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Monday, October 15, 2012

Kidz City @ Facing Race, Nov. 15-17 --- Racial Justice and Childcare

Recently I send out an email--posted below-- to different groups that we had brainstormed about that we would like to reach out to and put on our list. There are so many different amazing people doing so much good works in this city! It took us a long time to think through how we wanted to reach out. (If we didn't get your name down on this list, it doesn't mean we didn't want you - we would love to have the input of all who work towards racial and economic justice, especially those in Baltimore and those who build community support for children and caregivers.) Our original plan was to have a community meeting to invite input. But as time started to become fleeting we simplified our idea into an online survey that we could gather up input, as well as reach out to others. I'm not sure how this will work out but I can tell you as I pushed "send" with my fingers on the mouse I said out loud "with love and well wishes". Next year I hope we will plan an actual community meeting to ask for input as how Kidz City can best serve the children and families in our beloved city, and work towards racial and economic justice - as we know these kinds of discussions take time! Just as relationships and collective work takes time to build as well. But we really wanted to reach out for the planning of this action, in the way that we always do, but try to reach out as we also continue to examine these issues within our own work and collective.

This is our last big action of the year, and I am writing this as the person who is going to be coordinating the childcare volunteers - for this event. I am going to be signing up people for 2-3 hour volunteer time slots at this time. For more information please email radkidcare@gmail with "childcare volunteer" in the subject line. 

xo building for the future, 
china/kidz city

- - -

Hello from Kidz City!

Kidz City is excited to be organizing childcare in coordination with
Facing Race Conference, a national conference coming to Baltimore in
November 15 – 17.

In preparation we have made a survey to help gather up ideas, input,
and inspiration on Racial justice and childcare as we think of the
deeper issues and plan for the practical, safe, and fun care of
children coming to take part in the conference with their families. We
also wanted to take this opportunity to reach out to different groups,
especially those in Baltimore, that we admire. We appreciate your time
if you would look at the survey and see if it would be something you
would be interested in giving your input to: this survey.

We will be compiling a collective resource from the results to share.
We are also reaching out for volunteers to do childcare along with
Kidz City at Facing Race at this time. Please feel free to ask further
questions.

If you are interested please respond by: November 1st!

Thank you so much!

Best wishes and happy autumn
China Martens, Harriet Moon Smith, Sine Hwang Jensen/Kidz City


Kidz City Baltimore is an anarcha-feminist collective dedicated to
increasing access and support for parents, children, and caregivers in
social justice organizing and at events. We partner with others to
organize creative space, care, and programming for children. We see
childcare as a form of activism and one part of creating a just world.
We are a Fusion Affiliate.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DIY Fest - Doing it together again!


(lip balm, seed bombs, mint, and material)


We had fun at DIY Fest!


Now we at Kidz City are not always so good at documenting ourselves. However I will try to share some of the snap shots I saw with my eyes last Saturday, in the dimly lit beautiful cavernous space of Saint Johns/2640- tables set up, workshops, signs, and DIY Fest organizers hard at work, everyone getting ready - pretty nice!

We wound up having a table this year, not doing our workshops in different areas, as we couldn't get our workshops in on time and come to the pre-organizing meeting to decide how things would be spread out--but when I came early and we discussed the spaces open and the choices, it wound up we could stay at one table and do our community games activity in the side of the room. And that really turned out well. BUT anyway - wow I tell a long story and get off track so easily. . . back to the snapshots of our day at DIY FEST.

Looking over at the table and it being full with all ages making seed "bombs" together - Harriet explaining different things about them and everyone engaged, little muddy balls set out to dry and see packets. I liked looking at the table and seeing the little crowd, some children, some adults, some folks I didn't know, everyone seemed happy. Looking at the bowl of mud, sitting on the plastic table clothe and asking "what is that?" Soil, Clay, and Seeds all mixed up. I didn't know that! I know what they are, you can throw the little ball over fences to plant flowers and plants in empty lots.

Learning about herbs and lip balm! I was so glad to see Amy again! There was a lot of action going on at the table. Containers were opened up and smelled and looked at, plants and a pot of melted bee's wax, they were in a whole big process going on over there and then next time I looked little containers were out as they were filled with lip balm (I was gifted and used one in a few moments) solidified now, the tops of the containers were each individually decorated - so cool!

I was setting up the table for making Rose-Watermellon Juice, with a perfect table cloth to soak up any spills and a colorful one on top Sara had brought. Juicing worked well because it really was an oppurtunity for all ages to work well together, many hands, filling up the juicer, pushing it down with the thing that pushes it down, turning the button on and on - juicing takes time. i was glad there was a trashcan nearby (I think Harriet asked for that!)- roses, strawberrys, mint, little hands, stiring spoon, rose water, mmmm, the color pink, people being attracted to come over and just in time when there help was apreciated, washing hands and help too. I don't have a photograph in my mind's eye for this really, or the next workshop, the games one Sine and I did (which turned out super great!), cuz I was part of facilitating and being in it.

But I do have one for the last workshop. Everyone was sitting on the ground. A pile of colorful fabric and three different sized cardboard patterns to trace a square and cut out - to assemble the sample Harriet had brought, a poach that can slide onto a belt. She also had rivets or covered buttons or something, you hit it with a hammer and it made a snap. She was explaining stuff like seam allowance. She is always such a good explainer. The materials were spread all around her, and three, four children sitting, two adults, but just children doing this activity. A boy looking at her with such wanting I whispered to her "ask him if we would like to make one" - Oh yes! he said. A girl who had never hand stitched before saying "its like dashes". Sewing is such a calming activity but people were also going, some, I would yell "goodbye" getting ready to go myself. It was that moment I looked down too, and wished I had a camera to take a picture.


(we put rose petals and mint in the punch when we were done making the juice)
- - -

I was glad there was always folks in all our workshop that seemed to be enjoying it, it seemed pretty easy and calm. I liked being part of DIY Fest this year and it was less stressful then when we plan for childcare at events, and felt very organic.

Driving home, Sara (Farmer, home-schooler, and DIY extraordinaire) said to me, "maybe I could teach a class next year----but I would be too shy..."

I encouraged her to DO IT. Do it with a partner, that takes some of the pressure off. You learn so much when you teach.

I really feel we need to get involved and be a part of the things that we want to create, try new things - teach a class, take a class, collaborate with others, work together, make new friends, keep the old, grow and change and put feedback in the box!

(I'm thinking about that box they put out front, that said "feedback" for folks to write and put stuff in. This blog entry is kind of my feedback to DIY organizers, which is "thank you" and that everything went well with kidz city this year. ALSO big thank you to volunteers and all participants who made it a great day.)

Doing it yourself doesn't mean you have to do it alone.

yours for the intergenerational collective liberation,
china/kidz city






Sunday, September 9, 2012

Kidz City Track @ D.I.Y. Fest - Sat. Sept 15



(Shira wildly throwing balloons in the dinosaur nest by the do-it-together puppet theatre, 2012)

For the second year in a row, the wonderful  D.I.Y. Fest has asked to collaborate with us! What we came up for this year is that we will have a Kidz City "track" of workshops instead of creating a physical space like last year. 

Our goal for the Kidz City Track Workshops is to facilitate working/learning/building together to support youth and parents in the radical community.

These workshops have been especially created with children in mind, start at a child’s level, but are geared for all ages and welcome the whole community. In fact we really want to play (run around and send/catch lighting bolts out of our finger tips) games with you! 


Here's the Kidz City schedule:

12 - 12:50 PM - Seed "Bomb" Making - green up an empty lot with Harriet

2 - 2:50 PM - Watermelon-Strawberry-Rose Punch - Learn how to make a delicious and calming punch (did you know that rose petals are edible and also soothing) with China and Lucy. The smallest folks can help cut pieces with a butter knife, older participants can also help younger ones and run the juicer and we can all drink together - yum!

3 - 3:50 PM - Games with Kidz City: Build All Ages Community - using games learned from other radical childcare collectives at this years Allied Media Conference in Detroit and Theatre of the Oppressed we will play cooperative games for all ages community skill building and liberation! No experience needed, learn how to play with kids 101

4 - 4:50 PM - Learning about Herbal Medicine: Make Your Own Lip Balm. Come create your own lip balm with  Amy and Beth. 

5 - 5:50 PM - Sewing Skills: Make a Pouch. Join an amazing and creative seamstress to learn beginner skills to create a useful pouch which can be put on a belt.


Monday, July 16, 2012

"What would a Femme Shark Do?"


[body of a balloon, mouth like a piranha, fin like a party hat. . . hear me bite your butt]

funny, this is the last thing one of my collective members said after our brainstorming meeting--at the wonderful and inspiring 901 Arts-- yesterday - and it stuck in my head this morning. I think that we kidz city collective members are being more inspired by the Femme Sharks then we even thought - not only to inspire our Sea Theme and activities - but to help us with our development of our own teeth.

It feels like to us, our own style of activism is often devalued. Folks don't always understand what we are doing. Just because we bake a cake (OK - didn't bake it but ran really fast to get to the bakery section of whole foods without getting trampled on or sidetracked to look for vegan treats but got the pineapple upside down cake cuz it was the fanciest) and made our own home-made watermellon-rasberry-lemon sorbet and Rose-watermellon-strawberry punch sprinkled with rose petals and mint leaves out of our own backyard - doesn't mean we are "nice" or not serious radicals plotting to overthrow oppressive dominant power systems.


[ chomp! shark bite from cake - ignore that plastic knife, we don't use plastic knifes . . . ]

F*CK anti-child sentiment (you don't have to like kids but you do have to respect them!), unflexible opinions (yes you can be *this* and *that* and not just stuck as one easy role for people to go to and ask all your questions to), uncreative unfabulous oppressive mean death and destruction b.s. malarky/procrastination despair and lazy text messaging blisters. we want more fun! We want justice for all of us, to topple white supremacy and nurture the rainbow. We want to do our part to organize and support parents and children in social justice movements and communities.


Just because we fried up falafel in a pan and took fruit from the market we work in to share - doesn't mean you should take us for granted or not show up for childcare on time, and do your part in the all-ages intergenerational revolution!


We feel this is really important work. And we don't want to explain everything all the time. But we do want to be on the ball and issue a reportback from our Femme Con Childcare Brainstorming meeting!!

sorry for starting this with last thoughts from the day after, thinking backwards -  but thats what this blog is for (sharing but not always being perfect) and sometimes its hard to start a reportback so I just wanted to get that off my chest - now onwards

Sooooooo - The Brainstorming Meeting went great! Big thanks to everyone who came out!



Our brainstorming question: "What is queer centered, femme fabulous, gender explosive, anti-racist childcare and children's programming?"

Some of the responses were:

Subverting/smashing patriarchy

many models of care – not eurocentric

Expanding notions of beauty

Proud

Respect

Communication: teaching, helping, showing

Solve problems for self – by words and actions, even if that means asking for help

Independence/interdependence

Empower

Femme-inist

Respecting differences

Anti- oppressive, Anti-authoritarian, Anti-capitalist (consumer)

No mother blaming

Everyone takes care of the children – communal

Creative with resources/making something from little/fabulosity

Assessable for all

Holding Space

Fiercely Protective

Active resistance against injustice


Then we went onwards to concretely brainstorming ideas in bubbles - of practices and workshops stemming from these ideals. Kidz City will use these to help plan/inspire childcare and children's programming for Femme Con 2012.


And we had food. rawgg. arg. arg. yum.



B. says he is excited about Femme Con and he likes sharks.



J. shared with us lot of her rad teacher and summer camp input. Rawwwg. We loved it and ate it up.



We brainstormed. We drew outside of the shark. "Baby Think Tank!" Transformation blanket? Problem Solving booth. Parade. Interesting Facts about the sea. Laying eggs outside your body and male seahorses holding the eggs on their back and the sea is a very interesting place for sure!

ALSO BIG THANKS to Jen Vales for all her outreach help of getting our brainstorming questions out there and the feedback from organizers and community members. (As well as to Encian for sharing so many resources from last years childcare organizing!) That helped a lot and we read many of your responses out loud at our meeting <3 Thank you for dreaming with us!



** What is the relationship between care work and femme identity? **

"Often care work and femme identity go together.  Whether we are parents ourselves, or we work in social services, sex work, healing arts/nursing, as educators, or in conflict resolution, femmes work to connect others and make sure the people who have the least opportunities or are marginalized have care.  I would say that some femmes in my life are quite protective of this "caring" side of them -- it's quite private and reserved only for those closest to them.  It can feel like a vulnerability for those of us who grew up having to take care of everybody, ever being groomed to do so.  There is something radical and profoundly feminist about self-care and care for others, a way of naming our own path: "No, my needs are important.  And so are yours.  I do care about people and I will survive and thrive in a cold cruel world."  Femmes may choose "To Care" because it is a way to survive a racist, homophobic, patriarchal culture that tells you female/feminine/femme things are weak, bad, illogical, overemotional, uneducated, etc, among other things." -Ismoon  



We are ready for the next steps now! Its time to get down to bizzness, baby femme shark and fabulous sea creature ocean floor building bizziness that is -

Kidz City will be doing collaborative childcare and children's programming at Femme Con 2012 -  which will happen next month!! August 17 - 19

Next steps:


* synthesizing, planning, plotting - getting the ideal into the concrete
* getting the word out - parents bring your children to Femme Con! there will be childcare and children's programming. If we don't get the word out about childcare how will anyone know to bring their children and how will their little finn-less backs feel without the satin fins they so desire?
* volunteers - we need you! To sign up for a two hour shift, to lead a kiddie workshop or share a skill, to bring something need for us, to help us in some way only you can.
Please contact us at: radkidcare@gmail.com

Lets subvert the system, take care our ourselves AND each other!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Femme Conference Childcare BRAINSTORM!


Dear Friends, family, and community! 

Kidz City is very excited to be doing children's programming and childcare in collaboration with
FEMME CONFERENCE in Baltimore August 17-19!  To gear up we will have a brainstorming and coalition-building meeting to discuss and envision what our Femme Conference Childcare dreams entail: politically, practically, and (perhaps most importantly) for fun!
Please join Kidz City on
Sunday, July 15th from 2pm - 4pm for a BRAIN-STORM!  Location soon to be announced. 

We'll brainstorm:

 What is queer-centered, femme fabulous, gender explosive children's programming?
♥ What is the relationship between care work and femme identity?
♥ What would be fun, exploratory and super rad for kids and volunteers?

Children are welcome!

Please RSVP to radkidcare@gmail.com.



P.S.  Did we mention that we'll be expanding on our sea theme, inspired by Femme Sharks? We are! Please come, bring your ideas, and spread the word! ♥

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

MOBCONF

Join Kidz City at MOBCONF this weekend at 2640 and the Village Learning Place (VLP)! 


On Saturday, 6/2, at 11am in VLP3, Kidz City collective member China Martens will be facilitating a workshop called "Mobilizing with Care: Radical Tactics in Supporting Children and Parents in the Movement" focusing on concrete ways to be an ally to parents and children in our communities. Later at 1:30pm in the Clark Room at 2640, Kidz City will host an intergenerational, participatory playtime!


Then, on Sunday at 4pm in VLP1 join a DIY forum on parenting as politics.


Check out the full schedule for more information!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

resources for children's books







Here are some links to lists of Children's Books you may find useful! If you know of anymore feel free to share with us :)

Radical Children's Books: A Reference List


From the Radical Reference Desk

People of Color Picture Books Wiki