In the Depths of These Waters

I was in my room when I lived uptown in the Bronx. My pen hit the paper furiously, trying to keep up with a stream of images and information about belly casts. That’s my answer when I’m asked how These Waters Run Deep came about. I received the message about my project towards the end of 2010. I would meditate daily speaking and connecting to the Universe. It was in these sessions that I got the idea for the project. I would see images of the belly cast flicker in my mind. I remember my talks with Lizzy and speaking to her about our respective healing paths and projects. What drives me to do birthing work and art is my own journey with my mother in this world.

Because of her spiritual/mental illness, I never really had her. Part of me does feel guilty, as though I am being arrogant or too unyielding with my convictions. At the end of the day, I cannot compromise myself, my spirit or health for someone I’ve never had. Someone who does not love who I am becoming. I know my mother loves me, and I will always love her. Yet the ache for a physical nurturing parent is there. I realized on this journey that my mother was also shortchanged and never learned how to nurture and be present for herself, much less my siblings and I. Because I acutely understand and see myself in others, my work is to help other children come into the world with mothers committed to their healing and dedicated to breaking cycles of violence and abuse. So that I can help others feel less alone, so they don’t have to feel what I do. This ache of loss and deep primordial desire for my Mami.

It’s a complete loss that I don’t know how to stop grieving. It never goes away. It is this deep void that I am learning how to fill. I resent being told that it will work one day. Perhaps it will. It would take a lot for them to accept me as I am. If they knew who I really am past their preconceived notions of me, they would not hesitate to call a priest and start a novena. They fear an in turn disapprove of everything about who I am. They were taught to be scared of a woman like me who lights candles for her ancestors. Of a woman who won’t claim Jesus as my lord and savior. Of a woman in touch with her sexuality. Of a woman who loves Africa. Of a woman who has the courage of her convictions.

My passion for birthing work comes from my sacred wound. Birthing heals me. It has helped me understand what I have lost so long ago. It has shown me how to get it back, or at the very least, the path. I have discovered that it is deeper than just my own family and mother. That a deeply sick community savagely ripped from their motherland centuries ago has not healed from the trauma. Serving mothers has healed me. I have become connected to a bigger sisterhood of women learning to mother themselves; this has given me access to learning how to mother myself. This softens the ache slowly but surely. Observing women and talking to them allows me to listen to me deeply; it has also expanded my capacity to forgive and have compassion for my mother’s way of being. That in the precarious situation that Afro-descendant people find themselves in, the healing work requires a collective effort to remember the pain and reclaim what has been stolen.

(http://worldoceanobservatory.org/)

During my doula training, we did an exercise in which we drew and explored what we wanted to be and feel during our births. As a woman who has not physically given birth, it was wonderful to use art to delve into my subconscious emotions around birth. I later got the book, Birthing From Within, which takes a more mindful and holistic path to preparing for birthing through the use of art and deep reflection. It was reading this book that the idea of belly casting crept into my thoughts. This book made me ask questions around my fears of being a doula by posing the words, “What is it I need to know to give birth? Her answer must be found within, not give to her by an expert. Each mother needs to find her personal, heartfelt question.”

I then asked myself, “Am I strong enough? Do I know how to calm a mother down? Do I know how to calm myself down? Do I know enough? Am I good enough?” These questions helped me get to the root of my fears of being  a doula and now a midwife. They made me think about my own estrangement from my mother, and the pain that causes me. The more I learn to mother myself, and find supportive people who nurture me, the more strength I gather from within myself. The belly cast and painting on them is a space of meditation for me. I let the images come to me. I mull them over. I write about my memories and my traumas, about my losses and deaths. I rejoice in the moments I have with the mothers who help me with this project of deep discovery and returning to my roots and strengthening them.

As an artist, the belly casts is only the beginning of the various mediums I am using to communicate a message of hope and healing. These Waters Run Deep aims to utilize the healing power of all art forms to raise awareness around everything having to do with birthing life, both in a figurative and literal sense. This project embodies a strong feminine energy and seeks to bring balance to a society and world still operating from a patriarchal ideology. From the teeming waters of our primordial mother to the waters from the womb of our human mothers, we are all familiar with the life force of water. The nurturing energy that comes with that comes with power strength and protection is essential for the health and wellness of all living things. Unfortunately, not all living things are afforded this healing and necessary presence.

Women of the African Diaspora have suffered greatly in the United States since their ancestors were enslaved, enduring the horrors of the African Holocaust, form the brutality and inhumane experience of the Middle Passage to the present day condition of African communities in this country and abroad. African woman do not have the same opportunities, resources or concern in the workplace, in public, media and especially in healthcare as their European-American counterparts. Often, we look to improve and continue to advance through future generations. How can our children and our children’s children hope to grow up and achieve if their health is compromised from the moment their conception? The state of maternal and infant health in our present day American society is heartbreaking. Women of color have the highest rate of maternal deaths, with a high infant mortality rate poor infant and maternal health postpartum and lack of resources before, during and after that would contribute to making more informed decisions on birth, nutrition and beyond.

My belly cast project, then, is my call for the community to support its women in breaking the cycle of disenfranchised people who are still enslaved and mistreated by an entire system of oppression. It is in memory of those who came before me who were never given a chance. It is a statement – that we as a people and as birthing women are resilient and life giving in the midst of the death threatening to consume us. It is a call to everyone that in the depths of our souls and hearts, there is much to share, much to recover and much to claim as ours.

 

March Call for Afro-Descendant Expectant Mothers

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These Waters Run Deep is a multimedia journey into the lives and struggle of Afro-descendant women. Using reproductive and maternal health as a lens, These Waters Run Deep artfully weaves narratives that highlight the socio-political landscape by through which women have learned to endure for generations. It is an advocacy project raising awareness on the condition of women’s holistic & maternal health, highlighting Afro-descendant women’s experience. It is a sharing of stories and art to celebrate the joy of creation and shed light on the death consuming our communities, with the implication of imagining the possibility of transformation.

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I am writing to ask for pregnant mothers for the art installation part of this project.The goal is to use pregnant belly casts as the canvas for local artists to paint with the theme of life and death, and everything in between. For this call, I will be working on the belly casts between March 15th and 19th. Volunteer expectant mothers should be 35 weeks at the minimum and residing in one of the 5 New York City boroughs and Jersey City. There is a brief interview and application. For more details and information, please contact me at ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com.

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The African in You

by Aurelis Troncoso

He walks in slowly into the bus
Each step with a different stench of fear
Afraid of what his family had tried to bury away through so many generations in shame
He spots what appears to be a blur of his ancestry
Indecisive of whether to sit next to this African woman
He sighs with disgust and utters words in a language that was once Taino
That was once Yoruba
Hispañola y Africa

Two different places with roots undoubtedly tied together
His nose is narrow, like that resembling of Spaniards
He separates himself from half of his history
Dismissing shackles as if lashes can be shaken off that easy
And with ignorant hatred he sinks into his own flesh
Not realizing that his skin is as dark as hers
That maybe that should be a hint of how close Dominican Republic is to Africa
But again, he chooses to dismiss half of his ancestry
Half of the truth
Hangs on to “my mother had straight hair”

But lightening cream, hot combs & perms never quite did the trick, did they?
Because after so many years
The hair in your scalp is as thick as the smell of coffee beans your father brought home
every afternoon
The strands of your father’s hair collecting every bit of sweat
Every tear an ancestor cried
But you argue “Pero papi tenia pelo malo”
And you to this date believe that the texture of his hair cursed you

Multiple rapes manipulated the reshaping of your nose
Fires across villages, across generations
Caciques hung from trees, Brothers hung from trees centuries later
Burned out, the way we are

But behind your conscience still dangles from trees the body pieces of your ancestors
& You wonder what is it that is slowly decaying in your lungs
You were cradled in the womb of Diaspora
Balancing within ships
Tucked away with nothing but a piece of kente cloth underneath your tongue
Displaced misplaced into America
A land not known to you until they forced your tongue to roll a different way
But your accent clings onto your homeland

No matter how much makeup you use to disguise your shackles into something else
You are Afro Latino
& The kinks of your hair are beautiful
The color of your skin is golden
No matter how much they try, no matter how hard you try
You will always be Afro, hermano.

 

References:
Taino (known as Taino Indians)- The Taino Indians were a matrilineal society who were, for the most part, peaceful and lived a semi-sedentary lifestyle. Shortly after European contact in the mid to late 1400s, the Taino were a virtually extinct population due to disease, slavery, and conquest by Europeans.

Hispañola– is a major island in the Caribbean, containing the two sovereign states of the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

Yoruba (language)- spoken by Yoruba people, a tribe located in West Africa; predominantly in Nigeria.

Spaniards– referring to the conquerors of the 1400s who were Natives of Spain.

Caciques– Referring to the Taino tribal leaders.

Kente– a royal and sacred cloth worn only in times of extreme importance and was the cloth of kings. It later became widespread. Patters on the cloth have particular meanings about life. (It is believed Africans on slave ships would sneak on the ship a piece of kente cloth and place it underneath their tongues and jump into the ocean as they believed the kente cloth would take them back to their homeland.)

Lightening cream– used to lighten dark skin color.

Hot combs & perms– tools used to straighten hair that is believed to be “bad hair” or kinky African hair; these products essentially kill the individual’s natural hair roots by burning the scalp.

Diaspora– the movement, migration, or scattering of people away from an established or ancestral homeland  (Referring specifically to the Trans-Atlantic Slave trade)

 

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I met this beautiful sister when she was in high school. I heard her powerful spoken word onstage and since then, have traveled with her on the journey to being empowered Afro-Latinas.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Aurelis:
Aurelis Troncoso (age 19) is a political poet who writes about issues  affecting the society in which we live in. Her main goal is to educate people through her poetry. She is an Afro-Dominican from the Bronx, and is currently is currently studying at Hampshire College as a James Baldwin Scholar in Amherst, MA. She is currently concentrating on Educational Policy and Mass Incarceration Studies, with a particular focus on the School-to-Prison pipeline. In her early teenage years, she was a member of Urban Word NYC and was a finalist of the annual citywide Urban Word Slam Finals. Her experiences include performing for various events and organizations such as TEDx events and the well-known Apollo Theater. She believes education and art can change lives.

 

Birthing [PASSION]: My Journey to Getting In Touch With Myself, My Womb, and With Other Women


She cries out to me,

the child within myself.

She clutches at me,

Tugging at my thoughts,

Asking to be remembered.

I became interested in reproductive justice work when I was in high school. I was constantly examining, deconstructing, and reconstructing the world around me, wondering why my reproductive organs were someone placed at a less valued end of the spectrum than my male “counter-parts”. Why my vagina was somehow a curse word that no one ever uttered. Why decisions were made about her and for her… and for as long as I can remember, I was told to never talk to her. Not to become too familiar with that part of me that was dirty and ugly and mischievous and asking for it and unknown. I think the first time anyone ever made mention of her, my “nochetina” as my mother so quietly called her in Italian, was the day I brought home a long blue slip of paper from my school.

New York 1998

“Mommy! Mommy!” I screamed, excited to come home from my first day of third grade. “Ms. Kolikas is so nice and we are going to take field trips and learn American history and here, I need all of these supplies, and she gave me this notice to give to you. She said it was important.”

I handed my Winnie the Pooh school bag over to her along with the long blue notice that my teacher told us was important. I than ran off to find my Nonna and tell her about my first day. I was so excited to be starting a new school and to be in third grade that I didn’t even take the time to ask my Mommy what the contents of that long, blue, important paper were. Regardless of my childish naïveté, when I was done reiterating to my Nonna the contents of every hour of my day, my Mommy called me into the next room and told me she needed to talk to me. I recognized that nervous and even scared look. My Mommy and I after all were more like friends than mother and daughter… I knew this could not be good. I sat down hesitantly fidgeting in the rough cloth of the seat.

“Michela, uhhh, so ahmama you know that there are good people and bad people in this world right?”

“Yes, of course Mommy.”

“Well, that blue paper that your teacher gave you is the mandatory school notice from New York State Public Schools to let us know when bad people move into our area—pedophiles they are called.”

I stayed silent.

“You see MeMe….” I could tell she was struggling. “There are some people in this world that might try to hurt you, touch you even in bad ways.”

“Mommy, I don’t understand.

“Well, okay let’s just say if you ever feel uncomfortable or feel like someone is trying to hurt you make sure you tell me okay.”

“But, hurt me where Mommy?”

“In your “tina. Do you understand me?”she yelled. “Outside of the house, do not talk to strangers, especially not strange men. And, even in the house, you have to be careful. If, anyone, ANYONE, ever tries to touch you in a bad way, even Zio or Daddy or Nonno… I will always believe you.”

“But… but.. why would they do that?”

“I am not saying, MeMe, that they would but, I am your Mommy and I will always believe you.”

The conversation ended there as my Mom ran to pick up my younger Sister at school. But, I sat in that chair for the next couple of minutes trying to process why some people wanted to hurt other people, more importantly why did the possibility of this happening make my Mommy so nervous. This was the first time I realized that bad things could happen, that I had to be careful, that I should be scared. I was eight-years-old.

I had learned that we must protect her. That she should never be touched. From that day on, I bottled her up so deep inside of me that when I tried to find her again, I got lost.

Her small fingers reach through time,

And her sad, dark eyes

Burn the symbol of her pain

onto my soul.

I didn’t fully revisit this forgotten part of myself until college. Even during intimacy, I didn’t feel it was safe to open the box I had hidden her in. As a Women’s Studies major in college, I was always thinking about women’s bodies and the spaces that we inhabited and disrupted, my college campus being one of them. It was so much easier for me to focus on womyn’s struggles in a bigger context than to try to unravel my own. The whole facade begun to unravel in my Women and Health course. In the unit we did on pregnancy and maternal health, I began to think about my own birthing process. Though I had not given birth in the traditional sense, I felt a strong connection to birth in an abstract sense and “natural” and home birth as a way to reclaim power that had been stripped away from women and myself. Birth was at the very beginning and had the power to create the strong coalitions between womyn that I longed for, while (re)enforcing womyn’s innate abilities and power over their own bodies–especially, though not limited, to birthing.

I felt that I had given birth before. When I was in third-grade, I gave birth to energy and optimism, and then someone came in and told me that’s not the way the world was, and my core, my vagina, was stripped away from me. I had given birth to ideas that I nurtured and watched grow over time. I saw the way others were necessary to my birth process and valued every minute that I could give voice and give life to new types of relationships, to love, and to passion. I birth passion every single day. So, I felt connected to birth and when Professor Suarez invited a panel of doulas and midwives to speak to our class. things began to fall into place further. Communities of womyn coming together, through all different identities, to support the beginning of life. It felt powerful and for the first time, since I was 8-years-old, I felt it was time to open up the box that my vagina was in, discover her power and her beauty.

Fast forward a year. I graduated from DePauw University and am back to my roots in New York City. Thoughts of my coursework and my intellectual and activist passions constantly tug and seep and pull at me. It sounds simple, but the thought of birth kept coming back to me. On the train, I heard young womyn talk about their pregnancies and lack of support, as I watched people look on with disapproving glances. This hurt me. These young womyn were about to give birth! Did that not mean anything anymore? In NYC I get to wake up every morning and live out my passions. I work for a young womyn’s leadership organization that sees and values young womyn as leaders in their communities right now. That’s revolutionary. When I think that the young womyn on the train could be one of them, or one of my own sisters… I think about all of the ways womyn’s bodies, especially womyn of color’s bodies have been controlled and de-valued throughout our nation’s history of colonization and our current state of capitalism. Womyn’s bodies are physical manifestations of the timelines of pain and legacies of hope that we have endured. Birthing is our spiritual power source and it must be protected, with all of its sacred knowledge and ways of knowing. Because this is my philosophy of birth, I began to seek out other womyn who approach birth as political and spiritual with both a culturally and community informed model of holistic care and understandings of the past traumas our bodies have faced in this lifetime and before.

After spilling out my heart to a friend and Sister Ynanna, I stopped ignoring my calling to birth. She authenticated the calling for me. And, I passionately moved forward. I knew that I wanted my role to be both one of advocacy and of direct support, and becoming a doula fit both of these seamlessly.

doula: a womyn who supports other womyn; a womyn who serves

After a lot of research, impassioned midnight phone calls to mentors and sistafriends, and finally building up the courage to talk to the womyn in my family about their own birthing experiences, I recognized that the past and present needed to somehow collide in this process. I found Ancient Song Doula Services. I have begun my journey to becoming a doula and to finding my self. Though many people in my life, do not quite understand this calling or how it is so connected to my activist work, I feel so alive and connected when I am in my doula trainings. Every week when we come together, it feels like giving birth. It is so painful sometimes to find that inner piece of yourself that you have so deeply hated and forgotten about. And, yet, so beautiful to find her and to share her with the world.

She cries out to me,

the child within myself.

She clutches at me,

Tugging at my thoughts,

Asking to be remembered.

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This piece was written by my dear doula sister Michelina Ferrera. I met her through my travels, which brought us together at her alma mater. We connected immediately on being in a woman’s body and our journeys, and since then, have remained in touch. She makes me so incredibly proud and I am glad to stand in solidarity and sister hood with her:

Michelina Ferrara is an passionate activist for social chance. She is a doula-in-training in    New York City and is continually re-fueled and inspired by womyn who see one another’s  sparks and begin to start communities of fire, together.

Esa Mujer Esta Bomba

I lost the desire to move. I have not danced in so long, I fear I have forgotten how to. My hips seem confused, stiff and less fluid than I remember them to be. How I used to dance. How I used to love losing myself in the music. It was torture pulling myself away from the bomba, the palos and punta. I used to stay out late just to dance. Just to feel the vibration of the drums rise up in my legs and rock my hips. I was hypnotized by the sica, yuba, balance. I would watch the skilled dancers move into the middle of the floor as we did our paseo  in sync with the buleadores. The energy rose from the slapping of hands on skins; building. Waiting to coalesce. Explode. Como bomba.

I always knew when the primo wanted me to converse with it. I’d arrive and scan the dimly lit room for a spot to put down my things. Working my way through the crowd, I would stop and greet fellow dancers, the drummers, the singers. I would squeeze into a space and order my first sangria, the one to warm me up. A swig of fruitful liquors and wines washed over me, drowning inhibitions, giving me a little more courage. Then the band would assemble; the excitement began to course through me. As they began the first song, the drums whispered my name. Filling my soul with beats my heart slowly pulsed to, I felt alive. My blood ran electricity, corriente, through my body. I caught visions of past lives filled with whirling skirts and expert movements, and the spirits wanted me to dance. I was pulled to the edge of exhilaration. I would feel excited, almost nervous at what would happen if I let go.

The primo drummer would always find me. They would beckon me, first with their eyes pointing at the ground in front of them. When I wold stall, a mischievous c’mon-son smile would creep on their face and they’d signal on their drum. Now I knew I had to. Before I could stop myself, my body was pulled. And I began to speak. My rhythm ricocheted off the drums as I held my body expertly, using the language I learned in class. Piquetes that were now my vocabulary, my music rolling off my hips, my hands, the hem of my skirt shaken and snapped, instructing the drummer to pay attention and keep up.

My hesitation came from the secret that would be revealed by my movement: that woman can dance and she sure can move her hips. I’ve felt exposed, being told that there were men salivating, nearly soaking their drum with drool. That my jiggling ass was distracting. I memorized them. Made them shift uncomfortably in their seats, repositioning themselves. My breast a focal point as they too spoke as any extension of my body verse. A gyrating body in ecstatic motion. Some of the men watching would drip their slime on me, thinking my hips were an invitation. I walked away from dancing out of shame of being too sexual. I shut down. I didn’t feel empowered by my sexuality. I felt endangered by it. I did not like the attention.

This year, the drums are getting louder as my hips cry to me for some exercise. For their prayer. I need to dance to shake off a lot. Dancing is a way to release trauma. Shaking is very effective at moving energy out of your body. It is how our ancestors survived for so long. I have been able to heal a lot of my womb from dancing. I am relearning how to move my body and not fear its power. I miss dancing. I’m actually quite good at it. A friend of mine told me that I cannot let my fear of being sexual stop me from dancing. My heart wants me to move fiercely and furiously. And so it will be.

 

Esa Mujer Esta Bomba

Her hands are the first thing they notice as she adjusts the hem of her white flowy skirt
They study her physique, her top clinging to her every curve
Every moment is measured, precise and artful
As though her very being were paint and this world, her canvas
Dark brown eyes gaze at mine from beneath a wild mess of hair
That shakes when she moves her head along with the rest of her body
The way she holds her height is full of power
You can feel the spirits that guide her with her always

She was born to dance
Born to open channels of movement at every jam she goes to
At her full height, she is full of presence
A flame dancing on a votive that cannot contain her
When the guitarist strums his cuatro
The percussionists start beating barriles
She is on fire

Her body moves to each beat, each rhythm
Skillfully weaving in and out of each syncopated pulse in the ground
She has erupted, open and fluid; becoming bigger than herself as she is in communion with the sounds
As the bangles on her wrists speak with her clapping to the music
She is the only one dancing in the middle of the room
The clave speaks to her, tells her it’s time

She propositions the drummer, her skirt bunched up in her hands
She looks at the percussionist, challenging their skill
Her hips begin to move slowly, teasing, whispering
Can you keep up?

All at once, she becomes a fury
Her footsteps become a map of where she’s been as the dust lifts around her
The drummer goes wild in an attempt to contest with the dancer
The crowd is clapping, shouting and cheering her on
Habla! Habla! Habla!
The tempo gets faster
She is unquenchable
The drummer smile at her as she stops and stares
Bowing down to them for being a worthy opponent

Dear Patriarchy

You have handicapped my brothers by caging their emotions inside them and feeding aggression on a gluttonous diet. Us women suffer from the too much; the men suffer from the too little. No space to cry, to love, to embrace their softness, to be vulnerable. You taught them to negate any notion that they are anything less than suffocatingly masculine with violence. I feel sometimes they are just as paralyzed as the women. I weep for the little boys who were told to stop. I hold the men who still can.

You have taught my sisters and I that we must move our words around in our mouths. Swish them to make them gentle, filter out anything that may be offensive, that may cause a back hand to strike me in the mouth. I am not your mother. Not all my words will be dipped in sugar for you to swallow easily. In fact, you will probably gag when the women untie their tongues.

I gave you too much rope to hang yourself with.
I have complied with my silence.
I have murdered my own sisters for you.
I sent so many to burn at the stake and watched idly as you tortured them.
I helped to numb you.

I told you to stop crying and man up.

I questioned your masculinity when you would show emotion.

I told you those belonged to me only.
I remained dangerously neutral when you denied that there ever was a rape. Several of them. Matter of fact, innumerable.
I acquiesced to your demands.
I never put you on trial.
I have been scared for too many millennia. I was afraid you would kill me with your bare hands.
I let myself be defined by you.
I made too many excuses for your thoughtless maniacal violence.
I still don’t understand how you could dare blame me for my femininity.
I don’t know why I believed you for so long.
Why did I let you mispronounce my name, later forgetting it?

There is this need to communicate with you that I cannot placate.
It doesn’t make sense. Why would the prey put herself so close to the predator? Why would the plaintiff keep pleading with the defendant?

It is this sick twisted love I have for you. Because you came from me. Because you cannot exist without me, and I cannot exist without you. Because I helped create you and cannot stand here blameless while you run rampant destroying everything you touch.

I must be some masochistic abused lover who likes to be beaten repeatedly by you. It must be the mother in me who keeps her arms open for her prodigal son, even though he spat in her face and kicked her when she was down.

More than angry and disgusted with you, I am overwhelmed with pity. It is sad to watch you self-destruct, and painful to be taken down with you.

All I wanted was your attention. My father went AWOL years before I was born. I just wanted you to love me. That’s why I keep throwing myself at you, since my vulva seems to be your favorite plaything. You have ripped out my eyes, gagged me voiceless and deny my right to be alive.

You asked me the other day why I won’t answer to “bitch” anymore. I must remind you that you have stolen my heat and I am too cold to warm myself. And you no longer deserve anything from me, as much as it hurts me to withhold it.

This letter is a warning, not a plea. I struggle constantly with the demons you sent to haunt me as I muster the strength to leave the dungeon you shackled me in. I can no longer give birth to any more of your godforsaken sons. My womb cannot handle any more of your evil.

That’s why I no longer answer to “whore” anymore. I am staring out at the ocean contemplating my return to where we both came. This letter is not a threat. This letter is your call for your return to your sanity. A list of grievances that call for both of us to make amends; you have a much taller order than I.

You are no longer welcomed in my bed.

Stay away from my daughters.

Throw yourself at the feet of my sisters.

Serve at the coronation of my mothers.

You are a beast that must be kept in isolation, for the damage you have created is nearly unforgivable.

When you finally recognize all of your crimes, throw yourself at the mercy of our Creator. Repent. Make amends. Hold yourself accountable.

February Call for Afro-Descendant Expectant Mothers – These Waters Run Deep

These Waters Run Deep is a multimedia journey into the lives and struggle of Afro-descendant women. Using reproductive and maternal health as a lens, These Waters Run Deep artfully weaves narratives that highlight the socio-political landscape by through which women have learned to endure for generations. It is an advocacy project raising awareness on the condition of women’s holistic & maternal health, highlighting Afro-descendant women’s experience. It is a sharing of stories and art to celebrate the joy of creation and shed light on the death consuming our communities, with the implication of imagining the possibility of transformation.

I am writing to ask for pregnant mothers for the art installation part of this project.The goal is to use pregnant belly casts as the canvas for local artists to paint with the theme of life and death, and everything in between. For this call, I will be working on the belly casts between February 15th and 19th. Volunteer expectant mothers must be 35 weeks at the minimum and residing in one of the 5 New York City boroughs and Jersey City. There is a brief interview and application. For more details and information, please contact me at ynanna@thesewatersrundeep.com.

Photo album of the belly casts in progress: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10100111761151830.2239961.27900564&type=1&l=fcd5ccf749