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Our Journey to Philadelphia

On August 16, 2015, eight daughters of A Revolutionary Summer sat at the proverbial feet of activist, legendary poet, and Black Arts Movement pioneer Dr. Sonia Sanchez. In addition to feeding the girls, gifting them copies of her book Morning Haiku, sending them home with fresh cold water, and watching them until they arrived safely at the train station, Mama Sanchez carefully defined the haiku, guided the budding writers' practice of the form, and affirmed, through experience and herstory, their innate beauty, their undeniable worth.  

 

A Revolutionary Summer thanks you, Mama Sanchez! We remain grateful for your openness, for your wisdom, for your strength, and especially for your embrace. 

I thought it was honestly honorable that [Mama Sanchez] took the time to sit down with us. Not a lot of writers would take the time to sit down with you in their home and break bread with you. I think my favorite part was when she took the time to sign my book. She said, 'Wow you guys are still reading this.' I really appreciated that she really takes the time to thank her audience and is genuinely moved by that.

Mykela, A Revolutionary Daughter

Baltimore, Maryland

Thinking about graciousness. And being invited into the home of a world renowned poet with eight children in tow. And about said poet asking each girl her name and if she didn't know it, telling the girl her name's meaning, and in every case telling her to love it—its three syllables, its Africanness, the fact that her momma had given it to her out of sense of creativity, sure, but especially out of the sense that she was important. And then going further and giving the girls the nitty gritty and reminding them not to laugh when they hear Takeisha or Daquan or any other Black ass name, but to instead apply to its pronunciation the same thought and seriousness they apply to the pronunciation of, say, Pryzbylewski. (So what they don't understand how we name our children? That you look at a sweet baby boy and call him Bob is odd to me, but he is yours and mine are mine and because I know what it took to arrive at my child's name, I respect your choice.) Thinking about being fed by a writer who has climbed the Great Wall of China and discussed poetry with Rakim and marched with slain civil rights activists. How the hell do you feed us? You, literary giant? Thinking about her reminding the girls it is not true that you can't be friends, that you must always compete. And that to be worried about what you have on when they are shooting us in the head during routine traffic stops is just...silly. Thinking about the possibility of not knowing Sonia Sanchez and therefore not being able to introduce her work to my daughter and the gap that would have existed had the stars not aligned in just this way. But they did.

Andria, A Revolutionary Teacher

Baltimore, Maryland

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Our Thoughts on Dr. Sanchez

Our Final Showcase '16

On August 18, 2016, seven daughters of A Revolutionary Summer read from their original works of poetry, fiction, and nonfiction to a loving community audience. These images capture some of the evening's magic, including a performance by the incomparable Jahiti of Brown FISH.  

Shoot 'cause we're breathing

Shoot 'cause we're laughing

Shoot 'cause we're exceeding

Shoot 'cause we're human

But when a white man walks down the street

with a machete

what y'all gon do?

Nothin. 

from "Try Us"

by Amina Georgie

Black women compromise. Some of us pretend that the only hair that grows on our bodies is on top of our head. Some pretend that our hair comes in tame, straight lines rather than persistent kinks and curls (others know this and choose straight hair because they want it, not because they don't know anything else). We are told that college will save us, that what we really need is education (or indoctrination, whichever comes first). I have not yet found this to be the case. It is every bit as obnoxious as people pushing their white Jesus on you so that you can be "saved." I fall into the lies of what we are, that we are somehow more sexual, sultry. That we are the jezebel. That we are inherently more aggressive, more sassy than other women...

from "Anger, Apathy, Emptiness: Tales of Compromise and Coming Home from Kentucky to Find More Racism"

by Talia Floyd

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Excerpts from Our Work

Our Final Showcase '17

On August 12 & 13, 2017, fourteen daughters of A Revolutionary Summer gave two beautiful performances of the seminal choreopoem for colored girls who have considered suicide/ when the rainbow is enuf. The production was directed by Tuesday Barnes, Joyell Arvella, and Andria Nacina Cole. Costumes were designed and created by J'mar Mondi. Jahiti of Brown FISH gave ARS and the community audience the pleasure of his company once again.