And The Women Gathered…

National Black Lesbian Conference          July 10-13, 2008

Big up and maximum respect due to the NBLC planning committee and to all of the conference participants! By all accounts and as I observed with my own eyes the NBLC was a huge success.

For many, the spa/resort environment helped to underscore the conference theme “Time To Be Renewed”. The women gathered, debated, listened, contemplated and socialized amongst kin.

Highlights of the conference for me were meeting the light-filled women who participated in my workshop, the many couples I met who have been in long term committed relationships, the elder sisters, and the numerous sisters who greeted me with fond memories of reading Skyeview way back in the day on Sistah-net. Indeed, one sistah nearly blew me away when she informed me that my travelogues helped to inspire her dissertation on Black women and travel! Wow!


How To Muster Personal Courage When The Going Gets Good!

The only disappointment I experienced at the conference was having to endure the Christian centric prayers and shouts outs to Jesus during the banquet dinner and gospel brunch. Displays of religiosity in this type of gathering typically strikes me as being presumptuous of African diaspora spiritual practice and potentially culturally insensitive towards non-Christians. A similar incident occurred at DC Black Pride at the Sunday worship service. And, I recall feeling just as disquieted and cowardly.

My disappointment stems more from my own silence at the banquet and brunch more then anything else. I wondered how the dynamic would have changed had there been for example hijab attired sisters in the ballroom. Proclamations of Jesus this and Lord that preceded the introduction of one keynote speaker who alluded to being agnostic. It has to be noted that the designated Mistress of Ceremony Karen Williams has been a practitioner of Nichiren Buddhism for more than 35 years. So I imagine statistically there were other non-Christians in the room too.

A safe bet when offering a worship component for an event is to
either make it inclusive of different faiths or preferably

’cause if you believe that your god
is better than another man
how we gonna end
all your suffering?
’cause if you believe that your god
is better than another woman
how we gonna end
all your suffering and strife?
(Fellowship lyrics by Meshell N’degeocello)

See Part of the Program (pdf, 9M) | NBLC Photo Album




Conjuring Wellness and Renewal Through International Travel

Thank you ever so much for your presence, wonderful imagination, vulnerability and trust. You all inspire me to develop this work further.

Walk strong sistren.

Workshop Photo Album

One Response to “And The Women Gathered…”

  1. I think you might have had to leave the gospel brunch before it ended but there was a wonderful healing circle at the closing. They called all the healers, light workers, ministers and practioners of every faith to come forward and form a circle. Then all those who needed their energy were asked to come into the center of that circle so they could receive the energy of those healers who surrounded and said prayers over them.

    They were asked to let go of put any difference, hard feelings, jealousy, resentments and lack of forgiveness and to allow themselves to be embraced by light and healing energy. It was a moving, powerful and very emotional experience. In those moments and in that ritual I was finally able to put aside my discomfort with the Christian centered activities and the assumptions that went with it. When the morning began and I looked at the songs we were supposed to sing my first reaction was, “But everyone’s not Christian.”

    I definitely had feelings about the prime placement given to one dominant religion’s practices and the lack of knowledgement accorded to practioners of other faiths who might have been in the room. Not only do we need to be reminded that we are citizens of the world, it also needs to remembered that African ancestral people come in as many faiths as we do colors. Had I been Muslim, Buddhist, Hebrew, Hindu or atheist I might have harbored justifiable resentment over the lack of ecumenical sensitivity.

    Nuff said

    Sharing the same sky(e),
    Rev. Dorothy Randall Gray

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