IWD picnic in photos; reflections on community activism

March 11, 2012 § Leave a comment

F and friends baked up a storm. Photo by Christine.

I just posted a short photo essay at the F Collective site with some of the highlights of the IWD event yesterday. It was an incredible day. This was in large part due to the excellent speakers and performers, all of whom did a stellar job. I was so proud to be associated with the event this year.

Charity Danquah and I were MCs at the event. I loved having this job and was very honoured to be nominated by the F Collective to do it with Charity, who constantly inspires me. MCing was a new challenge, after speaking last year.

One of the wonderful things about community organising is that it gives the people involved a chance to develop skills they might not otherwise learn. Things like MCing events, running blogs, troubleshooting and dealing with conflict. We might learn those skills in a rough and ready, all hands on deck kind of way, but they are valuable skills. I think this is especially important for women and minority groups as often we aren’t socialised into those skills, aren’t seen as ‘natural leaders’ or might not have the forums for skill development in other parts of our lives. This is a generalisation of course.

In the process of creating community organisations and collectives, we challenge perceptions of what leaders look like. At the same time we start to re-create ourselves and our communities to be closer to the image we want to see – resilient and inclusive, amongst other things. Perhaps this is Foucault’s micro-politics of the self in action? Sometimes things we don’t want to recreate remain in the picture. Feminism hasn’t erased racism or even gender inequality, for a start. As I write this I remember there were no trans women on the stage yesterday. I’d like to work with others to try to change that next year.

Despite these problems, I’m not for a second convinced that we should stop our activism. I want to do it better. I want more people to be active with me.

With all its flaws, this process of re-creation and re-signification is one the reasons activist feminism is so important to me.

Please enjoy the photo essay.

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