In the past weeks, Females United For Action has been on the move. We have been fundraising, discussing important topics, and creating art, things that FUFA loves to do!
Friday, January 23, 2009 was a very exciting day for the young women at FUFA. Lunafest was that day and FUFA got a chance to be apart of the very wonderful movie festival, which include short films by and for women. Alexandra Pates, a FUFA board member and also an active member in the organization, spoke very diligently about the organization, in front of the audience, right before the movies began to start, and right behind her stood the other active FUFA members in solidarity.
FUFA wasn’t just at the Lunafest to make a speech about the organization and watch the movie, they also had a table set up outside in the hallway of the entrance, with information about FUFA, flyers about who they are, and upcoming events that they were going to be hosting. They also set out a bowl FULL of condoms, at which at the end of the night were COMPLETELY GONE. Can’t say youth aren’t supporting safe sex huh? They also sold self-made screen printed t-shirts, that were sold on a scale between ten and twenty dollars. From the t-shirt sale alone, the young women and gender queer youth raised $95 and was able to recruit five people to come to the FUFA Conscious Crafts held that Saturday. FUFA also received 75% of the proceeds from the Luna fest, which came to a total of $1300. In total, in one day alone, FUFA raised $1395Way to go!
FUFA has also been working with Firebelly to create a new page and a new logo. The one that we have now is so played out. Like Barack Obama states…it’s time for a change! So there has been plenty of roundtable discussion of what FUFA really is to us, how we envision it, and what we want to happen to the organization over a course of a few years or so. All of the discussion that has been going on goes into how we want the website to look and to be used for. Marketing is everything. Do we want a page just for recruiting? Do we want a page just to let people know who we are and what we are about? Do we want people to know our updates? How do we want our information to be displayed? What information do we want on the website? All tough questions all had to get answered, and answer them we did. Much discussion went into each of these questions plus more, and the result was very positive. Pretty soon, we should be launching a more modern website that will attract people of all ages.
As if the Lunafest and the building of a new website isn’t enough, FUFA has also been in full blown discussion and art making surrounding The Combahee River Collective Statement. FUFA feels that every aspect of this statement of the Combahee River Collective, directly relates to the FUFA organization as a whole. The thesis around the statement is: “The most general statement of our politics at the present time would be that we are actively committed to struggling against racial, sexual, heterosexual, and class oppression, and see as our particular task the development of integrated analysis and practice based upon the fact that the major systems of oppression are interlocking” This is the quote that we feel is the heart of the statement, and also we feel is the heart of the FUFA organization.
Following the discussion, was a day of art, which FUFA calls Conscious Crafts, was dedicated to making art in support of the Combahee River Collective Statement. Various of materials were used and at the end we created a very creative peace of work. On the art work contained a picture of Harriet Tubman, quotes from the Collective Statement, and HELLA ARTWORK!!!
FUFA has been very busy and will continue to be busy so….JUMP ABOARD!!!!!
Add a comment February 3, 2009
Youth Challenge Gallery 37’s Censorship
WHAT: Females United For Action is rallying in front of Gallery 37 to support young feminist art. FUFA will show 17-year old Tomi Mick’s banned work in front of the art show with a petition to encourage Gallery 37 to accept thought-provoking pieces.
WHY: Gallery 37 is an important Chicago resource, but they have steered away from their goal of fostering young artists by censoring feminist art pieces by two young members of Females United For Action.
WHERE: Gallery 37, 56 E. Randolph, just off Michigan Avenue
WHEN: Friday, December 19, 2008 at 3-5pm
HOW: As part of Gallery 37’s Mixed Media class, 19-year old Xia Xiang made a piece last year of her birthing herself, modeled after Frida Kahlo’s ‘Rebirth’. In this year’s Gallery 37 Photography class, 17-year old Tomi Mick created a photo triptych of her, her mother’s, and her little sister’s chests. Both of them were told they couldn’t show their artwork at Gallery 37. Tomi Mick’s mother was actually told by the white photography teacher that the values of “conservative Hispanic parents” were the reason her piece couldn’t be shown after Tomi Mick had already sought and won approval for the piece. Teenagers from a Chicago organization called Females United For Action are displaying Tomi Mick’s censored work and inviting passers-by to sign a petition calling Gallery 37 to create a youth-positive policy.
WHO: Females United For Action (FUFA) is a Chicago-wide social change organization that fights violence against young women in innovative ways.
FUFA is best known for organizing a coalition of young women’s organizations across the city to take on La Ley 107.9 and successfully pressuring them to change the way they conduct their advertising. FUFA also created a popular photo exhibit, Alternative Windows, which showed positive images of young men and women that we do not see reflected in mainstream media.
Add a comment December 19, 2008
Gallery 37 in dowtown Chicago, Illinois has a very prestigious AP art program for high school juniors and seniors looking to advance in their art career and prepare AP portfolios. They advertise their students as “the best of the best,” and once inside, the force us through tons of college prep workshops and encourage us to apply to at least 10 art schools each.
I auditioned for and was admitted to the AP Photographic Explorations program. As a photography student of two years, (this being my third), I was ready to explore my ideas and find my artistic concentration. Recently I’ve been working on images that portray women in un-conventional ways in order to challenge common ideas about the female body. I created an unfinished piece of my little sister, me, and my mother, neck to belly-button, nude. The photos are created to sit next to each other in chronological order. They are supposed to demonstrate the differences in our bodies due to age, development, shape, body-type, etc. I was hoping to post the series in this Friday’s end of the semester’s art show. My teacher, Mr. Cinoman, was with me all the way. He supported me when my idea was just an idea, and he supported me once it was executed. Monday, 4 days before the show, Mr. Cinoman tells me that he decided that my piece was too controversial to display, and that I would not be able to put them in the show. He also refused to give me my prints until the end of the two-hour period, after I said that I was leaving and not coming back.
There were never any written or verbal rules explaining what the boundaries were at Gallery 37, and as I said before, my teacher supported me until he had time to think about “the conservative Hispanic parents” that would be attending the show. (Yes, he really said that.)
Art is supposed to be controversial. We can’t stand for this type of censorship of young arts. Who knows how many young artists have lost the desire to make art after encountering programs like this?
Add a comment December 16, 2008
Coming to a place in solidarity, in unity
In the mindset of an open opportunity
To freely talk about ourselves and the rapid police brutality
And how to stop relying on them but ourselves as a community
Walking through those doors
different colors, different sizes
Different lifestyles, different backgrounds
But with the commonality of oppression
Which in everyone’s background lingers around
We sit and discuss
We sit and discuss
Every now and then the room will let out in a bug fuss
Various opinions of how we deal with the police
And there unjust use of force and brutality
Idea after idea
Gets thrown into the air
With care, we all bear, where each person comes from
Respect of the individual and there personal life’s song
We think and ponder on everyone reviews
But the same old problem gets renewed
The police uses there force and there rank to take extreme advantage of us people of color
The completely gay, the not so straight
And the people in our community labels us as “the other”
But that was just a glimpse and piece of what went on
The list of amazing and insightful discussions is a little too long
The reason why we all did decide to come together
Was to rise up and share ideas of the unjust and unfair mess
Of a scandal of Prison Industrial Complex
So many workshops
So many things to do
Here are a few FUFA decided to go to
Incite workshops that had us wondering what a community means to us
How defining violence and a persons role within a community is a must
How we need to start creating proactive long term strategies to dealing with violence
Not using police as the solution but our common sense and
The will to work side by side, under the terms ride or die
Yes if it was only one person it could make a movement
But a community can make a force
Thats where everyone steps in, take a role, and rise up as one in remorse
For the lost lives and the oppressive past
That shall come back and be brought to life and the future in which we are soon to act
Then there were workshops on spirituality and culture
How we need to start reconnecting with our ancestors and the old ways as a necessity for survival
In a world where oppressed people have
Been taught to hate themselves through assimilation
Which brings the revelation
That maybe, just maybe, there needs to be a timeout
Because we can get caught up in politics
But its the politics of this , that will educate us and provide us with the intellectual toold to fight the oppression
But will still need a lesson
To find a way to soothe and strengthen and soothe our spirit
To do things that will calm and help the people and ourself
Receiving a: Fighting the oppression: winners of the battle award merit
Because we are in majority
We have the power to rise up and defeat the minority
But we have to come together as one
To get done, to finish off, to start again a new cycle
A cycle that is not too bad, but not perfect
For perfection is never a realistic goal in this messed up world
Because there is always a fist curled
Is always lingering
Waiting to touch somebody in an unpleasant liking
But we can change these various complexes
As we work and put forth our best bets
Because a society that can work and live in unity
Will always see equality and prosperity
By: Ace Hilliard
Add a comment October 27, 2008
There is nothing wrong with being who you are and being honest with yourself and others. Knowing that, it kind of baffles me that most African-American men are on the down-low. At the same time it does not surprise me. More than anything, it heavily disappoints me. Within the Black community in the U. S., we are already put in the category of being robbers, gang bangers, and thugs. Why add more to the problem by being homosexuals, right? WRONG!!! Because of this, we have young black women ages 24-44 dying of AIDS. If that is not scary, I don’t know what is!!!! My question is, when will this be put to a stop? If honesty were number one on their priority lists, this would not be happening. Also, If we were to make them feel comfortable enough to open up, then this would not be happening. I don’t want to interrogate every brother I meet, but it seems like that is what it boils down to. For the sake our our health, the male ego needs to be swallowed and communication needs to begin.
Here is another aspect to the down low. Okay….we live in a country that is VERY liberal. In the U.S., we have the freedom to express ourselves in any way we choose. Why can’t society in the U.S. accept people for who they are? For instance, in Nigeria, there was a man who came out of the closet very openly and without shame. He was very involved in the church…I’m unsure of the religion. Unfortunately, he was exiled from his own country. Since we do not have that problem here, why remain in the closet and hide from what you REALLY like. If they think the black community in the U.S. is harder on gays, Nigerians and other Africans treat them worse. All of this is just my perspective.
We even have those who are happily married, with children, successful, and with beautiful wives seeking pleasure with those outside of the marriage, who are men. Those who appear to be the most masculine seek pleasure with those of the same sex. It surprises me every time knowing that the man who appears to be the type that chases women, is actually chasing men on the low. I feel for the brothers who are fully heterosexual and have their heads in the right place, because they are being put in the category as being on the down-low (until they prove otherwise). If we allow for society to decide for us, then we as a people will NEVER get ahead. I cannot stress enough how unfair it is to the women that the HIV infection is on the rise among us, due to the fact that most brothers are to scared to admit their sexuality. Then they have the nerve to say that they are not gay. Negro please!!! You are gay, and there is nothing wrong with that!! There is a lot wrong with you lying. Don’t you have enough respect for us to tell us the truth?! You will be saving plenty of lives that way. Apparently you don’t.
Another thing, this is more than HIV. This has to do with hiding the fact that homosexuals are here. I’m talking about the people you love,brother, uncle, father, cousin, friend, whoever. Again, as I emphasize, why hide who you are? Do you not love yourself enough to express yourself? That is what kills me. Gays, lesbians, bisexuals can not be picked out easily. Why? It is because many do not fit the stereotypes several have of them. As a professor of mine said, “I would rather be hurt by the truth, than to be killed by a lie.”
1 comment October 4, 2008
I just had to blog about this because this has been getting under my skin for quite some time. FOX News has been sending hateful messages and poisoning the minds of its very simple viewers. Yes, I called those of you who watch FOX News and actually take what they say and how they deliver news seriously very simple! I was disgusted with how they portrayed Barrack Obama and his wife, Michelle. They portrayed him damn near like a Muslim terrorist! These people have the nerve to wonder if our country is safe!!!! If it is not safe, it is due to the hatred and propaganda they are spreading. I’m personally worried and more scared of them than I am a “terrorist”. They way they portray people of color in general is wrong and they know that!!! What is shameful is that they don’t even care!!
It surprises me that garbage like this is allowed on the air. I’m for free speech and all, but if the speech is going to have an affect on the way people are going to act, I think there is something that needs to be done to stop it. As for the terrorist fist-jab, what genius came up with the idea that that was Michelle Obama’s sign of a terrorist attack? I mean…are they serious with this. That fist-jab is something African-Americans have been doing for years to show a sign of love and respect. Leave it to FOX News to blow something like that out of proportion!!!
Also, leave it up to Mr. O’Reily to make such racist remarks. If the lynching comment was not extreme, ?I don’t know what the hell it is!!!! It does not surprise me that he is not off the air!! He is one in and out the closet racist and bigot.
As for the uncle toms who support this garbage, don’t get me started on them!! Look in the mirror and remind yourselves that you are also black, for goodness sake. They suck up the the Caucasians and give them BJ’s like it is no one’s business! Little do they care to realize that they are among those they portray in a negative manner. Not to mention that those you cater to don’t give a hoot about you, your well-being, or your family. They are laughing at you and are saying to themselves “mission accomplished….once again we have gotten someone to go against their own and join us.” Stuff like this makes me soooo irate. OPEN YOUR EYES PEOPLE!!!! FOX NEWS IS FEEDING YOUR MINDS POISON!!!!
by Marilyn Udeani
Add a comment October 4, 2008
The activities of FUFA this past summer were the experiences one could take a lot from. During Conscious Crafts, we were able to speak our minds and build trust in one another. the activities in Conscious Crafts were Bookmaking, stencils, silk screening, henna, knitting (taught by Allie), scratch board, and a collage of self-love letters.
“Also during Action Team, we have had very significant discussions about media representations of people of color while watching Spike Lee’s “Bamboozled”. We watched “No! The Rape Documentary” with a powerful, healing conversation around sexual violence and body image. Ace and Hilda of facilitated a workshop on Adultism. We had a workshop for young women and trans people of color about how we survive living in a racist society, and the next day we went to a rally and march in response to the ICE detentions. Over two sessions we worked on a zine on “Understanding sexism and transphobia”. It is almost complete. Mary Scott Boria facilitated a workshop for us on connections between the anti-violence movement and the prison abolition movement, sharing important stories about Chicago people’s history.
FUFA interns Allie and Shana worked on the database, filing and organizing the office, printing t-shirts, assembling materials for workshops, and writing in our blog on WordPress.com. Allie also wrote a very successful fundraising appeal letter for the FUFA delegation bringing in $605. She just wrote her first grant ever. She requested $500 from the Pay It Forward Foundation to conduct a workshop for called “UnChain Letter”. A copy of her grant application is below. I want to personally thank Manju for all these excerpts, they were of great help.
I have gained so much from attending FUFA meetings. Not only have I gained new friends, but a new concept of life. It has helped me further in thinking outside of the box and to put myself in the shoes of others. During the workshops, I have been able to look deeper within myself to see the person I am and could be. FUFA brings out nothing but the positive in people. Having seen that, I felt compelled to join. Xia Xiang Williams….yes I put you out there Xia….lol, was the one who introduced me to FUFA in the first place, along with plenty of other things since I have met her. I thank her for that as well. FUFA will have even bigger plans in the Fall and will follow through with them. Hopefully, they will gain more support from women, not just in Chicago, but everywhere else.
by Marilyn Udeani
Add a comment October 4, 2008
You see a lady in the store she has a rag on her head she stinks and she’s dirty. For one you think ewwwwwww that lady needs a bath. For two your thinking she needs some new clothes. So the lady steals some groceries and runs but the cops are hot on her tail. So she gets caught and locked up. Because of a problem that led to a mistake that no one wanted to help fix.
There’s an 18 year old girl her mom just put her out of the house and onto the street. She’s contemplating about where she should go her other family has no room for her. So finally she checks out an shelter they have plenty of room. One night she gets to be very hungry, she missed dinner and has no money to get food. So she sees an lady at an cash machine and thoughts cross her mind. “Should i rob this lady”? or should i go hungry. Her rumbling stomach tells her to rob the lady so it can eat. She slowly walks up behind the lady contemplating on how shes going to do it. She puts her arm around the ladies neck and tells her “Give me all you got old lady”. The lady gives her the money she then takes off running as the lady screams and calls the police. Unluckily for her a police officer is around the corner she just ran into. He chases her down the block she sees she’s defeated and throws her hands up. The cop reads her, her rights and hand cuffs her. All she could think was she didnt want to rob the lady but she was just so hungry that her stomach got the best of her. Now shes going to jail because she did what she felt she needed to do in order to survive.
Its not fair for people to be going to jail for crimes they commited when they were only trying to survive. Their are more people in jail than people occupying a job. If they would have more services for the homeless and people with no money. People would‘nt have to rob people or steal from stores if they felt they had help somewhere.
Add a comment August 4, 2008
Two girls in a hot steamy tub kissing sound sexy huh? But what about two guys in a hot steamy tub kissing i see nothing wrong with that. But the media makes it appear as if suppose to be sexy for two females to be kisssing. While if there was two men kissing it would be considered a crime and unmanlylike. As a matter of fact as of now gay people can only get married in certain states. While within other states they have banned gays from joining in marriage. They are regular people just like everybody else. And they deserve to have the same rights as any other human being. The media needs stop putting out negative things about gay people. Bacause in reality lesbians and gays have one thing in common their both same sex relationships. So if you respect one you should respect the other. People should be able to be with whom ever they want to be with. Weither it be with the same sex or the oppisite sex. Without having to feel uncomfortable in public. Because people are talking about them or turning their faces up. If certain men want to be gay let them be gay. It should be about whatever makes them happy not what makes society happy. I belive our organization needs to speak up about gay rights. Fight for their rights to get married in a country who said america the free. Take it to a higher power get our message through their thick heads. And maybe, just maybe the media will slow down on discriminating gay people.
Add a comment August 4, 2008
This year I went to this thing called the Allied Media Conference in Detroit. I think that this was a really good experience to have. At the conference we went to different workshops and concerts. I went to this one work shop that shows how you can use Google maps to connect with other groups that do what we do. Also I went to a workshop on how to do stenciling and other graffiti art to raise awareness on what you do. That night we went to a concert and it was good. I met a lot of people. I participated in an interview with this guy from Youth Noise Network in Durham N.C. He talked about hair and how your hair affects the way people look at you and what they think of you. He also asked, “Is how you do your hair based on what other people think of you or is it based on your family or anything like that?” He was doing this because he was with this group that has a youth-run radio show and regular broadcasts on things that pertain to social justice. We went to a concert that had all these hip-hop artists. One of them was this chick named Invincible. She was cool. I liked her. She was a rapper. We heard this lady Grace Lee Boggs speak who is an activist that is 93 and she has done all this social justice work. I thought that this conference was a good experience to have and I’m glad that I went.
Add a comment July 14, 2008