1. A Note of Thanksgiving:
3. Important Coming Events
4. Even More Events
Greetings! I’m writing this short note to let you know that, thanks to your amazing outpouring of support, I’ve finished the manuscript and handed in Love Cemetery: Unburying the Secret History of Slaves (formerly titled The Keepers of Love) to the publisher. The book is on its way to copyediting here in San Francisco. Thank you one and all!
Writing is not only the act of sitting alone in one’s room with pen and paper or a computer, it depends on a community that supports the work of locating and listening to the many strands of the story, weaving them together and bringing something of value home to share.
This book about a hidden, lost, historic, African American burial ground in East Texas has been, and continues to be a great teacher. I look forward to presenting both the book and the story of its creation at a series of events that will begin unfolding in June, 2007, when the book is released. You'll hear more from me about specific events when the time comes.
As this International Day to Save Darfur ends and the many vigils, rallies, concerts, and services around the globe are ending, it is critically important that we stay focused on stopping the genocide in Darfur. The U.N. peacekeeping force for Darfur is the only measure that will provide the security the people of Darfur desperately need.
But peacekeeping troops won't be deployed until the Sudanese government permits them. This means pressure from the international community is more important than ever. Please visit http://www.savedarfur.org for more information.
Rwandan genocide survivor, Freddy Umutanguha, said: “In 1994, the world left Rwandans to their fate and a million people were murdered. Today, the world must stop genocide in Darfur.”
Linda Tillery and Ann Jefferson are teaching their fantastic singing and scholarship class again, starting September 27th, at the Graduate Theological Union in Berkeley, “From Slaveships to Juke Joints and Sanctuaries.” I say “fantastic” because I took it last fall and I speak from experience. Run, don’t walk, to sign up for their course. Keep your spirits up and your heart strong by singing with Ann and Linda through this fall’s elections. African American spirituals are what got people through hard times before and they can help us get through what we’re going through in this country now. Sing and shout, speak up, make yourself heard. GIVE VOICE!
This is a rare opportunity to study with Linda Tillery and Rev. Ann Jefferson in a weekly classroom setting. These two amazing women and amazing musicians first teamed up for our “Black Madonna, Womb of God Conference” last summer at the GTU and had the crowd dancing in the aisles before the opening talks
Visit http://www.culturalheritagechoir.com/class.shtml for more.
“Please join us on September 24th for a Community Tashlich Observance. at 3 p.m. at the Emeryville Marina:
“BAWIB has prepared a rich and powerful ritual to help us all move through these dispiriting times with renewed commitment to our work as peacemakers and activists. We look forward to seeing you at the Emeryville Marina.
Salaam/Shalom, Bay Area Women in Black”
Go to the Bioneers website and see the remarkable program they’re presenting this year, at the 17th Annual Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, CA, October 20th through 22nd, 2006: www.bioneers.org. Founders Nina Simons and Kenny Ausabel are doing it again, presenting the cutting edge conference of the year by connecting environment, health, social justice, and spirit. I hope to see you there.
Also, coming October 14th at the Mill Valley Film Festival is our friend Rosemary Rawliffe’s Women of Tibet film project. It consists of three one-hour documentary films revealing potent historical moments of past and contemporary Tibet. The films touch on themes of women's endurance and their struggle for freedom, social justice, peace, and human rights. Set against the stunning backdrop of the Himalayas, the Women of Tibet film trilogy shows the strength and perseverance of a people dedicated to the principles of peace, non-violence, and compassion.
Women of Tibet: Gyalyum Chemo-The Great Mother is now airing on the PBS national network. Check here for PBS Air Dates and Station Finder. The Great Mother is being screened at the MV Film Festival at the Rafael Theater at 3 p.m., on Saturday, October 14th. I’ve been invited to be on a panel to discuss the film afterward with the filmmaker.
Friends, you may not hear from me again for a while. Though Love Cemetery is “finished,” there are multiple deadlines that go along with production. Also, I’m writing a new introduction for a new edition of Longing For Darkness that will come out in June, 2007 as well. Hence the long silences.
I’ll be posting this letter on my blog and you can post your own responses, comments, questions there as well.
With all best wishes and deep gratitude
For more about The Keepers of Love project, click here
Images: Top: Willie Mae Brown. a member of the descendent community of Love Cemetery, photo by China; Detail from Ohio Taylor's gravestone, recovered during a Love Cemetery clean-up, photo by China Other images from their respective websites. Leaf from Caddo Lake, East Texas, also by China.