AWAY from January 10, 2017- February 13, 2017

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NO! The Rape Documentary and #LoveWITHAccountability are going off of the grid from January 10, 2017 through February 13, 2017 while Aishah Shahidah Simmons sits a 30-day vipassana meditation course. This practice is one of two unwavering tools/resources that both support and enable Aishah to do the work that she does in the world. We invite you to read her reflections on her process and journey.

If you would like to schedule a screening/lecture engagement after February 13, 2017, please contact Jean Caini at Speak Out!

We will be back on the grid on February 14, 2017!

Aishah Shahidah Simmons' Reflects Upon the Women's March on Washington in the New York Times

You can read this article and the full chorus of the eight women who weighed in on The New York Times as well:

I’ve had a lot of mixed feelings about the Women's March on Washington.

As a pro-choice black feminist lesbian who voted for Hillary Clinton I found myself asking: Which women? The majority of black women voters did all we could do to prevent what will happen on Jan. 20, 2017. I was alarmed that the original framing of the march ignored the role of race in the struggle for equality for women. The organizers were all white women and were calling it the Million Women March -- a huge faux pas given that the first Million Woman March, in 1997, was organized by black women. I was among the hundreds of thousands who gathered in Philadelphia.

Since its original framing, the march has evolved. Three powerhouse women of color — Tamika D. MalloryCarmen Perez and Linda Sarsour — have joined Bob Bland as the national co-chairs

Their mission is clear. This major gathering in Washington, and other cities across the United States and internationally, to send a message to Donald J. Trump, his administration and the world that all women’s rights are human rights and that those who march defend and stand in solidarity with the most marginalized. 

I’m cautiously optimistic about the march. As an activist and the daughter of two veterans of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, I believe in the power of marches. The inauguration of Trump is plenty of reason to protest. And yet, the Women’s March organizers don’t call it a protest. 

But that's O.K. because we need multilayered strategies to challenge and resist any efforts to rollback the gains we’ve made in women’s rights, civil rights, L.G.B.T.Q. rights and immigrant rights over the last 50 years.

[Audio] #LoveWITHAccountability: Part II on #TheSpin

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Luz Marquez Benbow and Dr. Thema Bryant Davis join producer/host Esther Armah for a moving conversation on Child Sexual Abuse, Family, Faith, Forgiveness and The Script of Silence in Part II of #TheSpin's #LoveWITHAccountability special.

Broken silence, breaking soul, drugs, truancy, poetry, Christianity, African-based Spirituality, finding a way, coming home, losing your way, context and comfort and company in this powerful 3-way diasporic Black --Ghanaian, Puerto Rican, and African-American women's exchange.

The brainchild of producer/host/visionary Esther Armah, #TheSpin is a one hour, weekly radio show recorded via BBC Accra and NPR studios. The Spin is distributed by NPR Distribution and the Public Radio Satellite System. The show airs on the radio in Ghana, Nigeria, and on several NPR affiliates throughout the United States. It is also available on SoundCloud and iTunes podcasts via The Spin1 channel.

LISTEN, SHARE, AND TAKE CARE.

#LoveWITHAccountability featured in Ghana's Business & Financial Times

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#LoveWITHAccountability is the focus for Sister Visionary Esther Armah's column this week in Ghana's Business & Financial Times. #LoveWITHAccountabilit creator Aishah Shahidah Simmons, her mother Dr Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, and clinical psychologist Dr. Thema Bryant Davis are each featured in Esther's column, which is a global call to action to address this epidemic.

[...] " #LoveWITHAccountability multi-media project.  Survivors of childhood sexual assault, sexual molestation and rape share their stories, their journeys as part of a call to healing, change, and what the concept creator calls, ‘loving, accountably’.

What does loving, accountably mean? Doesn’t it go against a global society’s nurturing on loving, unconditionally? Isn’t unconditional love – not accountable love - the goal for how we love, for how parents love their children, for children’s love of their parents, for adults love of each other?" [...]

Read in its entirety here.

[VIDEO] Live stream of Fresh Talk - How can the arts advance body politics?

The archived live stream of the National Museum of Women in the Arts' (NMWA) November 13, 2016 FRESH TALK: Righting the Balance—How can the arts advance body politics? is available for viewing.

Five days after the U.S. Presidential election results, Katie Cappiello, Aishah Shahidah Simmons, and  Emma Sulkowicz engage in a public dialogue with moderatorTanya Selvaratnam about body politics and feminist arts.  The event was organized and hosted by Lori Mertes who is NMWA director of public programmes.

[Audio] #LoveWITHAccountability on The Spin

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Esther Armah, Producer/Director of THE SPIN: all women media panel syndicated talk show launched a two-part #LoveWITHAccountability (LWA) special featuring LWA creator Aishah Shahidah Simmons and her mother Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons, and Luz Marquez-Benbow and Dr. Thema Bryant-Davis.

In part 1 of The Spin’s LoveWITHAccountability special Aishah and Dr. Simmons delved deep and broke silence about familial #incest violence committed against Aishah when she was a child. They reflected, cried, held space, spoke openly, and read excerpts of their joint article in the #LoveWITHAccountability Forum on The Feminist Wire

The brainchild of producer/host/visionary Esther Armah, THE SPIN: all women media panel syndicated talk show is a one hour, weekly radio show recorded via BBC Accra and NPR studios. The Spin is distributed by NPR Distribution and the Public Radio Satellite System. The show airs on the radio in Ghana, Nigeria, and on several NPR affiliates throughout the United States. It is also available on SoundCloud and iTunes podcasts via The Spin1 channel.

The Spin. One Hour. Once a Week. Smart=Sexy. Listen below!

#LoveWITHAccountability and Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective

#LoveWITHAccountability creator Aishah Shahidah Simmons captured this photograph of her mother Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons during their audio recording of their joint "peace": LOVE WITH ACCOUNTABILITY: A Mother's Lament and A Daughter's Postscript. This recording will be shared with and used by the Bay Area Transformative Justice Collective  (BATJC) in their critical work to respond to child sexual abuse. 

Deep bow to BATJC member and Living Bridges Project creator Mia Mingus 

#Nov8 #VOTE

I exercised a right that many in this country *still* do not have - the right to vote. It is a right that too many died for to have. It is a right that my divorced parents Dr. Gwendolyn Zoharah Simmons and Michael Simmons put their literal lives on the line for in the 1960s. Voting is NOT the end. It is a continuation of hardcore, relentless struggles that we, who believe in peace, compassionate justice and freedom, must wage. We must VOTE AND We must STRUGGLE.

November 13th: Aishah in Washington, D.C.

WASHINGTON, D.C.: How can the arts advance body politics?

Join Aishah Shahidah Simmons, Katie Cappiello, Emma Sulkowicz, and Moderator Tanya Selvaratnam for “FRESH TALK on body politics in art and beyond,” a conversation and dinner at the National Museum for Women in the Arts on Sunday, November 13, 2016 from 4:30-8:00pm 

For more information, click here.

If you can’t attend but want to view the conversation, it will be Livestreamed.

Aishah talks #LoveWITHAccountability with Stephanie Renee on WURD Radio

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Aishah was a featured guest on the November 2, 2016 edition of Stephanie Renee's "The Mojo" on 900AM_WURD Radio in Philadelphia. WURD is the only African-American owned AM station in Pennsylvania. During her featured segment, Aishah shared about #LoveWITHAccountability's efforts to address and end child sexual abuse in diasporic Black communities in the United States.

 

TONIGHT in Greensboro, NC

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TONIGHT, October 27th 2016, in Greensboro, NC: Aishah Shahidah Simmons will screen and discuss her film NO! The Rape Documentary at Bennett College for Women.

Join Dr. Valerie Ann Johnson (Anthropologist and Chair of Africana Women's Studies), Kimberly Gaubault (Theologian, Poet, and #LoveWITHAccountability forum contributor) and Aishah at 6pm in the Global Learning Center!!!

Amita Swadhin on Life in Brilliance

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Make the time to listen Radical Queer Feminist Sibling-Survivor-Friend, Storyteller, Activist, Advocate and founder of Mirror Memoirs, Amita Swadhin's conversation on Life in Brilliance. I am elated to move on this healing and accountability journey with her.
 

Aishah Shahidah Simmons in the New York Times

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Aishah Shahidah Simmons weighs in on Trump and violence against women in the New York Times:

The offensive video of Donald Trump talking with Billy Bush and other men is the latest reminder that the work being done to end violence against women is never-ending. These vulgar and egregious conversations about women happen regularly throughout this country: What’s unique is that Trump and Bush were caught on tape.

And the backlash is heartening: Women have taken to social media and in some cases the streets, to protest this language and make their voices heard. Republican politicians are fleeing their nominee.

But despite the overwhelmingly negative response, and the immense progress women have made over the past 40 years, the threat of violence against women is still a very serious problem in this country.

While many have jumped to condemn Trump, others have sought to dismiss his comments as mere "locker room talk" or, even more disturbingly, just "what happens when alpha personalities are in the same presence." These excuses illustrate how this violence is perpetuated when powerful men are not held accountable for it.

When high-profile white men assert what they see as their right to do what they want to women, it sanctions all men to do the same. This type of behavior becomes normal, excused as a “boys will be boys” phenomenon. It transcends race and culture because it’s about dominance over women, but more often than not, it is the most marginalized women who suffer the most. Men may not be able to degrade a famous actress to her face, but if they feel free to speak in such vulgar terms about her in private, imagine what they might feel they could say or do to another woman without the same visibility. Or, more broadly, imagine if Trump's defense of "locker room" language is accepted by judges or those who end up on the jury of a sexual assault case.

This "locker room" talk has trickle-down consequences.

Not only do attempts to brush off Trump's comments minimize the everyday experiences of survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault, but it buries our fight under an extremely dangerous excuse — that this is just how the powerful talk.

Wealth, privilege and power are never excuses for any type of violence, against women or otherwise.

Mia Mingus on Small Seeds

Image from Mia Mingus

Image from Mia Mingus

Mia Mingus’‪ Living Bridges Project blog post on small victories titled Small Seeds:

'[…]After over a decade of working to build transformative community responses to child sexual abuse, I know that small victories can have the greatest impact and continue to be our markers of progress. They are small guideposts that we can use to get through the worst of the storm. A compass for where we want to go next.[…]’

Mia is a Just Beginnings Collaborative Fellow. Read more here

Mia Mingus on Confronting Privilege

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Mia Mingus' crystal acute clarity about the work that must be done in oppressed and marginalized communities. Oppression and marginalization are not just occurring from the outside.


For many Black/People of Color, the harm doers are ALSO in our families of origin and our chosen communities. They, too, have been harmed and are often unable or unwilling to examine the ways that they harm. However if this excruciatingly painful and relentless work doesn't happen, our communities will never be liberated.

Ignacio Rivera & The HEAL Project

Yes, Ignacio's HEAL Project is a form of #LoveWITHAccountability

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"HEAL Project Tackles Child Sexual Abuse Using Survivors' Videos, Theater and Social Media by Miriam Zoila Pérez, Colorlines

"Ignacio Rivera—a child sexual abuse survivor as well as a "transgender, Two-Spirit, Black-Boricua Taíno and queer activist, writer, educator and artist"—has dedicated their life to breaking silences. With their new HEAL (Hidden Encounters Altered Lives) Project, Rivera is using theater, social media campaigns and sex education for parents and guardians to interrupt the cycle of this often buried form of abuse."

Learn more about Ignacio's project here.

On Dylan Farrow, Nate Parker and Equality

Over two years ago Dylan Farrow wrote a powerful open letter about her Academy Award-winning prolific filmmaker father Wood Allen. Many apologists for Nate Parker and Jean Celestin point to the fact that he, Woody Allen, is still making films as a celebrated auteur. Like Nate Parker wasn’t convicted of rape, Woody Allen wasn’t ever convicted for child molestation.

Does that mean that Nate Parker didn’t participate in a gang rape with Jean Celestin in 1999? Does that mean Woody Allen didn’t molest his biological daughter and marry the step daughter he helped to raise?

Yes, clearly racism and white supremacy work in favor of white celebrities who are accused of crimes against women and children. Without question Black celebrities are scrutinized in ways that white celebrities are not.

What is the goal? Is the goal that Black men should be afforded the same “rights” to (allegedly) rape, molest, and murder women and children with impunity. Is that what equality looks like?

Molly Boeder Harris Surviving & Resilience

Appreciating this powerful writing from Molly Boeder Harris of The Breathe Network

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Appreciating this powerful writing from Molly Boeder Harris of The Breathe Network:

“Surviving? Resilience? Sometimes I think it’s just a matter of luck. Or a matter of timing. Or a matter of being understood and symptoms being seen for what they are - natural responses to overwhelming and ongoing mind, body and soul terror. We somehow hang on for an extra hour, and someone comes through like a miracle reminding us to stay. Or we are just met with the best resources possible in the beginning and that gives us a foundation to start from - so that when things get shitty, five years later or 15 years later, we have something inside we can draw from to sustain us through the worst - again and again. Or we are encircled by people who believe and support and buffer us against all the external bullshit that may come our way of we speak out. But damn it is exhausting to still feel so much and there is so much shame in not being "over it” in a culture that wants a happy ending. And then there is this culture, and all of the intricacies of the dynamics surrounding our abuse, our disclosure, our perpetrator, our family and community, all the ways people do and don’t show up for us over the years. And then the ways that the work of the movement keeps the wounds open, or the ways that for others, denying survivorhood may keep the wound open…and everything in between. It seems to me that resilience is like a constellation that comes together around us, like we are a new burning star at the center of something really huge and yet we become part of a web of stars - interconnected to something larger that gives us stability and structure and freedom to move, no timelines that can be measured, just ongoing showing up and presence - versus the isolation, the black hole, the clock ticking on how long you get to be sad and angry and triggered and afraid that comes with being raped in this culture. The clock that ticks so loud and the timeline that feels so impossible that it just doesn’t seem worth it. It’s so hard and I don’t think we’ve gotten really real about it still. I think the resilience comes and grows with practice, but also, really effing hard practice, like water we have to drink daily survive…and when we stop practicing we notice pretty quickly. And the practice requires our people are also onboard with our need to practice and will hang around when shit gets rocky - which it always does and will as we face more of life. I think of all the privileges I have had in my life and my healing - all the kinds of care, past and present, that I have accessed and yet I still have phases of intense struggle and how isolating and shaming it can feel. I am cautiously optimistic that our country/globe is starting to understand what trauma does to our nervous systems, to our brains, to our organs, to our muscles and our breath and the way we digest food - and that with that knowledge - combined with all the non-cognitive ways we heal the parts of the brain and psyche and soul, and then all of it articulated through the lens of sexual assault survivors - that this weight will lighten for others in time…that maybe trauma healing won’t be a life battle but rather, resilience practices will be accessible and normalized from the beginning allowing someone to be free from their past physically, mentally, energetically and spiritually, sooner rather than later, but damn, we have our work to do.“

[AUDIO] Aishah Shahidah Simmons Featured on Imagine Otherwise Podcast

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Imagine Otherwise podcast episode 014 features an interview with #LoveWITHAccountability creator Aishah Shahidah Simmons. During the 45-minute interview, which can be heard online or on iTunes, Aishah shares about her journey to make the internationally acclaimed, award-winning film NO! The Rape Documentary during the height of Mike Tyson trail, Clarence Thomas hearings, and OJ Simpson trial, feminist filmmaking, receiving a Just Beginnings Collaborative funded two year fellowship to focus her full time on ending child sexual abuse, Queering Sexual Violence, and more.