Breaking the Silence & Creating Space – Love, Liberation & Empowerment

[Women Who Rock (un)Conference recap]

On Friday evening I arrived at Washington Hall and walked up the steps to the main hall and walked through the door, I had arrived just in time to catch the Film Festival. The first film focused on a man who connected community by introducing native traditions to younger people and taught the art of carving a canoe. Following that there were videos created in the Queering the Museum Digital Storytelling Workshop. Videos found on the Queering the Museum WordPress! These videos were very beautiful, liberating example of how art and words can be used to heal and be used as tools for recognition and creating new spaces. I enjoyed them all and they all had wonderful statements.

“Love, Petra” a film by Petra Davis showed that many times people feel devalued or marginalized in our society to the point that they don’t share their true voice and that in her words “we don’t speak in classrooms or hold hands in restaurants. Or share our stories in pain. We don’t let us share our pain, our love. We don’t let us share love. Instead we try to press our bodies, feelings, stories into molds. Forms called norms. Devoid of love and pain.” This demonstrates how many institutions or interactions in daily life hold people back from who they really are and create an unsafe space. Following this quote she offers the path to healing and self-love and creating a safe, healthy, welcoming space for us to love ourselves and share our pain in order to be heard and create dialogue about human experiences.

“Omecihuatl” a film by Jacque Larrainzar shared this powerful statement of “How do you tell history, when you have no history. Omecihuatl would say ‘All we ever have is right now.'” The quote suggests that some groups have been marginalized and silenced but if you learn from the past and look towards what you can change in the present and help create a dream of liberation and empowerment in order to have a voice and share.

“Every Woman, Ever More” a film by Jourdan Imani Keith spoke of her experience at the 1993 March on Washington in which “For the first time, the only time, I saw what it must be like to be straight. To be safe, to be the majority. We were everywhere, We were normal.”

“Showing love in public. Just being. Unafraid.” 

The final video I remember was focused on bringing the culture and dance alive in many different Latino communities, despite the difference in ethnicities or country. It shows how they are interconnected and that strength comes through acknowledging all races and cultural practices, where they originate from and the meanings behind them.

Following the Film Festival I was excited to see the Seattle Fandango Project and the Yakima Fandango community perform by playing music and dancing with the mixture of sound carrying through the melodies from the instruments and voices to the sound of acoustic steps amplified throughout the room. This beautiful performance was accompanied by the Women’s Caribbean Steel Pan Project which is a group of women who come together and learn how to play the steep pan drum and they also used other types of drums. They finished off their performance with a short choreographed dance along to the music which escalated the energy in the room and brought the end to a wonderful experience. Hearing new types of music brought new wonder of different instruments as well as different sounds.

I regrettably missed the Keynote speaker Evelyn Harris but caught the end and heard her amazing singing accompanied by Janice Scroggins on the piano and a recap of a message she had stated earlier. I had returned for the closing of the 2nd day of the conference which was a performance by 206 Zulu members and a couple of B-girls and a young B-boy. Julie C and Sista Hailstorm put on a performance that to me sounded pretty activist which is fitting and highlighted important themes within their work.

All in all it was a successful evening full of love and sharing which I fully appreciated.



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