Sunday, March 08, 2015

Mujeres de Maiz: 18 Years of Women, Art, and Activism

Olga García Echeverría



It's that time of the year again, March. Mes de La Mujer. The moving forward of the clock. The coming of spring. Here in the Eastside of LA, the month is teeming with corn. Corn women that is.

Every March, for the past 18 years, Mujeres de Maiz (MdM) has honored International Women's Day and Women's History Month con arte, music, film, theater, spoken word, and workshops. And every year the MdM celebration seems to grow, currently sprouting women-centered events throughout March, April, and May. It isn't a one day or one month celebration, you all; it's a season!

In 2010, I had the opportunity to interview the core organizing committee of MdM and blog about the community-based work these women had long been doing. To visit that previous blog: http://labloga.blogspot.com/2010/02/corn-women-of-east-la-13-years-of-art.html

This week, I caught up with one of the co-founders and core members, Felicia Montes. Here's a transcript of our online conversation.

Welcome to La Bloga, Fe. Thank you for taking some time from your busy schedule to join us today. What can you share about this year's MdM events?

This year we have put together the LOS ANGELES WOMYN's CALENDAR Spring 2015.  It highlights the programming in collaboration with Womyn's Organizations and Circles across Los Angeles. To check out the calendar, visit: http://mujeresdemaiz.com/calendar.html

How would you describe the 2015 MdM season?

It is a season of Intercultural, Interdisciplinary, Transformational and Holistic Artivist Happenings to honor Womyn in Mind, Body and Spirit and commemorate International Womyn’s Day, Womyn’s Herstory Month, Spring Equinox and Mexica New Year. It includes everything from artivist concerts and festivals to workshops on indigenous veganism and alterNative birthing. We are really excited about the programming!




Is there a theme for this year?

This year’s theme is Madre/Mother and much of the programming connects with that topic and we are honored to collaborate with local collectives like Ticicalli Yahualli who will be offering monthly workshops for our Spring Season.

How has the event grown or changed in the past 18 years?

The event has grown from just one event on International Womyn’s Day to a whole season and a wombynt! It is now a series of events, workshops, performances, and more connected to womyn’s empowerment and politicization.

In 2010 when I interviewed the core organizing group, you all were working pro bono, sin outside funding? Is this still the case? What are the pros and cons of this?

Yes, we are still all volunteer run, 100% love, ganas and passion for our people, community and artivism. We are run by for and about the community and mainly supported by other womyn of color. We are in the midst of transitioning into a non-profit where we can begin to receive grants, donations etc. We are excited for this new phase because it will allow us to support our own love and passion as well as bringing that important knowledge and experience to hundreds of youth.

Would you like to share anything about the Mujeres de Maiz Zine and how that too has grown?

The Zine started in the very grassroots and punk tradition of alterNative media. Then it was done in black and white copies. Today it is a full color art and poetry publication featuring over 30 artists and writers every year. To check out the upcoming MdM Zine and those dating back to 1997: http://mujeresdemaiz.com/zines.html

What is the most rewarding part of this annual Mujeres de Maiz celebration? Why do you and other organizers keep at it?

Really I think it is about sisterhood, coming together, and the base in artivism, culture and spirituality. It is a total labor of love that we all receive a great deal of energy and spirit from. It is really like a ceremony or challenge—it’s a lot of hard work, sometimes long hours, and physical and mental strength—but the results and the fruits of our labors are immense and we get to see them in our lifetime, sometimes almost immediately when someone comes up to you after a show or workshop and expresses how this has changed their life, or how they are now living more balanced and connected to their culture, etc. This for us is not about an event nor is it about us as a collective. It’s much bigger that that—it’s about our community, our culture, and the 7 generations before and after us.

Gracias, Felicia! For those of you in Los Angeles, here's the Mujeres de Maiz Programming for today, Sunday, March 8th, 2015.

International Womyn's Day March 2015
by AF3IRM and Ovarian Psyco-Cycles
Downtown Los Angeles
11:00 a.m.

www.AF3IRM.org https://www.facebook.com/ovarian.psycos
Facebook Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/538207992988172

On Sunday, March 8th, 2015, AF3IRM and Ovarian Psyco-Cycle Brigade mark International Womyn’s Day (also known as International Working Womyn’s Day) by leading a historic march and rally in downtown Los Angeles that will call attention to the diverse issues and oppressions facing womyn today. These two feminist, womyn-of-color organizations have organized this march and invite all to join and speak out against the attacks on womyn and our communities, voice support for womyn’s struggles, and remember the legacies and herstories of womyn who have come before us.

18th Anniversary Live Art Show
at Legacy LA 1350 San Pablo Street
Los Angeles, CA 90033
6:00 p.m.
$10-20 Donation

Performance ofrendas of music, spoken word, dance y mas including:

D’Lo,
Get Lit Poets - Camille Spirlin;
Tashi Brown,
Las Ramonas,
Maya Chinchilla,
Mujeres en Resistencia,
Teatro Tres Generaciones
 
*This is also our 1 big fundraiser of the year to provide free and low cost programming and to fund our soon to be NEW non-profit!

MARKETPLACE OPENING at 5:30 p.m.
 
full Mujer Mercadito/Marketplace with womyn and Q/T vendors
selling artesania, jewelry, books, art and much more.
 
Mujeres de Maiz t-shirts, past and NEW Zines will also be available!

All Ages w/ Limited Seating.
Event is wheelchair accessible. Please inbox us for accommodation needs.
This is an alcohol and drug free event.

To view the entire calendar:  http://mujeresdemaiz.com/calendar.html
 

Mujeres de Maiz Having a Blast
  
"The mission of Mujeres de Maiz (women of the corn) is to bring together and empower diverse women and girls through the creation of community spaces that provide holistic wellness through education, programming, exhibition and publishing."

3 comments:

Amelia ML Montes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Amelia ML Montes said...

Hola Olga-- I meant to write "what important events." It's so fabulous that "Mujeres de Maiz" is packed with events March, April, May! A perfect way to welcome spring!

Daniel Olivas said...

Thank you for this wonderful post, Olga. This is an important day. And I look forward to seeing you tonight at the PEN USA celebration of Gabo! Can't wait to hear what you've chosen to read.