“The Center Cannot Hold– Things Fall Apart”: Trayvon Martin and Story-Telling
Author: TT Jax
March 28, 2012
As many queer writers know, story-telling is a powerful tool to place ourselves and our communities in the world, whether the world wants to hear our stories or not. With a fresh sense of urgency in the wake of Trayvon Martin’s killing, sites are calling for personal tellings in a forceful effort to let often unheard voices be heard.
Shanelle Matthews guest-posted an article on Racialicious, “The Devaluation of Black Life”. Matthews connects the murder of Trayvon Martin to the slayings of Sean Bell, Oscar Grant, and Emmett Hill, as well as to the present and historical treatment of pregnant African American women and babies as a general devaluation of Black Life. Matthews participates in the Black Women Birthing Justice Collective, intended to “educate women to advocate for themselves, to document birth stories and to raise awareness about birthing alternatives. We aim to challenge medical violence, rebuild women’s confidence in giving birth naturally and decrease disproportionate maternal mortality.”
BWBJC, along with the Atlanta-based Black Women Birthing Resistance, is requesting African American birth stories.
In a similar vein, “I Could Be Trayvon Martin”, a Tumblr-site, is holding space for people to share their stories of racial profiling and violence.
Teju Cole examines racism and story telling in the White Savior Industrial Complex, in response to the Kony 2012 Invisible Children video.
Transgender people are requested to share video stories that do not centralize transition or surgery, but instead focus on full personhood as well as intersectional isms at the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s I Am: TranspeopleSpeak.Org.
Meanwhile Morty Diamond’s newly invigorated Bodies of Work magazine feverishly features the stories of transgender artists and writers.
Additional queer stories are getting ready for a telling this April:
April 3rd, TC Tolbert and Juliana Spahr step forward to speak to self and universal tending at Belladonna Collaborative‘s Poem.Planet.Body.Need.NYC, 7 pm, at Dixon Place Lounge. $6 to listen, $4 for a commemorative chaplet.
Sister Spit is coming! April 11th, at the Richard Hugo House in Seattle. 20 bucks, show at 8 pm; tickets can be ordered here. Michelle Tea, Dorothy Allison, Brontez Purnell, Kit Yan, Erin Markey, Cassie J Snyder, David Schmader, and Rebecca Brown.
Again in NYC, April 15, 6-8 pm, this time at the Cornelia Street Cafe, The Mom Egg is celebrating its 10th anniversary issue, The Body, with contributor readings. The powerful poetess JP Morgan, 2011 LLF Fellow in Poetry and co-founder of Women Writer’s in Bloom, will be there.
This one I might actually be able to get to: Recto Verso: an Independent Press Expo is a day event, a “one-of-a-kind” indie book fair from 10am -4 pm. First 20 people there get a free APRIL totebag. (I am getting a free tote bag, so if you’re going, go slowly.) Stories told throughout the event in the Hugo House Theater, Seattle.
And now for something completely different, and just in time for spring: some beautifully twisted bunny boy paintings, by Andrej Dubravsky. (Listen, I had to stick some bunny ears somewhere. Apparently, he did, too. It’s been a hell of a couple weeks.)