The Gatekeeper's Collective (TGC)

IGNITING THE POWER OF BLACK SAME GENDER LOVE

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Topic For Friday, January 3rd, 2014:
MOVING PAST FEAR?

 

If it is true that we are unlikely to take political action on behalf of ourselves and our community until we are unafraid of being who we really are, then…
Of what are we afraid?

- Are we afraid that the myths we learned about ourselves are true?

- Are we afraid of the responsibility that comes with acknowledging the truth about how powerful we really are?

- What is fear, really?

If you will, write and let us know what questions you think we should ask to facilitate ourselves through and beyond fear and into our most powerful Gatekeeping selves.

In the meantime, we recommend you seek out: “THE SPIRIT OF INTIMACY: Ancient African Teachings in the Ways of Relationships” by Sobonfu Somé

http://www.amazon.com/The-Spirit-Intimacy-Teachings-Relationships/dp/0688175791/

If You Live In Or Visit New York City
You Can Purchase The Book From
The Black-Owned Establishment

Sister's Uptown Bookstore
1942 Amsterdam Avenue (@ 156th Street) 
Harlem, New York City 10032
(212) 862-3680


Sister's Uptown Bookstore GOOGLE+ Page

The Gatekeeper's Collective
Community Kwanzaa will be conducted on
Saturday, December 28th, 2013
5:00PM
at JMG's Safe Space
730 Riverside Drive
(Entrance on 150th Street)
Suite 9E
Harlem, New York City
Participants Are Encouraged To Bring A Dish Or Beverage To Share

"Please Come Join Us As We Celebrate Such Fruits
As We Have Harvested This Year.
Thanks"
John-Martin Green


An SGL Black Sheroes & Heroes Monthly Series
December's Focus:
Claude McKay (1889-1948)


Claude McKay was born in Sunny Ville, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, on September 15, 1890. McKay moved to Harlem, New York, after publishing his first books of poetry, and established himself as a literary voice for social justice during the Harlem Renaissance. He is known for his novels, essays and poems, including "If We Must Die" and "Harlem Shadows." He died on May 22, 1948, in Chicago, Illinois.

"Idealism is like a castle in the air if it is not based on a solid foundation of social and political realism."
– Claude McKay


Early Life
Festus Claudius McKay was born in Sunny Ville, Clarendon Parish, Jamaica, on September 15, 1890. His mother and father spoke proudly of their respective Malagasy and Ashanti heritage. McKay blended his African pride with his love of British poetry. He studied poetry and philosophy with Englishman Walter Jekyll, who encouraged the young man to begin producing poetry in his own Jamaican dialect.


Literary Career
A London publishing house produced McKay's first books of verse, Songs of Jamaica and Constab Ballads, in 1912. McKay used award money that he received from the Jamaican Institute of Arts and Sciences to move to the United States. He studied at the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) and Kansas State College for a total of two years. In 1914, he moved to New York City, settling in Harlem.

McKay published his next poems in 1917 under the pseudonym Eli Edwards. More poems appeared in Pearson's Magazine and the radical magazine Liberator. The Liberator poems included "If We Must Die," which threatened retaliation for racial prejudice and abuse; this quickly became McKay's best-known piece of work. McKay then left the United States for two years of European travel. In 1920, he published a new collection of poems, Spring in New Hampshire, containing "Harlem Shadows."

McKay returned to the United States in 1921 and involved himself in various social and political causes. He worked with the Universal Negro Improvement Association and continued to explore Communism—even traveling to the Soviet Union to attend the Communist Party's Fourth Congress. After spending some time in the United States, McKay again left the country, spending what would prove to be 11 extremely productive years in Europe and North Africa; he wrote three novels—Home to Harlem, Banjo and Banana Bottom—and a short story collection during this period. Home to Harlem was the most popular of the three, though all were well received by critics.

Returning to Harlem, McKay began work on an autobiography entitled A Long Way from Home, which focuses on his experiences as an oppressed minority and agitates for a broad movement against colonialism and segregation. The book has been criticized for its less-than-candid treatment of some of McKay's more controversial interests and beliefs. His consistent denial of having joined the Communist Party, despite multiple trips to the Soviet Union, is a point of particular contention.


Later Life
McKay went through several changes toward the end of his life.  He embraced Catholicism, retreating from Communism entirely, and officially became an American citizen in 1940. His experiences working with Catholic relief organizations in New York inspired a new essay collection, Harlem: Negro Metropolis, which offers observations and analysis of the African-American community in Harlem at the time. McKay died of a heart attack in Chicago, Illinois, on May 22, 1948.

In 2012, a researcher discovered an unpublished Claude McKay novel, Amiable with Big Teeth in the Columbia University archives.





Last Friday night (December 6th, 2013) The Gatekeeper’s Collective (TGC) convened to take up consideration of Kwanzaa’s Kawaida philosophy and the Nguzo Saba as elements of a template for aligning same gender loving (SGL) Black men with our Gatekeeping selves.


Referencing a proposal of Reverend Jett’s, facilitator, John-Martin Green told participants, “Being anything as powerfully as we can is predicated on knowing who we are.  It is important that we be aware that there are impediments to our knowing who we really are, and to our being who we really are.  This which we’ve come together to do [under the rubric of The Gatekeeper’s Collective] is about much more than sitting around having conversations.  The power of the 21st Century Gatekeeper is in knowing self.  We have said that being a Gatekeeper involves crisis intervention – that is, restoring balance and harmony to the community when there is conflict.  But, how does that strike you, really?  For some of us, crisis management might not seem like the most fun or rewarding life path.  Some of us might perceive ourselves as having distinctly different callings and life purposes.  Others of us may operate from a ‘live and let live’ outlook – ‘I’m not trying to be all up in other people’s business like that.’ ‘If they got beef, they need to work that out.  I ain’t in it.’  So, for whom among us does gatekeeping have powerful resonance?  For me, being a Gatekeeper means being a change agent.  What does it mean for you?”

“Gatekeeping…I go back to Garvey and, “Up you mighty race”…Though we’re out of the closet, we’re still in the closet…[acting as if] we’re not our brother’s keeper…Where are we going?...What are we doing?...I give a man who’s a Brother first preference…I want to see you get where you need to go…That’s how I’m a Gatekeeper…We’ve lost that feeling…We get so caught up in the rush, we don’t even say hello to each other…”

“I’m just being…When I hear Gatekeeping, it kind of scares me…I heard about Michael Richards coming back to TV and, me and a couple of guys decided to start a petition [against his racism,] but didn’t know who to get it to…Buju Banton was at Madison Square Garden talking about Boom Boom Bye Bye [the anti-homosexual anthem]…I started a petition which fell flat…I do stuff…I was in an airport this afternoon and I saw this woman in severe distress, and I got them [airport staff] to come to her aid…”

“I too am afraid of the sense of failure…or, if I say it [I am a Gatekeeper], it means I have to carry this load…I oftentimes feel so timid…shy and [keep] to myself…[I’m not one to] take on leadership role(s)…I never like to speak out…Gatekeeping is more than just being nice to people…It requires some special [sacrifice]…”

“[Gatekeepers] openly demonstrate love and caring…[they] always acknowledge me…[It] gives me power…One of my old neighbors was a Tuskegee Airman, but he wasn’t a pilot, he was a ground man…Had he not done what he did, the airmen could not have gotten off the ground…”

“My brother’s a bouncer cause he’s a big black [MF]…We all have our [different] styles…I. myself was always the one in the family to go to [bat for other people]…I understand the responsibility [involved in gatekeeping]…Sometimes you open the gate and drop the keys and negative stuff get’s through…that’s why it’s important to have a support system…[Being a Gatekeeper] caused a rebellion in me as a young man because I didn’t want that responsibility…But, since then, I’ve come to terms with it…But, you need a support system like this…”

“I always find myself taking on other people’s [trails]…Sitting in the hospital [with sick community members], picking up people’s groceries…”

“I think it depends on the attention or focus…the keeping of the gate is as strong or as powerful as what the gate is holding…We have served so much for very little [return]…It is important that we understand that, if there isn’t a clarity about why we do it [there is a danger]…[We need to be clear about] What’s in it for us?…This thing that you do, whether you call it [one organization name or another] is almost magical…that thing which you do…in the eye [of which] has made me become powerful in your presence…It is not to take away kindness [but, the ones] who are the damage control soldiers…have to be very careful because, when [keeping the gates] becomes self-depleting, you aren’t keeping any gate..”

“I disagree…I’m taking care of my eighty-three-year-old mother…None of my brothers and sisters stepped up…I have to take care of myself…Before I fix my mother’s food, I fix my plate…She fixed our plates first…I saw somebody get mugged on my way here and I helped him…I waited until the police got there…I didn’t get in the squad car…I know my limitations…Part of being a Gatekeeper is understanding that the strength is in you being what you are…”

“The most powerful Gatekeeper that ever lived was Jesus…He expended himself to his death…Some might say, he was spent [so, what’s the point of martyrdom?]…But, he set in motion a work that has continued and inspired others for centuries later…”

In the film, Mandela, during his imprisonment, they made him wear short pants to deprive him of his manhood…[His attitude was] I don’t want to go to jail, but I want to do what I do [to free my people]…We have to claim it…I don’t know what my Gatekeeping role is yet, but, I’m claiming it…It is a particular role…”

Facilitator asks, “Then, might the three Kawaida questions be useful in finding our bearings as Gatekeepers?”  [There is consensus.] ‘Who am I as a Gatekeeper?  Am I really who I say I am as a Gatekeeper?  Am I all that I ought to be as a Gatekeeper?”

Co-Facilitator says, “The gates take care of mind, body and spirit…Because I am not in Burkina Faso, I’m not trained in herbal medicines and all their [technologies and methodologies]…But, I did hear Malidoma Somé say, “While not all Gatekeepers are same gender loving, all same gender loving people are Gatekeepers…We combine masculine and feminine [That is wherefore our power lies]…I see being a Gatekeeper as the light I was born as…I have had to heal from the traumas of being Black and male and same gender loving in this time…And, as I become more the flame and light that I was born [to be]…[I have been moved] to say that I accept the responsibility to help others find healing on their journey…I went to seminary…I study Yoruba…and been initiated [and have invested in] learning more about who I am as a spirit…Part of being a Gatekeeper is just walking this earth as me…”

“Are we gay-keepers?  Are we [going to be] looking after our Brothers fifteen or twenty years from now?”

Co-Facilitator says, “Gay is a political identification…What’s the fear around Gatekeeping?...It’s a certain set of responsibilities…I can’t let anyone else give me a title…Being a Gatekeeper is about doing the internal work…When I learn to love and heal myself, I know where the [self-determining] line is…”

“You are representing something…Part of being a Gatekeeper is saying I commit to being [fully] present…For you to be of use, you have to be useful…If you really want to keep gates…[You must ask the question,] What is my life protective of?...”

“What really makes us Gatekeepers is our motive…going back to Mandela…He was a great leader…Hitler sought self-glorification…It’s good for us to examine who we are…What are our motives?…We live in a world like that today…[where] self-glorification is a [powerful drive]…Hitler was a leader, but, what was his motive?...Martin Luther King and Macolm X [had different motives]…[And,] What about the ordinary [leaders among us?]...There are other leaders, who, because of their motives, no one knows about…Who are we really?...To be really good Gatekeepers our motives must be in tact…Could I have gone for twenty-seven years [of unmitigated brutality] and come out and shook those people’s hands?...”

“Nelson Mandela’s forgiving of the twenty-seven years of vile humiliation was forgiving, but it was also strategic…He knew he had to do a brain drain to get people to focus on what he wanted… to free his people and [save the country from destruction]…Where you get tested by life is in the midst of blood and tears and pain…beauty is being built…Had I not had an ideal, a drive, an intention, that person [that oppressor] could become a problem for me…”

Co-Facilitator say, “How do I mount a political action?…Mandela said, I will die for the freedom of South Africa…For us today as homosexual Black men, how do we wage political action?...”

“The Kawaida can help me clarify my intentions…”

“Gatekeepers seize on opportunities when they present themselves…”

Facilitator says, “Gatekeepers also create opportunities…As ‘O’ has called to our attention, the most powerful Gatekeepers are also strategic…”

“But, there are dangers involved…[The Gatekeepers weren’t able to stop People [who] were being lynched…”

Facilitator says, “That didn’t stop Ida B. Wells from mounting one of the most extraordinary political action campaigns in the history of the press…They trashed her office and chased her out of town…Threatened to lynch her…But, she created the opportunity to rouse people out of their complacency in the face of the brutality that was being perpetrated against her people…”

“Forgiveness is not something you do…It’s not a verb…It is almost the most arrogant thing you can do to think you can forgive someone…”

“Part of what we do [here] is cultural affirmation…[Along those lines,] We may not realize how much of our thinking is guided by Western, Gre[co-Roman] thinking…about individuals and [about] individual men…Was Mandela a great man?...Absolutely…But, the democratization of South Africa was imperative…There [were forces at work]…There was Communism…The ANC got their power [and resources] from Communist [block countries] There was a countervailing power that they could draw on…”

“Mandela was not created in a vacuum…He sat with some of the greatest [revolutionary] minds in the world in that prison…”

“What am I willing to die for?...How am I going to step up?...That’s what I’m going to go home and ask myself tonight…”

“Let’s look at our role models looking forward…films…Bayard Rustin is right here…”

Facilitator says, “Looking at our Gatekeeping role models is an excellent idea.  Even as we talk about discovering what being a Twenty-first Century Diaporan African Gatekeeper means, we don’t have to reinvent the wheel.”

Topic For Friday, December 6th, 2013:
IS THE NGUZO SABA A VIABLE MODEL FOR 21st CENTURY GATEKEEPERS?


As the year draws to a close and we set about defining what Gatekeeping means for us as 21st Century Diasporan Africans, might the Kwanzaa principles serve as a template, or some part of a template for tapping our leadership potential where we meld indigenous and Western 'Best Practices'?

Kwanzaa was founded on the philosophy of the cultural nationalist theory and movement called Kawaida (a Swahili word meaning "tradition" or "reason," pronounced ka-wa-EE-da ) and involves three questions:

Who am I?
Am I really who I say I am?
Am I all that I ought to be?


- What can I do as a Gatekeeper?

- What special talents or skills do I have as a Gatekeeper?


- How, if at all, can the Kawaida help me to tap into my GK self?




FIRST FRIDAYS EVERY MONTH
730 RIVERSIDE DRIVE (@ 150TH STREET)
SUITE 9E
HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY
8:00 PM
 
TRAVEL DIRECTIONS:
TAKE THE #1 TRAIN TO 145TH STREET STATION
OR THE M4, M5, M100 OR M101 BUS TO
149TH STREET & BROADWAY
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BROTHERS ARE ASKED TO BRING A POTLUCK DISH AND / OR BEVERAGE







An SGL Black Sheroes & Heroes Monthly Series
November's Focus:
Billy Strayhorn (1915-1967)

If you are familiar with the jazz composition, "Take the A Train," then you know something about not only Duke Ellington, but also Billy "Sweet Pea" Strayhorn, its composer. Strayhorn joined Ellington's band in 1939, at the age of twenty-two. Ellington liked what he saw in Billy and took this shy, talented pianist under his wings. Neither one was sure what Strayhorn's function in the band would be, but their musical talents had attracted each other. By the end of the year Strayhorn had become essential to the Duke Ellington Band; arranging, composing, sitting-in at the piano. Billy made a rapid and almost complete assimilation of Ellington's style and technique. It was difficult to discern where one's style ended and the other's began. The results of the Ellington-Strayhorn collaboration brought much joy to the jazz world.

The history, of the family of William Thomas Strayhorn (his mother called him "Bill") goes back over a hundred years in Hillsborough. One set of great grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. George Craig, lived behind the present Farmer's Exchange. A great grand-mother was the cook for Robert E. Lee. Billy, however, was born in Dayton, Ohio in 1915. His mother, Lillian Young Strayhorn, brought her children to Hillsborough often. Billy was attracted to the piano that his grandmother, Elizabeth Craig Strayhorn owned. He played it from the moment he was tall enough to reach the keys. Even in those early years, when he played, his family would gather to listen and sing.

In 1923 Billy entered the first grade in a little wooden school house, since destroyed. Soon after that, however, his mother moved her family to Pittsburgh to join Billy's father, James Nathaniel Strayhorn. Mr. Strayhorn had gotten a job there as a gas-maker and wire-puller. Charlotte Catlin began to give Billy private piano lessons. He played the piano everyday, sometimes becoming so engrossed that he would be late for his job. He also played in the high school band.

His father enrolled him in the Pittsburgh Musical institution where he studied classical music. He had more classical training than most jazz musicians of his time.

Strayhorn lived a tremendously productive life. He influencedBilly Strayhorn's BW Image many people that he met, and yet remained very modest and unassuming all the while. For a time he coached Lena Horne in classical music to broaden her knowledge and improve her style of singing. He toured the world with Ellington's band and for a brief time lived in Paris. Strayhorn's own music is internationally known and honored. It has been translated in French and Swedish.

Some of Strayhorn's compositions are: "Chelsea Bridge," "Day Dream," "Johnny Come Lately," "Rain-check," and "Clementine." The pieces most frequently played are Ellington's theme song, "Take the A Train" and Ellington's signatory, "Lotus Blossom". Some of the suites on which he collaborated with. Ellington are: "Deep South Suite," 1947; the "Shakespearean Suite" or "Such Sweet Thunder," 1957; an arrangement of the "Nutcracker Suite," 1960; and the "Peer Gynt Suite," 1962. He and Ellington composed the "Queen's Suite" and gave the only pressing to Queen Elizabeth of England. Two of their suites, "Jump for Joy," 1950 and "My People," 1963 had as their themes the struggles and triumphs of blacks in the United States. Both included a narrative and choreography. The latter Strayhorn conducted at the Negro Exposition in Chicago in 1963. Another suite similar to these two was "A Drum Is a Woman." The "Far East Suite" was written after the band's tour of the East which was sponsored by the State Department.

In 1946, Strayhorn received the Esquire Silver Award for outstanding arranger. In 1965, the Duke Ellington Jazz Society asked him to present a concert at New York's New School of Social Research. It consisted entirely of his own work performed by him and his quintet. Two years later Billy Strayhorn died of cancer. Duke Ellington's response to his death was to record what the critics cite as one of his greatest works, a collection titled "And His Mother Called Him Bill," consisting entirely of Billy's compositions. Later, a scholarship fund was established for him by Ellington and the Julliard School of Music.


SOURCE: From  Billy  Strayhorn  Songs,  Inc.  -  Edited  by  Sonjia  Stone

On Friday, November 1st, 2013 an inter-generational group of forty-or-so same gender loving (SGL) Black men came together in Harlem to launch The Gatekeeper’s Collective (TGC).

Welcoming participants, founder, John-Martin Green proposed: “Gatekeepers is a construct introduced to us in the West by West African shaman and scholar, Malidoma Somé.  Among the Dagara people of Burkina Faso, Gatekeepers exist on the margins of society where they act as guardians who, when there is crisis in the community, taking cues from nature and the ancestors, restore balance and harmony to the collective.  While TGC will never espouse religious or theological doctrine, we recognize spirit as the essence of all things. When he visited with us here, among things Dr. Somé shared with us about Gatekeepers is that, while, not all Gatekeepers are same gender loving, all same gender loving people [have Gatekeeping potential.] 

“For us, The Gatekeeper’s Collective is a same gender loving Black men’s revitalization group which will combine ritual and indigenous traditional practices with elements of Post Traumatic Slave Syndrome theory and cultural psychology towards aligning us with our leadership potential.”

[Beyond gaining consensus that the proposed structure is a worthwhile expenditure of time and effort, Facilitator asked participants:]


What does ritual mean to you?

“Everyday movement…When you get up…washing up, preparing mentally for work…Doing my prayers…Something you do automatically…”

“A daily practice to improve you spiritually and physically…”

“A certain type of exercise or practice…”

“Repetition…[It] can include people who like to harass you…”
 
{Facilitator says, “So, ritual doesn’t necessarily have to be something positive?”}

[Collective] “No.”

“Spiritual practice [done at] a specific space and time…”

“Among Yoruba…Killing of chickens is practiced today in our community…Lynching [is a ritual that was regularly practiced]…animal sacrifice…and, in some cultures, even human sacrifice…”

“A sequence of actions performed in a specified time or place [that] can aid cohesiveness of society, or render society asunder…”

“Performing a culturally specific exercise in order to achieve a goal…”

“There are different kinds of rituals [involving different groups of people]…Tribal [rituals] involve a people…cultural rituals [involve larger groups of people]…Planetary rituals, like New Years, may involve the world…Timing is essential to rituals because the gateway is only open at certain times…If you’re setting your intentions in harmony with…What are the outcomes I want [will determine] what’s the best time to do the ritual…”

{Facilitator says, “You mentioned timing of rituals as essential because the gateway is only open at certain times. The gateway to what?”}

“The gateway to empowering yourself or [the] community…I am currently studying gay rituals, and something I’ve learned is that, if you don’t see yourself reflected in the rituals you perform, [to ask,] who are you energizing?...We do a lot on behalf of [the larger Black community]…We always have…But, they don’t [respect us]…When they’re pouring libations to the ancestors, they’re not [saluting] us…So, when you do a ritual, who are you energizing?...”

“Intention is important…If your intention is clear, the actions are not important…”

{Facilitator says, “Being mindful that we see ourselves reflected in our rituals is indeed, vital…These ideas all have some to do with ritual…And, as many have said, there are different kinds of rituals…My understanding of ritual is that, any time two or more people come together with a common goal or intention, whatever they do constitutes ritual…I’ve shared my take on who Gatekeepers are and what they do…Are there other perspectives?…”}

“I wasn’t going to say anything because, when I came in, you were describing Gatekeepers, and your description squared with my understanding…I worked with Malidoma for a few years, and visited Burkina Faso with him…Yes, Gatekeepers hold space in the community for safety…And, they can communicate between worlds…[between our own world and] the world of spirit and the ancestors…Everyone can communicate with the other world, but Gatekeepers have a special connection [and capacity to interface through that connection ]…”

“The Dagara take on Gatekeepers is one of many, and some components are specific to their culture…They’re honored in their culture…Looking at ourselves as Black men here on a spiritual level…We all have the potential to be Gaetekeepers…[But] the pursuit of Gatekeeping and power is not necessarily the best use of our time…”

{“Facilitator says, “Quite true…In fact, [no matter our spiritual practice] essentially, many of us already operate as Gatekeepers…[For instance,] How many of us are the ones in our family, who…no matter their regard for us on a regular, ongoing basis, when the proverbial shit hits the fan, everybody comes looking for to be the voice of reason, or some such?...”} [Most hands raise] {“If we agree that aligning with and accessing our Gatekeeping potential may be useful towards loving and respecting ourselves more, and then, if we will, being change agents, and supporting the larger community’s being more loving and respectful…our charge will be to [collectively] discover what being a Gatekeeper in 21st century America means…Do people think that’s a worthwhile expenditure of time, energy and effort?”}  [There is consensus.]


Is a movement for Same Gender Loving Liberation redundant?

"In relationship to gay liberation…As groups with some authority and power…I don’t see us [as having power]…”

“It’s important for people of African ancestry to see a reflection of ourselves [within liberation movements]…I don’t feel affirmed as a person of African descent [in the Gay Liberation Movement]…I need to see myself, my interests, underpinnings [of my experience]….There need[s] to be [a movement] representing people who look like me…”

“The next phase of the LGBT movement…we should implement ourselves in other movements to make sure that our issues are [accounted for]…”

“We’re at the back of the bus [of the LGBT Movement]…We lead [in terms of] premature death…and are last [in line for] health care, education…Older SGL men commonly report loneliness…There are no rites of passage to help [us] be cohesive…We have a lot of work to do before we take up with other people’s movements…We have to be self-determined for ourselves…Nobody else is gonna’ do it for us…Other people co-opt our movements…like Civil Rights…and they benefit…We don’t…”

“We have no tools…We don’t know how to love [ourselves]…We have no tools to fight for a place at the table…We have to come together [to build on our own behalf]…We haven’t built anything for us…”

“It’s very important for us to understand the gifts that we have… The other day I watched The Avitar, and he had all these powers…We have to manage all that energy…We have to learn how to manage all that [power]…”

“I don’t know if a ‘movement’ is what we need…That sounds so political…[I think, rather] a call to service…[For us] to come together to serve each other, and meet each others’ needs…From the younger to the older…to everyone in between… Everyone has needs…”

{Facilitator says, “A call to service sounds spot on…Powerful…And, as quiet as it’s kept, our making a collective determination to collectively take up a call to service is political…”}

“Liberation implies oppression…As far as a movement is concerned, where redundancy comes in…A lot of people talk about gay homeless youth, and the need to get them out of prostitution, but, say they can’t do anything…It’s impossible to do nothing…I’ve opened my home to gay ‘nieces’ and ‘nephews‘…[Telling them] But, I’m not taking a step to enable you, but, I’ll look out for you…The kids that aren’t being helped are being hurt…”

{Facilitator says, “You say ‘liberation implies oppression,’ as if you think there’s a question regarding the existence of oppression…Show of hands…How many among us perceive themselves as having been, or as being oppressed?...”}  [Most hands raise.] 

“I saw Ethnic Notions…It blew my mind…the way the media programs us to see ourselves…Young people now use the ‘N’ word and older people use, ‘people of color’…They’re trying to get us away from being Black…You’ve got to have numbers on it…[To be able] to show, ‘We went from two to eleven!’…Economics [investing in our own]…They’re using us to advance themselves…We need to be all that we can be…Not equal…[Trying to be] equal, that implies that we’re less than…”

“The loneliness piece is real…Deal with your loneliness…There is no need to be [isolated]…Call somebody who says they love you…Go out and have tea with them…T said something that resonated powerfully with me…He said, ‘it’s impossible to do nothing’…That was one of my most important life lessons…If you’re breathing, you’re doing something…[It’s vital to understand that] You have value…You have esteem…You have power…Whether you use it, or not…”

“Tenacity is something that gets lost among us…All too often, we start movements and don’t follow through…We don’t continue to fight…We let them tell us we’ve gotten what we set out for…and, we give up…”

{Facilitator asks, “Let who tell us?”}

“[We let] Society [tell us]…There was a strong culture of movements [among us]…You have to continue to fight…Don’t settle for what they tell us is the goal…We allow ourselves to be used…We have to use our own stories [to advance our own movement]…”

“For hundreds of years we have been caregivers, doing service…We must carry a Bible in one hand and a gun in the other…Everything is political…there are thirty-five men here, and thirty-five groups working against what we’re here to do…”

“It’s [also] a call for resources…We’ve dropped the ball when we haven’t taken [our] resources and [reinvested them in ourselves]…Brothers could lead others…If we can pool our resources…Economic, political, [we can lead]….”

“I have to respond to something that Young Blood said a minute ago…It’s more complicated than just saying, we gave up too quickly or, ‘we don’t do this,’ or, ‘we don’t do that’…There are systems in place designed to impede and stop movements…And, we shouldn’t beat up on ourselves…”

“If I can just briefly rebut…We settle too much, saying, ‘it’s too hard’…”

“I was present at the founding of BMXNY, and I’m aware of the power of languaging…When the assumption was made in the room about ‘same gender loving,’ [being used as an identification]…Numbers are universal and scientific…Language changes…The term, same gender loving came about because we felt left out of gay…[But] when we say, ‘same gender loving,’ as opposed to ‘gay’…referencing gender…am I saying that, I would find a masculine female attractive?...Outside of America, the accepted term for homosexual is gay…So, what are we really saying?...”

{Facilitator says, “Yes, the power of languaging is vitally important…and, just as your calling to our attention the importance of seeing ourselves reflected in the rituals we take up…the term ‘gay,’ as a cultural and political identification has been extraordinarily powerful for the people who coined it [to empower themselves]…In case you hadn’t noticed…Same sex marriage is now the law of the land in fourteen states, and the District of Columbia, and counting…among other advances…How’s that for an example of [a successful] movement against oppression?…And, homosexually-wired people all over Africa do not identify as gay…And, the extent to which they do, [there and elsewhere,] is more evidence of the efficacy, unto ubiquitousness, of the Gay Liberation Movement…the latest layer of the hegemony of cultural imperialism…And, by my reckoning, ‘same gender loving’ didn’t emerge out of any lack, but rather, as an affirmation that I love my gender… and, as a Diasporan African, an affirmation of my way of loving and being…”}


Cite something, if anything, you may have found useful or meaningful in this engagement

“The question of SGL [as an identification]…”    “Insightful…”        “Economics…”

“Timing....”        “Resources...”        “Service and giving...”    “Intent.”   

“Since we’ve been doing [service] for hundreds of years, what would it be if we used our leverage in not doing it any more?”    “Being all that you can be...”

“Not being stagnant, and reattaching myself to someone who says they love me…”

“Moving forward, it takes a lot of transparency and impartially…”

“Selflessness…in order to be supportive…”        “Hearing what the other person needs…”

“In our zeal to be Gatekeepers on behalf of others’, we must first be Gatekeepers on behalf of ourselves…”   

“Everything that has been said here tonight needs to be ritualized…”

“The power of all our intent to show up and go forth fearlessly…”

Topic For Friday, November 1st, 2013:
SAME GENDER LOVING LIBERATION?

- What is a gatekeeper?

- What is TGC?


- Is SGL liberation redundant?


- How can we be more supportive of each other in a Black community context?



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The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper

The Gatekeeper's Collective Venue



FIRST FRIDAYS
EVERY MONTH
730 RIVERSIDE DRIVE
(@ 150TH STREET)
SUITE 9E
HARLEM, NEW YORK CITY
8:00 PM

TRAVEL DIRECTIONS:
TAKE THE #1 TRAIN TO
145TH STREET STATION
OR THE
M4, M5, M100 OR M101 TO
149TH STREET & BROADWAY
GOOGLE MAPS

BROTHERS ARE ASKED
TO BRING A POTLUCK
DISH AND / OR BEVERAGE

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thegatekeeperscollective@gmail.com

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