Dig: The Womanist Archeologies Intensive

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Weds-Friday, January 11-13, 2017 6pm-9pm eastern

This intensive is for anyone interested in deepening their knowledge of womanist practice, expanding their idea of the archive, and finding ways to research and listen without reproducing patriarchal and capitalist values.

Drawing on Alice Walker’s work, her concept of work, her digging for Zora and her poetic invention of womanism, this intensive looks at Walker’s work itself as a planting, excavating and harvesting ground for generations of long-memoried, ready-to-be-nourished seekers.  Invoking the work of Hortense Spillers, Michelle Wright, Saidiya Hartman, Katherine McKittrick, Cheryll Greene, Kai Barrow and more, this online intensive will be a place where we reconceptualize mothers, gardens, and the dirt that has (not yet) been done.   Come ready to get virtually dirty and to dig deep.

Registration is limited.  Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here and write “Dig Intensive” in the note section: 

Full tuition is sliding scale $185-225.  Payment plans are available.  Your deposit goes towards the full tuition.

Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your goals for the course by Monday January 9th.

How She Knew: The Fugitive Epistemologies Intensive #spill

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detail from Kenyatta A.C. Hinkle’s “Now There Are Three Ways to Get This Done: Your Way, Their Way or My Way”

January 4-6, 2017  6pm-9pm Eastern 

*epistemologies = ways of knowing

The Spill Series is a monthly group of 10 webinars activating the literary archive, technology and text of Spill: Scenes of Black Feminist Fugitivity as a resource for our far-flung community of freedom seekers.  (You don’t have to have read Spill to participate, but you might as well read it anyway :)

Fugitive Epistemologies is based on the first chapter of Spill “How She Knew” and honors black women’s intimate ways of knowing.  Drawing on the chapter’s literary influences (Audre Lorde, Toni Morrison, Gwendolyn Brooks) and using the chapter itself as oracle and meditation, the purpose of the intensive is to start the new year and time of this renewed blatantly violent global regime with access to forms of knowing that go beyond the dominant news media, beyond intellectual reaction catch phrases and beyond the systemic pull of institutions to make fear fundable.

This online intensive is for freedom-seekers who are interested in intimate knowing, knowing otherwise, refusal as knowledge and trusting forms of knowledge that have been criminalized.  Some of the forms of knowledge we will explore together will include working with dreams, divination, internal and external meditation and recipes.

Registration is limited.  Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here and write “How She Knew Intensive” in the notes section: 

Full tuition is sliding scale $185-225.  Payment plans are available.  Your deposit goes towards the full tuition.

Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your goals for the course by Monday, January 2nd.

Sunday Morning Soul Evidence– from the Evidence Intensive

daddy-looking-outThis past week’s Evidence Intensive online and Evidence writing workshop for futurists in Durham were miraculous.  I am so grateful to everyone who participated, I am so moved and honored to be living in this time with you.  Today is the half-birthday of my father, Clyde Gumbs who joined the ancestors in late October.  My half-birthday is tomorrow. The last communication I got from my father was the name of a maternal Shinnecock ancestor of mine seven generations back. Granny Tatum.  I wonder what she did on Sunday mornings while she survived colonialism, and especially the complicated adoption of church practices within Shinnecock community.  I wonder what she prayed for and how I am living into those prayers.

I am honored to share with you a group poem created by the online participants in the Evidence Intensive, which I also used to open and bless the space of the in-person Evidence workshop in Durham.  It means so much to me to be supported by a far-flung and local community of people who care deeply about the future and who invest in my work to play a visionary role in this community in ways that quite literally put food on my table and keep me alive.   In the short story “Evidence” a future researcher named Alandrix is trying to historcize this time.  Alandrix (Drix for short) wants proof of what we did in this “time of the silence breaking” and longs to theorize exactly how it impacted the current world of the story, a world free from sexual violence.  At some point though Alandrix wonders in the research notes whether they are looking for external proof for something their soul already has evidence for.

This poem honors that part of you that travels generations, that knows beyond knowing and that allows love to travel from this moment beyond everything we currently understand.

Again, if you want to be on the list to get emails about next year’s online courses, sign up here.   If you want to be on the list to know about local events happening in the Durham area, sign up here (and check the box for “local”).  And if you want to get Without Apology, my father’s book of poems in honor of Black women, check it out here.

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My Soul is Evidence

 

by the participants in the Evidence Intensive

 

my soul is evidence of intentional laughter

my soul is evidence of truth telling children

 

my soul is evidence of mountain strength

my soul has evidence of the sacredness of horses

my soul has evidence that rocks and stones are alive

my soul is evidence of waves crashing and receding

my soul is evidence of the healing power of salt

my soul is evidence of the iridescence of the walls of caves

my soul shows evidence of my father’s eyes

 

my soul is evidence of the trail of tears

my soul is evidence of the dreams of MAAFA

my soul is evidence of the dreamers’ power

my soul is evidence of the resilience of the elders

my soul is evidence that genocide fails and empires fall

 

my soul is the evidence of my ancestors laughter and prayers

my soul is evidence that Black is vibrance

my soul shines black with evidence of refusal and rebellion

my soul is evidence of queerness at its sparkliest potential

my soul is evidence of the strength of the daily strange

my soul has evidence of the secrets and mysteries that allow my people to survive that which was not meant to survive

my soul has evidence for miracles in dark places

my soul has evidence that Harriet actually saved millions

my soul has evidence that Black slang carries the secret codes of freedom

my soul has evidence that we have always been brilliant, that we are brilliant right now

 

my soul is evidence that the harm is real and not just in my head

my soul has evidence of receipts on receipts on receipts

my soul has evidence of wounds that scar but not kill

my soul is evidence that the shift is possible

my soul has evidence that truth is the way forward

my soul has evidence that Audre was right to say speak, though we are afraid

my soul is evidence that it is okay to break, break wide open

my soul has evidence of the power of the breath

my soul has evidence that Black feminism LIVES!!!!

 

 

my soul has evidence of you now all up in it

my soul is bursting with evidence of baby love

my soul is evidence that survival is sweet

my soul is evidence that tenderness is powerful and profound

my soul has evidence of sacred storytelling

my soul shapes evidence out of longing and listening

my soul is evidence that we can heal, we are healing, we will continue to do so

my soul has evidence that can and will be used in the service of truth and witnessing and healing

my soul carries evidence for the truth tellers to come

my soul has evidence for future archivists to know how much we fought for justice

my soul is a reflection and whispers of unborn legacies yearning for us to make the way

 

my soul has evidence that stars are using right now

my soul looks back and does not wonder but knows what it knows

my soul lives to love you

my soul has evidence for every dream you’ll ever have

We Let Go: Revolutionary Release from the Evidence Intensive

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Last night was the first session of The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear.  We gathered together as evidence of our ancestors and the legacies of movement work that have made us possible.  We called in our communities of accountability.  We described the insides of our hearts and what we found there. We time traveled through our own lives unearthing wisdom, trauma, and longing from the different past and future ages of our own lives.  We offered ourselves the archives of our own lives and reached for wisdom from our future elder selves to provide wisdom for this moment.   We chanted, sang, hum, scatted, drummed and stomped “love is the most important thing” until every part of our bodies knew it and every age remembered.   Here is the group poem we made about letting go.  Can you choose one of these ways of letting go to focus on today?

If you want to participate in next year’s webinars and intensives join the Brilliance Remastered email list here.

We Let Go

 

By the participants in The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear

 

“We did it. We shifted the paradigm. We rewrote the meaning of life with our living. And this is how we did it. We let go.” –from “Evidence”

 

 

letting go of feeling like there is never enough time

letting go of victimhood

letting go of missed opportunities

letting go of the pain in our backs from previous betrayals

letting go of the grief held in our bodies for all those who have passed

letting go when/where my ancestors could not

letting go of every shred of doubt that we make a difference in the world

letting go of every single temper tantrum

letting go of the old dust that has settled on our fire and is choking out our breathing

letting go of not breathing and fear of not breathing

letting go of fear of missing out

letting go of fear of being abused

letting go of fear, FOR REAL THIS TIME, I am taking fear off the pedestal I’ve had it on and replacing it with FIERCE POWER

 

letting go of not knowing

letting go of judging people who we feel aren’t as ‘enlightened’

letting go of anger at people who are so flaky

letting go of being right

letting go of playing small

letting go of needing others’ approval

letting go of guilt and shame

letting go of having to prove anything to anyone

letting go of apologizing (especially as women)

letting go of pretense

letting go of preconceived notions

letting go of tight constriction

letting go of the happy ending

letting go of resolution

letting go of self-recrimination

letting of trying to do everything and ending up exhausted

letting go of having to do it all

letting go of every message inside me head that contains the word “should”

letting go of control

letting go of this bra

letting go of capitalist expectations (girl, bye)

letting go like #sorrynotsorry

 

letting go of doubting our own brilliance and capabilities

letting go of regret

letting go of others’ expectations of me, even when they are people I love so dearly

letting go of those who will not meet me on the bridge, I can love me and them too, and still let go

letting go of what “never was but could have been” between me and all those lovers

letting go of the story about how i am always and will always be misunderstood

letting go and loving who and what is right in front of me

letting go of the need for proof, my soul is evidence

 

letting go of belief systems rooted in a perspective of lack

letting go of limited visions defined by consumerism

letting go of measuring the worth of a day by how “productive” i have been

letting go of linear time

letting go of that capitalist clock

letting go of nice, in exchange for deep kindness

letting go of neoliberal, neocolonialist imaginings to welcome revolutionary possibilities

letting go of survival, embracing liberation

letting go of my old selves, holding onto only the parts that serve me well

letting go of the story that I gotta earn love, remembering it is already all here

letting go of thinking our way to the revolution

letting go of worry, but embracing wisdom, intuition and deep knowing

letting go of pressure to finish the resource guide, it is done and it is wonderful and they all love me even more

letting go of the idea that this dissertation has to be smart, so it can be love instead

letting go and falling backward into a pool of cool, deep water that cleanses all the toxins and toxic energies, leaving me light and ready to receive

letting go so I can embrace the depth of me like oceans, the flow of me like rivers

letting go for peace

letting go firmly in touch with the reality that we’re all in this together

letting go to be grounded and sure

letting go of the weight/the heaviness, making space for that love to come in

letting go to feel again and again

letting go so I can feel lighter, feel what lightness feels like for once

letting go to embrace the lightness

letting go and falling into my dreaming

letting go while being FULLY present with every particle of my body, my spirit, m soul, backwards and forwards

letting go and embracing full and total love

 

letting go with laughter

letting go with grace and gratitude

letting go with pride in who we are

letting go to the sound of drums

letting go for my grandma and them

letting go for the babies

letting go with the babies!

letting go while dancing the dances of my ancestors

letting go with both hands open, my heart open and my feet stomping

letting go for the futures of those I love but can’t see

letting go with joy and delight

letting go while twerking

letting go while lusting, loving and learning

letting go into orgasmic joy

letting go with TRUST. trust in my intuition, trust in my ancestors, trust in what is to come

letting go with full trust in everything that holds me, including me

letting go sitting on handlebars and enjoying the ride downhill

letting go and never picking it up again

letting go everyday

letting go and arriving in this moment

Free-er Than We Knew We Could Be: A Poem by US Based Feminists in Conversation with Cuba

This past Saturday we gathered to consider Cuba.  After the passing of Fidel Castro some of us thought first of Assata Shakur.  This session was an opportunity to bring the writing and relationships of US based Black Feminist writers, editors and activists (especially Toni Cade Bambara, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryll Greene, Assata Shakur, Alexis De Veaux and Audre Lorde) into our process of reflection.  We noticed that like generations of Black women we have strong desires, forms of longing and vulnerability attached to Cuba. We used those reflections to clarify our sistering in this moment.  Here is the poem we made.

If you want to participate in the last online workshop of the year The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear, check it out here.

Free-er Than We Knewlorde We Could Be

By the participants in the “Without Bridges” US-based Black Feminists on/in/around/with Cuba Webinar

“Sister is a verb.” Toni Cade Bambara

After “Sister in Exile” the first interview with Assata Shakur after her escape by Cheryll Y. Greene in Essence.

 (Inspired by Toni Cade Bambara, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Cheryll Y. Greene, Assata Shakur, Alexis De Veaux and Audre Lorde)

 

Sister in trust

Sister in listening and holding space

Sister in unconditional acceptance

 

Sister in distance

Sister in showing up

 

Sister in living healthy and free

Sister in loving ourselves

Sister in seeing and freeing ourselves from our prisons

Sister with egos aside

 

Sister in showing our scars

Sister in learning from the ugly

Sister in discernment

 

Sister in more freedom than we used to

Sister in real rest

Sister in honoring the invisible work

 

Sister in sweetness

Sister in joy

Sister in gratitude

Sister even in silence

Sister in love

 

Sister in silliness

Sister in survival truths

Sister in finding our purpose

Sister in availability to purpose

 

Sister in places we never thought we would be

Sister in life in collaboration

Sister in a way that teaches me to be better to my own heart

Sister in telling each others stories

 

Sister in shareable salvation

 

The Evidence Intensive: Futurists Beyond Fear

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  Thurs-Fri, December 8th and 9th 6pm-9pm Eastern

The last online intensive of the year is especially for those of us brave enough to envision a visionary liberated future during a time when the present seems bleak. Based on her short story “Evidence” from the collection Octavia’s Brood, Sista Docta Alexis Pauline Gumbs will facilitate a guided intensive that allows us to vision seven generations into the future and to grapple with the time we are living through now:  the time of the silence breaking.  Using meditations, letter writing, listening, ancestral and futuristic connection and legacies of earlier Black feminist futurists including June Jordan and Audre Lorde, we will close 2016 with the energy of multitudes, with a profound connection to those who have crossed over during this time and with revolutionary availability to the future generations are calling for from us.

Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here:

The full tuition is sliding scale $175-225. Payment plans are available.

Email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with your intentions for the course by Tuesday December 6th.

P. S. If you live in or around Durham, NC attend an in-person Evidence workshop on December 10th:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/evidence-a-writing-workshop-for-futurists-in-durham-tickets-29817401651

What We Know. What We Have. Foundations for Visionary Daughtering.

tumblr_lmsyk9bpo11qefrmxo1_1280Last night’s Kakuya Collective: Visionary Daughtering Webinar was pure love.  We dedicating our daughtering forward, backwards and through, beyond biology, death time and into the unknown. We identified and described the prisons that exist between us and the people we daughter. We shared witnessed and experienced the liberation of our clearly and bravely stated desires.   We broke the unspoken with our speaking.  We held newborn possibility with our listening.  We gave the permission we needed.  We laughed and lit each other up.  We are not nearly the same.

Below is a group poem we made about what we know we have and what we know we have to do with the freedom seeking clarity of our visionary daughtering.   As you will see we experienced awe, gratitude and revelation.  If you want to tap into the love check out next week’s webinar Sister is a Verb: An Online Intensive for Revolutionary Collaborators. 

What We Know.  What We Have. 

by the participants in the Kakuya Collective: Visionary Daughtering Webinar

“this is the age of the daughter as sage”

-Kali Ferguson

i know i have it

i know i have love

i know i have been loved

i know that i have to show myself what it means to love and be loved on my terms

i know i have home radiating out of my heart

i know i have space to be human and heal

i know i have hands supporting me

i know i have oceans in me

i know i have a world to protect within myself

i know i have more than surviving in me

i know i have hope

i know i have to hope

i know i have a body

i know have to dance

i know i have to run

i know i have to rest

i know i have to sleep especially to dream

i know i have to dive deep to be satisfied

i know i have to give up my anxiety

i know i have to let go of my restlessness

i know i have to relax to love

i know i have to love my body and my dance!

 

i know i have to call my nana more

i know i have to listen

i know i have to listen more

i know that i have to envision myself more powerful than ever before

i know i have things in me i have never seen

i know i have a myriad of choices at any moment

i know i have a portal to the possible

 

i know i have to practice authenticity in everything

i know i have to share everything, EVERYthing, somehow

i know i have my own standards and I have to keep creating and honoring them

i know i have to stop censoring my feelings and share authentically

i know i have to reach out when I think I am alone

i know i have help

i know i have to vocalize my desires

i know i have to let myself grieve for all of us

 

i know i have strength in other women

i know i have ancestors helping me

i know that i have ancestors watching and claiming it as good

i know i have their wisdom all around me

i know that all is well and everything is working out for my highest good

i know i have safety and desire to give it to those who do not.

i know i have the transformative power of anger

i know i have things they call flaws and I have to call them beauty

i know that i have to live consciously

i know i have FOMO yet need to honor the space that is meditative and healing

i know i have the power of presence

i know that there is a time for all things, now is my time for me to make my voice heard

i know i have real power and that makes the patriarchy afraid

i know i have the power to make worlds i’ve not imagined yet (because i know i have us)

i know i have the powerful love of the matriarchs before me

i know i have wisdom to share with my daughters if I choose to sit still long enough

i know i have the ability to continually develop compassion for myself and others

i know i have to open in order for them to open

i know i have to love my mother better if i want to love myself better

i know i have to leverage my freedom in honor of her

i know i have to trust that my mother and my grandmother’s freedom is as real a possibility as my own

i know that seeking my freedom will in many ways give them permission to seek their own

i know that what is for me will be mine as long as i continue moving to make it so

 

i know i have been here before

i know i have been changed

i know i have a soul full of purpose

i know i have to let myself begin

i know i have been chosen

i know i have what it takes

i know i have us, the future we

i know i have to trust us

i know i have to write it

i know i have to do it

i know i have to live it

i know i have to follow through with it

 

i know that we were all specially designed to be here in this moment

i know i am complete and that feels real, especially tonight.

i know i have co-created something real out of the previously unspoken with y’all

i know everything will be OK because there are such intelligent and deep women here who are the next generation

i know i have never thought of daughtering as so powerful and important before tonight

i know that each of you have something really special to share and that i am changed by this knowing

i know that i am thankful to be here with you all

i know i have to do this more often!

i know i have learned so much from my sister-daughters here tonight

i know that we are the ones that we have been waiting for

Sister is a Verb: An Online Intensive for Revolutionary Collaborators

tumblr_inline_nebbtdvlu11rfds44November 21-22nd 12pm-3pm Eastern

Building on the success of the 2013 Brilliance Remastered Sistorian Webinar and drawing on the intellectual work of Cheryll Greene, Farah Jasmine Griffin, Toni Cade Bambara, Hortense Spillers, Phillis Wheatley and Assata Shakur, the Sister is A Verb Intensive is a space for revolutionary collaborators to clarify and nourish a lifetime of intimate, transformative, capitalism-ending action.

Through two days of collaborative writing, facilitated reflection and sacred black feminist text activation, we will explore the challenges of our existing sistering contexts, deconstruct and reconstruct our definitions of sistering and investigate the possibility of being sisters through a shared chosen intellectual and activist lineage.  This intensive is open to people of any identification who are committed to the possibility of sistering in a black feminist revolutionary context.

Reserve your spot with a $50 deposit here:

and email brillianceremastered@gmail.com with a description of your hopes, dreams and intentions for the course by November 19th.  The prices for the entire intensive is $120-$200 and every imaginable payment plan is available.  Just let me know.

 

Kakuya Collective: A Visionary Daughtering Webinar

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Tuesday Nov. 15, 2016  6pm Eastern

Register here:  https://www.eventbrite.com/e/the-kakuya-collective-visionary-daughtering-tickets-29081078288

They wanted Assata Shakur to spend the rest of her life in jail.  And Assata herself didn’t see any way out.  Her daughter Kakuya was of a different opinion.  Barely more than a toddler, Kakuya expressed her outrage at her mother’s imprisonment and her belief in her mother’s power.  “You don’t have to stay in prison.  You just want to stay in here,” she screamed.  According to Assata Shakur in her autobiography, this was the determining factor in her decision to escape prison.   And Kakuya won.  Thanks to a coalition of brave freedom fighters Assata Shakur escaped prison and eventually moved to Cuba where she and Kakuya could be together.

How often do we think about the fact that one of the rare success stories of the Black Liberation Army or of the effective escape of a political prisoner is at it’s heart a story of black mother/daughter rage and love?  This webinar is for self-identified visionary daughters who are committed to the freedom of their mothers.  Sometimes the freedom we see for our mothers is beyond the freedom they have imagined for themselves.  Sometimes the freedom we seek in honor of our mothers is happening after our mothers have left this plane.  Sometimes the freedom we are asking of our mothers is in service of our own impossible freedom.

Sista Docta Lex has created an online session specifically for visionary daughters based on Assata’s description of her daughter’s anger and the first interview with Assata Shakur after reuniting with Kakuya in Cuba, which was published by Lex’s mentor and chosen Cheryll Greene in Essence Magazine.

This session is for anyone who identifies as a visionary daughter (regardless of gender or background) and will be a participatory space that will draw on our ability to support each other with the collective power of visonary daughters.

*Gratitude to artist, librarian, healer Ola Ronke for sharing this beautiful photo of Assata and Kakuya via social media.

Free to Be Anywhere: Bereavement and Black Boundlessness

img_20161021_100941“Now here I am, and there I am, and all I am, free to be anywhere at all in the universe.”

-Toni Cade Bambara, The Salt Eaters

A couple of weeks or so ago I said the universe speaks to me in death.  I was talking about the death of the brilliant Gloria Naylor whose writing has had a major impact on my work.  I was processing the death of my grandfather who died a few days before she did.   Gloria Naylor’s first book was published the year I was born.  She died exactly one month before the release date of my first book.   This week, as I continued my process of rereading Gloria Naylor’s books and tried to write poems about my grandfather, my father died.  I didn’t know what I knew.  Can that be true?  What I should say is that words are as powerful as they have always been.  And it’s a power greater what I can understand in any given moment.   To honor Gloria Naylor I have been in the process of designing the Black Boundlessness Intensive which begins on Monday.   It doesn’t feel like mere coincidence to me that just at the time where my heart is breaking and suturing itself again, when I am screaming and crying and vomiting, when I am laughing and rejoicing and remembering.  Just at the time that I am grappling with how to relate to my father, who has left behind the boundary of his body…I am also sitting here crafting word portals for us to access black boundlessness, time travel and space ellision.

Black Boundlessness.  How can it not feel like abandonment?  In a society that seeks to constrict and constrain and contain black bodies forcefully and unrelentingly, what have I learned?  How can I not resent my father for his freedom to be anywhere at all in the universe?  How can I understand and honor his lifetime of imperfect but lasting attempts to somehow be with me?  In Bailey’s Cafe, which I am rereading right now, Gloria Naylor works with the distinction between the edge of the world and the end of the world.  They are close.  I can feel how close they are right now.   Here, where it hurts to breathe through tears.  Here, where I have no appetite.   My father’s illness and death line up with systemic racism, what Ruthie Gilmore explains as the production of early death for black people.   A cruel pattern in our health system (can we call it that? a health system?) where most Black men don’t know they have prostate cancer until it has spread far beyond the prostate.  Where the type of testing that could cause early detection isn’t usually covered by insurance, and where my father didn’t have health insurance for decades.  When he was finally covered by the affordable care act, there was cancer in his bones.

My father, who used to dance awkwardly and often to all the music of the Caribbean, was limited to a hospital bed.  And like countless physically disabled people he used his computer and his phone to still be everywhere.  Truth be told, even when he could still walk he spent more time on facebook than anyone his age I know.   He used poems dedicated to loved ones and to strangers as an intentional practice of attempting to move beyond his own body, beyond his own history into someone else’s experience. Interestingly enough, he still ended up writing about systemic racism and sexism in almost all of those poems.  Not that long ago, as he explained to me the relationship between a poem he wrote for me and a poem he wrote for my grandmother, my father explained that he thought of life as a cosmic dance floor.  Earth was a very small part of it.  All of our energies, the living now and the living ever were dancing, improvising, responding to each other’s movements.  In the picture at the top of this post I am holding my father’s hands on a literal dance floor.  And now what was his body is ash and dust and I am responding to spirit.  This is a difficult and strenuous part of the dance, black embodiment, palpable loss.  And a worthwhile one.   So I am continuing to design the course.  I am qualified to design this course, in which I am also a student.  And I am offering praise and gratitude to one of my most important teachers.

*Free to Be Anywhere also refers to the title my cherished mentor Farah Jasmine Griffin’s 1996 essay “Toni Cade Bambara.  Free to Be Anywhere in the Universe.”  The way she honors her father in her work on Toni Cade Bambara, and in general, guides me.