the ascendance of the far right,
against poverty and economic inequality, against U.S. military aggression,
and against the threat that is climate change.

We March to affirm that healthcare is a right,
including treatment for all people with HIV/AIDS worldwide and intensive prevention efforts,
and to demand an end to HIV stigma and criminalization.

We are trans, bisexual, lesbian, gay, queer, intersex, asexual, two-spirit,
non-binary, gender non-conforming + and allies.

We March to celebrate our communities and history,
in solidarity with other oppressed groups,
and to demand social and economic justice worldwide—we March for Liberation!

retreat? more like attack

After training at University of Massachusetts Medical School’s Center for Mindfulness in April, I’m now a qualified MBSR teacher. I’ve had the great good fortune to spend time since then on silent retreat, allowing me space and time to reflect and absorb.

I attended Insight Meditation Community of Washington‘s week-long Intimacy with Life retreat with Tara Brach, La Sarmiento, Kate Johnson and Jonathan Foust. When we broke silence at the end of the week, one of the participants shared that the week had felt more like an attack than a retreat. Silence can really feel like that, total attack. It can also be a space for bliss, for anything. Spaciousness can hold everything.

I’m only home for another week or so before I’m off to Barre, Massachusetts for the PoC Retreat at Insight Meditation Center. I’m VERY EXCITED about this opportunity to sit a whole retreat in community with friends and family. Less attack maybe, more retreat.

QTPOC Meditation 4/26

Awaken into spring!

On Friday April 26th from 7-9 pm at the Interdependence Project, 28 West 27th Street #704 Ashleigh Eubanks & I will be guiding a meditation and mindful movement practice for QTPOC. Join us!

This event is hosted collaboratively by NYCPOC Healing Circle and Rest for Resistance. The space is wheelchair-accessible, but the bathrooms are not.

your guides, Betsy & Ashleigh

women are powerful

SPD is celebrating the Letters to the Future: Black Women / Radical Writing anthology this Black History Month by offering 30% off titles by anthology authors and other radical black women writers.

My book‘s on the list, as well as a lot of other Belladonna titles– work from some of my dear friends, allies and inspirations.

Get your read on!

poetry reading 2/3

February 3 from 6-8 pm at 9 W. 8th Street in NYC I’m reading with CAConrad, Matvei Yankelevich, Morgan Vo, Karen Weiser, Farnoosh Fathi, Shiv Kotecha and Anselm Berrigan in association with Artfare-New York‘s inaugural exhibition.

A lot of what I wrote is in response to Dustin Yellin‘s work. The 2-D images in no way capture the objects’ intricacy and magic. It was a joy to interact with them in person, I even got a lot of the language I used from the back of the cutouts in his pieces.

Dustin Yellin

detail from Dustin Yellin‘s Going to Mars

Community Care Day 1/18/19

Audre Lorde

Join me at The Audre Lorde Project’s Community Care Day at The People’s Forum 320 W. 37th St, New York, NY 10018 this Friday January 18th from 6-9 pm.

Event info from ALP:

Community Care Day is an evening event where we are inviting folks to join us in deepening our collective community care. We will build together by sharing food, getting to know each other and sharing care and healing strategies. 

Join the 3rd Space Program! We will be offering workshops that will teach you different ways to care for yourself and others, get some healing from our body and energy work practitioners and get some grub, community, laughter and love! 

Sharing space is healing, holding space for each other and having a place to go to where you can be your full self and uplifted is what we are creating – join us at Community Care Day – resilience happens through collective action, recognition and love. Come learn and share skills and resources, eat some food, make some art, and generate joy.

This is a time to be still, be loving, be cared for and caring. Resilience requires community Come to ALP’s Community Care Day! This event is by and for Lesbian, Gay Bisexual, Two Spirit, Trans and Gender Non-Conforming folks who are Black, Indigenous and People of Color. 

The 3rd Space Program is made up of community members who identify and are invested in sustainable care for our people that is centered in a deep, loving and radical sense of community, that moves away from the isolation and disposability that medical institutions and capitalism impose on us and instead uplifts and creates the strategies within us and from our lineage that have kept us thriving and resilient as black and indigenous, people of color, queer, trans and gender non-conforming folx.

being love

Being love: an experiential workshop for QTPOC

“What is needed is a realization that power without love is reckless and abusive and that love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love.  –Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” –Audre Lorde

This is the time of year when “love” gets packaged, hyped and sold in stores. Sentimental, old stories that serve the dominant paradigm are dusted off to fill the shelves, media channels and feeds. Narratives that may not look at all like our experiences, like our lives. Ideas that don’t promote our healing and care, or even our existence.

Self-care has long been co-opted and marketed as a product for consumption. Being love is an opportunity to examine what love is on our own terms, in our own bodies and lived experiences. Through a series of guided meditations, writing exercises and discussion, we will explore love and self-compassion some of the roots of presence, resilience and equanimity.

Why? To honor ourselves, our own experiences and to re-center narratives on our own truths. Audre Lorde and Dr. King spell it out: we examine and honor our own experiences as a means of self-preservation and as a source of political warfare against violent, oppressive systems. To serve the cause of the love that liberates and fosters justice, not the one sold in stores.

Join us at metaDen Sunday February 10th 4-6pm. 52 Tompkins Avenue Brooklyn, NY. $10-20 suggested donation.

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

January readings

Reaching the Cliffs of Moher was a visceral experience of the end of the line, the edge of the world. Beautiful and terrifying. This photo does no justice to the drama of the experience, but it illustrates an end.

Ending one year, beginning the next, I’ll be starting my 2019 by reading at the Poetry Project’s 45th Annual New Year’s Day Marathon Reading.

This year’s lineup includes: Andrea Abi-Karam, Ammiel Alcalay, Ashna Ali, Justin Allen, Julie Alsop, Jonathan Aprea, Penny Arcade, Ed Askew Band, Daisy Atterbury, James Barickman, J. Mae Barizo, Peter BD, Jim Behrle, Anselm Berrigan, Edmund Berrigan, Fabrienne Bottero, Michael Broder, Lee Ann Brown & Janice Lowe, Marie Buck, Phong Bui, Steve Cannon, Wo Chan, Yoshiko Chuma with Dane Terry, Lauren Clark, Todd Colby, John Coletti, CA Conrad, Lydia Cortes, Brenda Coultas, Alex Cuff, Matty D’Angelo, Kyle Dacuyan, Jordan Davis, Ted Dodson, r erica doyle, Ry Dunn, Anaïs Duplan, Marcella Durand, Steve Earle, Mel Elberg, Betsy Fagin, Will Farris, Farnoosh Fathi, Avram Fefer, Camonghne Felix, Jack Ferver, Jennifer Firestone, Jen Fisher, Jameson Fitzpatrick, Dorothy Friedman August, Kay Gabriel, John Godfrey, Suzanne Goldenberg, Adjua Gargi Nzinga Greaves, Phoebe Greer & Arthur Cañedo, Diana Hamilton, Odetta Hartman, David Henderson, Barbara Henning, Laura Henriksen, Erika Hodges, Bob Holman, Erica Hunt, Cori Hutchinson, Omotara James, Rachel James, Paolo Javier, Cyree Jarelle Johnson, Pierre Joris & Nicole Peyrafitte, Millie Kapp & Matt Shalzi, Vincent Katz, erica kaufman, Amy King, Anna Kreienberg, M Lamar, Yaz Lancaster, Sue Landers, Denizé Lauture, Paul Legault, Rachel Levitsky, Matt Longabucco, Brendan Lorber, Jimena Lucero, Filip Marinovich, Erin Markey, Douglas A. Martin, Eline Marx with Devin Brahja Waldman as teknikal issues, Greg Masters, Andriniki Mattis, Jillian McManemin, Yvonne Meier, Carley Moore, Tracie Morris, Dave Morse, Stephen Motika, Gala Mukomolova, Sahar Muradi, Uche Nduka, Peter Neeley, Precious Okoyomon, Edgar Oliver, Laura Ortman, Nicky Paraiso, Trace Peterson, Matt Proctor & Sarah Safaie, Lorelei Ramirez, El Roy Red, Batya Rosenblum, Bob Rosenthal, Douglas Rothschild, Judah Rubin, John Rufo, George Emilio Sanchez, Tina Satter, Tom Savage, Simon Schuchat, Purvi Shah, Frank Sherlock, Jayson Smith, Sean D. Henry Smith, Pamela Sneed, Patricia Spears Jones, Tammy Faye Starlite, Max Steele, Jim Stewart, Sara Jane Stoner, Bridget Talone, Susie Timmons, Edwin Torres, Tony Towle, Cat Tyc, Aldrin Valdez, Cecilia Vicuna, Anna Vitale, Morgan Vo, Asiya Wadud, Anne Waldman with Fast Speaking Music, Nicole Wallace, Lewis Warsh, Jacqueline Waters, Rachael Wilson, Chavisa Woods, Matvei Yankelevich, John Yau, The Double Yews , Don Yorty, Spoke and Feather, Sparrow / Foamola, The Blow, and St. Mark’s Choir.

Support poetry on New Year’s Day from 2pm on at The Poetry Project 131 E. 10th St, NYC $20 tickets available at  https://www.brownpapertickets.com/event/3906011, $25 at the door.

On January 11th, Laura Henriksen & I will be kicking off the first THERETHEN reading at 7pm at The Footlight 465 Seneca Avenue Brooklyn, NY.

Organized by Dustin Williamson, THERETHEN is an occasional chapbook reading series. Handmade, letterpress chapbooks of work by the readers will be on offer– only available at the reading.

All the best to everyone in 2019. May there be peace. May there be peace.
May there be love, justice and peace for all beings.

Brooklyn Rail reading 12/12/18

I’m looking forward to reading on Wednesday to celebrate Brooklyn Rail‘s Double Issue Release with Andrei Codrescu, Diana Hamilton, Joey De Jesus, John Coletti, Chia-Lun Chang and Anselm Berrigan who pulled the reading together.

Food! Drink! Poetry! Music!
Celebrate with us at Brooklyn Rail:
253 36th St. 3rd. Floor #C304 Brooklyn, NY.
Doors: 6:30 Reading: 7:00
Tickets are free, RSVP requested.