Jessica Hoffmann

Bay Area: Free Writing Workshop for Queer and Trans of Color Survivors of Violence

Filed By Jessica Hoffmann | April 03, 2008 1:26 PM | comments

Filed in: Entertainment, Living, Media, The Movement, The Movement, Transgender & Intersex
Tags: INCITE!, Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Suzanne del Mazo

Just in from the marvelous Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha:

What Your Body Wants to Say:
Writing As Rebellion and Healing For Queer and Trans of Color Survivors of Violence.

Taught by Suzanne del Mazo and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Sunday, April 13- May 18, 2008 (6 weeks)

Full info after the jump

*****please forward widely!***********

What Your Body Wants to Say:
Writing As Rebellion and Healing For Queer and Trans of Color Survivors of Violence.

Taught by Suzanne del Mazo and Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha
Sunday, April 13- May 18, 2008 (6 weeks)
3 PM-5 PM
at Epic Arts
(Across the street from Ashby BART)
For more information or to pre-register, contact Suzanne at [email protected]

the 411:

What Your Body Wants to Say is a six-week writing workshop for queer, trans and Two Spirit folks of color who are survivors of violence. Whether you've written a book or have never written before, this workshop is a space for survivors to write and share our stories.

In this workshop, we'll co-create a writing/healing altar, read amazing work by queer and trans writers of color, and create our own lifesaving narratives of what surviving and talking back to violence looks like for us and by us. We have so many amazing ideas for this workshop series there's no way we could fit them all in this writeup! At the end of the
workshop, we'll make a zine of our work and also co-create a performance.

If you've been struggling to find time to write, hungering for a writing community of queer and trans writers, and/or want practical strategies towards creating art honoring and witnessing violence in our lives, this is the spot for you.

Other great stuff about the workshop:

·It's FREE!
·wheelchair accessible space, conveniently located close to Ashby BART!
·Free, delish food at every meeting!

For more information and to pre-register (space is limited) please contact [email protected] or (510) 695-8899

Please note; This workshop is open to anyone who identifies as a person of color (Arab/Middle Eastern/North African, African-American, African-descent, Latina/o, Asian/Pacific Islander, First Nations/Native, mixed-race/multiracial) *and* LGBT/ queer/trans/ Two Spirit, *and* as a survivor of violence. If you are any of the following: white, straight or not a survivor, *****this is not your workshop*****. Please respect the space. Thank you!

This workshop is co-sponsored by INCITE! Women of Color against Violence and Elmaz Abinader's Theories of Creativity class at Mills College.

About the writing workshop teachers:

Suzanne del Mazo: born and grown in Oakland. A queer Cubana raised from old school mambo, beans & rice, outstretched redwoods and the excitement of blooming words. Although mostly a poet, Suzanne has also wandered into prose, performance, teaching and visual art. She has a self published chapbook entitled Voluming Blue, has taught a variety of identity/writing workshops and has performed in Ethniche: A Question of Authenticity. Suzanne is most influenced by her family, violent neighborhoods, immigration, teaching youth, speaking out against family & partner abuse and queering it up in the bay. She is currently rocking the MFA program at Mills and seeks to continue collaborating with queer/trans/two spirit folks of color who are finding their voice and aren't afraid to use it.

Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha: a queer Sri Lankan (Burgher/Tamil) with a white mama writer, performer and writing teacher. Leah spent most of her childhood severely disassociated, directing plays based on Garfield books with her second grade class, earning straight As, hiding out in the lean-to she made in her industrial New England backyard reading library books and plotting her escape. Sex, herbs, brown girl yoga, long walks alone with her head shoved way back in her hoodie, running away from
America, ancestors and dreams helped heal her incest. Leah has taught writing for seven years to queer, trans and Two Spirit youth and as the co-founder of the Asian Arts Freedom School, Toronto's only writing and radical history program for APIA youth. Her writing is published in Homelands, We Don't Need Another Wave, Brazen Femme, Without A Net, Bitchfest, Colonize This and many other anthologies, as well as in Bitch and Colorlines magazines and in her first book, Consensual Genocide. She is currently madly in love with living in Oakland (aka June Jordan country) after ten years in Canada, though she misses free health care and Sri Lankan food. She is finishing her second book, rocking the MFA at Mills, touring her one woman show and finishing and touring The Revolution Starts at Home, a zine about partner abuse in activist communities. With Ms. Cherry Galette, she is the co-founder of Mangos With Chili, the annual QTPOC roving arts tour. She loves Me'Shell and Jean Grae, little miniskirts and big boots, mint It's Its and sipping horchata with her girlfriend in the middle of unexpected city wilderness.


INCITE! is a national, activist organization of radical feminists of color that is mobilizing to end all forms of violence against women and trans people of color and our communities. By supporting grassroots organizing, we intend to advance a national movement to nurture the health and well-being of communities of color. Through the efforts of Incite!, women and trans people of color and our communities will move closer towards global peace, justice and liberation. See more at

About this course: What we believe.

· Starting from the perspective that survivors of violence are amazing, fierce people, not pitiful, broken victims....

· that violence in the lives of queer and trans people of color looks many different ways, including but not limited to: sexual assault/rape, partner abuse, childhood sexual abuse, getting hit or yelled at, police brutality, the prison industrial complex, immigration, boarding schools, colonialism...

· that most of us deal with more than one, and we deal with them with our whole bodies and lives. Our experiences with sexism, racism, classism, homophobia, transphobia and ableism are impossible to untangle from our experiences of violence. That we are our whole stories....

· that we are stronger than what happened to us and experts on our own lives...

· that writing and performance are FIERCE ways of telling our stories, documenting our real lives and spitting in the faces of those who would silence us. Telling our stories can help us heal and transform society to end violence...

Let's do this!

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