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Portland Feminist Meet Up: April 2015 recap!

May 7, 2015

Bring Your Own Brunch (BYOB) Portland Feminist Meet-up is a discussion and community-building gathering for feminists in the Portland Metro Area. Each month is a different discussion topic, and each month brings new refreshing feminist energy to In Other Words.  The gatherings have been growing in popularity, and the last one was no different!  

Huge round of applause is owed to Susan, who volunteered to take notes. Here are some of the big take-aways from the April 2015 gathering:

  • Feminist discussions can act as avenues for activism in the form of community building, mentoring, outreach, healing, and consciousness raising. 
  • Discussions started here can spread to our work in schools, places of worship, the home, work, and more.
  • Feminist literature is a critical grounding point for building a strong foundation for a strong movement. We cannot read enough feminist literature! Intersectional and trans-inclusive feminist literature must be at the center of our discussions.
  • Social media can be a very effective platform for feminist discourse: Twitter, YouTube, wordpress, facebook, and more
  • General Assemblies at In Other Words are important for local grassroots community coalition building. Community organizing work should also serve to support the sustainability of organizations– we could help raise funds for places like In Other Words, Bitch, Rock Camp, Q Center, etc. very important to remember that all of this runs on volunteer power! 
  • Let’s spread the word about this meet up and continue to build coalitions across communities! 

You heard it, Portland! The feminists from BYOB Portland Feminist Meet Up want you to join the conversation! The next gathering is coming up on Saturday May 9th 12:30PM at In Other Words Feminist Community Center 14 NE Killingsworth St. Portland OR 97211


Letter to a Young Transperson

May 4, 2015

Well said.

Is it Level?

transphotoDear Me in Past Tense,

There you are, kneeling by the cardboard Barbie house dad made between jobs. You there, picking up the washrag upholstered furniture, aspiring to the talent to make a miniature couch out of packing foam, there are a few things I should tell you.

The first one you already know. That girl sitting next to you pulling the homemade plaid pants off of Barbie in favor of the cowboy dress is not only your sister, but your absolute best friend. You will be tempted to think you are in danger of losing her, but you shouldn’t. She is permanent.

The rest isn’t so clear.  It won’t ever be.  It doesn’t have to be.

You will feel like you are playing by a set of rules no one explained to you – sort of like kindergarten, when you couldn’t make the right handed scissors cut paper. You will correct yourself…

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The Perilously Poetic Women of Dancing Girl Press

April 27, 2015

What is the most dangerous thing you’ve ever done for your writing? That is what Laura Christina Dunn, author of newly-released Spider Blue, wanted each of her fellow Dancing Girl Press poets to share on Friday night with their packed-house audience at In Other Words.  It elicited some very intriguing answers that balanced out a night full of rapture-inducing and powerful poetry with a little bit of silly fun.


Laura Christina Dunn, author of Spider Blue

“Trina Burke does not engage in dangerous activities as a rule, though she has been known to drink alone and trespass on private property for her writing,” said host Laura Hayden as she introduced the first poet.  Trina is the author of Wreck Idyll from Dancing Girl Press as well as two other chapbooks and assistant editor of Bone Bouqueta journal for new and established female poets.

In other feats of danger, Laura Dunn herself has stood in the middle of Powell Boulevard with a taxidermied deer head for the sake of her own writing.  We did not get the entire story on that one.  One poet said she had mooned the entire writing department at undergrad during parent’s week.  Another said that whatever the most dangerous thing was, she had not done it yet, ominously suggesting that it might happen by the end of the night.

Susan Denning, author of She Preferred to Read the Knives and How to Live Forever, touched home when she said that the most dangerous thing she has ever done for her writing is simply to keep writing.  To stop would be safe…


Front Row Left to Right: Ally Harris, Amber Nelson, Trina Burke Back Row Left to Right: Jane Wong, Laura Christina Dunn, Susan Denning

The poets that presented at Friday night’s reading ran the spectrum from quiet and contemplative to aggressively outspoken in their poetic voices. And while some pieces were longer or more musical, others were short and terse.  But one thing is for sure: as Laura Dunn put it herself, “These are women of immense power.” Ally Harris is the poetry editor of Heavy Feather Review and her Dancing Girl Press chapbook is called Floor BabyMost recently she has written Your Twin Was After Me.  Amber Nelson wrote the incredibly evocative Dutch Baby Comboa chapbook that musically and creatively carries the reader through the experience of a woman’s abortion.  She is also co-founder of Alice Blue Review. Jane Wong is author of Dendochronology and teaches at University of Washington.  In Other Words thanks these fabulous poets for bringing so many creative spirits through its doors all at once.

I felt each image released upon me by these incredible Dancing Girl poets Friday night like I had felt each Portland raindrop that same morning.  At the moment of impact each one was refreshing and awakening, steady but unpredictable.  And as I let them all sink in, it wasn’t long before everything started to feel more lush, more vibrant, and more recklessly alive.

5 Indie Hipster Things to Do in Portland

April 18, 2015

Thanks to feminist blogger Shannen Roberts for including us in this blog post about 5 feminist things to do with your Portland weekends!

Open letter from Board of Directors: a step towards social responsibility

April 16, 2015

Dear brave bold passionate patient fabulous fierce feminists,

Our all-volunteer board of directors is working tirelessly to help implement and streamline our all-volunteer-run nonprofit in to the thriving feminist community organizing space we all fiercely desire.  Tonight at 6:30PM, the board of directors will be reading an open letter and working closely with community members to move forward in an open and transparent way.  As always, tonight’s monthly board meeting is open to the public.  For those who cannot make it tonight, please see below for the letter.

The current Board of Directors stepped up last fall. Together they brought years of NPO, grants, grassroots organizing, program and planning, financial planning, marketing, donor cultivation, fundraising, management and policy and procedure experience to the organization. They have dedicated many hours and hard work to reaching these goals. Their main objectives were to help IOW become a socially responsible and fiscally sustainable organization. They have brought forth two viable financial strategies, innovative marketing campaign ideas and strategic program plans to help navigate IOW into sustainability and away from financial crisis. They have analyzed the current structural model of the organization and have made several recommendations to help begin the process of creating a sustainable future for the organization.

Now is the time to implement a plan to become socially responsible. They have worked on inclusivity campaigns, setting up policies and procedures to protect those using IOW’s space and have made steps to become a more diverse space that makes intersectional feminism a priority. They feel like the next step to creating a truly diverse organization is ensuring that we create a space for a diversity of feminists to take on leadership roles.

They feel like the best thing we can do is step aside and make room for a more diverse-intersectional Board. It is with much gratitude and respect that Louie, Caitlyn, Lauren, and Nicole are choosing to step aside to make more space for new diverse leaders. Alison will be stepping down from her secretary position to create room for new board members too (she will stay on the board as an “at large” member). The exiting Board Members  will be available for consulting in their professional fields and will still be actively involved in IOW. They would also like volunteers to know that they can reach out for letters of reference, etc. They want to continue to support the career goals and upward mobility of IOW volunteers!

Love and Solidarity,

Board of Directors

In Other Words Feminist Community Center

Thank you so much, Portland, for your passion, patience, time, energy, love, and support.  Thank you for holding us accountable, and for participating and stepping up when it was needed.

Please remember to mark your calendar and plan attend our upcoming General Assembly at the end of this month, where we will hold a vote on major structural changes to In Other Words.

Please direct any questions to board[at]inotherwords[dot]org.  In Other Words Feminist Community Center is a 501(c)3 non-profit that is entirely run by volunteers and survives thanks to lots of small individual gifts from generous feminists like you.  We couldn’t do it without your help.  Thank you.

Pudge PDX Bookworm Photoshoot

March 27, 2015
PDX Book Worms photo shoot with Bethany Tate!


In case you missed it, here’s the incredible “Bookworm Photoshoot” done recently by Pudge PDX at In Other Words Feminist Community Center.

Bookworm Photoshoot!

Pudge PDX is all about body empowerment and they have an uplifting message which you can learn more about and contribute to by going to their website.

Happy reading ladies!

Open letter from Board of Directors: invitation to upcoming meetings

March 24, 2015

    Our new board of directors is a team of dedicated volunteers who have been working tirelessly since last fall to help streamline and increase efficiency as we move towards a more sustainable model for our beloved brave fierce feminist community center.  Please see below for an open letter from the board of directors asking for your commitment to coming to the space to engage in constructive dialogue, coalition-building, problem-solving, and discussion.
    “To all our dedicated volunteers,

    We’ve listened to your thoughtful comments, and while we still have staffing/operational problems that have necessitated some abrupt changes we will be working with you to bring a plan and vision for IOW’s future to the next General Assembly for a vote.

    In preparation for that vote, we’ve scheduled a number of brainstorming sessions over the next few weeks. We hope you will both join a working session to contribute ideas and help design our path forward and attend the General Assembly to cast your vote. Here are the meeting dates:

    1. Wednesday, April 1st, 6:00pm at In Other Words – This is part of an ongoing process and is a meeting that will focus on  how we can ensure that future plans for IOW are inclusive of marginalized communities.
    2. Wednesday, April 8th, 6:30pm at In Other Words – Brainstorming around the proposed event space/book curation model.
    3. Sunday, April 12th, Noon at In Other Words – Brainstorming around the proposed event space/book curation model.
      1. update:  Click here to watch/listen to the recorded discussion.
    4. Saturday, April 25th, 2PM at In Other Words – General Assembly Meeting–and VOTE on major structural changes. UPDATE: click here to watch the recording of the General Assembly 
    We continue to be blessed with passionate volunteers, and we’re looking forward to working together to become the sustainable organization our community needs.”
    Sincerely and In Solidarity,
    board of directors
    In Other Words Feminist Community Center
    As feminists, as volunteers, as fundraisers, as passionate peaceful and committed community members, let’s come together to brainstorm, build coalition, come up with new plans, take action, and build up the feminist community space we all so dearly love and desire.  We must work together constructively and quickly, and we can make this happen!

    UPDATE: if you consider yourself part of the In Other Words feminist community, please click here to vote! ONE VOTE per person please. 

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