A Celebration of Life: A Literary
Rent Party and Silent Auction
As part of the celebration of life for Faye Williams, there will be an elegant, diverse and inexpensive silent auction at 2:00 pm. Many individuals and businesses have donated items which include organization memberships, personal services, transportation, clothing, jewelry, music, books, hair-care, and more. Williams, honored by the effort, still receives countless calls, e-mails, and buttonholing on the street from hundreds of people who miss Faye and the Sisterspace and Books family. They are thirsty for a new Sisterspace. “I am so thankful for every day, and for all the positive energy that comes my way from Sisterspace supporters, she said. “I’m ready to party and pay my rent before I get evicted again!” Your bidding on these items will personally support Faye Williams, as well as introduce you to several very generous and progressive individuals and businesses in the Washington DC metropolitan area.
A Message from GirlChildPress by Michelle Sewell
Grief can be a persistent thing. Just when you think you have it under control, can keep it at bay, it finds a way to ooze to the surface. Since the closing of Sisterspace and Books there have been moments (driving down U Street, ordering garlicky greens at Whole Foods, stumbling across my Mama Said t-shirt) when I miss the store intensely and that grief feels very new and raw. But this week I find the grief a little more than I want to bare. This week, I find myself rudely reminded that I will celebrate a significant milestone, in my creative life, outside of the walls of that amazing store. After three years, I have finally completed a project that both Faye and Cassandra actively encouraged me to pursue. On April 17, 2006, I will debut my first book, Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces. The anthology is an eclectic collection of poems, essays, and short stories that documents the transition from girl to woman, as told by the girls and women who know the journey best.
Like many DC authors, I, not so secretly, fantasized that if I ever completed the project I wanted my first book signing at Sisterspace and Books. Clearly and sadly, that fantasy will not come true. But that grim fact has not stopped Faye from arranging for the book to receive a proper and official launch. Never one to be thwarted by the facts, Faye has arranged for a Sisterspace-ish book signing at the Howard University Blackburn Center on April 28th, 7:00 pm. It seems that Faye, not secretly, knew that I would finish the project and had no intention of me being denied my bragging rights.
So, in return for her unfailing support and love, I would like to return the favor. I pledge 100% of the proceeds will be given to Faye Williams for every book that is sold between now and April 27th. This is a just a small down payment on the debt I owe to Faye and Sisterspace and Books. From the moment I discovered the bookstore my life changed trajectory. I have never been the same.
For your part, all you have to do is go to www.girlchildpress.com and order a copy of this compelling and revealing anthology and attend the “Rent Party for Faye” as an expression of your support of this amazing cultural warrior and advocate for all women. All people.
What Is A “Rent-Party”?
Although house-rent parties once flourished in the black neighborhoods of Chicago, Detroit, Washington D.C., and other cities, they have become most closely associated with Harlem. The house-rent party evolved out of traditions that were several generations old by the beginning of the Harlem Renaissance.
African-Americans who came north during the great migration brought with them their fondness for a good shin-dig. This social custom served them well, for instead of finding plentiful and profitable work in northern cities, many migrants instead found relentless economic exploitation by employers, landlords, and merchants. Limited economic options forced residents of Harlem to find creative ways to supplement their income, and so many families transformed the southern shin-dig into the modern house-rent party.
Hosts would distribute these tickets to friends, neighbors, and even strangers on the street corner. Sometimes, hosts targeted a specific population, such as Pullman porters, interstate truck drivers, or black tourists. Drumming up a good crowd was important, for competition was fierce.
During the Harlem Renaissance, house-rent parties essentially amounted to a kind of grassroots social welfare. Yet, certain black intellectuals and writers also scorned these gatherings, believing that such rowdy displays of passion and intemperance reflected poorly on the black race. No accounts of rent parties appear in the works of Jessie Fauset, Nella Larsen, or W. E. B. Du Bois, for instance; and in his sociological description of Harlem, Black Manhattan (1930), James Weldon Johnson simply ignores them. We do, however, get enthusiastic depictions of rent parties in the works of Langston Hughes, Wallace Thurman, and Claude McKay.
So now that you know the history, we invite you to our Sunday afternoon Literary Rent Party on April 30th, 2:00 pm., Peoples Congregational Church 4704 13th Street NW….for details call 202-728-3838. See House-Rent Party” go to http://www.routledge-ny.com/ref/harlem/parties.html
Root shock, at the level of the individual, is a profound emotional upheaval that destroys the working model of the world that had existed in the individual’s head. Root shock undermines trust, increases anxiety about letting loved ones out of one’s sight, destabilizes relationships, destroys social, emotional, and financial resources, and increases the risk for every kind of stress-related disease, from depression to heart attack. Root shock leaves people chronically cranky, barking a distinctive croaky complaint that their world was abruptly taken away.
Root shock, at the level of the local community, be it neighborhood or something else, ruptures bonds, dispersing people to all the directions of the compass. Even if they manage to regroup, they are not sure what to do with one another. People who were near are too far, and people who were far are too near. The experience of root shock---like the aftermath of a severe burn---does not end with emergency treatment, but will stay with the individual for a lifetime. In fact, the injury form root shock may be even more enduring than a burn, as it can affect generations and generations of people. Lots of Sisterspace and Books Supporters have been suffering from “root shock”. Now is the time come together and to move forward in celebration of ourselves!!! Read more on Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America, And What We Can Do About It, by Mindy Thompson Fullilove, M.D.
We Walk By Faith, Not By Sight
sm (@) shireenmitchell.com.